A Zero Waste Life
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164 pages

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A practical guide to improving your life—and your impact on the world—in thirty simple days by radically reducing waste without losing your lifestyle.

Overwhelmed by clutter, anxious about your environmental footprint, and looking to make a change? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to reconfigure your consumption—still, it doesn’t hurt that Anita Vandyke is. A qualified engineer and the eco-luxe lifestyle champion behind the popular zero-waste Instagram @Rocket-Science, Anita Vandyke has made the change to a zero-waste life, and through hands-on advice and charming illustrations, she shows us that with ease and style, we can too.

By incorporating thirty simple rules one day at a time, A Zero Waste Life is a manageable guide to forming a more conscientious, intentional life in just one month. Offered inside is guidance for tackling waste and making ethical choices when it comes to shopping, eating, travel, beauty, and more. With her signature elegance and encouraging voice, Vandyke proves that we can stop depending on plastics, tidy our homes, and clear the way for a cleaner future—and that when we stop wasting, we start living.



Publié par
Date de parution 21 avril 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781948062619
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


a zero
waste life
in thirty days

anita vandyke

A Zero Waste Life: In Thirty Days
First printed in the United States of America in 2020.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be sent by email to Apollo Publishers at info@apollopublishers.com.
Apollo Publishers books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use. Special editions may be made available upon request. For details, contact Apollo Publishers at info@apollopublishers.com.
Visit our website at www.apollopublishers.com.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.
Text copyright © Anita Vandyke, 2018.
Cover, interior design, and interior line drawings © Louisa Maggio, 2018.
Interior watercolor illustrations © Melissa Stefanovski, 2018.
Cover illustration by kirpmun/Shutterstock.
Hand-drawn lines by Marie Smolej/Shutterstock.
Author image by Joi Ong.
First published by Vintage Australia. This edition published by arrangement with Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd. Licensed by arrangement with Rights People, London.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
Print ISBN: 978-1-948062-60-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-948062-61-9
Published in compliance with California’s Proposition 65.
The wood used to produce this book is from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified
forests, recycled material, or controlled wood. Controlled wood cannot be:
• illegally harvested
• harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
• harvested in forests where high conservation values are threatened
• harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
• harvested in forests where genetically modified trees are planted

think & do
Day 1 start where you are
Day 2 do a bin audit
Day 3 make a zero waste kit
Day 4 compost, compost, compost
Day 5 put yourself on a spending ban
Day 6 do your first zero waste shop
Day 7 make your first zero waste meal
Day 8 prevent food waste
Day 9 declutter your home
Day 10 organize a “project pan”
Day 11 make your own beauty products
Day 12 make your own cleaning products
Day 13 shop your wardrobe
Day 14 make secondhand your first choice
Day 15 declutter your home
reflect & review
Day 16 give yourself a green prescription
Day 17 buy real food
Day 18 eat less meat
Day 19 learn to embrace minimalism
Day 20 spread the word
Day 21 declutter your mind
Day 22 make do and mend
Day 23 value experiences over stuff
Day 24 vote with your dollar
Day 25 be of service
Day 26 dispose of items mindfully
Day 27 create not consume
Day 28 maintaining minimalism
Day 29 get involved!
Day 30 rest and review

To my family,
who taught me to not waste my life.

This book is a practical guide designed to help you reduce your waste by 80% in thirty days. It’s also a reflection on how I became an accidental environmentalist. It tells the story of how I went from being a maximalist to a minimalist, from “hero” to zero—to living a “zero waste” life.
I didn’t grow up with a hippie mother or a passion for the environment, I was just a person trying to find happiness in all the usual places—money, power and status. But this triumvirate of success didn’t provide me with the happiness that I expected. I was wasting my life.
But how did this journey all begin? What is living a zero waste life? I’ll start from the beginning. My “aha moment” as Oprah calls it.
It all started with a simple no. Standing at the supermarket checkout, the cashier looked at me and asked, “Would you like a plastic bag for that? It’ll be an extra 15 cents.” A plastic bag for 15 cents? Sounded like extortion to me. I had just quit my job the previous day and I needed to make ends meet on one income. That first no, based on economics rather than environmentalism, was over two years ago, and since that day I’ve said no to plastic bags over a thousand times. I’ve also said no to disposable coffee cups, fast fashion and excess consumerism. And in saying no to all this, I’ve actually said yes to a whole new life. That first no led me to a zero waste life.

