New Episodes Launch Each Wednesday!
June 16, 2021

Trash to Treasure: Exploring What It Takes to Build a Business from Waste

Trash to Treasure: Exploring What It Takes to Build a Business from Waste

In just 30 years, the world's annual waste output will reach an estimated 3.4 billion tonnes. This worldwide garbage tsunami endangers our environment, economy, and even our relationships. To survive, we must not only contain it, but also use it....


In just 30 years, the world's annual waste output will reach an estimated 3.4 billion tonnes. This worldwide garbage tsunami endangers our environment, economy, and even our relationships. To survive, we must not only contain it, but also use it.

 

When we realise that our waste has value, we can start to see how we might put it to greater use in our life. We can change our lives, as well as the businesses and communities around us, by adopting this approach. To reverse the trend, forward-thinking investors and inventors are constructing an economy that views trash as a valuable commodity and an ever-renewable resource. Kelsey’s book, Trash to Treasure: Exploring What It Takes to Build a Business from Waste explores the experiences of modern-day pioneers who are making waves—and money—by turning trash into treasure.

 

A few businesses you can explore to learn more about reducing waste in your life are Patagonia, Rust Belt Riders and Hungry Harvest. These businesses are as much climate and environmental activists as they are businesses and companies. They are all on a mission to make a sustainable impact, change the world and make it healthier.

 

About Our Guest: Kelsey conceived a plan to leverage her passion for problem-solving to have a positive influence on the world around her from her family's Midwestern farm. Kelsey is now a part of Miami's startup ecosystem, where she assists entrepreneurs in developing businesses that address environmental, economic, and social challenges.

 

Website | LinkedIn

 

00:00 Introduction

5:02 Where can we start reducing the amount of trash and waste in the world?

6:47 Tips to recycle properly

9:31 What is Terracycle?

12:37 How to build companies that are actually embedding sustainability into reusable products

22:05 What companies are already doing a great job of reducing pollution and waste

30:47 Think regeneratively

32:53 Minimalism

35:39 Living a zero waste lifestyle

39:06 It’s never too late to start reducing your output of waste

 

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Transcript

Corinna Bellizzi: Hello fellow do gooders and friends i'm your host kareena busy and activist and cause marketer who's passionate about social impact and sustainability.

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Corinna Bellizzi: This will be our 21st guest interview at the time we record this show in mid may we've already released 17 shows top 6400 downloads.

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Corinna Bellizzi: and listens and we've been on the charts in the US, France, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Singapore Hong Kong and Australia.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I share this because i'm proud of what we're doing together to reach a global audience, while telling stories that really matter, the entire purpose of this show is to put more good into the world and that's not a regional task its global.

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Corinna Bellizzi: What wherever you are in the world, I invite you to join our community.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You can visit our website to subscribe to our mailing list and stay informed of upcoming episodes and events, including weekly sessions, that I host in real time voice to voice on clubhouse.

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Corinna Bellizzi: links to our site and all our social platforms are in show notes, as always, if you like, what you're doing.

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Corinna Bellizzi: If you like what we're doing you can support the show by writing a review and subscribing wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Remember too that the show is not backed by the companies we feature or any advertisers care more be better is a Community first and listener supported environment to become a member and support the show visit care more be better calm and click the donate button.

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Corinna Bellizzi: This week i'd like to start with a few questions have you ever been to the dump.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You know where the garbage trucks unload What did you think how did you feel What was it like for you to see here and smell the mounds of trash around you.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I remember the first time, my dad took me to the dump and all I could think was how on earth can we keep doing this, I remember seeing the appliances shoved in one area and a distinctly remember the smell of a rotting orange.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Now, when you think about this, how do we limit our waste where should we even start to help us unpack all of this i'm joined by kelsey.

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Corinna Bellizzi: kelsey keeps entrepreneurs kelsey helps entrepreneurs build businesses that seek solutions to environmental, economic and social issues.

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Corinna Bellizzi: She recently wrote a book that encourages businesses to explore a new wave of eco friendly entrepreneurship by leveling our trash i'm going to start this part over I don't know why i'm stumbling.

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Corinna Bellizzi: kelsey helps entrepreneurs build businesses that seek solutions to environmental, economic and social issues.

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Corinna Bellizzi: She recently wrote a book that encourages businesses to explore a new wave of eco friendly entrepreneurship by leveraging our trash her book trash to treasure is an explores perspective it invites the curious to think differently and dream big kelsey welcome to the show.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Thank you so much kareena i'm so excited to speak with you more today.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So i'd like to just start by telling your journey What was it that made you to decide this line to decide to pursue this line of work, specifically and write a book about it from trash to treasure.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah um so my journey starts kind of as a really in a young age, I grew up on a farm and was always kind of interested in the environment i'm fortunate enough that my mom had always kind of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: chosen to recycle and compost at home, but I didn't really realize the impact trash was having and how kind of it was.

