My journey to living a low waste / zero waste lifestyle

Kate Hall

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid at a plastic straw. Now they repulse me.

I’m so deep in the plastic-free and zero-waste lifestyle, that it’s become habitual. I feel as though I’d rather die (and I never exaggerate) than openly ask for a plastic bag.

I avoid supermarkets so much that my husband now coaxes me into it, or does it for me. I made a commitment to formally reduce my waste early 2017, and there’s been no looking back.

how to go low waste zero waste

"The realisation that every little movement I made, effected the world and its people in more ways than I could see in front of me, made me anxious. So, I set out to do something about it."

How it started

Weirdly, it all started with my experience living in Mongolia with my family for two years as a pre-teen. It’s taken me a few years to identify this, but it makes so much sense.

In Mongolia, I had no choice but to grow up.

I had to quickly become aware of the fact there were people in situations that couldn’t get out of them, no matter how hard they tried and persisted. I was repeatedly put in situations where nature was my only entertainer, and made aware of the vast beauty of the planet from a very young age.

Since this experience, I’ve been conscious of the world on a different level. My senses, emotions, and purpose are now driven by the idea that, unlike others, I have a voice, and I must use it.

Plus, the planet is freaking beautiful, and why the heck would I want to ruin that?

The True Cost

Eight years after leaving Mongolia, in August 2015, I watched The True Cost documentary. My love of fashion merged with my desire to be a voice for others, and from that day onwards, I was on a mission. My mission began with ethical fashion, but the snowball effect hit me hard.

My awakening towards the fashion industry, turned into an awakening of all aspects of consumption.

I was suddenly waking up in the night asking my husband “where does my water come from? I want to trace the pipes all the way to the source.” The realisation that every little movement I made, effected the world and its people in more ways than I could see in front of me, made me anxious. So, I set out to do something about it.

how to go low waste zero waste
how to go low waste zero waste

I don’t do things half-heartedly, I jump all in, or not at all

I began to do everything with the planet and people in mind. I asked questions, I bought zero-waste tools that would assist me, and I altered my habits to reflect my values.

I adjusted my schedule so I could visit the farmers market every Sunday morning for local, organic, plastic-free produce. I left plastic out of the equation as much as I could, became best friends with my local bulk-bin owner, and convinced my butcher to put the meat straight in my container, without wearing plastic gloves.

I was, and am, vocal

I ask shop owners for plastic free alternatives, I tell check-out operators why I won’t accept their plastic bags, and my friends can’t get enough lectures about plastic-free living.

Throughout my journey, my Instagram, which I was once terrible at, has turned into a platform where people listen and care about what I am doing.

My genuine passion for the environment and reducing waste, make others do the same; but they also challenge me.

The questions I get, and tips thrown back at me, mean I’m always making more changes. ‘Practice what you preach’ has become a huge motivator, but after a year and a half of adapting my habits, there’s less motivation needed. I just do it.

how to go low waste zero waste

My 10 favourite waste reducers:

  1. My menstrual cup
  2. No bin liners
  3. My bamboo toothbrush
  4. Taking reusable containers to the Indian takeaway shop
  5. Returning my egg container to ‘Anni’s eggs’ at the farmer’s market- I’m going to visit her chickens next week to thank them
  6. Making my own Kombucha
  7. Baking my own bread
  8. My husband surprises me with the reject flowers from the florist who makes it into a beautifully unique bouquet, only wrapped in brown paper
  9. Refilling all our cleaning supply bottles at the bulk store
  10. Wet flannels in Kai Carrier bags when travelling for a refresher (instead of wipes)

Reducing your waste is difficult. Trust me, I know!

But the more I learn, the more I realise that reducing our waste is the least we can do for the planet. It’s not optional, it’s a necessity. Zero-waste may not be achievable, unless we are to all sit in the middle of a field and stop breathing, but waste reduction is totally feasible.

It starts with a conscious choice. And I make that choice every day.

pin me

how to go zero waste

Kate Hall

I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.