I’ve met a lot of amazing people on my study abroad and one person I can say I am truly glad to have met is Henriette Reinhardt co-founder of an amazing new project called Stay With Me.
I decided that she was so inspiring that I wanted to interview her, so here is what happens when two girls get together over chai vanilla lattes and apples tarts.
Generation Y (anyone born after 93’) are often told that we are a lost generation who are running around with no direction. It’s always refreshing to see someone break that damaging stereotype and show that inspiration can come from anything.
What inspired you to get involved in environmentalism and green campaigning?
My mum inspired me because when I was 10 years old (or maybe 8) she had her own company which ended up in renewable energy. So I was introduced to environmental issues from a young age. However, the key of my inspiration was the 6th grade, in which we had a project on climate change and that really inspired me.
The debate on climate change and how we should tackle it, is so very long-standing. It is ever so important to remember that something does need to be done and done now. We have a huge responsibility to ourselves and this world in which we live in.
How important do you think it is that we take environmentalism seriously right now?
I really think that we have taken action right now because if we don’t do it right now then it will just be too late and we can just pack our stuff and look for another planet or die. For me the effects and the facts are clear and there is nothing to debate any more.
Explain what your project is and why you created it?
I watched this movie it’s called plastic planet in class and there suddenly the whole dimension of the plastic problem became apparent to me for the first time, before that I had never really thought about it. I spent half a year doing research on this topic because it really interested in me. And then my best friend one day contacted me “Hey! Do you want to do a project with think big and maybe we could do it about plastic” and at that time I felt so passionate about it that at that time it felt like the right time.
Then we first got supported with 400 euros, the idea was initially to do workshops and design bags but we didn’t really know what dimension the project would take on. Eventually it moved to creating a glass bottle and we then managed to get a further 1000 euros in funding.
Right now we have the vision of creating a glass bottle that had features like fruit infuser, cold and hot drinks. Just a bottle that really appeals to people not just because it not made out of plastic but because it is practical and convenient.
We want to move from this typical environmentalism, activism eco image to make sustainable and a sustainable lifestyle cool and admirable.
For us it’s not really just about the bottle, the bottle just serves as a symbol of plastic because plastic bottles (and plastic bags) are just the most unnecessary things that are made out of plastic that we use a lot and throw away a lot.
Where do you see this project in 5 years’ time?
Eventually we want to introduce a new way of thinking into the world, as well as set a model for new entrepreneurship and youth engagement. To tell people to go to your own way not just follow the usual steps to a career. We want to put out a message that people should take a step back and think about how they use products.
We want to sell different types of products i.e.) like a coffer tumbler. In general we want to do other projects as well, we really feel passionate about other things such as the current Syrian refugee crisis. It’s not like I have clear idea about where we are going to be, but I think it’s the journey that matters.
What is your message to creative people out there thinking about creating their own project?
Don’t wait for an idea to be perfect just go ahead and do it. Go and develop stuff as you go and draw in a crowd and work with other people. Have direct contact with the consumers.
What has been the most rewarding thing about this project?
The best thing about the project has just been working on it. It’s not like university where someone is pushing me to do something. Writing, publishing , getting feedback , meeting people and working together is great.
What do you do in everyday life to be greener?
I am trying to live a zero waste life which it is really hard because you can’t be lazy and you cannot take short-term decisions. You have to really think about what you eat. It’s a really a process. For example I never buy plastic bags and take a reusable bag everywhere I go. I never buy plastic bottles and I haven’t in really long time.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Real, Humorous and Thoughtful.
What would you like to be most known for?
For living a life according to the values that I stand for and that I’m an activist for. It is important to really live according to your values not just for the bigger picture but for yourself.
Paonia – US Colorado
Henriette is honestly one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. It’s been such a pleasure to know her and doing this interview was a total blast. Not only is the work she is doing for her project amazing but totally inspiring and encouraging . I wish her and her project nothing but the best.
To find more about project Stay with Me look at the links below.
Any other awesome youth projects you know about or perhaps are running yourself, spread the word and comment below x