WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER
As I embark on a zero-waste life, I have been assessing my habits with a fine-tooth comb. Some changes have been major; others have been pretty minor. This is the story of a little switch that, were we all to get on board with the "leave no trace" trend, would help prevent a ton of chemicals, plastics, and refuse from leaching into the soil horizons and bodies of water that nourish us. It's also the story of a small-batch brand from the collaborative artists Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki. Their company--named Meow Meow Tweet after their cats and bird--is the perfect mix of creativity and sustainability (not so surprising considering that the pair met in art school).
I've always taken pride in the fact that I consider myself low-maintenance. I don't wear make-up or use any hair products save for shampoo. I take short showers once or twice a week to reduce water usage (kinder to the environment and to my skin and hair). When I surveyed my bathroom cabinet, however, I realized that I was using a lot of plastic. Soap, shampoo, lotion, face moisturizer--every one of these organic "essentials" came packed in a non-recyclable container. Once I used up my stock, I decided that I needed to refine my TLC toolkit.
Searching for environmentally-sound alternatives, I reached out to Meow Meow Tweet. I'd learned about the handmade vegan skincare brand from a friend and was inspired by their belief that taking care of ourselves shouldn't be at the expense of the environment. Meow Meow Tweet is not just for pretty (although it is pretty damn cute): as Tara and Jeff write, "a firm belief in taking care of the planet--as well as our skin and ourselves--means that Meow Meow Tweet is committed to using the least amount of plastic packaging. All goods are either hand-wrapped in PCW paper or housed in glass containers." Working and living in the Hudson Valley has also profoundly shaped Tara and Jeff's approach to their products. Their nontoxic insect repellant and plant-based soaps are ethically sourced and cruelty free--an acknowledgement of the complex environment that they are embedded in.
My particular favorite, however, is their shampoo bar. It arrived beautifully wrapped in biodegradable paper and I like knowing that when I finish it up, I won't leave a trace. As our friend Anamarie Shreeves from Fort Negrita shared in her most recent post on zero waste living, as soon as you buy something, you are responsible for how it is disposed. This isn't a burden: this is an opportunity to do better.
Switching from shampoo to a shampoo bar is a small swap, sure. But it is not inconsequential--especially if we embrace it as part of a larger lifestyle change that values doing more with less waste. And plastic packaging plain sucks. Plastic is both a source of ecological catastrophe (see the documentary "Addicted to Plastic" for more) and the rare environmental issue that is largely within our capacity to heal. Just because we've been struggling to do so doesn't meant we can't change the game. Because if two cats can ride a bicycle (see Jeff's design above) then I have hope we can reduce our plastic consumption.