My journey to living a low waste / zero waste lifestyle
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.
"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.
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.
My 10 favourite waste reducers:
- My menstrual cup
- No bin liners
- My bamboo toothbrush
- Taking reusable containers to the Indian takeaway shop
- 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
- Making my own Kombucha
- Baking my own bread
- My husband surprises me with the reject flowers from the florist who makes it into a beautifully unique bouquet, only wrapped in brown paper
- Refilling all our cleaning supply bottles at the bulk store
- 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.