One of the biggest misperceptions out there today is, transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle can be expensive, time-consuming & inconvenient. A lot of people think for the change to happen, one must buy all these expensive replacements, or hire professionals to make the change – BUT THIS IS ALL JUST A PERCEPTION!
The State of Qatar and the Al-Sulaiti family
Qatar is an extremely tiny yet wealthy country located in the Middle East. Being wealthy comes with a luxurious lifestyle. No matter how rich, Qatar can be seen to be similar to a developing country as it lacks the infrastructure to deal with wastage of food, fabrics, excess construction materials and proper waste management. SO….
THE AL-SULAITI FAMILY TOOK MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS!
Working closely with various parties, the Al-Sulaiti family was exposed to the collection and waste management problems. Qatar was investing large amounts of money in collecting waste, but what happens thereafter?!
“We decided to strive for a zero-waste lifestyle, because after our travels to many developing countries and the experiences we had, we came to realize the excess wastage needs to stop – there are people out there with nothing! What about our children and their children?!”Al Sulaiti Family
In all honesty, just discussing inspirations and motivations behind why a family decided to strive for a zero-waste lifestyle, is so moving and makes you ponder why we all cannot think the same way. The Al-Sulaiti family is truly a model family – they volunteer their time to help refugees, they volunteer in community centres, and continue to raise awareness of global issues like effective community development.
Zero-Waste Advise – Easy, Affordable Ideas:
One of the coolest things I learnt during my discussions was about their initiative and how it rose from their inspiration and motivation. The entire family was aware of the problem and decided to tackle it. They, THEMSELVES, approached shopkeepers, such as shops that sell curtains, and highlighted they are wasting lots of excess fabric. And what they told me next was AMAZING, they told the shopkeeper to call them every time there was excess, so the Al-Sulaiti family can take it home, and use it effectively, and free! Also, after renovating their house, rather than have the cleaning company pick up the waste and NOT MANAGE IT, the Al-Sulaiti’s insisted for the waste to be left behind, and thus began the various carpentry and sewing projects! All this happened through taking initiative and effective communication, rather than staying quiet. Check out some of their projects, including building their own greenhouse with the leftover scaffolding and wood – what’s awesome is that all the projects you see below, absolutely 100% recycled, NOTHING new was purchased!
Explore your Surroundings!
So, as I mentioned above, majority of the population decide to go zero-waste but are derailed after they visit a zero-waste shop because of the high prices – these prices will go down as the trend moves to zero-waste – but for now, people tend to blame the inconvenience or the costs to not go zero-waste. If you truly are hoping to help contribute to our planet and change your lifestyle, do what the Al-Sulaiti’s did. They visited landfills (yes, the areas of land COVERED in garbage), even industrial areas, and to the family, this was a GOLDMINE. They came home with giant wheels, lampshades, copper pipes, wood and so many other treasures, that others had deemed waste. Look at what the family changed waste into at hardly any cost:
Research and Get Involved
From my discussion, the biggest takeaway was getting involved. One can collect all this waste and think of ways to turn into something beautiful, but how? The passionate Al-Sulaiti’s, including their 11 year old daughter, have been constantly immersing themselves in carpentry and sewing workshops, reading books (Quick tip: check out Waste Not by Erin Rhoads) and best of all, YOUTUBE AND GOOGLE! I was truly inspired because before my discussion, when I was looking at all the photos of their beautiful projects, I had a mental block about not knowing how to do it. But what I came to realize was, NO ONE DOES, it’s all about focusing and learning on how to make The Positive Change. Through their research, they also came across an amazing invention to help with your Composting (it’s called the Smart Cora – so you can create that circular loop and use the compost for the recycled greenhouse you built!
Empower and Raise Awareness
Last but not least, our future generations. This is huge. As an older generation, as young adults, as young professionals, as parents, as siblings, we have all seen the better parts of our world. The beautiful coral reefs, all kinds of species and actual predictable 4 seasons. But now? Everything is changing, everything is unpredictable, and our biodiversity is degrading because of poor waste management and lack of awareness of the impact our actions can have. The Al-Sulaiti family understands this and have passed on all their knowledge to their 3 children, each being 22 years, 18 years and 11 years. All 3 kids know the threats future generations face, and rather than ignoring it and leaving it to their parents, they have made it their passions to help save our environment!
Our future generations will only know how to react if we, today, raise awareness, and educate whomever we can on how we can make small changes to contribute to the greater good!
Key Takeaways | Whether you’re a business, traveller, individual, or a family
- Communicate – Do not be afraid to speak up! Whether that’s raising awareness, or being completely transparent to a curtain shop and telling them you would like to use their waste
- Get Involved and Learn – When you get involved yourself in the making of things, and learn how it’s done, not only does it become more enjoyable, but can also be cost-saving
- Empower our younger generations – If you have a great idea or you’re making the change, involve your children, or the community, so we can all learn from each other and move to a cleaner and zero-waste lifestyle.
- Research – We constantly use Social Media, Internet and Television which influence us in so many ways. Use these same resources more effectively and LEARN!