In today's society, where most people are all about convenience, everything comes in packaging. Therefore to live a zero-waste life seems impossible. Max La Manna, a zero-waste chef and the author of the world's 2nd most sustainable cookbook, "More Plants Less Waste," believes it's practicable if people start taking baby steps.  


Fast backward to Bali Vegan Festival 2018, We sat down with Max. We asked him how he started his zero-waste lifestyle and how he uses his social media to influence hundreds & thousands of other people to do the same. Max said, "Many people asked me how did it all happen? Why I suddenly care about my waste, Well I told them You don't need to wait for people to tell you what to do or read a book about zero-waste, what you need is to have a little bit of effort and do your inner work on researching. Ask yourself, how can I reduce less?" 


Max pointed out that the first thing he does in the morning helps him achieve his daily goals. By making his bed when he wakes up, he calls it the start of the day's success. He said, "If I have a task at hand, and I'll complete it." And when he goes to the market to buy what he needs, he will always bring his own bag and try not to buy anything that comes in plastic. Over time, this habit helps him reduce more on other things. 


He gave us an example of a tissue napkin "Imagine you go out three times a day and multiple that in a year? How much tissue napkins go to waste? Why not carry your own napkin. Imagine how much tissue napkin you can save! Do the small things first, just baby steps. Think about how do we get to walk? You could start at literally any time. It's never too late, and you can always begin anytime." 


He referred to his ninety-three-year-old grandmother, who started to do composting. "She doesn't care about being vegan or plastic, but she composts now, and that's great! Over time, you begin to look at change and think that you would rather walk on something that never wandered down than doing nothing the same repeatedly." At the end of our interview, Max highlighted the five things we all can do to start our journey to reduce waste. 


1. Compost and regrow


Try to minimize our food waste. Food that is thrown away is disrespectful. Think of how we can compose, regrow, or repurpose food. 


2. Make a shopping list


If you can't compost, go to the supermarket with a list of things that you need to buy! We can always buy more, but do we really need it? Having a list will not only save you time, but you will also reduce the possibility of throwing away less. 


3. Say NO to plastic


When you go out, make sure to bring your own bag with you. If you already have one, make sure you carry other things that you'll likely use throughout the day, e.g., stainless straw, cutlery, and water bottle. 


4. Choose sustainable fashion


Clothing companies used to have only four seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall. Now there are 52 seasons. It's so crazy and harmful! The amount of waste and pollution is not worth your look! Be more mindful of how you consume clothes. I have a t-shirt that I bought when I was 14, and I still use it! 


5. Lastly, eat more plant-based


Switching from a meat-based diet to a diet based on whole grains, fruit and vegetables reduces water and land use, lowers pollution, slows deforestation, and reduces topsoil! So whether you are vegan or not, eat more plant-based!