Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
My goal for 2016 was to start living waste-free, something that I've aspired to ever since reading the incredible stories of Lauren Singer,who can fit almost YEARS worth of rubbish into a small jam jar, and Melbourne's Erin Rhoads, who has lived two years plastic free.
I thought, if they can do it, why can't I?
Why go zero waste?
There's 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our waterways, and our wasteful habits are having huge impact on the planet. I remember that I stopped using plastic straws after seeing an image of a dead bird's stomach overflowing with plastic rubbish.
Not only that, plastic microbeads in beauty products are causing damage to environment. These micro plastics are causing a macro mess! They could be in your facial cream, toothpaste and many other beauty products. This is what prompted me to start making all of my own beauty products, from cleanser to toner, shampoo to body scrub.
Although some plastics may claim to be biodegradable, they might not be as planet-strong as you'd think. Science is still working on how to deal with our massive waste problem, so in the meantime the best thing we can do is to stop adding to the issues.
How I started my zero-waste journey
I'd already been living low waste for at least a year thanks to campaigns such as Plastic-Free July, which challenges people to live without single-use plastics for a month.
I'd also already developed good habits such as always taking my Keep Cup when out and about, and composting and recycling the bulk of my household waste.
Check out these 17 Things That You Can Actually Compost
But the day from which I measure my zero-waste life is the day that I put my rubbish basket into the attic, wrote the date on a Mason jar in permanent market, and vowed that that would be my only place to store non-recyclable waste.
A month on from that moment, and there's not much in my jar: some plastic wrapping from a packet of throat lozenges (I'm planning on trying out some homemade ones next time I need them) and the back of some double-sized sticky tape that I needed for a DIY project.
Just the small action of removing the convenience of disposing of waste has made it possible for me to dramatically reduce my impact on the planet.
It's not always easy, for sure! I've had to get into the habit of using handkerchiefs instead of throw-away tissues when I'm out and about, and I often have to turn down offers of plastic-wrapped gifts such as chocolates or trinkets from friends and family, but explaining why I've decided to live the way I do has made it easier to avoid offending anyone.
1 Million Women is empowering women and girls around the world to lower their impact on the planet. If you love what we do, please support our work by donating a couple of dollars. For the price of a cuppa, you can help us inspire millions more! (click to donate)
Things that have made zero-waste living easier
Following a plant-based diet is certainly an advantage, as you can buy fresh fruit and veggies with no packaging whatsoever (I take a box or basket to the grocery to stock up on produce), whereas I've noticed that meat and fish tends to come in plastic packaging.
It's easier to live free from waste if you love cooking, because you're able to live without pre-packaged things such as dips, sauces, meals etc. I enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, and living zero-waste has motivated me to try out new things such as making my own bread, hummus, peanut butter, chutney and curry paste. Using fresh ingredients is also helping me to feel healthier and more in control of the food I'm putting into my body, which is having some great impacts on my mood.
Getting crafty with some DIY is a huge advantage, because you'll try to work put if you can make something before you have to go out and buy it. I even made my own beanie out of some old knitted socks the other day because my ears were getting cold on the way to work (it's almost winter here in Australia).
Do you live a zero waste or low waste life? We want to hear from you! Let us know how your journey is going in the comments below, or by sending us an email.
READ THIS NEXT: Germany's zero-waste supermarket and why we love it