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Kelsey Rumburg: At such a global scale until I remember, I was living in Singapore and I went to the Philippines for a holiday and I went to bora Chi, which is a popular tourist island.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And at the time I just remember seeing trash kind of everywhere on the beach and realizing that that was something that a lot of tourists, you know, we had done and just not been mindful of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: The footprint, we were having both as tourists on an island, but also that trash was coming from everywhere wasn't just coming from that island.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so I really kind of realized the impact we are having on our environment and started to think more about what can we do to change this.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And, and as an economist, I kind of saw that and was confused because, in my mind, you know trash is still a resource, it still has value we just have to think about how to me use it differently.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so that kind of led me on this journey of thinking about one, how can I reduce my own trash personally but also how can we as businesses start thinking differently about how we see trash and use trash.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Because it's really actually like a major economic problem not just environmental problem, and so I just kind of started thinking about how can trash be a gold mine instead of a.

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Kelsey Rumburg: kind of a waste product per se.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So if you had one wish like Where would you start with that would it be at the sorting facility or in our own homes, how do you see that.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah well I think it's it's important to kind of think about what is the individual potential for trash versus what is kind of the business potential for trash.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so I think part of it is businesses kind of recognizing hey I produced this waste product instead of me having to pay to ship it to a landfill.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Who can I find that actually needs this or need something similar.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And how can we instead make you know how this actually is a revenue stream rather than as a cost to our business so it's kind of about in the business sense it's about thinking creatively.

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Kelsey Rumburg: With what you have is waste products in an individual sense I think it's really about, yes, as individual consumers.

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Kelsey Rumburg: We can you know get more mindful about our recycling and making sure that we're not wish cycling or recycling things that can actually trying to recycle things that can't actually be recycled.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And we can have certainly better sorting in our you know facilities and and recycling facilities, but we also can ask companies hey.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Does this need to be shipped in like a bunch of plastic and so as consumers, we can also kind of influence.

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Kelsey Rumburg: What packaging, we want or you know we can ask companies to use different packaging so that's kind of the things that I think there's kind of two different facets, I guess, to that question.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You know, you know i've heard some people in this space criticize the fact that it's as if the load of waste is put on the shoulders of the consumer, like you, should be recycling more you should be doing this more.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And then we wish cycle, because we think HC it has that chasing arrow symbol on it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: If it has a chasing arrow symbol on, and I should be able to just throw it in the recycle bin right.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But the reality is so much of that plastic are specific processing facility won't be able to recycle.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And so, do you have any particular tips that relate to that for the practically minded that are trying to do good.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And that may not know that they were wish cycling, they may have thought hey i'm recycling i'm putting it in the bin i'm supposed to it has the chasing arrows symbol, this is what i'm supposed to do right.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah no that is very like that's such a great question and the challenge kind of US based is that most recycling is handled on like a county wide level.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so it changes pretty much every time you move, you have to move to a different county or a different city.

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Kelsey Rumburg: You have to think about Okay, what can actually be recycled here, which is what can't be versus like what can't be recycled here and it takes a lot of research to kind of go and figure that out, so I think.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Ideally it's great if you can obviously reduce what actually just has to go to trash your House to go to recycling so being very mindful of the packaging you're buying.

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Kelsey Rumburg: The products you're buying and what can you do with it the yet with them with that packaging, at the end of its lifetime, can it be composted can it be recycled.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Is it something that's probably going to be readily recycle like aluminum or is it something that some places, will recycle at some places well.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And you're going to have to really do a lot of digging and you can also get.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And I personally have like a terrorist cycle is your a waste box and so for anything that i'm not really sure how to recycle it I put it in that, and then Tara cycle, which is a company that actually.

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Kelsey Rumburg: thrives on the idea of they can recycle anything we'll figure out how to recycle it for me because I there's I can't always think about.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I don't the time to invest always and how do I recycle a computer course that's broken and so that's kind of my like last resort and because i'm having to think about that it's also made me much more mindful of like then buying things that can that would go and trash.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So I think it's part of is that part of is also just really researching what your community is guidelines are around recycling.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Right, well, I had a German individual was asking me Oh well, you're in California, they recycle everything right i'm like well.

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Corinna Bellizzi: No, and it varies by county and, by the way they will recycle plastic film, but only if you do X, Y amp Z to that plastic film.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And you put it on one bag, that is, then, you know strategically placed at the top of your cycling thing it's like you have to go through all of these hoops.

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Corinna Bellizzi: In order to not muck up there, you know recycling equipment and also ensure that they do with it, what you wanted them to in the first place.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So it's not a simple process, even in the areas where we have the best recycling programs.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I had thought, for instance, that Tetra Pak was recyclable and a lot of the nut milks come and Tetra Pak boxes so So those are like the boxes, with a little plastic piece that comes up.

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Corinna Bellizzi: and allows you to go ahead and pour it out, but it's mostly made of kind of this board and lined.

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Corinna Bellizzi: filler filler on the inside, to keep it from leaking right but they're not recyclable virtually anywhere in my neighborhood at least and so i'm hoping, you can actually talk for a moment about Tara i'm sorry, what was the company name.

