Hey, Green Junkie!
Today, I am delighted to bring on Sustainability Consultant Sara Miltenberger to discuss how she is helping businesses clean up their daily practices and become more sustainable.
We are talking about everything from the cost of certifications, what you should really be looking for when you buy products and how much power you have as a consumer to affect change.
Sara is changing the way that businesses think about creating and getting their products into consumer’s hands and I can’t wait to share her with you all today.
In this episode we will discuss,
- How to make sustainability cool
- How Sara is helping small businesses have more access to sustainability practices
- The power of the consumer to affect change in big business
- How to view sustainability as both a consumer and as a business
You’ll discover that and so much more in this episode.
If you love this podcast be sure to leave a review and share a screenshot of this episode to your IG stories. Tag @greenjunkiepodcast so I can shout you out and publicly say thanks.
Thanks for listening and being here.
Your green bestie,
Hang With Sara:
https://open.spotify.com/show/3vQQZwwh2pZfJZxqIRBZI8 (podcast Make Climate Cool Again)
Free downloadable: Greenwashing Red flags https://www.makeclimatecool.com/shop/p/greenwashing-red-flags
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Produced by: Alecia Harris
Music By: Liz Fohle
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 33
Stephanie Moram 0:00
Hello Green junkie. I'm your host, Stephanie Moram and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Sarah Miltenberger about climate change and what we can do to make a difference. Sarah has made a name for herself in the sustainability world of science and technology for the past eight years, a Forbes Under 30 scholar, one of her biggest passions is utilizing creativity and communication to make sustainability a positive experience for clients. Her clients have included small to large businesses around the world that are looking for help with telling stories that marry science and strategy around life cycle analysis, supply chains and employee education. Other work experience includes working as an environmental scientist and as a lab technician for environmental consulting firms.
Stephanie Moram 0:54
If you love learning new ways you can reduce your impact on the environment please subscribe to the Green Junkie Podcast on whatever platform you get your podcasts. That way, you'll never miss another green living episode.
Stephanie Moram 1:08
Hi, Sarah. I'm so excited to have this conversation with you. So let's just dive right into it. I would love for you to tell the audience about yourself how you got involved into in sustainability and how you became a sustainability business consultant.
Sara Miltenberger 1:26
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's definitely has not been like a straight and narrow journey. It's kind of been all over the place. And I kind of fell into consulting by accident. But I, you know, I think many people when we were younger, we saw like, the inconvenient truth video. And I was really compelled by that at a young age. And I started like, a couple of recycling programs in my school, but I never really thought I was gonna have a career in this at all. I actually thought and was told I should be a lawyer my whole life, everyone was like, you're great at arguing you should become a lawyer. Um, and, and so that was kind of what I thought my career path was going to be until I went to college. And one of like, the required classes. It was like a science class. And it was a geology class about the oceans, and specifically around ocean acidification issues, oil spills, things like that. And I just completely was shocked by the issues that I was learning about in school, or in college, specifically that I just had never learned about before that and decided to become a geology major, and studied, you know, rock formations, and all these things until I learned I had to take organic chemistry. And I was like, Absolutely not. So I ended up designing my own major around sustainable development and design and environmental policy. I designed my own study abroad, I went to Australia, because you know, sustainability really wasn't a thing like eight years ago, 10 years ago, I was, you know, like, we kind of talked about it. But people kind of just assumed it was like this very expensive experience, products sucked that were sustainable products. It just wasn't the way it was now. And then I kind of Graduated, went into environmental science, but just felt I was cleaning up oil spills, and was just miserable. It was awful. I just felt like my company wasn't actually saving the world. Like I thought that I kind of went into the business with this maybe naive mindset of what I thought the environmental sector would be like. And then I transitioned to like a health and wellness company, after that, that was very focused on creating healthier spaces for people and more sustainable spaces. And that was when I started learning about the benefits of positive communication and design and sort of how do you influence behaviors and habits through passive and active design and spaces and through tools like marketing, newsletters, HR policies, things like that. And that was when I kind of sparked this idea of like, we can use this for sustainability. And I built out a sustainability program there, I went to grad school got all like the skills that I needed, and ended up trying to apply those skills at Tesla, or Tesla for a little while, and then started my own business by accident, just through a company that really needed help with positive communication. So that's a long winded story. But that's kind of how I fell into where I am now, which I've been doing for three years with restore media and strategy.
