• Maria Grzywacz

Tuesday Talk with... Zuzana from BYO Bali

Hopefully, you spotted my most recent guide to zero-waste shopping in Ubud, Bali. One of the bulk-stores recommended was BYOBali, a tranquil space where you can (ful)fill all your needs & containers, shop sustainable yoga wear and non-toxic skincare! Today, I am chatting to Zuzana, one of the founders. Spoiler alert: loads of inspiration coming!

Please introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from, where are you based and… what’s your biggest passion? Hi, my name is Zuzana and I am one of the founders of BYOBali. I come from the Czech Republic and having lived in several countries for the past few years made me appreciate my country even more. I used to work in the aviation industry and witnessed a lot of wasteful practices. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew that it was wrong. I was looking for ways to eliminate my own waste. But what I would call a turning point was one month spent on a beautiful island in Celebes sea in Borneo. Suddenly I was confronted with a sad reality how small islands cope with their waste management. But then I realised that all of the continents are in fact islands/peninsulas surrounded by water. I decided to stop making excuses for buying things in plastic and look for new creative ways to live waste-free. 

What does ‘sustainability' mean to you? Sustainability for me is any practice that has a long term effect and sustains itself for an extended period of time (years/decades/life-time). This term can be applied to many areas of our life - relationships, economics, population growth etc. Nowadays there is a lot of attention paid to sustainability in the environment due to mindless activities of humankind (exploitation of natural resources, overconsumption, greenhouse gasses and the list could go on...) but the focus should be rather shifted from our externals to our internal world. Our external world is a mere reflection of our internal Universe. How do your professional choices reflect your personal values? Tell me more about BYO Bali! I would reverse the question: how do your personal values reflect your professional choices? The motivation needs to come from within. Always. BYO Balí was just an extension of our personal values. We did not start BYO Bali to teach people how to live low waste. Our mission is to inspire them, give them the tools and the rest is really up to them. There is no judgement when it comes to plastic usage. For us, every customer who enters the store already made an important step towards a more sustainable world. A person who refilled their water bottle, a person who is looking for non-toxic products or locals who keep coming back - we appreciate them all.  

Our mission is to inspire them, give them the tools and the rest is really up to them. There is no judgement when it comes to plastic usage.

In what areas of daily life/operating businesses etc. do you see the biggest sustainability challenges in Bali? There are many challenges but one of the biggest ones I would say is inefficient waste management. And the majority of businesses produce some sort of waste. I would like to encourage individuals and businesses to take some time and investigate where their waste is taken. We collaborate with EcoBaliRecycle and they have been doing an amazing job for oven a decade battling the plastic pollution in Bali.  On the other hand, I was positively surprised by the flexibility of some suppliers who happily jumped on the zero waste wagon with us.  

What changes do you see in people’s approach to Zero-Waste shopping now, during the Coronavirus outbreak? I have noticed that people buy in larger quantities but I haven't really observed any hoarding at this point. I find Ubud customers very mindful when it comes to unnecessary shopping. You can keep the bulk food (if stored properly) for a very long time so people should be able to get through these times of self-isolation relatively fine.  Of course, we also had to take some precautions when keeping the store open. We no longer allow customers to touch the food items, we closely monitor the hygiene standards and ask the customers to kindly wear a face mask when entering the store. We will try to keep the opening hours as usual from 10 - 19:00 as long as it is possible.  

What’s your sustainable advice to each and every one of us? What’s a single and easy step to make out lives greener?

Contemplation. Find your inner motivation and stick with it. Buying non-toxic cosmetics because of your skin itches? Going zero waste for your kids/turtles/whales? Buying local produce to support small businesses? Every reason is a good reason. 

Take baby steps. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself a pat on your shoulder for every small action. For reading this article (and you Maria for writing it). 

Every little effort counts. 

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© 2020 by Maria Grzywacz