Interview with Claire Sancelot
Claire Sancelot is a powerful mompreneur and the first Hong Kong zero waster. Her blog Zero Waste Hong Kong has inspired and equipped hundreds of people to switch to a sustainable lifestyle in our city. She moved to Malaysia in 2015, but her blog continues to be a very useful source of lifehacks customised to Hong Kong realities.
Q. Why did you decide to start a zero waste lifestyle, given the very limited opportunities back in 2013?
A. Oh, it was quite an obvious decision. We were a typical expat family, with a dog. Then we had our first child, then the twins. Eventually, we hired a live-in helper and we found ourselves surrounded by clutter. Our house was a quite messy place to live, where most of the rubbish came from plastic bottles, nappies and paper tissues. My husband and I realised we couldn’t live like that anymore and embarked on a zero waste lifestyle.
Q. How did it happen exactly? Was it easy to start?
A. Well, it definitely didn’t happen overnight. We took it easy, one item at a time. We started with our kitchen and immediately removed all the paper tissues. Textile cloth was the perfect solution and a great money saver! Later, we replaced our plastic bottled water with a filter and again it saved us space and money! We consume at least 10 litres of water per day, just imagine how much it is in bottles.
Q. Sounds quite easy but I imagine you also had a lot of challenges on the way. Besides that, you’re a mom of three very young children!
A. It took us some time to find the best brands and solutions to meet our needs. But my entrepreneurial background helped a lot. Prior to starting zero waste lifestyle, I owned Lulu Hong Kong, city’s first ethical fashion shop. All our products were made in the US and Europe from eco-friendly natural fibres, including our silk products. Unfortunately, I had to close it during my second complicated pregnancy. I never regretted my decision as I’ve got two wonderful twin daughters.
Q. Your entrepreneurial personality however showed itself again – you started a very popular blog. Why?
A.For a very practical reason, really. My friends kept asking me about the tips all the time and I spent hours on emails and chats. So, I just put everything in one place and enjoyed it a lot.
Q. Four years from your first blog entry, how would you evaluate the changes in your life?
A. Going zero waste made us happier and more united as a family. Our house looks much nicer, much tidier and we focus more on experiences rather than possessions. We’re not perfect though, because… well, we are human! Sometimes we do indulge or make mistakes. It happens. But then we move on and do our best to live waste free!
You can discover more at thehivebulkfoods.com. Although based in Malaysia, Claire delivers to Hong Kong.
Read more about Claire and her family via her blog.
Image courtesy of South China Morning Post