Prior to reading Bea Johnson’s “Zero Waste Home” book in 2016, Ran Nomura had never considered what happened to her trash once she discarded it. Since then, Nomura, who resides in Osaka, Japan, has made numerous lifestyle changes for the sake of the planet.
Today, in addition to serving as the editor at the Life Hugger news and media Website, she regularly shares her environmentally-conscious tips with her 168,000 followers through her @zerowaste.japan Instagram account. She has showed them how to compost as well as recommended plastic-free and other zero-waste products.
“Through the years, I learned that with a little bit of effort and ingenuity, it is possible to reduce the amount of waste we generate significantly. I decided to stop spending my money on garbage, and I started a zero-waste life,” she told the Nichi Bei Weekly in an e-mail interview that has been edited lightly.
Nichi Bei Weekly: Can you please share some tips for newcomers to the zero-waste movement on changes they can make in their daily and weekly lives?
Ran Nomura: Before starting a zero-waste lifestyle, it is important to first know what you are throwing away every day. Start by checking your home trash bin.
NBW: Prior to reading “Zero Waste Home,” how would you describe your approach to environmental issues and consumption?
RN: Until I came across the book “Zero Waste Home” in 2016, I had never thought about what happens to the trash I throw away. I thought that once I threw away my trash, that was the end of it. Reading this book made me realize the reality that the garbage we produce every day is causing global warming and ocean pollution.
NBW: What have been some of the easiest and most difficult changes you’ve made since pursuing the zero-waste life? Are some aspects of your life simpler?
RN: Japan has many excessive plastic packages, making it difficult to reduce waste. The easy thing to do was to carry a water bottle and stop buying bottled water.
NBW: Do you have any goals you’re pursuing within the zero-waste lifestyle over the next few months or couple of years?
RN: I want to leave a beautiful Earth for the next generation.
NBW: What do your family members, including your two teenage daughters, think of your zero-waste lifestyle?
RN: Trying to control family members always leads to fights. I have been through that process myself. I enjoy zero-waste lifestyle by myself.
NBW: Gift giving (and the corresponding wrapping and presentation of said gifts) are a part of Japanese culture. How have you adjusted your gift-giving practices since pursuing the zero-waste life?
RN: I try to present the “experience” as a gift. For example, movie tickets, amusement park tickets, treats to lunch and trips.
NBW: What resources (media, experts or organizations, etc.) do you turn to for guidance as you aim to be more environmentally conscious?
RN: I try to get information from the government.
NBW: Is there anything you’d like to add about your experience with the zero-waste movement or what you’ve learned from it?
RN: I show you all my zero-waste tips in short and interactive videos on Instagram, so you too can discover how easy it is to live a zero-waste life. My main goal is to make my followers aware of the environmental cause without being judgmental and by entertaining them.