Interview with Paola Cortese
The concept for the Loop Tribe was born in 2015, when founder Paola Cortese-D’arcy had what she calls her A-ha! moment.
LoopUnite! was launched in 2017, and here Paola tells us more about how it all began.
Q Tell us more about that A-ha! moment It happened in December 2015.
A I’d just moved to Hong Kong with my then-fiancée, now-husband Adam, when I spotted a video featuring Lauren Singer and her zero waste life in my Facebook timeline. This in turn led me to Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home and I then went on to discover Marie Kondo (KonMari) and her zen-inspired organising methods around the same time.
The combination proved lethal. Throughout December I buried myself in Lauren’s and Bea’s blog posts, devoured Bea and Marie’s books, and by 1st January 2016, had ‘KonMari-ed’ our home and pledged to live a zero waste lifestyle.
Q Why such a big change?
A I have always cared for the environment and incorporated the principles of sustainability within my interior design business, but felt like I was only making small changes. At a loss on how to create substantial impact and live more meaningful life, I eventually realised the nagging feeling was the result of living an inconsistent life: I was promoting sustainable design to my clients and yet my life was not as sustainable as I would like it to be.
I searched for advice on how to improve my lifestyle, but only found fragments of eco-advice. I remember thinking: Is there a blanket formula to live sustainably?
Q When did you discover the 5Rs of Zero Waste?
A It was while researching in December 2015. I discovered the Zero Waste principles: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. These are not only sustainable and promote healthy lifestyle, but also economically sound. They are simple, effective, and achievable at any stage of life, either as an individual, family or community.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, young or old, believe in climate change or not, it just makes sense to live as near to a zero waste lifestyle that possibly can.
Q You created the term Tribe Folk, who exactly are the folk?
A Tribe Folk are you and me. We are all united under one cause, which is to eliminate the symptoms of an unbalanced nature [waste] and restore our ecosystem to its original, infinite restoration loop [a Circular Economy] through business and consumer action.
Personally, I would also add two other Rs specific to businesses and governments: Redesign and Regulate. When these Rs are done well, they create massive impact on our way of life, pushing the World even closer towards the infinite loop of a Circular Economy.
As a designer and business owner I take these principles to heart and so many of our ‘musings’ touch on these.
Q How do you see the future of LoopUnite!?
A Our vision for the future is to be the go to ‘glocal’ hub, educating the need for a waste free environment and offer the most sustainable retail experience to all.