Kaile Teramoto and Stacy Huynh are two young entrepreneurs who joined forces to bring us Westside Compost, an eco-friendly initiative that combines environmental activities and fashion to promote a more sustainable world.
VT: Let us start with the following question: what comes to your mind when we say 2020? How were you affected by that year and what did you do to overcome the circumstances?
Kaile: Restart. I think our state of mind as a whole was put on pause for us to re-evaluate our current lives, relationships, and where we are headed in the future. 2020 showed people’s true colors, how they adapted to change, what truly mattered in the grand scheme of it all. For me, personally, I took this year to adopt patience and give myself grace in areas where I needed it most. I put my head down, stayed in, and was able to cultivate ideas to begin my journey with Westside Compost.
Stacy: 2020 was a year of awareness. Many people, including myself, were caught up in their routine in certain parts of their lives that they unknowingly neglected other parts. Last year was a time for recalibration and balance. We were all shaken up in some form or fashion and this allowed us to break off parts of our lives that no longer aligned with our own mission and values, and welcome change, and steps forward into a higher level of ourselves. Some may have had drastic changes, others may have just had adjustments – physically and/or mentally. Regardless, I believe 2020 allowed for this awareness and recalibration to begin.
VT: When thinking about some crazy things happening in the world, we need strong messages to tell us there is hope among us; that is why I would like to ask you about one simple yet profound message you have been sharing: Refresh Earth. What does it mean? Why is it relevant nowadays?
Kaile: Refresh Earth means to begin to mend our planet where there needs to be anew, where pollution has formed due to human activity. I think it’s also a hopeful phrase for the next generation to come, to be present in our actions, and begin a conversation about what shape we would like to leave our home when we are no longer here.
Stacy: Refresh Earth can be symbolic of things that may look, seem, and are damaged, can be repaired. To stay hopeful, positive, and optimistic is to allow for growth and change. And this doesn’t happen with one action, there’s a multitude of components that when combined become the solution. But, looking at things from a high-level can be overwhelming. Refresh Earth reminds us that, taking the steps that we are capable of is a great start and, over time, will contribute to positive outcomes.
VT: Let us talk about Westside Compost, what would you like to evoke in the minds of every person who sees the name of your initiative and its logo?
Kaile: A sense of magical presence where all walks of life are able to survive and thrive when composting is being re-distributed back into the earth.
Stacy: A gratitude for life and the feeling of wholesomeness
VT: As you certainly know, the fashion industry has been accused of hurting the planet due to the environmental impact produced for many years, what are you doing to prove fashion does not have to be a cruel ecological risk?
Kaile: I think I already took part in this message when I began KAEMI, a sustainable fashion brand designing upcycled goods. Fashion is all and well if the topic of sustainability is the main topic of discussion when implementing a design and not just a marketing ploy.
Stacy: I’ve learned to sew and have upcycled many articles of clothing. We’re also using our platform to educate those in the fashion industry, and we like to show ways to be more sustainable including using deadstock fabric and compostable packaging. The education aspect of composting will allow consumers to actually compost the compostable packaging rather than throwing them in the waste bin being fruitless.
VT: According to the Pew Research Center, many parents are concerned about how their children spend too much time on social media, they say their kids should be studying more and this digitally connected world we know might be dangerous for them. Since you have been using your resources to promote environmental education, what are your thoughts about that kind of opinion? What do you think is needed to be done to change those attitudes towards the media?
Kaile: I think anything without boundaries can be dangerous; however social media can be a great resource for current events, connecting with loved ones, and expressing yourself when consumed in small doses. I think being cautious towards social media isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for parents.
Stacy: I believe there’s a balance to everything. If social media is what children spend most of their time on, maybe figure out why it is, rather than forcing them off. I think understanding the feelings children receive from being on social media and the causes of those feelings can help parents find a balance in how to replace social media in certain aspects of their children’s lives to captivate them. Social media is an experiment to understand consumer preferences. I believe it is a great tool for consumers to gather information from outside their current physical surroundings.
VT: You promote composting, how would you explain to our readers what is that process about? Why is it so important?
Kaile: Composting is one of the actions we can take to utilize what earth has given us to sustain life. We can naturally break down food waste into soil and deposit it into our own yards, gardens, and parks. Re-soiling replants nutritional soil in areas of our earth that have been degraded by human activity. When we strive to produce our own food, we cut back on corporate food production, pesticides, and food waste. Food waste that is not composted generally goes directly to a landfill, which then creates greenhouse gases that contribute to the heating of our planet.
Stacy: We are aiming to close the food loop cycle through composting. Composting is one of the actions we can take to utilize what earth has given us to sustain life. At the end of the day, our main mission is to encourage others to grow their own food.
VT: What would you tell those ones who might refuse to compost saying it is a difficult chore or thinking it is not a fancy activity?
Kaile: I think if that mindset is present, they may not like change in their daily routine. I think if that were the case, having someone who knows how to compost and teaching them step by step would be the best solution. I think once people physically see how simple composting is, there really isn’t an excuse!
Stacy: Time is the most valuable asset. What you choose to do with it is dependent on how you value your own life. If something isn’t going to benefit you or make you feel whole in some capacity, you won’t do it. It’s human nature to not want to do something we are inexperienced in or unaware of. But, once people understand that direct and indirect impacts composting has in their lives, it won’t be an option to them, it’ll be a choice they will choose.
VT: The local the better?
Kaile: Yes! Support your local community. Our main mission is to promote the values of growing your own food through the acts of composting.
Stacy: Local has many benefits from contributing to your local ecosystem to attaining fresher items.
VT: If the whole world were listening, what would you tell?
Kaile: Earth and what it provides for us is a gift. And if it were a gift, then we should be treating it with care.
Stacy: It’s never too late to be impactful or make changes. Every day you wake up, you make a series of choices. Choose what you believe is best, not only for yourself but everyone as a whole. If we all reach out to hold each other’s hands, we can do anything together.
VT: Anything else you would like to share with Vanity Teen?
Kaile: To educate and invite others to participate in re-soiling, Westside Compost will soon offer a young adult informational guide with pages to log and track their individual composting process and small metal composting kitchen pails.
Stacy: We have so much in our pipeline where our initiative will be a positive impact for generations to come.
Before we go
With Westside Compost, Kaile Teramoto and Stacy Huynh are giving kindness an even better face; let us do our best to follow their lead as we embrace life more concerned about the environmental impact we are making on nature; correspondingly, let us follow every new project they are bringing us, and, please, do not forget to give composting a try.