Stephanie Moram 4:36
And I love that you said you you thought about being a lawyer. That was what I wanted to do when I was young. I was like, I'm gonna be a lawyer. Everyone's like, you need to be a lawyer cause you're good at aruging. And I thought I was gonna do that ended up going in a completely different direction. I went into social work, but it's just you're telling your story and like, that's what my parents do. Yeah.
Sara Miltenberger 4:56
Passion. Just I think people just assumed if you're passionate you should be a lawyer or something I don't know.
Stephanie Moram 5:03
So you talked about positive change. Can you explain that to the audience? Like, what exactly is climate positive change communication? And why do you feel that it's important?
Sara Miltenberger 5:12
So I think, you know, climate anxiety is a very real thing. I think we've talked about it. Now there's a term for it. Now, there's studies around it now. But back when I was in college, writing my senior thesis, it was about oil spills. And I was writing, I was reading all these books about, you know, oil issues and environmental problems, the history of environmental disasters, attended a class on that. And it just sent me to a really dark place. I mean, I was convinced humans were the worst thing to ever be on this planet. Like, you just I always tell people, when you start to get into that headspace, you gotta like, there's a problem. Because when you're feeling like hopeless, there's no way to think creatively, you're pretty much trapped in that darkness. And in that space, and through my experiences, I've learned that truly the way to inspire people to think creatively to come up with real solutions is through collaboration and positive environments. And I've just been very outspoken about this for a couple of years now that when people feel hopeful about the environment, that's when they're going to come up with some really cool ideas. And they're gonna just inspire others. And it will be a domino effect of positive change. And so I've always said, you know, let's not, let's talk about positive climate change, and not necessarily climate change, just because we all can do something. And that's empowering. And that's how we're going to really make a difference on this planet.
Stephanie Moram 6:54
No, and I agree, like, there's a lot of people that are anxious, or they have like, the Eco guilt, because they're not doing everything. And so, you know, twist, like not twisting, but changing that to, like, positive like, and that's kind of what I want to teach people educate people on is like, you don't have to do everything, you know, if you aren't really involved in the environment, like if bringing your reusable mug is what you can do right now, then do that. Don't think that you have to buy like ethical clothing and make sure you have this kind of straw and this kind of bag and all these things, that it's like one step at a time, like make that a habit. So I love that you're talking about the climate positive side. I remember when I first started on this journey, like 11 years ago, like just for myself, living 12 years ago, I would feel guilty a lot like, Oh, my God, I took this in plastic, oh, my gosh, I did this, you know what I mean, when I was doing a lot of stuff for the environment. And now I kind of stepped back and thinking, you know, I can only do what I can do. And yeah, do the best that you can, right? So I love how you kind of spin like climate positive change communication versus like making people feeling guilty and shameful, because they're not doing everything that maybe you do, right? When it comes to sustainability. So I know we talked about like products and packaging. So do you work with companies when it comes to like products and packaging for it to be like climate positive?
Sara Miltenberger 8:22
Yeah. So even just to kind of go back on that thought about fear, and, you know, marketing, I mean, we are bombarded with messages all the time. And it's funny back when we were all on was a community, oh, my God, I cannot remember oh yes clubhouse. I was like addicted because for a while, I remember having rooms where I would poll the room, like who believes in positive climate change, who believes in fear based change, you would be shocked at how many sustainability professionals I would say about 50% from my polling, which could have biased, it could be biased. But 50% of sustainability professionals truly still think that fear based marketing and, and action that is pushed by fear is how we're going to, you know, do things in the future. And I just, I just vehemently disagree with that, because it just doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel good to be scared. It doesn't feel good to be guilty. I was like making toast this morning. And I felt guilty about the bread, like the bread packaging. I'm like, I gotta make sure I buy bakery bread next time because I hate this plastic and it makes me sick to my stomach. But that you know, but companies know that like companies are starting to get smart, because they're hearing from consumers that like it sucks to open up a product that has all this plastic and all this packaging, and they're like, Okay, how do we make a change here? Because then you have negative feelings towards a product, and they don't want that. And so that's why we have an issue with greenwashing. Right is because consumers are like, Oh my gosh, this is made with you know, have, you know this is a carbon neutral product or this is there's a donation every time someone buys this, and so we're consuming, but we're looking at the marketing around every product that we're touching. And if it has any kind of green marketing, we feel good about it, or we feel better about it. And that's something that companies capitalize on. And so what I do is I guide companies through that process of what language they can use, what can they not use, as well as helping them like build systems into their business, to push for more transparency to collect data so that they can actually when they are reporting information on a product, that it's correct, and they have the receipts, as well as for any like the new innovative materials like reishi, leather, cactus leather, Pina Tex, which is pineapple leather, they're accurately, you know, they're using it in the correct method, as well as accurately communicating what that is, how to dispose of it, how to reuse products, things like that.
