Small Steps to Less Waste

Our wonderful workshop manager and resident eco expert Claudi has written a book! 

Small Steps to Less Waste: stories to inspire change is released at the end of March with Hawthorn Press; a Stroud-based independent publishing house.

We’re so proud of Claudi’s wonderful achievements as a positive driving force in the fight against waste, she constantly inspires us as a small business and as individuals, and we really hope her work will inspire you too.

Small Steps to Less Waste

We spoke to Claudi about her background, her new book and her tips for getting started in your journey to less waste:

1- We know you well as our resident eco-expert, but for those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about your background and experience with living plastic free?

I am a German-born, long-time resident of Stroud in Gloucestershire, which is at the forefront of some very exciting initiatives. Extinction Rebellion started in Stroud, as did the Stop Ecocide movement. Stroud is also a Transition Town, an Earth Protector Town, and the world’s first Bee Protector Town! In July 2020, the entire Stroud district which includes many Cotswold towns and villages, was awarded the Plastic Free Community status by Surfers Against Sewage. I am proud to say that this is the result of a community initiative we started a few years ago with the help of amazing volunteers, supporters and local sponsors. It all started when my family and I stopped buying plastic for one year in 2016 and I wrote a blog called Living Without Plastic chronicling our journey. The interest this sparked was tremendous and led to talks and appearances on TV, Radio, in newspapers, at festivals and, now, a book collaboration with a local publisher.

2- Tell us a little about your new book Small Steps to Less Waste

The book tells the stories of 10 people from our local community who made significant changes in their lives towards creating less waste. Some like us, cut out plastic, others work in slow fashion, run repair cafes, or give upskilling workshops. Offering simple alternatives to mass-produced, shop-bought, highly packaged goods, the book demonstrates how people of all ages can develop the skills and courage to make, create and look after what they have, rather than throw away and buy new. Each chapter shows the reader how to make something, with recipes and methods, introducing ideas for making things you may never have thought of making before (such as toothpaste).

3- What are your top five tips for reducing plastic-use and waste at home?

My top 5 may sound quite advanced to some, but if you tackle one at a time you’ll soon see a ton of plastic disappear from your life:

  1. Make or buy a set of fabric bags and together with your Tupperware or other lidded containers, then you are ready to start shopping unpackaged at your local shops, markets or zero waste shops.
  2. Make or buy a set of beeswax wraps or vegan food wraps to help you avoid cling film and to keep your unpackaged food fresh for longer.
  3. Get milk and more delivered from… er… Milk&More or find your local milk refill station. If you prefer plant milk, try making Oat milk which is by far the easiest to make and the most sustainable.
  4. Start using refills for toiletries and cleaning products – these days every town has a refill station somewhere for shampoo, conditioner, dishwashing & laundry detergents. 
  5. Consider making some simple things at home that you would normally grab off the shelf: hummus, salad dressings, granola, biscuits, whatever floats your boat and is fun and rewarding.

Small Steps to Less Waste

4-  As well as working with us leading our wonderful workshop, you are very active in our local community. Tell us about your work with Action on Plastic.

After we received the amazing Plastic Free Community accreditation for the Stroud District, we wanted to share what we had learned along the way with the rest of Gloucestershire. We have just created a new website Action on Plastic to provide useful resources for individuals, businesses, schools and communities setting out to reduce their plastic footprint and eliminate disposable plastic. We want to show that there are many ways in which people can participate and that every action counts, no matter how small. 

5- What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt when it comes to living with less plastic and waste?

I learned to distinguish between disposable plastic and useful plastic. Most of the plastic in our homes is disposable and a lot of the plastic products are cheap, break easily and cannot be repaired. Once you cut down on these items you become much more aware of your own consumption and how precious everything in life really is.

Claudi’s book Small Steps to Less Waste: stories to inspire change is released at the end of March with Hawthorn Press. Enjoy a 25% discount when you preorder the book by using code SSLW.