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Kelsey Rumburg: You mentioned hair cycle.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Terrorists cycle so that's a facility that's local to you, or are they nationwide How would people find out more about this.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah yeah so Tara cycle is a company out of New Jersey and they are they're kind of tagline is they will figure out how to recycle anything.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So they have partnered with a lot of brands and you have like a ship back free shipment programs for things like burt's bees, or even like colgate toothpaste, you can ship it, you can download actually like a.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Shipping label on our website and ship it to them, or they have a lot of drop offs like local community drop offs for you to ship back these certain products.

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Kelsey Rumburg: If you have stuff that's not in those certain products, they also have zero waste spins which you do have to pay for but I kind of have always looked at it as like this is my tax for consuming.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And you know buying something that comes in packaging so that's kind of how I can it's a personal tax on me for my consumption.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And I have the ability to pay for it, so I just considered as a normal cost of living and.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So yeah so they do have zero waste boxes, where they you can just put everything in it, they will then take the the sorting out of it and figure out how to recycle it, and so they also have another program as well called loop, which is essentially they're doing.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Like aluminum canisters kind of like a milkman type of a model.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And I think they did it with hog indoors and yeah there's no real brands, if I remember correctly.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Exactly yeah so you can either have it shipped directly to your door or pick it up at like a walgreens and they're doing like stuff with larger brands to kind of help reduce waste.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Around yeah like consumer goods, just so that way it can kind of come in reusable packaging.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But the things that you're bringing up really go back to the same thing, where it's complex for consumer to figure out how to recycle their goods, so that it just doesn't end up in landfill.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Like, for instance i'm an avid runner I have recycled my running shoes for my local running shop, who is donated all these old running shoes to like become tracks.

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Corinna Bellizzi: at high schools and stuff like that, like they actually use it, the rubber in them to build the.

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Corinna Bellizzi: surface of the tracks for running right which is really cool like full circle thing, but some of those programs are even now shuttered so.

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Corinna Bellizzi: it's a little bit challenging to even find out what to do with those because hey there beyond there were, but if the materials, could be used, that would be super cool.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Another thing that kind of went by the wayside, is my printer cartridges they used to come with like a ship back to the manufacturer and they'll refill them.

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Corinna Bellizzi: box and I noticed that that printer cartridge had a shift in it, and no longer seem to be.

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Corinna Bellizzi: A ready to ship back thing, so I then found another recycler online that will take you have to send eight at a time so i'm storing them until I have.

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Corinna Bellizzi: gone through two sets of my printer cartridges and then i'll ship them to this other company that will then you know refill them and reuse them and sell them back into the market.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But this takes a lot of effort, so the solutions that I think we need or a little bigger than that's precisely what your book is about so let's go to your book is there a particular passage that you think encapsulate some of what it's about or that you just want to kind of point to.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah no and that's exactly, I think that really sums it up well of as individuals, we can certainly make individual change, but we do kind of need to rebuild our entire system.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so what I was really thinking about with my book was what can, how can we build businesses that aren't just using sustainability as kind of a nice.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Side kind of piece, but are really embedding sustainability into our ethos and companies that are actually turning literal trash into their products that's a pretty solid embedded sustainability.

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Kelsey Rumburg: context essentially your piece, so one of the companies that I think is really interesting and kind of models as well it's called ICO nail.

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Kelsey Rumburg: aqua feel so the product they create is called ICO nil, the company itself is called aqua phil and it's actually it's.

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Kelsey Rumburg: an island six, which is most commonly used in fishing nuts, but also in a lot of carpeting a lot of now athletes are aware that type of stuff is where we see nylon six.

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Kelsey Rumburg: What the founder of that though actually did was basically he'd been involved in textiles in Italy for a long time found a way to holy recycle island six so you don't lose any of the product and you don't lose any of the durability of it, which is really important.

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Kelsey Rumburg: But problem we had was he couldn't get enough nylon six to actually do this at a scalable level, so he created a couple of nonprofits to actually go and have them collect cnet or like like like dead ghost nets.

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Kelsey Rumburg: In the ocean.

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Kelsey Rumburg: To be able to collect enough stored in warehouses in Eastern Europe and then have it be converted into textiles they're now doing also they'll take back like recycled carpets they'll take a lot of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Anything pretty much that is nylon six they'll figure out how to recycle it and then they're reselling it as.

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Kelsey Rumburg: swimwear as carpeting as other things, and can still then take it back and keep using it, so I think it's really thinking through kind of the spark for that, though, was just he was like this is really expensive keep creating nylon, how can we reuse it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: nylon six you said nylon six like them yeah.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah like this it and, like the number six so it's just a specific type of this nylon.

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Kelsey Rumburg: That is commonly used for its standard and fishing that's a lot of carpets as well and it just happens to be that.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Particular chemical makeup.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Okay yeah, and I mean that's a lot of what ends up washed up on the shores of.

