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How a quarter-life crisis led to a zero-waste lifestyle
It started out as an epiphany, which led to a way of life and now a successful career for Anita Vandyke. We chatted to the A Zero Waste Life author and founder of @rocket_science about the catalyst for her way of life (hint: it’s something we can all relate to), her favourite bulk buy stores and why going zero waste will save you cash.
“I had climbed up the corporate ladder and was a successful engineering manager, however despite the monetary success I was not truly happy,’’ Anita says.
Minimalism was calling, along with the concept of living a more eco-friendly life. Pairing back her life gave Anita the confidence to quit her corporate job and go back to university to study medicine.
Anita, who recently announced she is expecting her first child, now splits her time between Sydney and San Francisco where her husband is based. She says it’s easier to live a zero-waste lifestyle in Sydney and overall since starting her journey to zero waste in 2015 she feels, “lighter and more free, I have more money, more happiness, more time”.
Don’t we all want those things? Yes, we do!
To me, living a zero-waste life is about being gentle on yourself, as well as leaving a more gentle footprint on the planet. It’s not about achieving perfection but making simple changes to live a more eco-friendly life. So, to be honest, I don’t find it challenging. It’s about doing the best you can.
Now I can’t ignore the seriousness of plastic pollution and climate change. I see plastic everywhere now and I’ve become so aware of how much plastic we consume as a society!
Living a zero-waste lifestyle is definitely attainable for everyone! Since I started living zero-waste, I’ve saved money. I study Medicine full-time and it’s achievable for me. The key is to aim towards zero but not be daunted by it. Reducing your waste is more important than reaching a target of zero. Also, living a zero-waste life is not about deprivation, it’s actually about living a luxurious life through leaving a gentler footprint on the planet.
I order a Doorstep Organics box every week. They deliver straight to your door and all their packaging is re-used. I then get any canned goods (without plastic lining) at Aldi and supplement other pantry staples from the Source Bulk foods. In San Francisco, I get an Imperfect Produce box delivered to me, which is sold at a discounted rate. I also shop at Rainbow Grocer, which is my favourite bulk buy store.
A I generally make all my skincare products now. I love Dr Bronner’s Castille soap as an all-purpose body and house cleaner. I refill it at Rainbow Grocer whenever I am in San Francisco. I also love Mun Skincare as all the products are in glass bottles, which you can reuse.
I make all my own cleaning products. My favourite recipe is to soak lemon or orange rinds in white vinegar for a few days, I then dilute the solution with 50:50 water and use it as an all-purpose cleaner.
I have drastically reduced my consumption of clothes, in fact, I haven’t bought anything new except for socks and underwear for over three years. I think applying the philosophy of conscious consumerism is really important and always making second hand your first choice.
I am inspired by eco-stylist @fayedelanty who makes second-hand fashion completely stylish and cost-effective. I also love @zerowastebunny, who is a neurosurgeon living a zero waste life.
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