Zeina AlHashmi, Sustainability Specialist and Environmentalist
Describe yourself in 3-5 words?
Eco-conscious Mom of two – who is about all things sustainable, 28, Yemeni / Egyptian, Sustainability Specialist
How has your sustainable journey started?
My mentor at work involved me in a waste management project that opened my eyes up to the issues around waste generation and disposal. I felt helpless & overwhelmed at some point because the project was on a level beyond my control. So I started looking into what I can do, on a personal level, to decrease the waste I generated and that’s how my passion towards taking care of the environment started.
What is your vision and how do you think you add value to the community?
To educate and inspire others the same way I was inspired. Small changes make a huge difference and I learned that throughout my own journey, so creating a ripple effect is my ultimate success.
Can you share a couple of practical examples on your sustainable living that would be useful to others?
Most basic and essential need in life is water but drinking it doesn’t mean I need to leave bottles of plastic behind and so I started with that. Investing in a stainless steel bottle that I carry everywhere was the easiest switch I ever made.
I haven’t bought a single plastic bottle in over a year! Realizing how easy the switch was I started looking at other simple swaps. No more single use plastic bags for me.
I carry my own straw and cutlery when going out and I switched to many reusable, low waste and sustainable options in beauty care too such as: shampoo & conditioner bars, coconut oil for make-up remover, raw shea butter as moisturizer, reusable cotton pads and “last swab’ for ear buds.
Anything that I can essentially buy in bulk and unpackaged, I get using my own reusable jars or bags – like olive oil, honey, nuts, bread, cheese, olives etc.
I recently invested in Modibodi period underwear but since i am breastfeeding my 3-month year old son, I am yet to try it!
Since when do you live in the UAE?
I was born & raised in the UAE
Why do you love this place?
It’s the only place I ever called home
If you would get a magic stick what would you improve and make better?
Ridiculous unnecessary plastic packaging that is given to us without need or purpose I would get rid of all the ridiculous and unnecessary plastic packaging that is given to us and has little to no purpose. This realization came to me as most of the trash that was produced in my home came to me in one way or another as packaging.
Where do you like doing your grocery and why?
Carrefour mainly because it has almost all options for refilling and in its own marketing trying to promote sustainable living amongst its customers
What is your favourite eco-brand?
Locally, I would say Lush. Internationally, I would say Marely’s Monsters.Locally I would say Lush
What is your favourite eco-friendly restaurant or cafe?
Freedom pizza- The way freedom pizza handled their plastic free campaign – it was persistent, encouraging and impactful
The best way to spend time with family and friends?
A home cooked dinner meal and game night
How do you spend your free time?
I’m a working mom raising two boys (three if you count my husband) – so I’m taking this as trick question 🙂
The best recent discovery in the UAE?
The SmartCara Food Disposal Unit! With composting being nearly impossible when living in an apartment and food waste filling the landfills, this device breaks down food waste into an odorless nutrient rich powder that you can safely discard in any soil. Just like that, my food scraps are no longer “wasted”.
Do you recycle and how?
Yes, by segregating my waste at home and disposing it in segregation bins provided by my building facility management. For other specific items I find collection bins somewhere else i.e. batteries in Waitrose or CWM recycling stations in Khalidiya. For other specific waste items such as batteries, I find collection bins around the city. There is actually the “Abu Dhabi Recycling Network” group on Facebook that pin point the locations of recycling bins on google map.
What is the best way to learn about sustainability and green living?
From others! reading blogs and following peoples personal journey – reading about their failures and successes
Follow Zaina on Istagram @earthly_behavior