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Corinna Bellizzi: beaches, I remember when my husband and I were on our honeymoon.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I had decided, I wanted to see the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean, because I live on the west coast of California, I only see the sunset over it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And it was our second night on our honeymoon so we still haven't adjusted to the hawaiian time yet i'm like up early.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Why don't we go watch the sunrise we hike out across all these beautiful golf courses and through resorts and then suddenly we're on the frontage road.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Between the Louis airport and the beach but it's just this like small strip of San and a super rocky beach that nobody goes to aside from locals for some thrown at fishing.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And it was literally littered with everything you could imagine exclusively left flip flops a ton of them, which it turns out, is due to flu veal transport what's this like how the currents work with the shape of the flip flop, which is why all the Left flip flops and it out.

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Kelsey Rumburg: on that island.

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Corinna Bellizzi: and not the right ones, the right ones are probably on a different beach maybe on a different island even right or maybe they're part of that giant cms like ocean mountain that's.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Out there practically an island of trash right so that's they're all these fishing nets detergent bottles buoys.

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Corinna Bellizzi: What are those things that they have as bumpers on the boats they throw them over the side, so they don't bump against the docks just tons of this stuff.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And I was looking at this at the in the midst of also seeing these tiny little what looked like bird tracks ahead to the ocean right, but they were not bird tracks, they were sea turtle and.

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Corinna Bellizzi: tracks like baby sea turtles that had just you know come out of their nests I could see the whole where the nest once was, and all these little tracks.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Then looking out in this pre dawn time seeing all of these nets and mountain just imagining here's these little babies trying to get to the Ocean to their estuary.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And they have to climb over all this stuff they already have predatory birds that eat them and all sorts of other stuff that they have to you know manage and get through.

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Corinna Bellizzi: they're already on the endangered list and so many areas they're already suffering from cancerous tumors and other things because the trash and the oceans they end up eating.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And I have to deal with this, so we cleared a path for the remaining ness that we could see.

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Corinna Bellizzi: and spent all of our water and our early hours to do that, so that they could have a little bit of a shot, but we were two people alone, and there were mounds of this stuff right.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So it just revealed to me how ubiquitous this problem is how global it is and how we, as an entire global species, need to be thinking about this challenge anyway that's my Dr diatribe for the day I think.

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Kelsey Rumburg: No and it's very similar kind of to my experience and Barack I have just like wow We really have to do something.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Because this we cannot continue as normal, or else we're just going to be covered in trash and I think one of the things that really struck me as I was doing my research for this book was this idea.

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Kelsey Rumburg: That like we have the pyramids of Egypt, we see from you know ancient Egyptians, we see all these kind of ancient structures and, as you know, kind of the the hallmark of all of these other you know the Coliseum all these things, the most recognizable.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Future thing from our generation is going to be the potato chip bag.

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Kelsey Rumburg: As far as like kind of our future it's not going to be that we're going to leave pyramids or other things we're leaving behind potato chips bags for our legacy.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And that was kind of something that really struck me as.

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Kelsey Rumburg: This is something we have to change.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And what does the potato chip bag made of is it Mylar and plastic, what is it exactly.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I believe so i'm not exactly I don't know the exact makeup of it, but essentially it doesn't break down, it will break into pieces, but it really doesn't.

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Kelsey Rumburg: break down as a product and it's not simply just that there's obviously plenty of other things that we have, but the fact that that's kind of the hallmark.

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Kelsey Rumburg: of our.

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Corinna Bellizzi: younger generation of trash consumers.

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Corinna Bellizzi: yeah so I mean what we all have to get towards like it's one thing to reduce consumption but it's quite another to say we're just not going to produce it anymore.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I mean, ideally, I think that would be the space that we need to get to I am seeing efforts.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Innovations around turning see plastics into things like bricks that can be used to construct homes and things along those lines, but the problem continues to get bigger and bigger and that.

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Corinna Bellizzi: floating mass of plastic in the middle of our Pacific Ocean is how big no I mean I can't recall the latest.

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Corinna Bellizzi: figures on it, but I think it was a size of France, the last I saw.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah the great Pacific garbage patch and and all of the the gyres in the ocean have significant amount of pollution it's estimated that every human currently has a credit cards worth of plastic in their body.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Which is just of micro plastics.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And I had heard as much as a credit card of plastic consumed each week.

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Corinna Bellizzi: From just the food that we eat the so I was actually in a room on clubhouse recently hosting a session on care more be better and just opening a conversation around waste and sustainable minimalism.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And one of the attendees shared that you know they grow up in a different country.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And I don't want to reveal too much because it's their story, but they did say that they were instructed every you know day to go throw their trash on the river.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And that was just part of the culture, it was endemic there and it's not like we can sit there and blame the culture, what we should really should be looking at.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Is the economic disparity that made that common practice because people don't just automatically want to pollute their own rivers.

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Corinna Bellizzi: They do so because they don't have the means to take care of it in another way.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And they are often those that are just consuming what they're able to as opposed to necessarily what they want to, and may come with whatever packaging it just comes in and that's the reality of life.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I think, at the same time that we talk about these challenges, and we want to work through them, we really have to think, from a solutions perspective that people aren't necessarily polluting their environments, because they want to.

