Zero Waste Week: The lifestyle influencers driving real change

Zero waste

The purpose of Zero Waste Week is to raise awareness about the environmental impact of waste from households, businesses, and organisations. Circular Online spoke to a few of the most insightful voices promoting zero waste lifestyles online to understand how social media can inspire change.

You slowly rise up the outside of the world-famous Oasia Hotel Downtown as a camera drone ascends towards the sky. The red skin wrapped around the tower pops against the backdrop of silver high rises in the heart of Singapore’s dense Central Business District. Over 54 species of plants and trees grow on the outside of the building, their roots fighting for space as they climb the red exterior racing to the summit.

Oasia Hotel Downtown
The Oasia Hotel Downtown as filmed by Going Green Media.

You’re not watching a big-budget documentary but a YouTube video from the Going Green Media channel, where the channel’s hosts visit sustainable buildings around the world – while carbon offsetting their flights, they’d like to add.

Eco-friendly website, Wearth partners with UK brands to sell ethical and eco-friendly contemporary products. Since its launch, the site has found a loyal consumer base of people who want to live more sustainably. Alongside the e-commerce site, Wearth posts content across Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook. 

On Wearth’s TikTok account their most popular video, with over 500,000 views, is 15 seconds long and is a simple tip to use the boiling water you’re using to cook pasta to steam vegetables as well, to save water and energy. There’s also a mention of recycling the water to feed her plants.


#eco #duet with @ impleenvironmentalist

♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush

Across pretty much every social media channel is content around sustainability and one of the most popular topics to create content around is how to reduce waste. Minimising the waste we produce is something that appeals to climate-conscious people, and is something highlighted in Zero Waste Week.

Zero Waste Week was founded in 2008 by Rachelle Strauss and began as a national campaign in the UK. Over the years, the event has evolved into a worldwide event, registering 56 million participants globally in 2018. In 2022, the campaign is running between 5-9 in September.

Over the week, the campaign will run across different social media channels and on the Zero Waste Week website. The aim of the campaign is to encourage businesses, schools, households, and community groups to participate in the circular economy.

Given the growth of Zero Waste Week, it’s fair to say that more and more people are becoming aware of the concept and how waste impacts the world. One of the reasons for this is the rise in popularity of zero waste influencers across social media channels.

Circular Online spoke to Going Green and Wearth to hear how they’re making a living by trying to make a difference and what they’ve done to cultivate a career online thanks to sustainability.

Going Green

A screenshot from Going Green’s YouTube video: What Is the Most Sustainable City in the World?

Going Green Media aims to film green projects that inspire action. Founded in 2019 by Ben and Ciara, the team at Going Green films sustainable architecture, green projects, and much more all around the world. The pair say they are on a mission to inspire their viewers to help create a greener future.

“We both grew up surrounded by and spending a lot of time in nature in our different parts of the world; Ciara in South Florida and Ben in northern England. 

The pair said they both grew up surrounded by nature and naturally gravitated towards learning about the detrimental impact petroleum- and chemical-based products have on the planet

“Especially with Ciara growing up on the ocean, over the years, she noticed how much rubbish would wash up on the beach, found floating atop the water, and would be choking sea life.

“Another thing in recent years that has further reinforced our belief in living low-waste or zero-waste lives is our vegan lifestyles. One thing people don’t often understand about being vegan is that it’s beneficial for more than just our health and the animals, but it also saves an enormous amount of resources like water, crops, electricity, and more from being wasted to produce one small piece of an animal.”

Over the last (combined) 13 years, we’ve really done everything we can to generate as little waste as possible.

The pair explained that when Ben started the Going Green channel in 2019 he wanted to show people the positive impact sustainable architecture is having on the planet, which is what he was studying at university at the time. 

Then, upon Ciara joining the business in 2020, after meeting via Instagram, they both realised that there was so much more potential to cover the diverse aspects and opportunities in the field of sustainability. 

“We also really wanted to be a positive voice, and not focus so much on the doom and gloom of the world. 

“Of course, it’s important to educate yourself on the facts and the truth about what’s being done to our world, but we really wanted to emphasise the fact that there are people and businesses out there working their hardest to make a difference either globally or even just within their local communities. 

“From this, we hope that more and more people will continue to get involved with green projects, or even start their own.”

When I asked the pair if social media is an effective tool for conveying how to reduce waste, they replied: “Definitely!”

“A lot of people today consume media and news in short bursts, so we think that social media is a great tool to start a conversation with. Often with only 60 seconds or so, we can’t tell a whole story, so that’s another way YouTube is such an effective, free tool for anyone to learn from longer-form content.

“We have also learned a lot of tips and tricks for just about anything on social media platforms like Instagram, so when it comes to specifically looking for zero waste living tips, there are thousands of videos and creators to choose from. Especially if you’re looking for more specific things like zero waste cleaning hacks or zero waste recipes!”

After watching and engaging with Going Green’s content we were interested to hear if the content creators felt their viewers were more conscious. Given the content showcases breathtaking landscapes and, sometimes, dream holiday destinations, I wondered whether the viewers were looking for wish fulfilment or education on zero waste.

A lot of people today consume media and news in short bursts, so we think that social media is a great tool to start a conversation with.