Stephanie Moram 11:02
Yeah. And it's when it comes to like, we could talk about greenwashing forever. But I think you're right, when it's like that fear base versus the positive. Like, I think there's a way to show people like, hey, if we continue on this path, this can happen, but not like, necessarily, like, we're doomed, and we're all gonna die. You know what I mean? Like, yes, educating people, like, there's a lot of plastic in the ocean, like these are consequences of plastic. And I think there's a way to do it, where you're not making people afraid to touch plastic, right? Like, I don't love plastic. I'm vocal. I don't love plastic. But it's really hard sometimes to not use plastic, like I tip my hand off to people that don't use any plastic like I've got kids and the carseat is made of steel and plastic. So right there, I'm using plastic. But you know, you're talking about bread, we get our bread from a local bakery, we used to be able to get the bread not packaged, and put it in our own bag. So we'd go to the front of the store. But now they don't do that anymore. So I can either buy like crappy bread in plastic, or I could buy local bread made fresh every single day. And yes, it comes in plastic. But I've learned how to dispose of that plastic bag properly. Like, you know what I mean? Like, and I can sit and be guilty every time I buy the bread, but I'm like, What can I do? There's like, I can make my own bread. But the problem with making my own bread is I don't have a breadmaker, like it's just like, Yes, I can do all those things. But it's also a time. Yeah, do I have a time to make bread every day? My kids eat bread? You know?
Sara Miltenberger 12:26
So, so funny.
Stephanie Moram 12:27
Yeah, we can sit and feel guilty about it. Or we can say okay, it is what it is for the bread. But in other areas, how would I do better? How about where I can reduce as much plastic as possible? I do that versus sitting and feeling guilty about like that bread? I'm saying bread because you mentioned bread. But it's just I think I just totally agree with you like making people afraid to live more sustainably or green or eco friendly? Like, I don't think it works. I really don't because I did it at the beginning. And it didn't work for anybody. No one liked me.
Sara Miltenberger 13:01
Well, to you know how I don't know if back in must have been 2010 I knew is like right when I was in high school, when you would turn on the news, they would have like a little screen in the corner, like a pic screen I don't remember what it's called. But it was like a little tiny live feed of all the oil going into the ocean. And they'd have like, they'd be talking about whatever news like it could be, they could be talking about something completely different. But they would have that little screen of the live feed because it was such a big deal at the time. And I just remember, like just this feeling of absolute dread. Like, just like, like, oh my god, like it's very overwhelming that feeling and what you immediately start thinking about is what you're not gonna have what you're gonna have to sacrifice. What, you know how you're not thinking about like, Oh, let me try to use this reusable bag. This one time, you're just thinking about I can't do anything. I am so small. I am, you know, the system is bigger than me, we're doomed like that, that paralysis is just not helpful for anybody. Whereas when you find yourself at a farmers market and you engage in a conversation with a farmer or a baker or whoever, and you just get excited about supporting them. Oh, and I brought my reusable bag and it's like this exciting thing of you learning something new and developing positive habits. That's like a game changer right there. And that's how I think we really need to be like it's like all sustainability people and we all need to get on the same page just like this is how we're moving forward with the marketing of sustainability.
