One million changes with Mandy Spooner
Hey you. Was that a plastic toothbrush you were using this morning? How about that razor? Did your coffee come from a pod machine, or in a takeaway cup from that friendly barista with the tattoo? Look, no one’s perfect but the point is, you made choices this morning. Conscious or not, you made a few of them… and so did countless others as they got ready to go about their days. Our lives are laden with decisions – and for influencer Mandy Spooner it was this fact that led her on a “single-use plastic rabbit hole.”
She figured that be it by avoiding single-use plastics or recycling properly – consumers have the power to change, and by making small alterations daily we can collectively create a lifetime of change. This might seem straightforward but for influencer Mandy Spooner, the effect of cumulative change was what caused her to take a new path in life.
What if a million people made one change each? That’s the question Mandy Spooner asked herself when she embarked on the zero-waste journey.
Mandy’s journey began in 2017 while reading an article by Sarah Wilson that said takeaway coffee cups weren’t recyclable. Mandy states: “I remember saying out loud ‘yes they are’ which of course is what we are led to believe.” But after conducting her own research she found that this was in fact, the truth.
Mandy professes that she fell down a rabbit hole, but she didn’t end up in Wonderland, instead, it was a world of disappointment in single-use plastics.
“I was shocked to find out how much single-use plastic we use daily and how much of it can’t be recycled, it was heartbreaking to see the effect it was having on our planet.”
Mandy set her life in a new direction, making a huge effort to stop using single-use items and replace them with eco-friendly options. She shared the new choices she was making on social media and inspired many people to do the same.
“I quickly saw the knock-on effect of changing one thing at a time, sharing it with others and inspiring them to do the same, this inspired me to keep going and keep sharing, and 6 years later I’m still sharing!“
A mother of two boys and two dogs Mandy still finds the time to inspire others to live sustainably. She released her E-Book ‘Living Green: A Guide To Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle’ earlier this year (right), which is a great resource for anyone going down their own rabbit hole. Read more here.
If there’s anyone who’s got a bunch of awesome recycling and sustainability tips it’s Mandy, so we caught up to hear it from the best!
[Question] How do you incorporate principles of the circular economy into your daily life and encourage others to do the same?
[Mandy Spooner] I started with reducing the Big 4 (plastic straws, plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and takeaway coffee cups) and then changed other items in my home, room by room, bit by bit. I shop at places that have the same values as me. I have a worm compost and I’ve started growing some vegetables at home. I use my social media accounts to educate and inspire others and I always say to change one thing at a time, pick one thing, change it, feel like a legend, then repeat that process!
Can you share some practical tips for reducing waste and recycling at home? How do you ensure proper sorting of recyclables?
For reducing waste, I’m mindful of my consumption, when I do buy something, I always ask myself: ‘how do I dispose of it at the end of its life?’. I shop at places that are eco-friendly and that have minimal packaging. When I have takeaway, I’m always looking to see what they put the takeaway in, and I always have my coconut bowl and reusable container in my bag. My answer to everything is to carry my reusables with me all the time!
For proper sorting I have designated bins at home for food waste, landfill, recycling, and I have smaller boxes/jars for batteries, pens, plastic lids, cardboard bread tags, blister packs etc, I’m always looking for places that recycle items like the items I’ve mentioned and items like sports shoes, wetsuits, sheets, towels etc. Before I throw anything out I always Google to see if I can take it anywhere for recycling.
“I always say to change one thing at a time, pick one thing, change it, feel like a legend, then repeat that process!”
– Mandy Spooner
In your experience, how can recycling create a more sustainable future and support the development of a circular economy?
Recycling conserves resources, reduces waste, and minimises environmental impact. It reduces landfill usage and reduces pollution. Recycling is a crucial part of achieving a sustainable future.
While recycling is a crucial part of sustainable waste management, it’s not a standalone solution. To create a truly sustainable future, it is necessary to prioritise waste reduction, reuse, and design products with recyclability in mind.
What are some innovative ways you’ve seen businesses or communities embrace recycling and the circular economy to minimise waste and maximise resources?
I am loving seeing so many companies providing recycling solutions for items we can’t put in our kerbside council bins. As I mentioned earlier before I throw anything out I always Google to see if I can take it anywhere for recycling. There are places for sheets, towels, sports shoes, wetsuits, batteries and SO MUCH more!
There are even companies that connect people who wish to recycle their food scraps and other organics with their neighbours who are already composting, worm-farming or keeping farm animals.
“Mission: Inspire Millions of People to make one sustainable change each.
Why the mission: Of the seven billion tonnes of waste being generated globally, less than 10% has been recycled.”
– Mandy Spooner
What role do you believe recycling pickup services play in making recycling more convenient and accessible for individuals and communities?
I always say convenience got us into this mess in the first place, we are busy, and everyone wants everything to be convenient, so a recycling pickup service is crucial in making recycling more convenient and accessible for individuals, businesses and communities.
It’s a great way to provide an easy solution for households to have their recyclables collected and properly disposed of, reducing barriers, and promoting greater participation in recycling efforts. Individuals will feel great for doing it and will feel encouraged to continue.
How do you envision the future of recycling and the circular economy, and what steps can individuals and businesses take to further support these initiatives?
I’d love to see recycling and the circular economy become even more integrated into our daily lives.
Individuals can practice responsible consumption, proper waste sorting and engage in community recycling programs. Businesses can adopt circular business models, prioritise sustainable practices and invest in innovative recycling technologies.
Education and awareness play a crucial role in transitioning to a circular economy. Let’s stay educated so we can understand the benefits, opportunities, and challenges.
“I always say convenience got us into this mess in the first place, we are busy, and everyone wants everything to be convenient, so a recycling pickup service is crucial in making recycling more convenient and accessible for individuals, businesses and communities.”
– Mandy Spooner
One change you can make today is to make sure your bottles and cans actually get recycled! Book a recycling Pickup Service today.