How can I make an impact, while pursuing my passions? 

This question was the catalyst of Maya’s journey. A sophomore at UC Berkeley, Maya entered college studying political science, concentrating on international relations and human rights. After becoming immersed and all the more educated on the rising issues surrounding environmental decline and sustainability – she immediately saw the human rights implications of an unsustainable world. Now deeply interested in sustainable lifestyle, she hopes to make zero-waste mainstream, starting with solving the beauty industry’s plastic problem. 

Plastic packaging in American products increased by over 120 times since 1960. Almost 70% of that plastic, most of it single-use, sits in landfills.  

She created Serenade – a zero-waste retail platform with the goal of reducing plastic output in the cosmetics industry. Partnering with small-to-medium sized product suppliers, Maya has created Serenade with the hopes that a zero-waste lifestyle can be both easy and affordable.  

"When I decided to go zero-waste, I realized all the options available were so expensive. I learned that there are now a lot of zero-waste store focused on providing the basic necessities, but there was no one-stop-shop for plastic-free, zero-waste beauty products (while the majority of zero-wasters are women!) I just figured there has to be a way to make this happen. I started to think, maybe this is why not more people are becoming zero-waste. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the movement isn’t mainstream.

The truth is, I wasn’t always aware of my environmental impacts. I started caring more when I realized that climate change was never about the environment, but about people. Climate change is a refugee crisis in motion. Due to rising sea level, by 2050, 150 million people will be displaced. We are witnessing the roll of the next big humanitarian crisis and doing, well, just not enough. I realized that fighting climate change is about ensuring that people still have a place to live and water to use. Do I think that the zero waste movement alone or Serenade will solve the climate crisis? Of course not. But I believe that change needs to happen in every single sector of economy to avert the climate crisis.”