Stephanie Moram 13:01
That's how it was a couple of weeks ago. I don't remember what it was on Instagram. I posted something about like You know, don't feel guilty if you forgot your reusable mug today, or your you know, reusable this or that, like, just do just kind of do better next time that was kind of my message like, you know, just remember all the times that you did remember it and today you didn't you wanted a coffee, just move on, don't feel shameful. And someone sent me a message, I talked about it in one of my episodes, called Eco guilt, just drop it. Number 27. If anyone liked to listen to it, I talked about it in that episode, how this woman was just basically ripping me a new one because she thought that people should feel guilty that people should feel guilty because they're not doing better because our planet is like falling apart. And I'm just like, I totally do not agree with that. I don't think shaming people or making them feel guilty because they're not doing like we just mentioned before, not doing all the things like I don't think like that doesn't to me doesn't move the needle forward. Like I would rather somebody nine times out of 10 Bring the reusable mug, you know what I mean? Or like, let's say let's use a number like I'd rather 10,000 People remember their mug, like eight times out of 10 than one person doing it perfectly, or 10 people doing it perfectly. You know what I mean? Like you want a large population, doing stuff imperfectly, versus like a handful of people not like doing it perfectly. You know, that was kind of my message. So when I got that message, I was like, I just don't agree, and we're not going to agree. And she just like kept going on and on. And like I don't agree. She was also a lawyer.
Sara Miltenberger 16:25
Oh, my gosh, well, full circle. Well, full circle.
Stephanie Moram 16:28
I just I totally agree with everything you're saying? Just, you know, keep it positive, like, do you think, you know, people have kids? Do you think you know, shaming them every time they do something? Or making them feel guilty all the time is gonna get them to do something that you want them to do? No, no, I have two kids. Like, if I'm gonna make them feel guilty all the time. Like, or make them feel shameful, or whatever it is, they're not going to do what I want them to do. Like my daughter loves thrifting. And for the longest time I kind of like was forcing on her like, No, we're going through shopping like, we're not we're not shopping at like big box stores and getting like an ethical like fast fashion. And like I stepped back a little bit. And I just was talking about it. And I just kind of was like we should try going to the thrift store. And then eventually, her cousin wanted to go. And now it's become a thing that she's like, Oh, can we go thrift shopping today. And it was really to get a new shirt. You know what I mean? So I think that just shows like, I backed off. I didn't, you know, I didn't put it in her face. I didn't make her feel guilty about it all the time. It was just more I let her come to me if that makes sense. And look, now she loves thrifting. And she's 11. So if I would have had it in her face all the time, she would have been a teenager giving me the middle finger saying I'm buying all the fast fashion and I would die a little bit inside, right?
Sara Miltenberger 17:47
Well, I think at the end of the day, like maybe something that we struggle with is like worth you. Right? Like as much as we try to be super heroes. And we're like we're solving climate change together like we're human. And whenever we're trying to communicate with anybody, it's just a reminder that we're all dealing with a ton of stress every day, like I'm worried about, am I handling this friend thing? You know, I have like a friend drama, am I handling that correctly, or I've got family stuff that we got to deal with. And this and then the other thing our brains are operating at, like an insane capacity, right? And to kind of add this additional stress of like, you're not doing this right, you're a bad person, for not doing bringing your reusable cup, you're going to immediately alienate anyone that you're trying to talk to by pushing that narrative. Whereas it's like, look, we're even like we're doing our best we truly are. And when I was at the 1% Global 1% for the planet Global Summit, one of the activities that we did that actually came away with a little bit disappointed in the in the group was it was a communique. It was all about talking about climate communications. And I think we all have a family member or someone that we know, who we just like cannot discuss politics with, we can't discuss climate with like, we just can't talk to them because it just gets to be like a very volatile situation. And for most of us, it's easier for us to just shut up and not say anything, because we just don't want to the emotional toll is too much. But so one of the activities was, you know, put yourself in the shoes. And it was actually someone in the researcher was from Calgary. And so they were like, put yourself in the shoes of someone in the oil and gas industry from Alberta, who's 55 year old male. What do you care about? What do you feel? What do you think? What do you say? What do you do? And it's called empathy mapping. And so people were issues like kind of having people shout out different things and what people were shouting out were actually very stereotypical negative things about this type of a person. And I was like, This person doesn't think that their truck is more important than anything else. They don't think, like, you know, they're, you know what they're they're thinking that they're doing their best. Like we all do.
Stephanie Moram 20:16
We all think that I'm only thinking like, I need to put food on the table for my kids.
