Genny Rietze, a resident of Haines, Alaska, and June Dresses participant, has been working to make her family’s life completely waste free.
We sat down with her to talk about that journey, and the incredible impact and artwork which have resulted from this shift in her lifestyle.
How the Zero Waste Journey Began
Genny explains, “Our zero waste journey started when I was decluttering and cleaning our house as a new mom.”
“I finally let myself feel the weight of where all that stuff goes after I get rid of it. Cleaning it out of my house wasn’t enough because it still has to go SOMEWHERE.
This was a reality check.
When I found the zero waste community I felt like I had found my people. Just living as gently on the planet as we can!
It’s amazing how little we all really need to be happy.
So that’s my goal now. Living gently!”
Fruit Sticker Dress
In February, Genny completed a massive project: a dress, covered in fruit stickers! With contributions from friends and family across the globe, it was created to highlight how the little things add up.
The result was astonishing.
“I hope what it says to people is we’re better together. I couldn’t have made this dress alone, just like I won’t solve our ecological problems alone,” says Genny.
“We all have to participate. ALL the small things we do (or don’t do) make a difference.”
We’re all making a difference
What Empowers Her
As is the June Dresses modus operandi, we asked Genny what empowers her as a woman in her community, as an individual. Here’s what she had to say:
“Seeing easy little changes make a big difference for our family.
Hearing from others that they’ve made changes because of me.
Raising sustainably minded kids!! All those ripple effects!
Helps me remember that one person’s actions do matter.”
Genny continued: “It’s important to me because I want to leave our kids in a better world than we found it. I want them to be empowered change makers too.”
So what is this changemaker’s next mission?
Organizing clothing recycling events, to extend textile life, and keep them out of landfills. She’s also started a composting initiative in her city, with the goal of diverting 2,000 pounds of organic waste per week by 2020!
“Composting at home or with a service is one of the greatest ways we can reduce our waste,” says Genny. “Everyone should be doing it!”
“So many ways to serve our community and planet!!”
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Genny!