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Corinna Bellizzi: it's almost something that they have done, because it feels like there's no other choice.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And so the global perspective, we need to take is one of helping all communities around the globe to rise up so that we can essentially be.

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Corinna Bellizzi: seen as one people and not like this culture is the dumping ground of the world because hey guess what we're all in it together we are one species were the human race.

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Corinna Bellizzi: let's do this together, so I mean it's just the perspective i'm taking and i'm hearing more and more of this conversation.

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Corinna Bellizzi: kind of coming up from cultures all around the world where people are looking for solutions and I just I think it's it's a sign of the times that I think people are getting really ready for a serious shift and how we look at consumerism.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I just.

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Corinna Bellizzi: want to pause for a second and just say kind of wow right.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So let's talk about the companies that are doing really great things in your estimation, like who should our audience support at this point in time, who do you think's doing a really good job if anyone.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah um there are some big companies, and there are some small companies that are doing a great job, and I think.

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Kelsey Rumburg: The thing that I think that really kind of stands out for these founders is they do a couple of things extremely well so.

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Kelsey Rumburg: they're very creative they value trash not just as like Oh, it has no value i'm going to just throw it away, but they see a way to they see it as having value and they see a way to recreate it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: and reuse it in some form they also, I think, do a really great job of living interconnected Lee, which is something you just brought up.

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Kelsey Rumburg: In kind of we are all in this together, we all share this one planet and because they kind of have this value of trash and this value of the planet, I think, they also have.

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Kelsey Rumburg: A unique value of other people and people around them, and so that they really kind of want to also embrace a lot of strong.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Employee practices they really are trying to think about how How does this product impact the people that are using it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Working the company all these types of things, so I think that there's kind of this really does all connect and then they're also very scrappy.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And kind of resourceful and figuring things out and don't necessarily you know there's one company that actually is accomplished in company and they had been told they had to buy this like $65,000 piece of equipment.

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Kelsey Rumburg: They like di they DIY it for like $2,000 and it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: works, and they were like that's what we had to do like, and I think that that's really kind of that's partially just being an entrepreneur is like you have to just figure it out.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And that is kind of also looking for what's available, and how can I creatively.

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Kelsey Rumburg: problem solve, and so I think that those are the things that we really kind of as consumers and as business leaders, those are like things that we can definitely embrace in our in our lives.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So the companies, I think, do a really great job of this Patagonia definitely comes to mind, they have an entire they will take back any of their products they also emphasize repairing their products.

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Kelsey Rumburg: For them mm hmm Warren where's one of my favorites, but they also emphasize a lot of you know, keep your product for as long as possible, and I think that that cannot be underestimated, as.

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Kelsey Rumburg: A huge way of preventing trash is just using what you have, and so I think that they as a big company do a great job with that.

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Kelsey Rumburg: there's also you know there's a lot of really like whole localized solutions, so it kind of depends on the industry because there's also.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Quite a few companies that do re manufacturing, which is basically taking something that has been used and bringing it back up to the manufacturers specifications so it's often done in things like.

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Kelsey Rumburg: airplanes airplane equipment caterpillar actually does a lot of re manufacturing for their engines and their cores.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So we don't necessarily think about it, but it's kind of that industrial side of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Continuing to keep things in use for as long as possible but remanufactured office furniture furniture in general is also very common and that's great because it has to be a very localized business.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Because it doesn't make sense to ship furniture a lot so it's often a very localized re manufacturing business which provides local jobs.

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Kelsey Rumburg: also allows local businesses to get furniture much cheaper because it's been remanufactured but it's still just as good so it's kind of thinking through things like that.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And then I think one of the other companies yeah rust belt writers, who is in Cleveland their accomplished in company.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And when I really like about them is that they did not set out to start a business, they just were like they were waiters in a restaurant, they were also.

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Kelsey Rumburg: helping out in their local community garden garden, and they were just like realizing that they didn't have good enough soil and the Community gardens, they were like what can we do they started taking food scraps from the restaurant put.

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Kelsey Rumburg: They were doing.

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Corinna Bellizzi: With their bicycles right.

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Corinna Bellizzi: yeah you're feeling like la trolleys on their bicycle I remember.

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Corinna Bellizzi: seeing them in the news when they first kind of broke broke out, I think.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah and they were just they were so yeah they like they hitched a trailer somehow.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Their mountain bike and they just.

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Kelsey Rumburg: figured it out.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And I think that that's really you know, in my mind it's there these aren't necessarily going to be like get rich quick businesses that we always see as like you know kind of the.

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Kelsey Rumburg: The like sexy startups but they're still awesome businesses that are really worthwhile to build and they still are creating creating a ton of value within their communities.

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Kelsey Rumburg: they're still able to employ people they're still doing a lot of really cool things, and so I think that that's you know.

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Kelsey Rumburg: It is definitely they think long term, and I think having that kind of in our communities is really important.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And you know I do some things in my own home that people living in the city can't necessarily do because I have some land right but.

