Fanny Moritz is a public speaker and entrepreneur on all things zero waste. Since moving to Hong Kong, she’s made it her mission to spread the message of going zero waste, starting with NO!W No Waste – an online store for people to have access to reusable and compostable products, essentials in going zero waste.
Tell us more about your journey towards a zero waste lifestyle? How did you become an eco-entrepreneur and Zero Waste public speaker?
It all started at the end of 2016. I saw this image of a woman holding her annual waste in a handy-size jar and I was shocked. How was that possible? It made me realize that even though my parents raised me with good “eco friendly” habits, like turning off the lights when leaving a room to save energy, taking short showers shower to avoid water waste, sorting my trash into the right recycled bins, I was still throwing away 3 bins full of trash every week. That made me realize that my efforts were not enough, that there was a next step to take. That’s when I decided to reduce my daily waste as much as possible.
When I look at the solutions in Hong Kong (where I am based at), I couldn’t find any, which is how I got the idea to launch the e-shop NO!W No Waste because I thought that I probably wasn’t the only one here trying to find reusable alternatives. After 2 years, I decided to go one step further, focusing on education. That’s how I became a public speaker, giving talks to companies to encourage most people to go zero waste.
What are the kinds of unavoidable trash that you come across?
If I need to name a few, I would say medicine (even if I don’t have that many), receipts that are not recyclable here, and I’m still struggling to find an alternative to sour cream that’s not packed in plastic.
In your zero waste journey, what has been your biggest success and biggest failure?
My biggest success has been helping my friends switch to a low waste lifestyle. There’s one friend in particular who I’m most proud of, she’s a fashionista in every way and wasn’t very environment-conscious. Every time I spoke about how I was making changes to reduce my waste, she didn’t care. But one day, I saw her with a reusable bamboo coffee cup, I was completely shocked! She told me that because I kept repeating my journey and choices, it helped her and made her realize how many plastic bottles she threw away every single day. Today, she is completely into it and decided to go one step further to change her habits and reduce her compulsive purchases.
Regarding my biggest failure, it’s the fact that I continue to take the plane. I know that the best way to cut down our carbon footprint is to reduce the flights we take by choosing low-carbon modes of transportation such as trains. For now, I’ve decided to reduce the number of travels. In an ideal world, the best way would be to stop traveling by plane, as much as possible.
If someone was just beginning their journey, what would be your top 5 tips?
I love that question! Here are the 5 tips I would give:
1. Analyze your trash
Put your bins on the floor and check what do you throw away the most. If that’s water bottles, invest in a water filter. If that’s food waste, invest in a composter. If that’s cotton, buy reusable cotton wipes. But remember: A habit needs at least 21 days to become a real habit, so don’t worry if you can’t fit your annual waste of trash into a jar tomorrow. Take your time, step after step you will make some #LittleGreenSteps and that’s what counts.
2. Eat plant-based, local & seasonal (as much as possible)
Reduce the amount of meat you’re eating. To start with, you can eat meat only during the weekend. Buy your fruits and veggies from the wet market instead of supermarkets, this way you will get them without any packaging and most of the time, it will be grown locally. Check the calendar online and only eat seasonal food (for example: no tomatoes during winter).
3. Shop second hand
There are plenty of platforms you can purchase your goods second hand. Look at them! And if you don’t really need it, why not consider borrowing from a friend?
4. Avoid compulsive purchases
Do you really need this new reusable cup if you already have two at home? Think twice before buying. There is a French method called Bisou, meaning Kiss, that’s very helpful if you want to reduce compulsive purchases:
Need: Do you really need this album?
Immediate: Do you really need it now or can it wait a few more days, or even weeks?
Similar: Do you already have something similar at home?
Origin: Where is this product from?
Useful: How did you make do without this product until today?
5. Speak about it
If you’re already convinced about the benefits of this lifestyle: a better environment, healthier lifestyle, money and time saving, then speak about the little changes you made to your family, friends, colleagues. We need to spread the word as fast as possible!
6. Read the Zero Waste Bible
I really need to mention the BEST TIP that made me change too (I promise, this is the last one): Read the Zero Waste Bible: Bea Johnson’s best-seller “Zero Waste Home”. This book changed the lives of so many people already and has been translated into more than 20 different languages. That’s a must-read if you want to start your journey towards zero waste.
What’s the biggest misconception that people may have about the work that you do?
First of all, people think that they are doing a good thing when they recycle but actually, there’s so much more things you can do before considering recycling. Recycling still requires energy and facilities, that’s why it’s better to reduce our waste at the first stage, and Refuse and Reuse of course.
Finally, most people believe that companies need to change first. That’s wrong again because the change should come from both sides: companies, government and from us as consumers as well. Of course, they will continue to produce packaged food, if we continue to buy them. But if we change our habits of consumption and decide to shop differently, then their sales are gonna decrease and they will have to find better solutions.
What do you see for the future infrastructure for zero waste resources? Where are the biggest challenges, and wastages?
Every day, we throw away 3,300 tons of food in Hong Kong’s landfills (equal to 255 double-decker buses). I really think that we need to do more to inform the consumer. Before all, every company and restaurant should have a composter or at least a food waste bin. This way, food waste can go back to the farmers and give them a great compost.
What is the relationship you have with your clothes?
Thanks to Bea Johnson and Marie Kondo, I’ve started to reduce the number of clothes I have in my wardrobe to get a minimal wardrobe with a maximum of combinations so I mostly have basics and clothes from the same range of colors that suits my skin tone. This way, I only keep clothes, 70 pieces of clothes to be exact (excluding accessories, activewear, and pyjamas), that I really wear and really love. By the way, did you know that we only wear 1/3 of our wardrobes?
NEVER throw away textiles. 340 tonnes of textile waste is dumped every day into Hong Kong’s landfills. The fast-fashion is the worst when you know that a t-shirt is only worn twice in Hong Kong… Let’s make a change now.
We are inspired by Fanny’s commitment to a zero waste lifestyle and are proud to have her as Fieldtesters, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Fanny is wearing the Sideswept Dhoti + Chambray Chili in Size 1.