The stress-free guide to zero-waste living with Anita Vandyke

Orlova Maria

“Zero waste life means not only reducing your waste, but also not wasting your life.” Anita Vandyke

The term ‘zero-waste’ is so emotive isn’t it? It simultaneously sounds wonderfully inspiring and overwhelmingly difficult, bringing to mind tiny jars of rubbish and endless hours of DIY.

I personally love seeing those glass jars containing a year’s worth of rubbish and have definitely been known to make my own deodorant and toothpaste, but I’m always thrilled to meet a zero-waste advocate who understands how overwhelming ‘zero waste’ can seem to those just beginning the journey.

Enter my wonderful guest this week, Anita Vandyke, a zero waste activist, literal rocket scientist, medical student, author and all-round breath of fresh air. Anita brings a new, more practical perspective to the zero waste lifestyle, and in this episode she and I talk about her journey to living a zero waste life, the impact of her cultural and familial upbringing on her choice to simplify life, tips for helping people get started and so much more.

Anita talks about her life a few years ago as a self-described ‘maximalist’, how she went from working in corporate engineering at the height of her career to being burnt out, and having to quit her job and step back for six months to think about what she wanted in life.

She talks about her cultural background, as her parents immigrated to Australia from China during the communist regime, and how this informed her value of money, power and status in her early 20s, as well as her work ethic, but also how her upbringing cemented her understanding of living minimally. She talks about her discovery of this very podcast during that six month break, and how this, combined with other resources, volunteering, meditating and economic necessity started her on the journey of simplifying her life and decreasing her waste.

Now Anita is studying medicine and has just written a book, called ‘A Zero Waste Life: In 30 Days’. Her scientific background means her approach to zero waste living is incredibly practical, with a creative, problem-solving bent to help you make small changes in your everyday life. Her focus is accessibility, and I really love her three-tiered approach to adopting zero waste strategies to any issue: 1) dipping your toe in, 2) living low waste and 3) living zero waste.

This podcast is full of so many nuggets of wisdom and great ideas for approaching a slower, more simple life. Start where you are, take stock, ask for help and stick to the 80/20 rule are just some my main takeaways. If you’re looking for further inspiration and advice on how to begin or level-up your own zero waste efforts, I can highly recommend Anita’s new book (which is being released on July 4th – only a few days before the North American release of my second book, SLOW.)

Enjoy!

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