Earlier this year we had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Liu, someone we can only describe as a sustainability guru! Christine has deep knowledge and experience in sustainable packaging and has recently put pen to paper with the launch of her book Sustainable Home, where she shares great everyday tips for a simpler, slower and more sustainable lifestyle. Read on to learn more about Christine and pick up a few free tips on how you can be on a road to a more sustainable lifestyle.
An insight into Christine’s world...
Hi there - I'm Christine, a sustainable lifestyle blogger and author of the book Sustainable Home. I also support marketing and events at my local zero waste store, and do freelance work with other sustainable brands so on a daily basis, you'll either find me behind the camera, editing and post-processing content or running regular workshops and talks on zero waste living!
My background lies in the packaging and manufacturing industry, which started my journey of living a more sustainable life. I studied packaging for four years, and afterward, spent time working at a tech corporation in Silicon Valley. For two years, I was given the opportunity to work as a Sustainable Packaging Program Manager, which allowed me to understand sustainability and environmental change from a corporate lens.
The meaning of sustainability is ever-changing, what does a sustainable lifestyle mean to you?
A sustainable lifestyle is a way of living that is kinder to the planet, its people and the generations to come, as well as yourself. Living more simply and naturally is healthier for us all.
What first made you slow down and start your journey to a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle?
Two things made me slow down - the first moment was when I was living on my own for the first time, and was caught up in my consumerism. Almost every day after work, I was looking for something to buy, something to fill myself. On the weekends I would go down the same consumeristic endeavors, and at a certain point, when looking at my closet, I thought to myself, is this how I want to live? After meditating on it and doing some research, I landed upon the minimalist living movement, and I started to pare down my closet and be more conscious of how much I consumed and owned overall.
The second 'aha!' moment occurred when I was studying packaging engineering, and learning more about plastics and the issues revolving packaging sustainability. As I got more involved in my studies, I was able to witness just how much we consume, because my eyes were opened to see and understand all the movement behind the packaging industry. While others don't often think about trash, it was the very thing I was getting a 4 year degree in, and I knew it was all destined for landfill.
When it comes to beginning a lifestyle change, understanding the problem at hand and making it relevant to yourself is key. If you don't have proper motivation, reasoning behind all you do, it'll be tough to keep going. Take it a step at a time, switch up a few things in your house that are easy for you to do, and slowly work at it, knowing that the change doesn't have to happen overnight. Continue to educate yourself, question, and see how you can better the world around you out of love!
Did you face any challenges when you decided to become more sustainable and what was the reaction you received from those close to you?
When I first started living more consciously, I remember how shocked I was to see how consumeristic people were - I would look at people's purchases on the conveyor belt of the checkout aisle, only to be saddened by the amount of single-use, cheaply made items that were made to fill a void for only a short while. Over time, I came to the understanding that I was also once like that too and that those who do not have the awareness or realization will continue to live their lives in such a way.
I was living with my parents when I first started going zero waste, and they weren't the biggest fans, thinking it was impractical, a waste of effort and time. However, I continued to lead by action, and that allowed them to slowly accept my lifestyle and begin to ask questions out of curiosity.
One of the biggest wins for our household was that we started to compost our produce scraps in the backyard for the plants, and my parents, to this day, continue to do so! One of the biggest challenges of zero waste is that all the responsibility lies on the consumer. It's a bit unfair to have consumers work so hard and do so much research, simply because they want to do the right thing. We need a push from the government and business entities to be held responsible for what they are selling to us.
Christine shares her 5 Top Tips for making any house more sustainable
- Refuse the things you don't need from the start. Take a step back from making quick purchases, and wait them out unless you believe you really need them.
- Take a little extra time to plan out your meals for the week - shop your fridge, so that you can avoid food waste, one of the largest areas of waste a household produces!
- Unplug and turn off any unused appliances or electronics. Even when turned off, appliances still use energy when plugged in.
- Shop secondhand and give some love to pre-owned items!
- Be aware of water usage, and do what you can to use less. Whether it's taking shorter showers, cooking pasta in the sauce instead of extra water, or saving greywater for your plants, every drop counts.
Your book Sustainable Home is absolutely brilliant and packed with useful everyday tips. Do you have plans to publish more work in the future?
I'd love to publish another book sometime if it's up my alley, but we'll see what 2020 brings! I have plenty of other tips on my blog, simply by christine, which also links additional resources I recommend if you're new to the concept!
You can follow Christine Liu on Instagram @simplybychristine
Check out her latest sustainability blog posts here
And for information where you can grab a copy of Sustainable Home just click here