The Zero Waste Countdown Podcast
67. Microplastic In Our Atmosphere

67. Microplastic In Our Atmosphere

October 7, 2019

20171027_Melanie Bergmann_010.jpg

Dr. Melanie Bergman, from the HGF-MPG Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology at 
Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung joins the ZWC to talk about her recent study showing that microplastic is now in our atmosphere.


Studying snow samples near cities, up in the Arctic, and in the Alps, Dr. Bermann and her team have demonstrated that microplastic is migrating through our air. In 1998 microplastic was found in human lung tissue but we don't exactly know what it's doing to our lungs. Plastic production has significantly increased since then and plastic air pollution is only going to get worse. 

Teflon is all over the ocean floor too, and it's not healthy for us, so it's a good time to use cast iron or stainless steel cooking pans just in case it's getting into our oceans through our kitchen sinks, although this pathway hasn't been studied. 

For more on Dr. Bergmann, you can read about her study here:


Episode Music Credits: Open Those Bright Eyes Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

66. Zero Waste Buildings

66. Zero Waste Buildings

October 1, 2019


Denise Braun is the Principal and Founder of All About Waste. She currently lives in LA but is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and she focuses on improving buildings to be more liveable, which includes zero waste operation and certification.  

Living in Brazil, Denise began organizing beach cleanups and began researching ocean currents to find out why so much plastic pollution from Asia was ending up on her Brazilian beaches. Her environmental activism work led her to jobs in the sustainability field where today she's providing WELL Certification, Fitwel Certification, Healthy Materials Consulting, Sustainability Workshops, and Corporate Program Development.

350 Mission.jpeg

"Trash is directly related to issues around greenhouse gas emissions and social equity", says Denise, and in San Francisco that's a big issue. She's helped certify the world's largest zero waste building there and recommends Americans visit the following websites to show support for waste issues in California: 

California SB54

Episode Music Credits: Open Those Bright Eyes Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


65. Plastic in the Arctic

65. Plastic in the Arctic

September 23, 2019

In August 2019 Swedish icebreaker Oden conducted a research expedition to the Northwest Passage. Disturbingly, what they found in ice core samples in the Arctic, was plastic. 


Hear from scientist Jacob Strock from the University of Rhode Island's Oceanography Department about the research expedition, what they found, and what it means for all of us. 


Episode Music Credits: Open Those Bright Eyes Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

64. Smart Waste with Rubicon Global

64. Smart Waste with Rubicon Global

September 17, 2019


David Rachelson is the Vice President of Sustainability at Rubicon Global and he works with businesses of all sizes, municipalities, and smart cities to find solutions to their waste. 


Rubicon Global is a technology company that powers a digital marketplace, provides a suite of SaaS products for waste, recycling, and smart city solutions, and collects and analyzes data for businesses and governments worldwide. Using technology to help turn businesses into more sustainable enterprises and neighborhoods into greener and smarter places to live and work, Rubicon’s mission is to end waste in all of its forms by helping its partners find economic value in their waste streams and confidently execute on their sustainability goals. The company is a Certified B Corporation, affirming that Rubicon meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. Through its technology, Rubicon is transforming the entire category of waste and recycling.


Rubicon Global is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, and has core teams in New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, St. Louis, MO, and Tinton Falls, NJ. Rubicon has been named a Great Place to Work in 2018 and 2019 and was awarded as one of Glassdoor’s “Top Ten Companies with Seriously Impressive Benefits” in 2018. David accepted an award in Davos on behalf of Rubicon Global in the Digital Disruptor category in 2017.


Episode Music Credits: Open Those Bright Eyes Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

63. Canadian Beef

63. Canadian Beef

September 9, 2019

beef, canada

"Stop eating beef, you're killing the planet!" is a message we see nonstop. But is beef really killing the planet?

Large factory farms have a negative impact on the environment and so do cattle grazing on burnt out rainforest so we know that a lot of beef production is harming the planet. But what about Canadian beef?


Quinn Curran is a 4th year biology student at Queen's University who has a keen interest in nutrition and works for a naturopath. Her father, John Curran, is a sustainable family farmer located a few hours east of Toronto. His herd is part of a natural cycle that arguably benefits the land while providing nutrition with hardly any carbon footprint.


This episode explores the other side of beef, the sustainable side, and discusses how beef farming, if done right, can actually be beneficial for not only people but for the planet too.

62. Coffee Waste in Scotland

62. Coffee Waste in Scotland

September 4, 2019

Fergus Moore 123 copy

Fergus Moore joins the ZWC to talk all about his company Revive Eco that he founded with Scott Kennedy, in order to divert coffee waste from the garbage across Scotland. 

Coffee grounds are still rich in uses after they make coffee, and Fergus is working on a way to extract oils from used coffee grounds that could one day replace palm oil.

61. Cycling and Zero Waste Life

61. Cycling and Zero Waste Life

August 23, 2019

Have you ever seen a cyclist biking through the city in the dead of winter when there's snow on the ground and it's freezing cold? 


If you're from Ottawa, that might have been JP Torunski, an avid cyclist who also lives a zero waste lifestyle.

60. Amazon Soils & Biochar

60. Amazon Soils & Biochar

August 11, 2019

Deep in the Amazon jungle, scientists have found soil called terra preta, thousands of years old, made from human waste that's still fertile for growing crops today! Everything ancient civilizations used went into a midden heap after they were done with it - pottery, fish bones, food scraps, human waste - and then once it was burned, the midden created such valuable soil that it's still thriving at least 3,000 years later.


What a different waste management system the ancients had, compared to our toxic landfills and incinerators of modern times. But, the ancients never had to deal with plastic.


Biochar is charcoal made from organic matter instead of charcoal from fossil fuels, and it has some surprisingly valuable uses. Tom Miles is the Executive Director of U.S. Biochar Initiative, Chair of International BioChar Initiative, and the president of TR Miles Technical Consultants Inc., and he joins the show from Portland to talk all about biochar and healthy soils.

If you're interested in building your own healthy soil this episode is for you!

Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary on PBS



59. Worms! With Waste Not Farms

59. Worms! With Waste Not Farms

August 5, 2019

Jocelyn Moroneaux has a bachelors in business and a masters in applied environmental science and has used both to create Waste Not Farms, a closed loop company collecting food scraps from offices in Toronto. Jocelyn brings the food scraps back to her farm north of Toronto and feeds all of it to her worms. The worms, in turn, eat the food scraps and excrete worm castings, a highly viable growing medium. 

Laura and Jocelyn discuss the worm business, detrimental farming techniques, microbes in soil, tilling vs. no tilling, ancient growing knowledge, and how to have a healthy garden soil. 

If you're interested in buying some of Jocelyn's Soil Booster, you can use the discount code Jocelyn gave us zerowastepodcast for 20% off soil booster bags and soil-aid tea bags. 

58. Eat The Dishes

58. Eat The Dishes

July 29, 2019



Don’t Skip The Dishes… EAT The Dishes!


Marissa Bergeron lives in Vancouver and creates vegan soups and hot chocolate in cups we can eat afterwards.


These aren’t just any cups and bowls – soups are served in delicious bread cups people just can’t get enough of.


Plastic waste is a big problem that spans our entire planet – from Mt. Everest down to Marianas Trench, and everywhere in between. Marissa offers an alternative that happens to be delicious, vegan, and good for us and the planet.

Cups board

MUSIC CREDITS: Open Those Bright Eyes Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License P&G’s Approach to Citizenship.