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Waste Warrior

February 25, 2019 2 min read

Waste Warrior

Can one person making a change in their life make a difference in the world? Absolutely—just ask Krystina Jarvis.


Growing up, Krystina Jarvis was a regular at the Cincinnati Zoo. She had an affinity for wildlife and nature and the zoo fed her interests.


On one particular outing, a 12-year-old Krystina visited the cheetah habitat. She watched in awe as the keepers spoke lovingly about the animals and their connection to this endangered species.


At that moment she connected with conservation. She also discovered her path in life.


Krystina embarked on a mission trip to Kenya in high school. She studied wildlife biology at Ohio State. Worked at the Columbus Zoo after graduation.


Then she was introduced to the Zero Waste movement.


“I’ve always been conscious of the environment but I never considered my waste,” says Krystina. “This opened my eyes to a whole new level of conservation.”


Krystina directed her efforts to everyday living. She vowed to live plastic free for a month and encouraged her coworkers at the zoo to do the same. Almost 200 participated in the challenge.


“We noticed that the impact of these 193 people started to create a culture shift at the zoo,” says Krystina.


Word of the challenge spread to a Canadian zoo. The second-year challenge led to collaboration—Plastic Free July—among 58 zoos and aquariums and their 5,200 staff worldwide.


Krystina started a blog to spread awareness of clean living. Last year, she relocated to the Pacific Northwest and recently opened A Drop in the Ocean online store offering everything from aluminum bottles to bulk cleaners and soap. Pop-up shops in the Tacoma area are on the calendar.


Zero Waste may not be for everyone, Krystina acknowledges, but everyone can make small changes to reduce their plastic use and environmental footprint. Start with everyday items like bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel safety razors. Purchase what you need not just bulk. Borrow instead of buy.




While she may not be able to fit all of her trash in a glass jar, Krystina says she has cut down her waste considerably the last few years. Today, it takes up to four months to fill a trash bag.


“It’s awesome to see people who never considered the Zero Waste lifestyle start to shift their thinking,” Krystina says. “Helping people learn how to make an impact on the environment is powerful.”


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