This week in our At Home With series, we caught up with Siobhan Corbin on her passion for educating people on consumption and circular fashion.
Tell us about you and what you do.
I live in the beautiful city of Bath, I'm a cat person, and work in Innovation & Sustainability in the waste industry. That's right, bins! Despite it not being the most glamorous of industries, it is an industry that we all use and impact. I am passionate about educating people on how to consume less, dispose less, and generally understand the impact our decisions and actions have on the environment.
What does sustainability mean to you?
For me, sustainability is a journey not a destination. No one can do anything perfectly, and that's unfortuantely a common theme I notice within conversations around sustainability. For example, Greta Thunberg dedicates her life to fighting back against governments who do nothing to combat the climate crisis, but will be lambasted on social media for eating her hummus out of a plastic pot(!) It's about changing small aspects of your behaviour - whether you're a person or a business - bit by bit, which will eventually equate to something bigger!
What inspired you to get into the world of sustainability and innovation?
I loved geography and science when I was at school. But, I wasn't really introduced to the concept of sustainability broadly, as conversations around sustainability were limited to recycling (which is ironic now as it's now my job) and conserving natural resources. Which are important topics, and topics I was interested in, but merely scratch the surface of the topic as a whole. I only really felt inspired to get into the world of sustainability when I was scrolling through UCAS when applying for university - looking at geography degrees - and found the course 'Global Development and Sustainability'. I took that course, and well, the rest is history!
As someone who loves fashion and design, what’s your approach to shopping in a sustainable way?
One of my main approaches is when I see or think of something I'd like, I pop it on a list in my notes app. Sometimes this list can be 30 things long, other times it's just 7. I go back and look at that list every so often, and if I still want that piece after a period of time, I'll buy it. Essentially, I try my very best not to impulse shop!
I've also tried harder over the years to follow the mantra of 'buy well, buy once', and ensuring the foundations of my wardrobe are high quality basics that will last me years, if not decades. I buy a lot of vintage items, and often these were made better than items you buy on the highstreet now.
What do you believe is our biggest challenge when it comes to our relationship with the Earth?
Day-to-day, the average person in a high-income country does not see first-hand the devastating impacts of our patterns of our over-consumption and the devastating impacts of climate change. The consequences and impacts of these things feel so very distant to us, as they're shown on the news sandwiched between other headlines, or scrolled past on a social media platform and forgotten the next day. Further, a lot of what is sold and marketed to us is perceived as disposable, and people are always craving the next new thing and discarding something that's not 'new' anymore. Which is such a shame, as it's our Earth that has often given us the materials to create these things, and we show no gratitude to our Earth by throwing these things away and damaging her instead.
How do you connect with the Earth yourself?
Truly, it's primarily spending time outside. Even on my commute to work, I always make sure to 'look up'. I look at the trees and marvel at how they change with each season. When I get the chance, I will spend time by the beach and appreciate the tide rolling in and even the gusty winds. By no means am I a 'perfect' citizen of this Earth, but I certainly try my best to appreciate it.
You can find Shiv here.