Zero Waste Living
How many of you have tried to live a life of zero waste? In this materialistic world, having zero waste seems something hard to do. But it is possible. My guest Rachel Pulley will teach us the beauty of having zero waste lifestyle and how to be aware of the problems that our waste is creating.
How It All Began
Rachel Pulley’s zero waste journey began about over two years ago. She says her zero waste lifestyle started in a place that is quite unusual for most people. One day, Rachel Pulley got overwhelmed with how much waste we create during whenever women have their period. That is indeed an odd place where people would start a zero-waste lifestyle.
“I say it’s a funny place to begin this journey because this change is usually the last one people make. And I became overwhelmed by the thought of all the waste I would produce in my lifetime alone,” said Rachel Pulley.
Starting The Research
So Rachel Pulley began researching for feasible solutions or alternatives. That’s where her journey started. The more she dug into the zero waste lifestyle, Rachel Pulley found different podcasts that she loves to listen to.
“I found bloggers living a Zero Waste Lifestyle, authors, and community and I began my journey through those experiences,” said Rachel Pulley. “But I am not a scientist or environmentalist but I see what’s happening and it worries me.”
Using a menstrual cup was Rachel Pulley’s initial attempt to live a life of zero waste. A menstrual cup comes in different kinds, and Rachel Pulley declares the little silicone cup as life-changing.
For sanitary reasons, Rachel Pulley boils her menstrual cup once a month, and she even has no problems sleeping with it. There’s a brand of a menstrual cup that comes in assorted colors, and Rachel Pulley assures that it’s not hard to use it. She also advises women to watch Youtube tutorials to learn how to use a menstrual cup.
I have read that tampons and pads are harmful if they aren’t organic. This is because we can absorb chemicals from the cotton. That’s why Rachel Pulley also recommends using cloth pads.
In A Nutshell
Rachel Pulley says she strives to live the zero waste lifestyle. And there are so many factors in our surroundings that contribute to waste. Plastic breaks up over time and becomes smaller. Eventually, the fishes in the ocean will think it’s food, so they eat it, and we eat them. That’s how plastic is starting to show up in us.
“Our waste doesn’t just go away. It’s affecting our environment, killing animals, affecting our health and draining our resources,” said Rachel Pulley.
Apart from the menstrual cup, Rachel Pulley started bringing a reusable bag everywhere especially during shopping trips and doing the grocery. This is because she says plastic bags get ripped and soiled. It then ends up in landfills or shipped to underdeveloped countries.
A big chunk of plastic also ends up in oceans. The plastic by then looks like food, which turtles think it’s jellyfish.
“There are so many different forms of waste. It can be trash, food waste or clothing,” explains Rachel Pulley. “When you’re starting this journey, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. But we aren’t perfect.”
She adds, “Try a zero waste audit. Look at your trash. Think of what you can get rid off and what you can’t live without. It’s a fun journey, and it should uplift you.”
Zero Waste Party
Rachel Pulley threw a unique birthday party to celebrate her 30th birthday last year. She says doing a zero waste party needs ample time for planning since you have to figure out how to get products in alternative ways.
One way is to buy ingredients in bulk and pack them in your reusable bag or steel containers especially when purchasing meat. For her party, Rachel Pulley made appetizers and had guests use cloth napkins instead of paper plates. For drinks, there was lemonade served in glass cups.
“People won’t understand it at first. But get creative. Expose kids to the outside world to help them be aware. Have a family clean-up to motivate kids. Do a beach clean-up time to time because kids generally want to change the world,” said Rachel Pulley.
Rachel Pulley doesn’t think plastic is necessarily the enemy, but what we created it to be, it’s everywhere. So, her advice is to just become more mindful not only of recycling.
“Recycling is a good alternative. But I don’t think it’s the best way to handle what we got,” said Rachel Pulley. “Because in the end, recycling something has to start somewhere. It can’t just keep being recycled unless it’s glass or paper.”
Zero Waste Home
One of Rachel Pulley favorite authors is Bea Johnson, the author of Zero Waste Home. To jumpstart your zero waste lifestyle, Rachel Pulley advises starting with refusing the things you don’t need. Then reuse the things that you can.
