It has often been said that Joost Bakker is a hard man to put into a box. Florist, designer, campaigner, artist, disrupter; he has been called many things and executed many roles. What is most obvious about him though, is his ability to solve a problem, even before most people realise it is actually a problem.
Photography by Alexandrena Parker.
Known as the poster boy for zero-waste living, Joost has single-handedly flipped industries on their heads: first floristry with his penchant for choosing foliage and natives en masse long before anyone else did, then the hospitality industry through his zero-waste restaurants that popped up all over Australia. He approaches a never-ending array of projects with a magic mix of practical thinking and creativity.
Joost is speaking about his zero-waste approach to life on our panel that will open our Chadstone flagship, the first 5 Star Green Star rated fashion retail store in Australia. He is also creating beautiful installations of blooming wattle for the new space.
We recently spent a morning with him, absorbing his wisdom and following him around on his morning routine: first a trip to a small dairy farm, then to his brother’s tulip farm, and finally, his famous Monbulk residence that is plush with over 500 plant varieties and a house (that he built himself, of course). If that wasn’t enough, every material used is completely recyclable and everything can be dismantled and used again for another project. Here, he shares four easy lifestyle changes so that you can live more sustainably.
TRY AND GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
It’s so much easier than most people think. I would start with the basics, such as greens like silverbeet, rocket and basil. You don’t need much space, all you need is sunshine and good soil.
MAKE FOOD FROM SCRATCH AND BUY IN BULK
Almost all fruit and vegetables can be purchased without packaging, and you can buy grains in calico and hessian bags which are biodegradable. Ethical producers are very conscious about packaging, which makes it a lot easier for us. Make sure you always buy in season as it’s a lot cheaper and makes for a much more interesting diet. I absolutely love it when things come into season and it’s always exciting to wait in anticipation for things.
DITCH TOXIC COSMETICS
So much waste is generated by cosmetics and personal care. It’s also incredibly toxic to our environment and a source of micro bead pollution. My philosophy is if you can’t eat or drink it you shouldn’t be using it on your skin or hair. Aleppo soap is a brilliant natural alternative for shampoo, conditioner, shaving and cleaning. I also brush my teeth with salt, and use velvet soap for cleaning dishes and around the kitchen. Nothing cleans stainless steel pots and pans like velvet soap!
CONNECT WITH GROWERS
I would it make it a mission to connect with different small growers and producers. The internet makes this easy: start following them on social media and you’ll start to learn all about nature and its cycles.