Sara Miltenberger 20:20
Yeah, they want stability, security, they have bills to pay, they have college to pay, like, whatever it is, like they have their own problems and your own things. So for you to immediately question their career choices, when that may be the only job they can get, is to immediately think, say to them, you're a bad person for working in this field for thinking these things, when they think that they're a good dad. They're a good, you know, brother, sibling, whatever, like, you know, and I think we just have to remember, whenever we're communicating with anybody about climate, we're all just humans. And we're just trying to get by, and we got a million things on our plate. And being kind and compassionate and empathetic to everyone's situation is just super, super important.
Stephanie Moram 21:08
No, I like 100% Agree, just because like you said, like, we all have stuff going on in our life, right? And for me, sustainability takes a big part of my life, because it's my passion. It's how I live my life every day. I'm the person that never forgets their mug or water bottle, because it's just, it's a habit. And it's like, forgetting my keys, you know, for my car, but I think not everyone's there, right? Like, people say to me, like, Oh, you're so dark green, like you're black, almost, you know, the crew, like, you know, like, but then I have to remember the people that are mint green out there. There's people that are lime green out there that are just getting started. And you know, you just said like, alienating them. And, and also, no, yeah, this person works in Alberta. And it's like, you know, in Calgary in Alberta is like the biggest oil sands are out there. And you know, there's just so much talk about that in Canada specifically. And I think we have to, like you said, you have to remember like, that's still a human, and that person is doing the best they can. So if we're going to just keep not being gentle on them. Like I again, I don't think we get we don't push the needle forward. Like at all, I think, I think we're just hate making people hate us even more like, oh, there comes a sustainability person. Again, they're gonna get mad at us because we have a plastic straw. And I hate that I really hate it. And because I was that person, when I first started like, did you know you can recycle that, like that didn't get me anywhere. But now it's people see how I live my life. They see how you live your life. And I get messages like, oh my gosh, I stopped using plastic straws, I ended up buying a silicone one or I ended up buying a stainless steel one. And I just most of the time I remember to bring it with me, or hey, when I buy XYZ, I don't take the top, you know, I don't need a top for my you know, they get like a smoothie or something like, I just have my own straw and I say no top, you know, but they still take the disposable cup, but they don't take the top because they've seen me do it. You know what I mean? So I think it's like doing those types of things. And being positive, like full circle back to what you said is being positive. And people watching us live our lives instead of like shoving it down their throats. And that's why like, I love social media because I act silly. Yes, it's everything I say I believe you know, like, don't forget your this. Don't forget that. But I just think we'll get further with sustainability and more people will slowly shift their thinking, if we're gentle with them, and not push like, Oh, you have to be perfect, right?
Sara Miltenberger 23:26
Yeah. Oh, my I love your reels for that reason, because I just think they're so human and, and then you're 100% Right. It's just, it's showing people what also is possible, right? Like through us doing it and sharing it. It's like, oh, okay, like that's accessible to me. Like I can remember to ask for no cover at the coffee shop. But that's very, very doable. And something maybe we don't always remember ourselves. But we're, you know, our works in progress. But, you know, I think the next level, it's something I work with, with my clients on is like taking all of this stuff. We just talked about empathy mapping, understanding how people feel when they interact with a product. And then in taking that and communicating it actually in a way that's very transparent and not lying, because greenwashing is illegal in the United States now in the state of California specifically. And so now it's a really big deal if a company lies because they want to make a customer feel a certain way. And so I think that's something that we're going to have to as sustainability professionals, we now yes, we have to encourage everyone and inspire everyone, but we also have to hold companies accountable for you know, wanting more wanting people to feel a certain way. And we have to kind of be the police in this in this situation, which makes it very difficult for you and me for sure.
Stephanie Moram 24:49
You touched on accessibility and I would love to just talk about that for a moment. Because a lot of people say like oh to live green to live, eco friendly to live sustainable, whatever word you want to pick – It costs money. Yeah. And I do think there are some moments or times that there might be investments that are made. But did you want to touch on that for a minute? Like, What? What? What do you? How do I say this? How do you what do you how do you define accessibility? Like what when it comes to sustainability like for me, you know, going through shopping like, I feel like, you don't have to go buy the $30 water bottle, I went to a thrift shop, and there's about like, 40 of them, like all different water bottles for like $4. And they were like, namebrand water bottles that people didn't want anymore. And they were in like, really good condition. They just needed a really good clean. So I feel like if somebody says like, I just don't have the money for a $30 water bottle, I'm like, Well, have you thought about like trying this or this or this? So it is like accessible a little bit more. Does that make sense? Yeah. And I'd love for you to like touch on it from like your point of view.