How did I end up here? I thought, while crying at a dining table surrounded by my mother-in-law’s Royal Doulton porcelain figurines. It had been another terrible day at work and I’d come home to an evening sorting the many boxes of stuff we’d brought with us to my in-laws” house, where we had recently moved in an attempt to pay off our debt. The dam had burst and I didn’t know how to stop. All I could think was how did I end up like this?
On paper my life was the epitome of success. I was the one my parents didn’t have to worry about: the daughter who graduated high school with a near perfect UAI (the Australian equivalent of the GPA), had a well-paying corporate job and the latest Givenchy boots in my closet. It was a supposedly picture-perfect life.
My parents brought me up believing that money was essential to happiness. Poor immigrant workers who never had any money, they saw it as the solution to all their problems. So I did what many a good, first-born daughter of a Chinese-migrant family has done and worked hard, got good grades and then a high-paying job. I climbed the corporate ladder, foregoing my passions, hobbies and creativity to chase the Great Australian (and American) Dream.
By age twenty-six I was a manager in a large engineering firm, earning more money than my parents ever had. The day of the “broken dam fiasco” was just another day at the office. I remember sitting in that Board Meeting on Level 6, looking at my boss, my boss’s boss and the big boss, thinking, Is this it? Is this who I will become in five, ten, fifteen years’ time? I realised then that if I kept going down this path, all my hopes of living a life that was truly mine, one that wasn’t bound by golden handcuffs, would be lost forever.
A more profound question followed: What did I want to do with my life?
These questions haunted me and when the doubt started to make me miserable, my husband looked me in the eyes and said, “You have to quit your job—it’s killing you.” Of course, being the practical, money-driven person I was, I had a dozen excuses. We needed to pay the mortgage. We couldn’t afford to live on one income. We needed the money. But my husband was adamant. I knew then that if I didn’t do something about my everyday misery, I risked losing him.
I quit my job the next day.
Since that day, my life has transformed. By embracing a zero waste life, I have been able to go back to university to study full-time to become a doctor, I’ve moved out of my in-laws’ house into a 635-square-foot apartment and I’ve dedicated my life to something greater.
Working in the corporate world didn’t reflect who I was, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for everyone: you certainly don’t have to quit your corporate job to live a more eco-friendly life. But you do have to find what works for you. Living a zero waste life means more than just a plastic-free diet—it gives you the freedom to live in alignment with your values. To live a life based around service, community and respect for the planet we live on. It has allowed me to not waste my life.
There is a stereotyped image of the quintessential environmentalist: a left-wing hippie who doesn’t wear deodorant and lives off-the-grid. But I want to introduce to you a new kind of environmentalist: the “everyday activist” Being an everyday activist is about valuing small and consistent actions, the compound effect of which can not only reduce your waste but also enrich your life. I want to show you small changes can make a big cumulative difference.
Zero waste is the ultimate goal, but there’s no need to feel daunted. Quite simply, zero waste living is about leaving a gentler footprint on the planet. That’s it.
This is an interactive book that gives you the power to be an activist in your everyday life. I have chosen a thirty-day timeframe, as research has shown that it takes approximately thirty days to develop a new habit. My engineering brain has “hacked” each day to make it as simple as possible. Cumulatively, the daily tasks transition you into living a zero waste life. Your journey comes in two parts, and focuses on four stages of change—think, do, reflect and review.
days 1-15: think & do
The “think” stage involves an initial audit of your life: assessing your current baseline so you know your starting point, opening your eyes and being curious about living a more eco-friendly existence. The “do” phase involves the delta—in engineering terms this means the change that is required. The first fifteen days ask for action; they’re about making simple changes that set you up to live a zero waste life.
days 16-30: reflect & review
These final fifteen days

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