Hi, my name is Emma, and I’m a journalist and the founding editor of A Life Lived Lightly.
Like many of us who embark upon the path to zero waste, my journey began when I became a mother.
Having children often prompts mums (and dads) to question what kind of world they want their little one(s) to inherit and whether they’re setting a good example for their children when it comes to caring for the environment.
At the same time, many parents also become more aware of the health ramifications of certain chemicals and toxins that we are all exposed to on a daily basis, which are both terrible for the environment and our own health.
My growing awareness of those toxins began while I was pregnant, back in 2016. I started to consider whether my daily spray of perfume, the lovely scented candles I was burning each evening and the bleach I would regularly clean the bathroom with was having an effect on my growing baby.
Purely on instinct I started to reduce my exposure to these sorts of products, but it wasn’t until my son was six-months-old that I began doing a deep dive into the hazards of environmental toxins.
It was my research into the harmful effects of plastic on children’s health that led me to the zero waste movement.
As I read more and more about chemicals like BPA, BPS and phthalates, which are in many sippy cups, teethers and toys, I also discovered the environmental issues around plastic usage, such as the devastating effects of microbeads on marine life and the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
What I learnt was deeply concerning, and it galvanised me into action. Our home received a complete zero (or at least low) waste, mostly plastic-free, toxin-free overhaul. (You can read about my first three zero waste swaps here).
Eighteen months on and I still have a long way to go. There are still areas that need improvement, but I recognise that being truly zero waste takes time, and more than a few missteps will occur along the way.
As Anne Marie Bonneau, aka the Zero Waste Chef says: “We don't need a handful of people doing #zerowaste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Well, I’m one of those “imperfect” people. However, when I think back to my previous cavalier consumption of takeaway cups, plastic water bottles and plastic straws, I know I’ve come incredibly far, and I’m now doing my best to curb my contribution to plastic pollution by using a KeepCup, a reusable glass water bottle and a stainless steel straw, amongst other things.
Deciding to go zero waste can present a bit of a rabbit hole… once you tumble down it you’ll find your whole perspective will change. You’ll develop a growing appreciation and admiration of nature, you’ll broaden your skills set by learning to grow, make and create things for yourself, instead of just buying them, and you’ll discover simple joys you may not have experienced since you were a child.
Why did I start A Life Lived Lightly?
The reasons are fourfold:
1) I want to share my zero waste journey and inspire others to consider making small (or big) changes when it comes to their plastic consumption.
I also want to assure them that the “zero” in zero waste doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ve all seen those zero wasters with their entire year’s worth of rubbish in a single jar, and from where you sit today you may think, I’ll never be able to achieve that, so why bother? Again, I’ll remind you of Zero Waste Chef’s quote... we need those millions of people being imperfect zero wasters.
2) My friends and family were getting tired of hearing me laud the benefits of glass over plastic and my concerns over our ever-increasing landfills – I needed a bigger audience!
3) Along with zero waste I’m also passionate about raising awareness about the devastating effects of chemical use on the environment and on our own health. Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals are in our everyday household items, our personal care products and even our food. But many people are unaware of this.
4) And most importantly, I want to do all I can to improve the world my son is growing up in. Even if I convince a handful of people to adopt zero waste practices, I’ll know I’ve tried my best to make the world that little bit better.
Thank you for stopping by and please feel free to email me any of your own zero waste tips, and suggestions on what you would like to see covered on the site, here.