Sara Miltenberger 25:51
Yeah, so I think of accessibility in two different ways, one from a consumer. And one from a business perspective, I'll kind of go into both from a consumer perspective. And just to give people a little bit of background on me, I lived in every major expensive city, like I lived in New York City, I lived in Palo Alto, when I worked at Tesla, I've lived in Australia, very expensive places to live. And I have always had, you know, now, as many of us struggled with money struggle with bills, trying to make things work, there was a time when I literally used Poshmark, to feed myself like I had no money and I didn't have a job for like a small period of time. Or I was a student because I was in grad school as well. So sometimes I had to sell my clothes to survive. And that is just something that, but I also learned a lot about how to repair my my stuff, how to take care of my thing, something I just grew up with is not buying a ton of things and really maintaining the things that you own taking good care of them. And so from that perspective, I like I'm obsessed with secondhand shopping, I love getting a like a even a deal, right? But it's like it's already secondhand is already going to be less than I would be paying full price. But I love like that the marketplace and even trading. Sometimes you can trade on these websites as well. And there's just a lot of really fun opportunities that you can get creative with some of these secondhand apps and thrifting. Right? Like, there's always an opportunity to find something or an your new favorite sweater that you maybe don't own yet, because it's at a thrift shop right now. And I love what you said about just the accessibility of water bottles. You're totally right that people, we have like a stupid number of water bottles where we have donated like really nice water bottles just because we have too many or we get three ones. And so I think bringing the cost down on these products has been something that we've been have has been going on for years now. Right, I think about even years ago how expensive Whole Foods was versus you know, and everyone hates Amazon. But I will say the cost of Amazon has gone down, or the cost of Whole Foods has gone down because of Amazon buying whole foods and making that just more accessible for people. But from the business side, something that actually like aggravates me a lot is I find sustainability services and certifications and all these things that we see on products are grossly inaccessible to small businesses. I mean, think about all birds, how they have like every single, every type of certification you can have for a product, they probably spend close to a million dollars a year just on sustainability, like, right, and that's ridiculous. Most companies cannot afford that most companies can barely afford a sustainability consultant, something I've definitely been working on is what how can I create opportunities in my business for small businesses specifically, to be able to have access to a consultant that's within budget, where they can have their questions answered, or feel like they're not alone in making these decisions and like reviewing coffee, but because ultimately it's too expensive. And then you end up having all these restaurants all these small businesses that use Styrofoam and this and that, because they can't afford the sustainable material. They can't afford to think about all these things, but we need to make Sustainability Consultants almost like accountants like it's just something you need to have, but also making it something that's affordable as well.
Stephanie Moram 29:32
Yeah, and I never looked at like accessibility on the business side like I never thought about it. So I like how you explain that because I'm always thinking like the consumer, the consumer make it accessible for the consumer. And nowadays there's so many like if you're looking for high end stuff, there's so many websites aside like sell like high end stuff secondhand, right? Like if you're looking for the Gucci, or you're looking for that the Louis Vuitton like you can get that secondhand and it drastically brings down the price. If you're like I like that stuff I'm just nonplussed isn't to pay like a million dollars for a purse. But there's so many like Facebook Marketplace is a goldmine. Like, that's where I get so many books and so many things and you meet some really cool people at the same time. But I like how you explain the business side, because often we don't think about that we think about it from the consumers perspective versus the business. And you're right, like, there's some companies out there, they want to use all these sustainable materials, but like, I can barely keep the lights on in our office, you know, like, so we can't have the certifications to backup what we're actually doing. So I often feel like there's more than you don't, there's more to the brand and all those certifications that they have. Because, you know, a local farmer is not certifying their food organic, like, like, it's never gonna happen. It's literally a huge cost. And sometimes they follow the practices of organic, well pass what they an organic certification would ask them to do you know what I mean? Like they are more sustainable. So I think as consumers, we also need to look, sometimes, it's great to have like all the certifications, but sometimes when it's a small company, like look past the certification goal, like what are they actually doing that sustainable 100% Because like you said, like small businesses can't afford all these like certifications, like all birds, it's great that they can do all birds, you know, it's great that they can have all these certifications and prove all the things that they want to have, again, you guys can go Google, like all birds, and you know, I have a pair of their shoes. And it's great that they can do it. But not all companies can do that at all. Yeah.
