I started Set Me Free after seeing how much plastic there is on beaches of such beautiful islands like Mauritius.
Having spent a few months there, I have noticed that there are people that do want to make a difference an inspire people living without waste.
I'm really happy to have discovered Fabienne and her Reduce Waste Mauritius account, with constant inspiration on how to live zero waste. She even does her own beeswax wraps, such a welcome thing to do on an island where cling film is so commonly used.
Take note of her account if you ever plan to travel to Mauritius or dream of island life.
Can you first please tell me a bit about yourself?
So, my name is Fabienne Harel and I am a graphic designer. I finished my studies in 2014 and have worked as a graphic designer and photographer since. In 2017 I started working in freelance. I started living a zero waste life at home, slowly and one day I woke up with the thought: if I can do it, everyone can. So I started the blog. My biggest surprise was the amount of followers I got in such a little time. I realised how people wanted things to change and needed help to do so.
Is there a lot of interest into zero waste in Mauritius?
I wouldn't say there is a lot of interest but more and more people are starting to be conscious about their impact on the planet. And that's very good.
What would be your advice to tourist travelling to Mauritius?
This is a hard question. My blog gives advises to people on how to reduce their waste in their everyday life. When you are on holiday it's harder to get organised, and you are confronted to situations where you don't have much choice.
If I can give some small advises when you travel:
1) Take the essential
2) Do not buy too much, enjoy the moments instead.
3) If you do buy, buy local.
4) Refuse: refuse all the single use plastic in the plain, in the hotels. Stick to your principles even if its hard.
5) Try to book in eco-friendly resorts or hostels. Research about the place you're visiting in order to prepare yourself.
Many hotels are providing plastic bottles as far as I’ve seen. Is tap water not drinkable in Mauritius?
Yes it is. Not everywhere but it is. Hotels provide bottled water yes. It is very hard with all the regulations in hotels to juggle between zero waste and requirements. I have a few friends working in that area and I had this discussion with them before. They are getting there slowly but surely.
How evolved in recycling and do people compost?
Mauritius is not that much behind in terms of recycling. Companies like "Mission verte" and "BEM recycling" are doing the best they can but unfortunately recycling is not the main concern in Mauritius. But again, slowly but surely. People that are concern recycle and do their best to compost and make things right. Not always easy.
What was your first zero waste ‘swap’ and why?
Good question. I think it was the water bottle. I bought my Atlaswear bottle and its been 2 years that I have not bought a single plastic bottle :)
Which one is your favourite DIY recipe for zero waste living?
Deodorant. I make my own deodorant with coconut oil, palmarosa essential oil and bicarbonate.
Which are your favourites zero waste products and where can you find them?
My favourite are the solid shampoos that I get with my friend Sandrine.