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Corinna Bellizzi: For those that are living in a city like in Cleveland or in San Francisco or Chicago or New York, there are solutions available, where you can participate in a composting program even if you don't have the ability to compost yourself.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I think just highlighting those things is really important, I also am completely open to sharing my story of composting with anybody who cares to hear it, I mean I got my start.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Thinking I wanted to Vermont compost specifically because I wanted you know that black gold for my gardening.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But after a while really found managing the worms a little tedious so I ended up paying forward.

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Corinna Bellizzi: My red wig lawyers to somebody else who could then use them and their own composting journey along with my home created kit which just used basically these you know bins that I drilled holes in.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And now i'm just using an outdoor composting piece that actually touches the soil, so the underneath of it is open.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And because it does that insects from the environment and come in, like all the the Beatles and worms and whatnot and they help you know get it all sorted and it delivers great soil for my gardening it's amazing so it's not that hard to maintain.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And it doesn't take that much space.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah and even like I live in an apartment in Miami, but I still I just put my Compostable stuff in the freezer and I drop it off at a local community farm when I can.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So there's always wait, because I missed having compost you know and so there's always ways to make it work kind of in your wherever you are kind of in that space of life, if you can try to find a solution.

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Corinna Bellizzi: yeah and I think another point that came up when I interviewed stephanie's the very end, who wrote sustainable minimalist just a few weeks ago.

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Corinna Bellizzi: She just really has that hard lined rule of not accepting excessive packaging into her home and so that means.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You know, when she goes grocery shopping making specific choices we talked about you know, using your own recycled bags and things along those lines less of that is actually available, right now, in the midst of coven.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But what i've started to do is just say you know just put it all back in the cart and then I put it in my bags at my trunk.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Maybe it takes me a couple more minutes to get out of my parking space, but i'm not holding up the line at the grocery store by packing my own bags or anything like that either, so it just works out.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And then I don't feel so guilty about you know, putting all this plastic or paper like cutting down trees to just.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Have for a single use, so I think people can think practically about the small changes they can make in order to just reduce their impact as much as possible, through these you know minor inconveniences it's a very minor thing to just repackage it in my trunk you know.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah it is and it's also kind of thinking through like, for instance, when i'm trying to buy something.

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Kelsey Rumburg: let's say i'm evaluating I want to buy I don't know kombucha or something it's important to kind of evaluate like oh this isn't a glass bottle and I know there's not recycling available for that right, where I am.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So Okay, do I get the plastic or do I get something aluminum like what are my options and kind of also looking at like those types of things.

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Corinna Bellizzi: i'm my own kombucha for a while and it's not that hard to do either, so my husband just complained about he didn't like the acidic smell of it, or you know and i'm just Okay, so I moved it into a different room and then I forgot about it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: it'll be fine, I also have my own and like that yeah that was kind of my my cold blood project was besides.

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Kelsey Rumburg: writing a book was brewing kombucha it's actually a really fun coven.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And it's not that difficult, you can make whatever flavors you like, I put ginger and lemon and stuff like that, and it, too, so.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I did do a double fermentation that exploded all over my kitchen.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So learn how about fermentation before you do it, I had.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Computer everywhere so lesson learned pay attention to like the rules of double fermentation before you double ferment something.

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Corinna Bellizzi: yeah I never went there, so my kids love it too so that's actually really nice I figure it's probably the only way they get caffeine, right now, but they get very little bit of it, I watered down.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I would love for you to go ahead and explain the phrase that you use in your materials think we're done irritably.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah so.

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Kelsey Rumburg: That together, I love it um, so I think regenerative is kind of gotten a lot of buzz lately, and it wasn't quite necessarily when I was kind of in the process of writing it wasn't really being thought about yet.

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Kelsey Rumburg: But for me think regenerative Lee is really about, and I think thinking about the long term use of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: The product that you're using not just hey i'm going to go and buy X use it and throw it away but thinking about okay.

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Kelsey Rumburg: What is the thing that I actually need this to do, how can I get that and then, what can I do with it, after so.

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Kelsey Rumburg: it's kind of thinking through I guess the whole process around what ever it is that you require, so I try to think through it as like.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Is there a creative a different kind of creative solution for, for instance I needed I needed sheets for my apartment and like I was just like I there's textile recycling's not like readily available in Miami.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I can donate them after but I don't really want to have to like do it, I can go and get them second hand and then you know donate them.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Is there another, but then I just started thinking about like is there, another company that like will take I can buy them and they'll take them back and take responsibility.

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Kelsey Rumburg: For their recycling found out there was a company that would do that um, but I think it's really important to kind of yeah like don't just think about i'm buying X for right now but what's the kind of long term path for whatever i'm buying.

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Kelsey Rumburg: and also in businesses it's also thinking about like hey, we need to use, you know, we need to create.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I don't know i'm trying to think of, we need to create a widget or some sort of a way you know something, and how can we.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Do we need to buy raw materials for that or can we be more cost effective is there, somebody around us who's actually producing something.