Going Green definitely thinks their viewers behave more sustainability. 

“Our community is full of extremely conscious individuals that maybe are years or decades along in their personal sustainability journeys, or are maybe just curious and starting to change their habits. 

“Either way, we really love the fact that we can have complex conversations with our audience about sustainability and what it means to be striving for a better world. 

“Living a low-waste or zero-waste lifestyle, we believe, is a journey for everyone, so we feel really fortunate if we can help or provide information to anyone on theirs, and maybe they can teach us something in return!”



Wearth is an eco-friendly website that Vogue describes as “specialising in zero waste products for everyday life.” The company was launched in 2017 and now partners with over 250 independent UK brands’ ethical and eco-friendly contemporary products. This ranges from natural beauty products to ethical jewellery made from recycled silver, and much more.

The founder, Ed Davies, first became conscious of the concept of zero waste while studying geography at university and hearing about the impacts of single-use plastic on our environment. From there, he began seeing more people on social media trying to reduce their waste through different lifestyle choices and tried to follow some of their tips.

“This helped to inspire creating Wearth in the first place as we wanted to make it easier for people to discover products and content which help to reduce waste.

“Alongside this idea of helping consumers to reduce waste, one of the founding principles of Wearth has been to work with UK independents. 

“Having a small business is not an easy feat and often is run by a single person who may not have the time to invest in marketing to reach new audiences and grow. This is why we wanted to create a platform which connects like-minded people with like-minded brands. 

“Personally I had just finished University and instead of getting a graduate job wanted to start my own business to see what I could make of it.”

As an e-commerce site, it makes sense that the people engaging with Wearth are trying to live more sustainably, which may not always be clear for viewers of online content such as TikToks or Instagram Reels.

Everyone is at different stages of their journey to being more sustainably minded. Some may be making small swaps here and there, others might be trying to overhaul their lifestyle to be more conscious. 

“Either way I believe that our customers are committed to being environmentally friendly however they choose for the long term, mainly because it is an issue which isn’t going to go away. Covid has somewhat derailed the trend and I think inflation will make things more difficult for both consumers and brands but ultimately we need to continue to try to make greener choices where we can for all our futures. 

“That being said, if you’re finding it difficult or suffer from eco anxiety it is ok to take a break, we need everyone to be doing things imperfectly at the end of the day.”

Given the circumstances Ed highlighted, the rising cost of living and the pandemic, I asked him what was one product people could swap to increase their sustainability.

“This is a good question. We sell so many different products to reduce waste, some popular ones include recyclable electric toothbrush heads, amber glass bottles for your refills, or bulk products like our 10L hand soap

“I think the best thing people can do is try to take stock over a week or so of the products they use the most and which create the most waste. For example, you may be using plastic dental floss every day or cotton buds and you can then choose a replacement which is going to reduce the most waste for you personally.”

But how does the message that people can reduce their waste get spread? Is social media the answer?

“Yes and no. It (social media) very much used to be the key tool for us to convey content on how to reduce waste with lots of posts on eco-friendly tips.

However, Ed explained how he felt that the issue now is that engagement is much lower than it used to be. He said this is especially true for companies but it is also true for most content creators. Ed feels this has reduced the reach possible and diminished the community feel that social media channels can create.

“That being said, on TikTok we have seen our channel grow significantly with one of our posts recently getting over half a million views. So there is still an opportunity there to spread a positive message, however, you need to be careful to make sure your time is well spent and sense check the investment in each platform and whether your audience is on there or not.”

Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield
Rob Greenfield during his 30 days of wearing my trash campaign.

Dubbed the “Robin Hood of modern times” by France 2, Rob Greenfield describes himself as an activist, humanitarian, and adventurer. Best known for wearing his own waste for a month but also for spending a year growing and foraging 100% of his food, Greenfield says he participates in extreme projects to inspire change and bring attention to global issues.

Perhaps it’s nominative determinism that someone called Greenfield would be environmentally conscious.

Out of all the environmentally-conscious activists, Rob Greenfield has gained more mainstream media coverage than most. National Geographic, BBC, CBS This Morning, USA Today, LA Times, The Guardian, and Huffington Post are just some of the media organisations to feature stories on Greenfield.

He describes himself as an entertainer by nature, which maybe explains how he created the ideas for some of his stunts. However, I think the genius of his stunts is that while the extremeness may attract initial attention, the message they’re promoting is equally interesting and will retain people’s engagement.

For example, someone attaching the waste they produce to themselves over a month will pique many people’s interest. Then reading about the story will showcase how much waste the average person uses over such a short period of time.

Social media as a tool 

Zero Waste Week is about raising awareness. In their own way, Going Green, Wearth, and Rob Greenfield are connecting with an audience who is interested in sustainability and raising awareness of how people can reduce their individual environmental impact.

Whether it’s filming sustainable architecture from across the world, giving a platform to sustainable independent businesses or raising awareness through innovative stunts, these three influencers are trying to make a difference.

Perhaps sustainable influencers are offering an antidote to climate anxiety. One study that took responses from people across the globe showed that 59% of respondents were worried about climate change. Finding tips on how to reduce your own environmental impact, such as reducing waste, may give viewers a perception of agency in the battle to reverse climate change.

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