Sara Miltenberger 31:35
And even with like B Corp, I mean, I have clients that are in the verification of process for B Corp. And, you know, B Corp actually is one of those scenarios where it's a little bit easier as a small business to some degree to become a B Corp just because the cost is lower. Whereas if you're a very large business, bringing in a significant amount of revenue, it's a huge, it's a huge cost, because, you know, you're benefiting from their brand. But at the same time, if you look at like, just to give you an example of like MySpace, when you're looking at a product like you know, recycled polyester or recycled any like recycled materials, or glass materials, typically, they have very high order quantities, we're talking like 1000, like 50,000 units, no small businesses buying that many units, or even this new company like invisible bags, like you have to buy their poly bags, which are dissolvable by the amount of material like so, you're just getting locked like it's you're basically only able to cater to large businesses who can who have some larger budgets, who can make those decisions, but you're completely alienating small to medium sized businesses that just don't have the order numbers or are not willing to take that big of a risk for that type of material. I have no place to store and I would love someday to have like a warehouse of all these different types of materials and get them to smaller businesses. But as of now, it's just a little bit tricky.
Stephanie Moram 33:11
You're gonna have a warehouse. Yeah, you're gonna, like help all the small businesses.
Sara Miltenberger 33:17
Yeah, I don't know, like, there shouldn't be like, I mean, the day the problem is, is plastic is just so cheap, and it's too accessible. And we need to like flip that and make plastic super expensive. And make all the other products more accessible. Otherwise, like, there's no other way. We're gonna start like, getting in, but like that's coming from businesses, like that's businesses making decisions, but they're also being pushed by consumers. So it's all like a very important system for consumers to speak up, engage with social media, especially and say, hey, look like I, I don't want, I don't want this stuff, do packaging plastic anymore. And if you change that packaging, and maybe it's going to be $1 more, because the packaging has to change, but I'll still support you. Like, I think brands need to feel a little more confident in some of these changes, and that the consumers are going to, you know, follow suit, and be willing to also pay for the slight increases, that sustainable materials require ultimately.
Sara Miltenberger 34:21
I would love for it to be cool to like, reuse your packaging, like and what I mean is like Yeah, funny is to like, when they receive boxes, even if it says like Amazon on it, like scratch it off, I don't care. And we use that to pack like, you know, obviously, depending on the size of the company and all that kind of stuff like with like, logistics and everything but yeah, in small businesses, you know, to, hey, I have all these boxes. I'm gonna put a sticker on and say, Hey, this was like, pre loved a pre love box. And I think if you're a sustainable company, and you're a small company, the people buying it will probably be like, Oh, that's really cool. That's probably not the reason this box. So I would love to see company He's starting to reuse their own personal boxes they might have or kind of shop around like in their community say, Hey, does anybody have boxes they don't use anymore. Like, I would love for people to do that. I literally give away my boxes on Facebook marketplace, like I post them. And I get usually like 50 responses and like anyone who's a small business or someone who's moving the needs these, because we just get a lot of boxes.
Sara Miltenberger 35:27
But I mean, and that's positive climate change communication, right, it's like something just different. It's not hurting anybody, it's not hurting a brand, I think we need to get away from this idea of like, everything around branding needs to be a specific color look by just, we need to be also okay with like imperfect items and not return every single thing. If there's like a tiny little, you know, small problem with it. In fact, I would actually choose to buy something slightly damaged, if it was going to be cheaper. Like, I'm like, oh, it's got like a small imperfection and it's gonna be 20% off, I will take it and I will make it work, or I will fix it or whatever it is, I think that's really going to be the opportunity in the future if we can make that cool. Just because, you know, so much stuff gets returned and thrown out for dumb reasons.
