How to be a Friendly Activist

Advocating for Zero Waste or even living a Zero Waste lifestyle comes with it challenges. One of them is getting others to understand why a Zero Waste lifestyle is important and helping them to come on board.

While doing so, it’s crucial to be a “friendly” activist. Frustration over road blocks and pushbacks can hinder the entire Zero Waste movement from advancing. If you’re the first Zero Waste person someone is interacting with, remember that you are laying the foundation for all future Zero Waste advocates that follow.

Bring your own containers


Here are some tips on how to approach this endeavour.

  • Clean your container thoroughly at home.
  • Pack your Zero Waste Kit before you leave your home.
  • When approaching the counter at your favourite coffee shop or restaurant, take your container out of the bag and put on your beautiful smile.
  • Ask “Would you mind using my cup/container? I disinfected it at home to make things easier for you.”
  • If the answer is “no” ask why not.
  • It is ok to say “I’m sorry then I’d rather try a different coffee shop/restaurant instead.” Just remember to say these words while offering a smile.

If it puts you at ease, let us tell you that the Zero Waste Canada team discusses interactions with restaurants and coffee shops that we and our members encounter. In over a decade, we only had one restaurant and two food trucks that did not accept our own containers. It’s a pretty positive and encouraging statistic.

Talk to your MP

Canadian Government

Many individuals think that they would never get “politically involved”. There comes a time in the life of every Zero Waste enthusiast where we might violate that very thought. If you decide to follow us on that path, we have prepared some pointers that will help you prepare for the meeting with your MP.


  • Find out who your local MP is.
  • Read up on what they care about and what opinions they have on important issues that your community is currently facing. This will give you an idea about how high on their “priority list” waste reduction is and how you can tie it to a topic they are already passionate about.
  • When determining the best time to meet with your MP, keep in mind that they are likely to be in their constituencies from July until Parliament resumes on September 15 (see “Sitting Calendar“). In addition, many MPs are also in their constituencies in the weeks of October 13 and November 10. Some may also have availability on Fridays and weekends.
  • Reach out to your MP via email or phone to make an appointment. Most MPs keep meetings to around 30 minutes.