To help jazz up everyone’s time at home during COVID-19 quarantines, Miley Cyrus launched an Instagram Live talk show, Bright Minded, airing every weekday at 11:30 a.m. PT. On the show, the singer has already virtually interviewed some seriously famous Hollywood pals, from Alicia Keys to Reese Witherspoon to Elton John. But on Thursday, April 2’s Bright Minded episode, Cyrus switched gears to teach her viewers about the zero-waste lifestyle.
First up, Cyrus interviewed Max La Manna, a zero-waste and vegan chef and cookbook author (who we are huge fans of here at Green Matters). Before cooking a vegan curried chickpea pizza “for” Cyrus, La Manna shared his best advice for reducing waste in the kitchen — which should seriously come in handy with the current quarantine-fueled home cooking explosion.
A few of his top tips? Keep your herbs in a glass of water to prolong their life, and then use the herb stems to make a pesto; store sliced bread in the freezer; stop peeling vegetables like carrots and potatoes and just eat the skins; and save vegetable scraps such as onion skins to make your own veggie stock. “The smallest thing can make a huge difference,” La Manna told Cyrus.
La Manna and Cyrus also discussed the societal issue of food waste, noting that American families-of-four spend up to $1,500 a year on wasted food. Most people currently have limited access to places that help with the zero-waste lifestyle, such as bulk stores, farmers markets, and even grocery stores, making now a tricky time to “go zero waste.” That said, now is actually a good time to start shifting your mindset towards the zero-waste lifestyle.
“We can’t focus on going zero waste in the time of a pandemic. We need to just focus on conserving and doing the best we can with what we have,” La Manna told Cyrus.
“Most people eat out, so you’re being forced to eat and cook the food that you actually have,” he continued, advising viewers to shop smarter, plan your meals, only buy what you need, and utilize your freezer to protect leftovers. “It’s doing those small shifts that are going to go a long way.”
Cyrus has been vegan since 2014, and she finished the conversation by asking La Manna what he would say to any skeptics who think that plant-based food can’t be as filling or delicious as the animal-based meals they’re used to. “Just eat more plants. Focus on putting more plants on your plate,” he told her. “And get creative, have fun with vegetables.”
Lauren Singer, aka Trash Is For Tossers, who has been living a zero-waste lifestyle for about eight years, shared similar sentiments about the zero-waste movement later in the episode. Over the past few years, some people in the zero-waste community (including those who prefer to call the lifestyle the “low-impact movement”) have criticized Singer for preaching an all-or-nothing philosophy when it comes to producing trash, which can exclude those who do not have the privilege to drastically change their habits.
But with the safety threats of the novel coronavirus, Singer has adopted a more practical attitude as of late. “I definitely wouldn't suggest starting to try to live a zero-waste lifestyle right now at all. I’ve definitely had to sacrifice a lot of my values in preparation for COVID, whether it was buying plastic-packaged frozen food at the store, or just not having the ability to compost in the right way,” Singer told Cyrus.
“But I do think there are ways that people can start reducing their waste right now, whether it’s trying a new DIY thing — learning how to make your own toothpaste or learning how to make your own deodorant,” she continued. “So there are ways that you can try out new sustainable habits right now. But going zero-waste right now I think would be a disservice to yourself. And I think the most important thing that we should all prioritize is just staying inside, staying healthy.”
Cyrus added that since so many of us have extra free time at the moment, it’s a great time to start researching the zero-waste lifestyle, and mentally preparing to make some habit changes once life goes back to “normal.” (Luckily for you, we have plenty of guides for zero-waste living on Green Matters.)
With 106 million Instagram followers, Miley Cyrus has an enormous platform. It’s awesome that she is using Bright Minded not only to entertain people during this uncertain time, but also to educate fans about eco-conscious living.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.