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Organizations get creative to promote sustainable living at the Zero Waste Festival (5 Photos)

The festival promoted methods and tools to teach individuals that sustainable living doesn't have to be expensive

Organizations and local businesses brought their creative side to the Zero Waste Festival to show that sustainable living does not have to break the bank.

From sewing workshops to custom made beeswax wraps to a free repair station to backyard caring, the Zero Waste Festival brought the community together with one common belief; that every individual can make a difference. 

“We are just encouraging reducing our waste as people living on this planet by living more mindfully, being aware of how were producing waste and how we can reduce it,” said coordinator of the Guelph Tool Library, Saba Saneinejad.

“So we're trying to encourage -as the tool library- by lending tools to people so they don't have to purchase them and also by teaching them methods on how to do that.”

The festival was held at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre on Aug. 10, hosting over 30 businesses, community organizations, and service providers including food trucks lined up outside that encouraged visitors to bring their own reusable containers to minimize waste.

Organizations such as All Things Preserved and Green Goals stressed the idea of teaching individuals methods towards producing less waste, 

“I wanted to have a conversation on how to live a sustainable lifestyle and a lot of people said it costs too much to get started so my response was well okay how can I make it accessible to people,” said the creator of Green Goals, Ashley Raza. 

Raza, a teacher in Guelph who was recently on maternity leave, said she created her organization to create resources for people who found taking the step towards sustainable living too expensive. 

She reached out to the community and local businesses within Milton, where she currently resides to help create sustainable kits for people who want to get started for free. 

At first, the starter kits began with glass jars.

"If you're lower-income and you have to spend your money on food, it's cheaper to buy tins of pasta as opposed to jars of pasta," said Raza.

“My reaction was okay let's collect jars around the county. I will clean them, repurpose them for when you do bulk purchases, like when you go to bulk-barn.” 

And then she soon realized she will also need to make drawstring bags.

“With the help of my mother and a couple of other women, we have been working tirelessly to create string bags for people who want to receive those kits.”

Each kit will have a minimum of 10 bags to get started along with Waxology wax wraps, from a Milton startup company which offered to donate wax wraps for every starter kit. 

“This was essentially a maternity health, mental health project because I wanted to stay connected with the outside world while I was raising her,” sais Raza as she held her nine-month-old baby. 

“And so I wanted her to be able to see the steps that I am taking to try to protect her future because essentially her future is going to be more affected than mine.”

Raza said that people have been offering nothing but positive support for her project. 

“Because we know this is an issue. And every single day, more and more information that is proving that climate change is something that we all need to address individually,” said Raza.

And by bringing teaching people ways they can tackle the environmental issue individually, Raza thinks a very significant difference can be made.

“It has been a lot of fun. It turned into something that I never intended. I started off creating this Instagram account where I was just talking about low waste lifestyle but when people said it's too expensive to get started I wanted to be proactive about it,” said Raza. 

“It just snowballed into so much more to the point where it's just been so much fun and overwhelming almost because I love what the potential could be.”