I’m Kristy, a busy mum spending my days looking after our hilarious four year old, Savana (Savvy to her friends) with my often working-from-home husband, Davian. We live on top of a hill in a quiet leafy suburb in Auckland, overlooking the Waitakere Ranges on one side and the city on the other.
I’ve been steering our household towards Zero Waste since around March 2015. I was initially inspired by a tragically beautiful documentary called ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ that charts the work of industrial landscape photographer, Edward Burtynsky. It’s a striking film which highlights the environmentally and socially devastating results of industrialisation.
Disillusioned by the lack of political leadership in NZ on issues around waste, I’ve attended a few environmental protests over the years, but never felt like I was achieving very much. After the birth of our daughter, I did my best to be a green mama (cloth nappies, homemade baby food, second-hand clothes, reusable wipes), but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Bea Johnson’s blog, ‘Zero Waste Home’ and later read her fantastic book of the same name that the lens of my understanding was pulled into firm focus.
Once my eyes were opened to the issues of waste, it was impossible to close them again and I knew I needed to make some changes to live a life that better reflected my ideals.
So I did a household rubbish audit, making a list of every single consumable that we purchase and started looking for alternatives. So far, Zero Waste has been an incredibly satisfying creative challenge. It requires rethinking EVERYTHING. Once I had systems in place though, it was easier than I thought it would be. And it’s only occasionally that I feel the urge to bang my head against the nearest wall.
The most challenging parts are thinking ahead (requesting “no straw/napkin/disposable products please” when ordering food/drink) and trying not to be all judgy of other people’s auto-pilot lifestyle choices. The most amusing is explaining to people what reusable toilet paper is.
Our household is not literally Zero Waste, but it’s something to keep in my sights…and I hope to get damn close.