Last week we caught up with the sustainability queen, Valerie (aka sustainable_valerie), and chatted all about how she first started her sustainability journey, vermicomposting, running a sustainability page, and more!
If you don’t know who the amazing Valerie is - she’s a Perth based primary teacher who runs a sustainability instagram called “sustainable_valerie” that helps educate and inspire others to live a more eco-friendly life. She’s amassed a community of over 4,800 followers from sharing content showing her tips, lifestyle and personality since December 2019.
Keep reading to learn more about Valerie and if you’d like to see more of her, all her links are listed at the end.
So how did Valerie first get into sustainability?
The seed was first planted when she attended a youth conference in Sydney about how serious the plastic crisis is. The turning point was when she watched the “Our Planet” documentary by David Attenborough and saw the walruses falling off cliffs after being forced to migrate onto land due to the melting ice caps. This paired with her desire to teach and inspire others about sustainability eventually led to Valerie creating an Instagram account dedicated to sustainability.
Where does she plan to take sustainable_valerie?
She hopes to monetise it and transition to full-time social media work in the future. Valerie also plans to, “start a YouTube channel in the next few months” to help inspire and educate more people.
How did she start vermicomposting?
Valerie says,” I attended quite a few different workshops about how to manage my waste a bit better”. One of these workshops happened to give her a free box of worms, and it so happened that her friend had also given her a free compost bin so she had everything needed and thought why not. Once using it, she realised how much organic waste it reduces and has continued using it since then.
What’s an underrated sustainability tip that Valerie wishes more people would consider?
Just make the most of what you have. Valerie says, “I think what social media has done is just, glamorise the whole zero waste lifestyle”. She goes on to say that it’s common for people to swap single-use plastics for reusables, so what’s underrated is simply making the most of what you already have. So, “if you have any plastic containers at home, instead of buying those stainless steel, pretty containers - just use your plastic one”.
We couldn’t agree more!
As a primary school teacher, what’s Valerie’s opinion on incorporating sustainability into schools?
She says, “I think it's so important to make it the norm for children, especially when they’re young as it helps make it easier for them to integrate those practices as they get older”. Valerie has been to a couple of schools where they put a big focus on sustainability and her previous school had a program called “Your Move”, which encouraged students to bike, walk, or carpool to school.
In her own classroom, Valerie plans to, “set up a recycling station where kids can put in their empty markers”. She also mentioned adding a compost bin for students to add their food waste to, as well as a recycling box for soft plastics.
How cool does that all sound!
How can you keep following Valerie’s journey?
Be sure to check out Valerie for more sustainability content and tips. You can visit her Instagram account here.
If you loved this one, be sure to stay tuned for our next Humans of Monty feature! We also have so much other exciting content coming up soon so be sure to follow our Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube and LinkedIn to not miss a single one.
Special composters can also pre-order a Monty here.