In October 2017, I moved to Lafayette, IN without knowing anyone and with the vague idea that there was at least one bulk spot to shop at in town. But as much as I searched online before I made the move, I couldn’t find anything about local zero waste resources.
(Spoiler alert: there wasn’t anything.)
So my first few months were spent bumbling around, finding the answers myself. I found a few stores to shop bulk and some cool local makers and growers I could support.
Finally, though, I was sick of doing it alone and wanted someone along for the ride. Armed only with this website a vague idea of what I wanted to do, and the hope that there were at least two or three other people in the city interested in zero waste, I started the group.
Enter Zero Waste Lafayette.
Starting from an empty Facebook group, in size months we have almost 100 people in the group, 8-12 people attend each meetup or workshop, and the group has put its name on a bag share program at the local farmers market.
In its first three months ZW Lafayette had 50 members, held one meetup, and two workshops.
What did it cost me?
- $5 worth of Facebook ads
- 1 hour of crafting an introduction e-mail and finding the people to send it to
- 2-3 hours of planning and meeting for events
- 10+ hours of creating a detailed 3-month plan*
*This weekend is the supercharged way to bypass this step and all the headaches it caused me!
Join me for a community building weekend
A 2-day online interactive workshop: set up a landing page for the community and build a 3-month activity plan
July 21st and 22nd
The problem most people have with the idea of creating a zero waste community is that it’s going to be hard or really time-consuming. The truth is this can take up as much or as little time as you want and – ideally – the activity plan will engage others who will be excited to help.
I want to share with you the wins and fails I’ve already experienced so that you can cut out the extra experimenting time and just get down to what works for you and your community.
You don’t need huge numbers or tons of extra time/money to start a zero waste group in your community. (Proof: I have none of those.) All you really need is:
- an enthusiasm for spreading zero waste ideas
- a willingness to meet and connect with new people
- a passing connection to your community (helpful, not required)
Why bother creating a local community?
For about a million reasons. But I’ll just give you three.
1. Online friends are no replacement for IRL people in the same area.
Especially for something as regionally-specific as living zero waste in your city or town. Because I love my online Instagram friends, but general zero waste tips and tricks only get you so far. Sometimes all you want to do is get a specific answer for your situation, not a “well, here I can get…”
Finding your local zero waste tribe is incredibly meaningful; you’ll find yourself feeling more excited to try new things, more willing to stick to your goals, and more able to get and receive important information. Plus, the larger your community, the more brainpower to crowd source local answers to local problems.
2. The interest in zero waste is out there – you really have no idea!
You can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard “but I live in [terrible town] and no one cares about zero waste”… First, I live in a small Indiana city so don’t tell me about stereotypically un-environmental places. Second, you’d be surprised at who you attract.
With the advent of the internet, I have no doubt you’ll find at least a few younger folks lusting after a zero waste lifestyle after scrolling through Instagram. But you’ll also find people you’d never imagine. Hippies living this lifestyle without a label. Conservationists excited to take things a step forward. Ultra-frugal folks looking to save some money. Pensioners feeling nostalgic about a life long ago. Broaden your mind and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
3. There’s power in numbers
You. Alone. Fighting with a stubborn town council over a waste-reduction proposal.
No, it’s not a bad horror movie, it’s what’s possible if you don’t cultivate a community around the cause. Because zero waste might start out as fun and games with little chats over reusable mugs or a few people coming together to make a DIY deodorant. But soon enough you may start seeing larger community issues ready to be tackled. When getting involved with (or against) local community groups or government, numbers are power.
What’s the weekend look like?
The online workshop is spread out over two days so as not to fill your brains with too much information. Each day should take about two hours with a break in between sessions. While it’s helpful to be in attendance for all so you can ask live questions, replays will be available after the weekend.
Saturday will be approximately 2 hours, Sunday will be around 3. You’ll receive login information via email on Friday. That login information will be used to reach the landing page that weekend and any other time you want to reference materials.
DAY 1: SATURDAY, JULY 21ST
Our live webinars will include:
- a case study of Zero Waste Lafayette
- creating your mission statement
- choosing your online presence
- brainstorming resources and collateral
DAY 2: SUNDAY, JULY 22ND
Our live webinars will include:
- month 1: establishing your online presence
- month 2: planning your first zero waste meetup
- month 3: hosting first zero waste workshop
- making plans beyond month three
You will also receive a pre-weekend brainstorm sheet ASAP, a 3-month community planner to be used during the event, and a resource for meetup and workshop planning. Web chats will also be available under every video for live Q&A.
The price of this event is $97. As a community organizer, I have tried to price this course in a way that is accessible to most but will also sustain Zero Waste Lafayette and Green Indy initiatives going forward. I’m excited and honored to share the hard-won information I’ve learned from creating and nurturing my own zero waste group.
What if I can’t make it that weekend?
Not a problem! If you can only make it to some of the live webinars, the videos and workbook will be available to watch whenever’s convenient after the weekend is over. You’ll have lifetime access to the page, so if you want to refer back to any of the information, it’ll always be there for you!
Who exactly is this program for?
Anyone who has a passion for sharing zero waste throughout their greater community. While it’s helpful if you have ties to your community, even that isn’t a prerequisite! I started Zero Waste Lafayette knowing absolutely zero people in the city – it’s totally possible!
It’s also for people on all levels of their zero waste journey. No need to be an expert here, just be willing to learn along with everyone else and do a little bit of organizing work at the start of things. A community is powerful whether it’s built on the back of someone experienced in the zero waste lifestyle or someone full of questions and eager to learn!
What if I hate the weekend and it’s totally useless?
You won’t and it isn’t, but if you really didn’t get anything out of it, you’re eligible for a refund if you get in touch with me anytime before Sunday July 22nd at midnight EST. I won’t be too offended and you’ll get your money back.
Are you offering any discounts?
Yes! I’m offering a huge discount to my patrons after July 1st and I’m offering everyone else a $10 off code is you share the image to the left on social media. Be sure to tag me or screenshot it and send it to me via email – I’ll give you the discount code right away!
So who am I?
I’m Polly, the creator of Green Indy. I’ve been actively practicing zero waste since 2015 while living in food deserts and on an extreme budget. Flexibility and creativity is the name of my zero waste game.
Green Indy was created in early 2017. I’ve been talking zero waste in Indiana and beyond, sharing zero waste in the ways I wish I’d had available when I first started exploring zero waste in the Midwest ever since. I have worked with global companies as well as local organizations to lead workshops and informational sessions on living a simple, sustainable zero waste life.