This week, we had the incredible pleasure of speaking with Sophi from Your Eco Friend for her perspective on the sustainability culture in Canada, travel, and more.
Adoshi: How would you explain Your Eco Friend to those who are unfamiliar? Do you have a favorite recent post?
Sophi: @YourEcoFriend started on Instagram in 2016 when I decided to embark on a zero waste lifestyle and as a way for me to document and learn from the online community. While brainstorming a name, my husband affectionately suggested Eco Warrior. That didn’t quite hit the mark. I wanted to focus on being supportive and approachable, like a good friend, so Your Eco Friend felt right. My favourite recent post is a typical bulk haul. The picture isn’t amazing but I feel strongly about the text. It’s about one’s choice for being an omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
Adoshi: In the United States, especially with the current administration, it doesn’t feel like there is much of a push to “go green.” Do you find that there is a large movement/push to live a sustainable lifestyle in Canada?
Sophi: Yes, I believe Canadians are pushing for a more sustainable lifestyle. The province of Ontario, where I live, has a Waste-Free Act. You can read about it in the article ‘Ontario is taking the next step towards a zero-waste future, including implementing its Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. The strategy will divert more waste from landfills, create jobs and help fight climate change.’ The city of Toronto launched a great campaign to reduce waste. You can read about it in the article Grants of up to $25,000 are being made available to support innovative Toronto-based projects that reduce residential waste and increase participation in the City's waste diversion programs.’ Also, I’ve recently been asked to help manage a zero waste campaign for a candidate in Toronto’s mayoral election this year. I’m very excited about that!
Adoshi: What are some of your favorite eco-conscious products?
Sophi: I’m methodical when it comes to purchasing. My first standard is to trade via BUNZ, swaps, buying used through Kijiji, or secondhand shops. If new, I prefer locally made and sustainable wherever possible. A new product that I’ve started using is a Canadian made floss. It’s a candelilla wax silk floss in the cutest refillable mason jar called Flosspot. I love it! I also regularly use our U-Konserve sporks. It goes in my daughter’s lunchbox everyday. I also use dans le sac reusable bags for dry bulk purchases. I like them because they’re made in Canada and are lightweight and durable. The items I use most are my thrifted mason jars and cloth napkins. You don’t need anything fancy to go zero waste. So many mindful practices are just going back to the way our ancestors lived.
Adoshi: What are some things you do to relax? Any daily routines or exercise regiments that help?
Sophi: I’m most relaxed when I don’t have my phone on me, which is not often unfortunately. Walking along the waterfront and watching the ducks with my daughter is so peaceful. In the winter I love snowshoeing. In the summer I SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). For exercise, I frequent various yoga, pilates, barre and spin studios (I need the commitment of signing up for classes). Currently I’m doing barre classes, spin, TRX, and occasional running.
Adoshi: Who are some of your go to bloggers?
Sophi: This is a tough one. I’ve met so many lovely instagrammers over the last little while. You should’ve given me a limit on this one! Paris_to_go is a witty writer who provides very useful information. @zerowastedork is hilarious and great at keeping things real. I also enjoy @janeandsimple for her genuine nature and informative posts. @popcorn.ceiling.life has a great dry sense of humour and has helped me realize that I need to use my voice more to make change happen. @50shadesofgreentoronto does a great job of reminding me of the little things we often forget, like removing produce stickers before composting. There are so many others that I learn from and enjoy, but I’d be here for days!
Adoshi: Where is your favorite place in the world to travel? Where would you love to visit that you haven’t already been?
Sophi: I met my husband while traveling in Thailand so it will always have a special place in my heart. I also love Vietnam and Cambodia. The people are lovely and the landscape is breathtaking. My husband, daughter and I are traveling to Australia this year which is a major check off the bucket list. I would love to visit countries like Sri Lanka and Finland as well.
Adoshi: Where do you get your news from?
Sophi: My husband would laugh at this question for me, because I always seem to be slightly behind when it comes to current events unless it’s environment related. My dad was always addicted to the 24 hour news channel, so I think I now have an aversion to it! Most of what I get comes from social media and my husband.
Adoshi: Any words of advice or encouragement for those reading who think living an "eco-friendly lifestyle" would be too difficult for them?Sophi: Take on simple changes first. One at a time. I use the Rules of the 5Rs (as per Bea Johnson) on a regular basis. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost)- in that order. Refuse is my favorite as I find it keeps things simple. You refuse the things you don’t need: junk mail, freebies, samples, single-use items. Junk mail is typically simple to stop. By googling stop junk mail in Canada and the US, you can fill out your details and remove your name from ad lists. That’s a fantastic first step to reducing a significant amount of waste already. Be proud of that and move on to the next action. Also, I think it’s important not to beat yourself up when you’ve forgotten to bring a reusable for leftovers, refuse a straw or whatever your goal is. It will look different for each individual as there are varied levels of accessibility. I’m fortunate to live in a city that supports my lifestyle.