How-To Talk Eco-Friendly Alternatives With Neighbours

How-To Talk Eco-Friendly Alternatives With Neighbours

This post was inspired by a new initiative Life UNpacked is undertaking in Vancouver, B.C, Canada… We are going door-to-door to learn & listen to our community about how we can provide more zero-waste products to more people.


It’s mid-morning, you just enjoyed some sustainably sourced tea, and a basic breakfast. You’re calm and ready for the day of errands or activities. Maybe you’re about to walk somewhere, go for a bike ride, or take a planned trip across town to mitigate your carbon footprint. 

Then you see your neighbour frantically putting up brand new plastic decorations. You wave politely, but your nerves rise! You ponder… Why are they always buying plastic?! Do they not get it?! How obvious does it have to be!?!

Let's break down this situation more and dive into how-to talk with Neighbours about eco-friendly alternatives?

We all have stories in our heads about our neighbour's, whether they are true or false. 

Maybe you ‘know them’, and they ‘have their reasons’. You’ve tried so many times to talk with them about their consumption habits and the environmental impact of their decisions.

Or you judge them. Without even a basic conversation you put them in a box, and stand above them… “They buy plastic-toothbrushes, I buy bamboo toothbrushes”, “They get delivery, I dine-in, “They buy plastic toys and trinkets, I have a glorious garden”

Regardless, it’s vital we acknowledge we’re all here together. Everyday we all make choices; some eco-friendly sustainable choices, and some non eco-friendly choices. No one is perfect... it’s important to recognize this and strive for progress together. We can make more impact collectively than alone.


Ultimately, there are two options to talking with neighbours about eco-friendly alternatives;

  • You do nothing = They continue creating waste
  • You talk = They consider changing, and learn how-to reduce their waste

  • Let’s break it down:

    Do Nothing


    More Plastic

    Less Plastic

    More Polarization

    Less Polarization

    Individual Impact

    Amplified Impact

    No Change


    So let’s explain the process behind how-to talk with neighbours about eco-friendly alternatives?


    This process is simple, yet so easily forgotten. There are 3 fundamental steps that can transform anyone into a sustainable, eco-friendly, zero-waste neighbour. Yup, everyone can go zero-waste, and everyone wants to go zero waste (that’s what our initial research is showing us). Everyone is aware of the plastic problem, most people just don’t know where to start on their zero-waste journey.  So let’s start.

    Step 1: Shut-Up, and Listen

    Yup, you aren’t actually going to do much talking about how incredible your zero-waste bathroom products, bamboo wazoo is changing the world… that comes later. First you listen, then you listen more. Learn about why people use their current plastic products, and listen to how they make the choice. Stay curious about how they compare traditional plastic bathroom products to zero-waste bamboo bathroom products. Consider their perspective, and past experience with eco-friendly products. 

    Step 2: Plant the Seed

    Once they’ve felt heard, then you could lightly introduce the idea of reducing waste, not eliminating waste. Everyone’s journey with zero-waste products is unique, taking small steps is important. People who don’t use zero-waste bathroom products need to feel heard, they want people to know why they still use traditional bathroom products, and you need to acknowledge where they are on their zero-waste journey before they change. Change is easy in small steps, so teach people how to make easy zero-waste choices. You are likely much more progressive. Remember, your eco-friendly, sustainable, earth-saving passion might spook them, so just plant-the-seed. Educate them on how small simple changes, like using reusable grocery bags, using biodegradable floss, and/or zero-waste toothpastes/toothpowders reduces oral care product waste, and protects our planet from unnecessary waste. 

    Step 3: Help Them

    Remember when you first thought about eco-friendly sustainable zero-waste products… then remember how long it took you to start buying eco-friendly sustainable zero-waste products. We all need help making the changes to our consumption habits over time. The more we can support each other the more we can amplify our impact, encourage others with every small change, and tell them about your successes - like finding better bamboo zero-waste alternatives, and your failures - like the occasional chocolate bar you buy or the real struggles you had before switching to zero-waste products. Remember, people want to reduce waste. 

    Use this process to engage in meaningful conversations with your neighbours. Send us a message about helping a neighbour go zero-waste and maybe (just maybe) we’ll send you some gift for them on your next purchase :)