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Kelsey Rumburg: That is similar enough to what we need, as our raw material and how can we kind of transform that into.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Our requirements, so I think it's kind of thinking creatively it's thinking a little bit longer term, and I really like the idea of you know thinking for seven generations from now what is kind of the impact of of this.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Okay yeah I am have been struggling with the concept of minimalism of late partially because I don't want to get rid of things that still have a useful life.

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Corinna Bellizzi: As a big sustainability advocate like the binders that i'm still using for my last term of graduate school.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I think i've used probably 10 times over the course of my entire education path, and then I think oh i'll hold on to them, because my boys can use these these 20 year old binders that I have now.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I wonder if you consider yourself a minimalist and what you would say about that particular path.

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Kelsey Rumburg: um I think it's it's I would say.

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Kelsey Rumburg: um.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I would say i'm intentional about what I buy so i'm more of a conscious consumer, but I still definitely have stuff i'm not, but I think i'm i'm now at the point where I like the phrase use it up where it out, make it do or do without if I have it and I.

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Corinna Bellizzi: say that again because that's absolutely.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah use it up where it out, make it do or do without.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I love it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I think on my wall.

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Kelsey Rumburg: it's actually it was a phrase from it's actually was used during times of war, when there was rationing.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so it was kind of this idea of us which he got.

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Kelsey Rumburg: It was commonly used actually.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah like when you're at the heart, like in the home front of like hey we're rationing things so use what you got.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And I think it, it still works now, though, because I don't necessarily have, I have a reason for keeping something.

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Kelsey Rumburg: or for buying something that I really want I definitely still do it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: But i'm intentional about how I buy things so I don't make big purchases right away, I tend to think about them for about a month.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And that's just also being like more conscious of my money and my my spending and I tend to research very carefully what I do my.

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Kelsey Rumburg: um, but I do think it's important to be aware of what you're buying and if something that you know, like your binders though still have a purpose they're still very much usable.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And if you're happy with them and they're not you know, causing too much clutter then like keep them use them.

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Kelsey Rumburg: there's not much pointed throwing away, something that has a purpose, and so, if there's something that I don't need, and I can find someone who does need it.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Then I absolutely will you know give it to them, but I do have you know a lot of my items are I love to travel and I would always bring back stuff from my travels so I just have this very eclectic collection of.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Different decorations and you know, clothing and things from all my different travels and I still want to keep like that those also.

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Kelsey Rumburg: for lack of a better term spark joy.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Thank you, Marie kondo.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I think I kind of.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I don't want to say I hate anybody, but I get so tired of hearing like does it bring joy to you i'm like well, maybe it doesn't bring joy, but it's really good at opening a can, or whatever you know what I mean like.

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Corinna Bellizzi: There are things that I find I need that may not spark joy, the so i'll leave it at that, how close, are you to living a zero waste lifestyle now.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I love that question, so I have not perfectly zero waste, I will be candid about it, I think.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I always try to be better, but also during Colvin there's a lot of things that I just have had to accept are you know I can't I can't always take my class like take a coffee mug into a coffee shop and have them not.

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Corinna Bellizzi: letting you.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah exactly so i've had to kind of accept that there are things that I, you know, are now just going to go to waste.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I do my best to minimize it and to really think about it and to find other route, but I do still produce some trash and I think that the important thing here is.

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Kelsey Rumburg: it's better to you know there's i'd rather have 100 people who are reducing their waste than one person who was zero waste.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so it's it's really about, you know my main thing here is it's a journey for everyone if you know.

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Kelsey Rumburg: everyone's on a different part of that journey, it is great to be zero waste as an individual, but there are so many other things they you know it's just not always practical depending on your lifestyle.

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Corinna Bellizzi: With you know and.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah with kids exactly.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And so I think, and I think that's that's it's a very unrealistic expectation of you can you know, trying to be perfect, whereas actually like being imperfect is probably you know if most of us were imperfect leave zero waste we'd still be doing a lot better than we currently are.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Right well we're about to hit water restrictions in the summer here in California, so do you have any recommendations from that perspective.

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Kelsey Rumburg: whoo that is such a great question.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I have actually never lived through a water restriction period that is being in Ohio that, unfortunately, was not something that we experience you.

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Corinna Bellizzi: get some rain.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah we do and, and so I think you know i've always tried to do my best to reduce my water consumption and be thoughtful about how I can reuse it and.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So I even have my mom has a dehumidifier and she's realized, you can fill a bucket with like refill a bucket from the dehumidifier and take it in water plants.

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Kelsey Rumburg: yeah i'm and i'm like yeah that that is nice, but if we're lucky in that that is a luxury we have.

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Kelsey Rumburg: we're not a requirement of a restriction.

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Kelsey Rumburg: So I don't have any.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I wish I had more like.

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Corinna Bellizzi: it's been on my mind, so I just wondered if you did I did.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Learn recently that they're using algae, for instance at water treatment plants to eat the nitrogen and phosphorus and other nutrients that are in the water itself, so the byproduct then becomes oxygen which is super cool right so.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You know there's not as many concerns about waste and environments where they're doing that successfully, I think.

