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  • Moms Ask This 21-Year-Old For Advice About How To Switch To A Zero-Waste Lifestyle

    by Kitty Elicay .
Moms Ask This 21-Year-Old For Advice About How To Switch To A Zero-Waste Lifestyle
PHOTO BY courtesy of Isabelle Marzo
  • The thought of adapting a sustainable, zero-waste lifestyle can be intimidating to some, especially because people think it’s expensive. But Isabelle “Isay” Marzo, 21, who co-founded the non-profit organization ABConservation Palawan, says the key is to take baby steps.

    Isay, a former baker turned full-time zero-waste advocate in Palawan (yes, she is just 21), says it was her sister, Beth, who inspired her to adapt a sustainable lifestyle. She recalls a time two years ago when they were in the mall, and Beth made an effort to go back to their car and get an eco bag for their purchases, just to avoid taking home a plastic bag.

    “Doon na po ako natauhan, parang nagising ako sa katotohanan na oo nga pala, malaking problema ang plastic pero sa atin, normal na lang gumamit nito,” she tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview via Facebook Messenger.

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    At 19 years old, Isay started to make small changes to her lifestyle. Two years later, she heads her own organization!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Isabelle Marzo

    Isay started using shampoo bars and conditioner bars in exchange for shampoo bottles. She has a zero waste kit, menstrual cloth pads and cup, bamboo toothbrush, and more. “Naging madali sa akin ang transition kasi sobrang willing ako magbago. Iba ‘yung tama sa akin,” she shares.

    But Isay felt her actions were too small to spark a change. She started sharing her #BabyStepsToZeroWaste on social media, hoping to inspire and influence other individuals. It even reached our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village!

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    How to start a zero-waste lifestyle

    Isay says she often gets messages from moms asking questions about how to switch to a sustainable lifestyle. The first thing she always says is it doesn’t have to be expensive — in the long run, you’ll actually save money. Here are some ways she’s doing it.

    1. Switch to shampoo bars.

    “Before, Php126 ang shampoo ko, 176 grams good for one month lang. Ngayon, shampoo bar na ang gamit ko, Php180 pesos, 80 grams, but good for three months,” Isay shares. That’s almost a Php200 difference! “Tipid na, wala pa akong basura na plastic bottle at sachets,” she adds.

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    2. Try cloth menstrual pads or a menstrual cup.

    “Ang cloth menstrual pads ko, Php450 for six pieces. Panty liner, Php350 for 5 pieces, and menstrual cup for Php599. Good for five years pataas,” Isay shares. “Before, my napkins cost Php50+ every month plus panty liner pa na Php20+. Ilang taon kang bili ng bili buwan-buwan. Magastos na, dami pang basura.”

    3. Bring reusable containers, utensils, and water bottles every time you go out.


    In her Facebook account, Isay would show that she always has a collapsible container, which she uses whenever she buys food. Whether it’s street food, siomai, or even lechon manok, she would ask vendors to put her orders in the reusable containers. She also has her own utensils, a tumbler, and a collapsible glass for drinks (and even sundaes!)

    “Lagi po akong may dalang tumbler, para ‘pag lalabas ako at nauhaw may tubig ako agad, ‘di na ako bibili ng bottled water,” she shares. “Invest na lang sa magandang tumbler na mag-la-last for years. Mahal sa una, pero tipid in the long run.”

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    4. Use ecobags and reusable containers in the grocery and palengke.



     “’Pag bumibili sa mall or palengke, lagi po ako nagdadala ng ecobag at reusable container para sa meat,” Isay shares. “’Di na kailangan mag-doble ng plastic kasi mas matibay ang ecobag ko at kayang-kaya ang dalawang pakwan!”

    5. Try this game-changing alternative to laundry detergent.

    Isay says she uses a product called Terrawash to wash her clothes. It’s free of toxic and synthetic chemicals and is also hypoallergenic. “Php3,000 po ito, good for one year na! Ihahalo lang sa tubig kasama ang labahan ninyo, ibabad for 30 minutes or more tapos kusot, sabay piga na at sampay. Tipid din sa tubig kasi hindi na babanlawan ng ilang beses.”

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    Influencing others to embrace a sustainable lifestyle

    Isay has the full support of her parents, Isabelo and Lourdes, as well as her sisters, Beth and Blessie.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Isabelle Marzo

    Isay’s proactive stance has already influenced the people around her to be more eco-conscious. Her mom, aunts, and sisters already use menstrual cloth pads — “Balik na sa old way, pasador na ulit!” They’ve also started using shampoo bars and bringing eco bags wherever they go.

    “’Yung teacher ko nung high school, nagpalagay na rin ng mga water stations sa school. Required na magdala ang mga students ng sariling tumbler para bawas plastic bottles,” Isay shares. “Plastic-free na rin po ibang events namin kasi lagi ko sinisita.”

    Being a zero-waste advocate is Isay’s full-time job, but she runs her own business, EcoTerra, an online shop that sells eco-friendly products, to help support her projects in ABConservation.


    “Free po ang mga talks namin, KKB (kanya-kanyang bayad) po kami sa projects. Ang mahalaga po kasi sa amin, marami kaming ma-educate about sa plastic pollution and gusto po namin maging plastic-free talaga ang buong Palawan,” Isay explains. “Pati po sa parents, i-e-explain namin kung paano sila magiging zero-waste sa bahay nila. Sana maraming province pa ang ma-inspire. Domino effect!”

    Yes, the whole family can start a plastic-free lifestyle! Click here to see how one Pinoy family is doing it.

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