Within the last five years or so, lots of people have been trying to minimize their harmful impact on the planet. This has led to new vegan meat options, rises in reusable water bottle sales, and the number of zero-waste influencers online. It can be overwhelming for those not in the environmental field to know what to invest time and money into, and who to trust for education online. As someone with a BS in environmental studies, I see people feeling more confused than ever online. There is so much misinformation, uneducated claims, and scare tactics being used in an otherwise important space. Here is who I think everyone should know about on Instagram, because they’re the 10 best zero-waste influencers to follow right now:
Stevie Van Horn is an environmental justice and climate activist on Instagram. She is one of those eco-conscious influencers that make climate education fun. With her sustainable OOTD reels, authenticity, and explorations of under-discussed environmental topics, her content is accessible for people of all eco-backgrounds. Her ability to connect with her audience is powerful, as she centers herself in her posts and allows her love for the world to be the focus (something many environmental influencers don’t often do enough of). It’s powerful to see a woman proud of the work she does, and not afraid to take up space. It’s inspiring, wholesome, and hopeful. Her content is ideal for those seeking some climate optimism, education on environmental justice (her latest reel on how to visit Hawaii respectfully was so insightful), nature appreciation, and personality. While she isn’t specifically a zero-waste influencer, she still talks about the issues with plastic and advocates for minimizing avoidable waste.
Emma Dendler is a practical environmentalist, and that’s something Instagram needs more of. Enough of the greenwashing and only-here-for-the-aesthetics “activists.” Emma is making a difference. With a growing Youtube channel and informative website, she has made it clear that she is an educator who values realistic goals, environmental literacy, and hands-on activism. Emma focuses on helping her community online to spot greenwashing, find affordable ways to minimize their plastic waste, find activism opportunities, and be thrifty. She is known for her “ugly zero-waste” honesty, where she shows the true side of offline zero-waste living (repurposed toilet rolls and all). She is a must follow zero-waste influencer if you find yourself thinking that eco-conscious living is expensive or out of your reach. Emma will help you learn that it isn’t.
Marissa is a Ukrainian-American influencer on Instagram that advocates for imperfect sustainability. She is a fantastic person to follow for zero-waste life hacks, brand recommendations, and sustainable fashion inspiration. She posts about issues such as thrifting, zero-waste gifting, composting, zero-waste beauty routines. Her blog is filled with extremely helpful email templates for those who want to get involved in climate activism on a larger scale, or those who just want to learn more about how to contact their government representatives about issues that matter to them. She’s been posting recently about how her Ukrainian culture can inform environmentalists, and it’s been such a powerful reminder of how important it is to be globally informed.
Shelbi has a degree in environmental science, and shares her knowledge with others online. She considers herself a climatarian, and works to make environmental knowledge more accessible for those without the same educational background. She is a must follow zero-waste influencer thanks to her focus on intersectional environmentalism, her educational qualifications, and her centering of representation. She is a fantastic person to follow for those of us who wish we saw more queer people in the environmental public arena, and her Youtube is great for those wanting to learn more about greenwashing. She has been featured in numerous large publications such as BBC, Time, and NY Times!
Immy is a low-waste activist and vegan who posts about slow living, zero-waste cooking, gardening, and zero-waste beauty. She offers incredible resources on her website for those who are just beginning to look into going zero-waste, and is a great zero-waste influencer to follow if you are looking to live more simply. She is based out of the U.K., and makes videos on Youtube about living a zero-waste life. Her reels on Instagram are peaceful and calming, which is something that this space often lacks due to the crisis we are facing. Her content brings hope, peace, and the inspiration needed to minimize your life. She is a refreshing corner of the zero-waste influencers space online.
Max is a zero-waste chef and award-winning author who advocates for accessibility in eco-friendly cooking. His account is absolutely perfect for those wanting to learn how to cook and eat in a greener way. His food is beautiful, unpretentious, and wholesome, and his reels on Instagram are very engaging. He posts videos on his Youtube channel that allow for in-depth instruction on how to cook his recipes, which is ideal for new cooks or those new to the zero-waste cooking scene. It’s rare to find men in the zero-waste corner of the internet, especially as an influencer, so Max is a breath of fresh air. His focus on empowering people to cook more whole foods and waste less is such an important part of this corner of the internet. People eat everyday, and he is helping them to make those moments less harmful to our precious world.
Focusing on imperfect zero-waste living, slow fashion, and eco-education, Nayana is a force to be reckoned with online. She centers her platform around the importance of buying less, shopping more intentionally, and environmental justice. She posts on Instagram about doing plastic audits, teaches followers how to shop at grocery stores without using plastic, and the importance of understanding that living a zero-waste life is not about perfection. She speaks honestly about popular zero-waste swaps, includes urban spaces in her thoughts on living more simply, and weaves veganism into her discussions of living a less wasteful life. Based in India, her inclusion of underrepresented voices from her community is so important, making it clear that she is an intersectional environmentalist that everyone should know about.
Hannah is an artist and trash collector, and someone who everyone who has an Instagram should be following. She shares her art pieces made from litter, education about the plastic crisis, and her adventures collecting trash off the beach. She’s worked with amazing brands like Pela, Surfrider, and Stasher, and she is based in the Great Lakes region in the USA. She brings together the world of art and environmental science, and it’s something that needs to happen more often online. So many artists and creative-minded people don’t realize that there is a space for them in the environmental space, so people like Hannah are essential for bringing them in. She posts tips for how to contribute less to the plastic crisis, shares educational information about how wasteful the current system is, and of course, shares her colorful art! Her rainbow-inspired pieces bring hope, making her a valuable zero-waste influencer to follow!
Christie is a zero-waste influencer who brings hope, a praise of imperfect zero-waste efforts, and slow living inspiration to the world of the internet. Her Youtube videos are sincere, funny, and deeply heartfelt. She is someone who I believe everyone should follow, because she not only shows that living a low-waste life doesn’t have to be complicated, but she demonstrates that living simply, emotionally, and thoughtfully is a powerful thing. Her videos and Instagram posts take followers through a genuine journey, as she is unfiltered about sharing the ins and outs of her zero-waste life. She shares eco-product reviews, low-waste DIY projects, thrifted outfit looks, ecoc-friendly hacks, and encouragement to slow down. She is a wonderfully kind person, her dog is absolutely precious, her sense of humor is flawless, and she is beautifully insightful. There is nothing not to be obsessed with.
Kathryn Kellogg is an educational icon in the zero-waste space on Instagram and Youtube. She is the author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, is a spokesperson for plastic-free living for National Geographic, and works to make her knowledge available to everyone. She shares tips for minimizing your waste, points out greenwashing fearlessly, and focuses on simplicity. She advocates for the fact that living a zero-waste lifestyle is accessible, and about minimizing—not buying more things. She acknowledges the expense of classic zero-waste products, and instead encourages followers to use less, buy less, and focus on what they have available to them. She is a warrior of imperfect zero-waste living, which makes her one of the best zero-waste influencers that everyone should follow. Calling herself a “climate optimist,” she offers helpful ways to keep one’s head up and do the work, rather than drown in anxiety about the crisis. She is witty, honest, approachable, and strongly informed.
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Photo: respective influencer