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Corinna Bellizzi: But the a couple of things I do i've installed some rain barrels so that those rain barrels collect rainwater and then I can use that to go ahead and water my plants, but I also install the funnel to the rain barrel.

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Corinna Bellizzi: To take you know bath water for my boys bad that we didn't use shampoo or whatever and i'll just take buckets of it and put it in there, I also recently learned the tip that you take a favorite song that's about three or four minutes.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Long.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And you just play it when you start your shower and because you know the song and you get a feeling for when it's going to end it's not like suddenly.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You still have soap in your hair when that love songs about to finish, you like get what three minutes is.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I think that's at least a somewhat joyful way to save a little bit of water put a favorite song on when you're in the shower.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And yeah you know, having a bucket under you in the shower you know you can it'll capture the water, you can use that to water your garden.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So I mean there's so many little ways to do that, I also just think composting is way easier than people give it credit for so consider doing that, if you grow any of your produce at your own home.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So before we kind of wrap things up, I wanted to see if there was anything in particular that you wish, we talked about that we hadn't and or something that you want to leave our audience with some gem.

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whoo.

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Kelsey Rumburg: I think I mean we really cover a lot of ground, and so I would say my jam is just start.

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Kelsey Rumburg: kind of start now thinking about how you can use trash differently in your life I was at my grandmother's house, the other day, and she still has all these jars that she has saved they're all mason jars i'm like these would be a fortunate for sure.

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Kelsey Rumburg: But she just saves them, and I think that's something where it's kind of thinking through you know your consumption today, how can you reuse things whether it's you know, a jelly jar that you turn into.

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Kelsey Rumburg: A Cup in your House whether it's compost whether it's you know researching how to get more food locally.

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Kelsey Rumburg: whatever that may be and there's really no right or wrong way to start, but the important thing is that we all have to start and kind of move along that path.

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Kelsey Rumburg: And, and so you know, please come and join us and really appreciate you kareena for having me, and this is just such an awesome podcast because I think it really provides a lot of different.

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Kelsey Rumburg: ways to kind of move along this path.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Well, thank you so much kelsey it's been my pleasure, now I would like, for you to talk for a moment about how to get your book and the best ways to connect with you, because then you have your own website to.

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Kelsey Rumburg: awesome yeah so my book is available on Amazon just search for my name is kelsey romberg R Us view rg or trash to treasure.

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Kelsey Rumburg: It is available there and I also have my own website feel free to Ping me on that it's kelsey romberg.com or trash to treasure mindset calm i'm also on instagram treasure treasure mindset and Twitter trash to cash book.

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Corinna Bellizzi: trash to cash that's the second sequel right.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You don't have to create that book now.

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Kelsey Rumburg: go up Twitter, for only having 15 characters so we got creative.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I know I had to do care more be better and leave out the final he and better for both Twitter and clubhouse.

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Kelsey Rumburg: classic.

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Corinna Bellizzi: You have to be creative you know, and so, at least I make it funny let's leave out the final Ian but.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Well, thank you so much for your time this has been a lot of fun for me and talking about trash and giving it a second life is just something that I rudimentary care I care a lot about it, so thank you.

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Kelsey Rumburg: Thank you so much appreciate it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Now I want to go ahead and just sum everything up quickly for our audience and thanks to kelsey for her time today for educating all of us and helping us find the silver lining in a trash heaped world.

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Corinna Bellizzi: I look forward to hosting a similar room with you kelsey soon on clubhouse again i'm sure we'll find the path to do that probably right around when this podcast gets released.

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Corinna Bellizzi: So we can engage our Community, and that means you listeners let's harness our collective good and get more change out there.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Now i'd like to invite everyone to act that action could be as simple as sharing this podcast with someone that you know that you think could benefit from hearing it.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Or you could get an electronic copy of kelsey run books book right from Amazon COM.

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Corinna Bellizzi: trash to treasure is available there and i'll also put links to that in our show links, as well as to her site.

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Corinna Bellizzi: To find suggestions like these, you can always visit our action page on care more be better calm.

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Corinna Bellizzi: And again, I invite you to join the conversation we're having be a part of the Community we're building follow us on social spaces and connect with us live each week on clubhouse.

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Corinna Bellizzi: links to our social platforms are always included in show notes and I just thank you all for being a part of this, you can DM me or send me an email at Hello at care more be better.com.

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Corinna Bellizzi: Thank you now and always for being a part of this pot and Community because, together, we really can do so much more.

Kelsey Rumburg

Author, Environmentalist

Kelsey Rumburg knows a thing or two about making a sea change. An exciting, early career had turned her into an international traveler and American expat. But it had also expanded her worldview, bringing into focus the things that mattered most to her—things that were out of reach from her position on the corporate ladder. So at twenty-five, she did what one does at twenty-five: she went home.

From her family’s Midwestern farm, Kelsey hatched a plan to use her passion for problemsolving to make a positive impact on the world around her. Now rooted in Miami’s startup ecosystem, Kelsey helps entrepreneurs build businesses that develop solutions to environmental, economic, and social issues.