Stephanie Moram 36:16
Yeah, and we were talking before we start recording that I joined a gym and they give you free boxing gloves because you need boxing gloves at the gym that I go to the boxing kickboxing gym, and they give you brand new gloves. And I said to the owner, I was like, Hey, do you have any like, seconds? Like, what do you mean? I said, Well, you know, they have boxing gloves for people when they come to tryouts to see if they liked the gym. So they have like older gloves. Do you have any that you don't use anymore that you've opened and you can't sell them? And nobody wants them? She's like, absolutely. And they had four colors. They had red, black, Baby Blue, and like a baby pink. All I kept saying is not baby pink. Not baby pink. I want I want it like I love the color red. And when I like pink I like like the bright bright pink, not like the baby pink. Not pink, not pink. She comes and goes, here you go. And I'm like, Tammy pink. But I was just like, whatever. I'm just at a gym for like 30 minutes a bunch of times a week doesn't really matter that they're pink. No. But if I had a choice, I would have picked probably red or black. I wouldn't have picked pink, but I was getting them second. And I'm like, does it really matter? Like in the grand scheme of anything? Does it matter that I've paid boxing gloves? No, I'm still getting the same workout. So it's, you know, change that mindset and having make it okay, that stuff is not perfect, and that you can fix things and I just hope that becomes cool one day.
Sara Miltenberger 37:37
I'm such a big DIY or like I, we rent. And I actually found that we've like this weird tiling in our kitchen. And it's just like this one area, but it's like fully across. Oh, no, it's just like ugly. I hate it. But I discovered that just like I could cover it with a black paper tape and doesn't do any damage. It was the $3 to get black paper tape. And it's paper tape. So it's recyclable, but it totally changed, like the whole kitchen. Nothing had to be done, which was something small, like, Oh, now I feel like better about my kitchen. And I did it in a way that like wasn't problematic. And yeah, so maybe you can paint your boxing gloves?
Stephanie Moram 38:22
No, I'm fine. I'm totally fine with being pink. It was just funny. I was like, please not pink, please not pink. Oh, here's your pink wasn't like it was just funny. Like, it's totally not the end of the world. So I would love for you to let the audience know, I know you have a podcast if you just want to touch on that for a minute. And where people can find you on social media if they want to connect with you or like your website and stuff like that.
Sara Miltenberger 38:43
Yeah, so the podcast is called make climate cool again, you know, just as we were talking about making things cool, that are sustainable. And season three is actually coming out in the beginning of April. I don't want to put out an exact date in case in case I can't make it work. But go check it out. I think for this season, we will be the first time that I actually have a whole schedule outline of what was coming out when you can kind of plan ahead. The podcast is kind of I started my podcast before I started my business and it truly is something where talking about accessibility right where just to get people perspective and get people in a room with maybe someone they never would have been able to talk to kind of like this to where they get to learn something new and be inspired by what people are doing in business every every day and how they're making sustainable change. And if you can sort of follow that same vein my business and company restore media and strategy is to be found at make climate cool.com I'm really leaning into that make climate cool vibe so you can also find us at make climate go on Instagram. Also if you just want to connect with me, I am at sustainable underscore Sarah on Instagram and we just have a Fun time over on Instagram, and I don't post all the time, but I post when things are important, so go check it out.
Stephanie Moram 40:08
Well, thank you so much for being here. I really, really appreciate it. It's been a great conversation. Every time I speak to somebody, like we have to do this again. Because there's like just so much to like, kind of like, unpack and like talk about so thank you, Sara, for being here. I really, really appreciate it.
Sara Miltenberger 40:22
Of course, thank you for having me.
Stephanie Moram 40:25
So for more green living inspiration, you can listen to other episodes including episode 27 eco guilt, just drop it. We touched on greenwashing. So you have an episode called what has greenwashing which is number 24. And then another episode is six ways to detox your home, which is number 20. So you can stay connected with me on Instagram at Green Junkie Podcast. You can also check out my main Instagram, which is this is Stephanie Moram. Don't forget to subscribe to the Green Junkie Podcast on the platform you're listening to. If you're curious about zero waste, living sustainable fashion or wondering how to read food cleaning product labels, I've got you covered for direct access to me your green living expert, click the link in the show notes where you can ask me questions and get a customized plan on how you can live a greener lights. You can hop on a one on one call with me or ask me your questions via email. Zoom is not your thing. I can be your personal hashtag green Google, and you can pick my brain. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next Tuesday Green Junkie