“The idea is to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce by looking where to stop buying and replace with something better. Recycling is at the bottom because essentially, you want to cut out as much as you can,” said Rachel Pulley.
Containers And Utensils
Since we know that we can absorb the toxic elements from plastic cups, it’s best to invest in glass containers to store food and stainless-steel containers like this brand called Hydroflask. It may be costly, buy investing in good containers and thermos bottles can do wonders for your health in the long run.
Another way is to bring your silverware. Nowadays, there are even more alternatives when it comes to utensils. Some are also made from bamboo. Rachel Pulley says an excellent resource for environmentally-friendly items aside from Amazon or eBay is a website called Tiny Yellow Bungalow and Package Free Shop in New York City.
These companies even go as far as packaging with paper or cardboard. Another great item to invest in reusable straws which are easy to clean.
Dealing With Food
Speaking of food, a zero waste lifestyle means you will also tend to steer clear of processed foods since those are packaged with plastic. You get to eat more real food that way.
“I try to live healthily and eat clean. And I always know the difference between how I eat. But I also notice a huge difference in my health as far as living,” said Rachel Pulley. “I also don’t clean with a ton of chemicals.”
Food waste is a good mix of food waste and dirt. Rachel Pulley says that it’s making soil nutritious because it has the opportunity to break down properly.
“A lot of people will have a worm compost where those worms do a ton of good things. So, if you see worms in your soil, that is a great sign. They help the composting process,” said Rachel Pulley.
She adds, “Composting sounds more intimidating than it is. The only things you can’t compost are fish and meat. Because it becomes putrid and harmful to animals if they eat it.”
Do The Research
Rachel Pulley also encourages people to do their research. Research recycling in your area because there are many options.
According to Rachel Pulley, not all plastics can be recycled. A regular recycling factory can’t recycle all plastics. Furthermore, she says if you look at the bottom of any plastic, it has a recycling symbol with a number in the middle. That stands for what kind of plastic it is.
“Not only does the waste impact our health, but also the health of this beautiful planet that we have been given,” said Rachel Pulley. “And I am a strong believer that we have to take care of it. I’m a big believer on how our trash is impacting the ocean.”
Rachel Pulley reveals that scientists only found about 1 % of the amount of plastic polluting the ocean. The rest of that 99% they believe, is either down into the depths of the ocean, or it becomes so small that they can’t find it.
“We shouldn’t be scared but rather be aware of the effects of using plastics. This isn’t me saying I’m a hundred percent zero waste. I’m just well aware of what are the things happening in our world,” Rachel Pulley said.
She adds, “People don’t realize that when you throw away trash when you put Mother Nature in a plastic bag, it can’t decompose properly. It becomes a toxic sludge that leaks into our soil. That will eventually end up in our ocean. It’s all connected.”
Zero Waste Workshops
Rachel Pulley enjoys teaching zero waste workshops because she saw the need to start educating people about the growing waste problem. She believes there is still so much to learn about how to save our planet from deteriorating.
Ultimately, Rachel Pulley says it’s figuring out what works best for you and your family. Doing the little things will add up to make a huge impact, even though it may not feel like it.
“Not only do I love zero waste and sustainability. It makes you think outside of yourself. You begin to appreciate and care for things more,” shares Rachel Pulley. “They have more value to you because they aren’t just disposable. I believe this planet and the beauty on it is a gift from God and we have been taking advantage of it for too long.”
She adds, “Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle is a beautiful journey. It’s not meant to be one of frustration; it’s meant to be one of connection, appreciation, mindfulness, and invention.”
Rachel Pulley is an actor at heart and currently a theatre teacher. She got her degree in musical theater and planned to go back for her Masters.
Rachel Pulley doesn’t have a formal education in Environmental studies that would lead her to the place she’s in now. Her pursuit of a Zero Waste Lifestyle is purely out of passion.
Rachel Pulley works with a local market to do Zero Waste live videos, and she teaches Zero Waste classes as well.
Get Connected With Rachel Pulley!
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson