plastic bottle floating in the ocean

On Wednesday July 29, Planet Home’s very own Antony Randall (CEO) joined Lani Cooper, founder and CEO of Mobot, on Instagram Live to close out their month-long celebration of Plastic Free July. Every Wednesday this month, Cooper hosted a series of live interviews in a segment appropriately titled Talking Trash, discussing the challenges our planet faces and the actions we can take to make a positive impact.

The hour-long conversation between Randall and Cooper was full of friendly banter and laughs, scattered between nuggets of inspiration and wisdom. Watch the full interview below and check out some of our favorite takeaways:

Reduce, Reuse, Regenerate

On the topic of Plastic-Free July, Randall and Cooper dove into a discussion about the harmful impacts of single-use plastics. Although recycling has become commonplace for many, 90.5% of plastic is still not being recycled. 

For a long time, the mantra has been, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” While recycling is still important, the key to protecting the planet from waste is focusing on reducing the number of products we consume and reusing items instead of throwing them away.  Beyond just plastic, there are so many other single-use items that we encounter in our day to day lives that we need to rethink. 

“We don’t really think about the cost of [single-use] items to the planet. We have single-use batteries, single-use plastic, single-use everything,” Randall said. “The first question is, can we change behaviors around purchasing and how much we really need?”

So many of us are caught in a lifestyle of continuously purchasing more than we really need, and it’s time we reevaluate our consumption habits. Reducing and reusing is not only better for the planet but is better for us as this de-clutters our lives and saves us money. Also, we need to reshape industries to be more in line with the regenerative principles of a circular economy.

At the industry level, there are macro-changes that need to happen, like moving towards green manufacturing or promoting innovations in material science by organizations like GreenBlue. There are also micro-actions that each of us can take, for example, cut back fast fashion and shop second-hand or simply reuse items already in your closet. Switch from disposable batteries to rechargeable ones. Avoid single-use plastic bottles and keep a reusable water bottle like Mobot’s.

The Importance of Mental Health & Wellness

When it comes to working against difficult challenges, like those that face our planet, the role of mental health and wellness often goes overlooked. Any type of work, whether it be related to the environment or otherwise, can be stressful and overwhelming, and can easily have a negative impact on one’s mental health. 

Especially during what has been a difficult year of confronting a global pandemic, people all around the world are experiencing economic and emotional strains unlike ever before. More than ever, it’s important to prioritize our health and wellness if we want to move forward towards a better future.

“I don’t know how we’re going to solve [problems] unless people are mentally well,” Randall said, “It’s okay to say you’re not okay.” In order to take care of the work that needs to get done, we need to take care of ourselves and each other. 

“If we’re doing all this to save the planet but there are no humans left, then what’s it all for?” Cooper pointed out, “We need to look out for each other, too.”

Organizations like the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) connect people struggling with mental illnesses with the treatments, resources, and support systems they need. Whether you’re getting involved with organizations like the ADAA or supporting loved ones, it’s important for us to work together towards collective healing.

As the new generation of change-makers arises, it will be equally important to promote personal well-being as well as the planet’s well-being. We need to make sure they are provided the economical and emotional support they need to sustain their efforts.

“There are so many young people out there who are working hard [to make a difference] and we just need them to keep going,” Randall said. “Whatever you’re fighting for, just keep going.”

Watch the full interview between Antony Randall and Lani Cooper below.