Life as a Zero-Waste Advocate
Written by Mary Romero aka The Green Gal
My journey as a zero-waste advocate started in 2016. I wish I could say I had a big “aha” moment, but it was a gradual change in my life. My passion first started with wanting to use more natural products on my skin and to create healthier habits for myself. From there I started to educate myself more by reading articles, watching documentaries and discovering new items that were available for reuse.
Fast forward a few years and I can confidently say that I am making a change in my life, my family's life, and my friends' life for a zero-waste future.
With that being said, I am nowhere near perfect and I still create waste but every time I use up an item of some sort, the next option is either zero-waste or sustainable in some type of way.
By doing this I am changing the habits that were instilled in me as a child and creating a more simple and minimal life for myself.
Living a zero-waste life, or I should say striving to live a zero-waste life, can be tricky. Only recently did we discover the negative impact plastic has on our planet. While I was growing up, we never thought twice about throwing away shampoo bottles, sponges, hairbrushes, hair ties, etc. It was normal and everyone I knew was using the same products and creating the same amount of trash, so it didn’t seem like an issue. It can be hard to break the habits and rituals that we had been taught by our parents and the way we thought about certain items. It’s a complete mind shift and we must think deeper than the convenience an item might bring us. I think that is where most people struggle when it comes to changing your lifestyle, it’s breaking habits that have been instilled in us for years.
Luckily, just as we create habits, we can break them and that’s exactly what I continue to do in my daily life.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at everything in your house and begin to analyze what will negatively impact our planet. Rather than feeling overwhelmed I go through my house and think about lifestyle habits I've changed and recognize where I’ve made all my progress.
The swaps I’ve made in my life prove that I am contributing to the positive changes for our planet and the growing movement that more people are becoming consciously sustainable. Every day I get to acknowledge these positive changes as I go through my day and be a part of a community I feel so passionate about.
My morning routine before I even get out of bed, I take my temperature and input it into an app, this is my form of birth control. I was previously on the pill for 13 years and it was the last aspect of my life where I was putting synthetic hormones into my body, needless to say, I have not looked back. This form of birth control has contributed to my lifestyle goals because it produces zero-waste and gives me control over my body. Once I get up, I go into the bathroom and brush my teeth with my bamboo toothbrush and wash my face with a face wash bar of soap. I prefer to use a face bar of soap because it is completely zero-waste. From there I mist my face with rose water that comes in a glass jar and apply face lotion that is in a glass container. Both products containers can be reused, I usually reuse them for either a tiny vase, make a spice blend, mix a dressing, or keep around for when I travel. After that, I apply a daily sunscreen that comes in an aluminum container, which I will recycle, and then I start my day!
In the late morning or afternoon, I begin to cook some type of plant-based meal depending on my mood or what I’m craving. While cooking I save all my food scraps for composting because I want to reduce my waste and what goes into our landfills. I live on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and we don’t have much land to put all our trash so I choose to compost anything I can. By composting I am giving nutrients back to the soil of the land, helping a local farm, reducing methane emissions and my carbon footprint. If I leave my house for the day to run errands, I never leave the house without my hydroflask, a glass jar, reusable bag, metal straw, and a reusable container. When grocery shopping, I bring all my glass containers that have either spices or dry goods in them and refill them in the jar to which it belongs. This helps me reduce how many glass jars I hoard in the house cause after time a lot can accumulate. If I don’t go anywhere, I usually go for a bike ride, read a book, jump in the ocean, or hike.
After cooking dinner and watching a movie or show with my boyfriend, I shower and get ready for bed. I don’t wash my hair every day because I like to let the natural oils hydrate my scalp. If I do wash my hair I have a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar of soap for the same reasons I use a face bar of soap, I prefer these over containers because they produce zero-waste.
In the shower, I have a reusable razor that, if I keep nice, I should have forever, the only thing that gets changed is the blades that can either be recycled or sent back to the company.
Sometimes if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll do a mask after the shower and apply more rosewater afterward and a homemade facial oil to really add some hydration to my skin. Then once in bed, I add some lavender essential oil to my diffuser and read a book until my eyes get heavy.
As I continue this journey through my zero-waste lifestyle I can only hope to inspire others to start their own journey. We all can make changes in our everyday lives to better the planet and our environment and every day I see the advancements. This community of sustainably conscious beings is one of big dreams and ambitions, we are the ones who will make a positive change and impact that our planet needs. Whether you're at the beginning of your journey, currently making changes, or have mastered the zero-waste lifestyle we are all in this together as one big unity of like-minded people. We have one common goal to recycle, reduce, and reuse.
With all that being said, I am proud to be a zero-waste advocate and I am excited about our future and to learn and grow more as I go.
Also, if you're American, don’t forget to vote! :)
The Green Gal