Sustainability Spotlight: Heather Honecker
About this series
Sustainability Spotlight is a blog series sponsored by Impact Earth that allows readers to discover the best zero waste practices in Rochester. We totally support our nominees that are living their best #zerowaste lives and hope that you do too! If you would like to nominate yourself or another local for our Sustainability Spotlight series, just let us know!
Who is Heather?
“My name is Heather Honecker and I'm a native of Lockport, NY (in the 716!) I graduated from RIT with a degree in graphic design and have worked as a website designer and graphic designer for over 10 years. I actually met my husband at RIT too, he's from the same hometown but had gone to the private school while I was in the public school. We were in the same circles and never met until college! We have two awesome kids, Ben (8) and Cassidy (5), and just bought an 1840 farmhouse with some acreage, southeast of Rochester.”
Her background with sustainability/zero waste living…
“Can I let you in on a little secret? I'm fairly new to the zero waste movement, only having heard about it a year or two ago. Looking back on my life decisions though I see the common theme of sustainability, living within my means and being a responsible consumer. When my kids were young we chose to use cloth diapers which has prevented hundreds of pounds of waste from entering landfills. It was better for our budget (a couple hundred dollars vs thousands of dollars for disposables), better for the environment, and better for our kids. 80% of their clothes have been hand-me-downs too, it just made sense to not buy new things when clothes could be reused and repurposed from others.
Now that they're older, we're known to our kids' friends as the "weird house that saves banana peels." And while I do pride myself on being just a bit different, I'd love to continue to share our family's composting and home gardening efforts and eventually have it become more mainstream.
I worked for several years on a local organic farm and am thankful for what I learned about our relationship with the soil, ourselves and other living things. I processed my first organic chicken there too and was humbled by the value of a life given to sustain others. My family eats meat (and I completely understand others' decisions not to)...but ours is either harvested by my husband who hunts on our land, or we go in with friends on half a cow or share a pig from a local farm.”
What motivates Heather to live sustainably…
“I think we've been given this planet as a gift and need to be stewards of our home. Our survival really does depend on it, we don't live independently of all the ecosystems surrounding us. That's one of the most important things I want to teach my kids. We are all a part of this and we're each responsible for our own waste, and leaving things better than we found them.”
Her favorite zero waste lifestyle products…
“Cloth diapers instead of disposables. Even though we've been out of them for years, seeing "fluff butts" still make me smile.
Wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets or fabric softeners.
Nalgene and CamelBak bottles instead of single use plastic water bottles.
Microfiber cloths instead of paper towels for cleaning and spills.
Reusable zippered snack bags instead of plastic sandwich bags.”
What Heather Likes about living Zero Waste…
“It's all a journey, right? And the exciting thing is YOU get to decide what's important to you, what makes your heart beat faster and then take steps toward making an impact there. There are so many different opportunities from getting involved in local watershed protection and landfill diversion in your own home...to evaluating what health and beauty products you're using (were they created ethically and what kind of packaging do they come in?). I'm still learning so much in my own life!”
Her favorite green spaces in Rochester…
Any of the Victor Hiking Trails! I love bringing the kids out (in all weather) for some exploring, hiking and looking for geocaches. We've done this since they were little. Sometimes they whine that they're tired and I end up giving piggyback rides but most of the time they love the adventure. Bonus - it's free!