Everyone has a story to tell and a journey to talk about. In all our journeys various simple things inspire us, here is one person who was inspired and empowered to start her mindful lifestyle by deodorant and toothpaste!
Bianca, a former student of sustainability at one point felt like she was only doing so much, studying the subject might have been one thing, but acting on it meant a lot more. As many of us, she too watched Lauren Singer, read blogs and several videos to figure out how to navigate around this maze of zero waste. To start, she first made her own toothpaste and deodorant, and that’s all it took for her to keep unraveling the mystery.
As she kept going she realised, there is no maze or mystery, but a whole lot of misconceptions, simply because many of us are unaware. While many believe zero waste is ‘expensive’ Bianca thinks that’s among the biggest myths. Over the last 2 years, she has saved a lot more of her wages by simply by buying fewer items, better quality, second hand and taking her own water, coffee and snacks. Not does she save by buying more mindfully; she saves a few pounds making her own personal care products. The only thing that changed was how she spends her money, while she made more conscious efforts to reduce her plastic and carbon footprint. She believes the second misconception associated with zero waste living is its hard. Zero waste is about being more mindful of your impact and trying to do better, which isn’t hard. It becomes hard if you’re one of the people that believes that being zero waste should mean actually producing no waste and always making perfect decisions. (she thinks, if a sloth like her can do it – anyone can do it!)
One of the most significant she found was she invested her time and money in items that she truly loves and she also saved a lot of money. Bianca now spends a lot more time researching her products and considers all her options: like how badly does she need it, can she buy second hand or if it is available from an ethical/ sustainable brand.
Her go-to advice is – refuse. It is at the stop of the 5R hierarchy! Refusing things like disposable plastic bags, freebies, straws and so on are the easiest way to start reducing your waste wherever you are without spending a cent. A simple example would be: “even if you're getting take away food in a disposable container, you can still refuse the napkins, the plastic cutlery and the plastic bag, yes it would have been better to bring your own reusable container but even when that's not an option, refusing the rest is still possible and positive!”
We were very curious on what products she always has on her and what the essentials are. Something she always has is her water bottle. It’s the best way to stay hydrated by default. Other items include her container for food, a cotton napkin and some cutlery and her KeepCup.
It sounds easy as 1 2 3 which is awesome, but we wanted to know about the what were some of the biggest hurdles. Bianca admits it is the balance between her mental health and her wish to do better. While Social media are an amazing place, it's also a place where being fragile and imperfect isn't easy, and the result can be that we feel comfortable only in sharing the things that we do perfectly and that look good. What this does is that it gives the illusion of a perfect life, which simply creates frustration and self-judgement in all of us. She thinks that the zero waste movement is about working hard to avoid falling into this trap, but it's not easy, because in the end when you share imperfection even though 1000 people will support you, there will always be someone that judges you, and unfortunately that often has a larger impact than all the support put together
Easy as 123 or hard to strike a balance, she is an eco-warrior and Bare is a true admirer of her dedication. Here are the few tips and tricks she shared with us for you!
- Give yourself time: Taking your time will allow you to use up what you have, to adjust to every little change and to save money (by buying things when you need them and only if you need them).
- Learn to forgive yourself: This is the most important step! It's not possible to be 100% zero waste and not have any negative impact on the world, and that's mostly due to the fact that we live in a society where easy to use disposable options and cheap alternatives are the most important thing to offer to customers. Just remember - that every little success deserves celebration, and that "failures" are not your fault, you're still doing your best with what you have and that is more than enough!
Bianca is the co-founder at zero waste path shop