A TV presenter turned eco blogger has revealed how she’s embracing a zero-waste lifestyle – and saving a fortune in the process.
Former MTV host Kate Arnell, 34, who lives in London with her husband Mark, decided to shun plastic shopping bags, fast fashion, and even tampons after stumbling across the book Zero Waste Home in a charity shop.
Thanks to her newfound passion for all things organic and sustainable even Kate’s 2014 wedding was low waste – instead of buying a gown she would only wear once, she asked a fashion designer friend to make her a short dress using vintage fabric and lace.
The invitations were sent online, guests threw confetti made from natural flower petals rather than plastic, and even the wedding cake was commissioned from a ‘naked’ bakery that doesn’t package its bakes in plastic for delivery.
Almost five years on, Kate stores her homemade ‘tooth powder’, deodorant and washing powders in jars, rather than throwing yet more plastic and cardboard packaging into her shopping trolley each week, uses a menstrual cup instead of tampons, and wears pre-loved clothing.
Here Kate shares her tips for cutting back on waste – including the five ‘Rs’ at the heart of a zero waste lifestyle – to help you follow in her footsteps, and reveals how it could save you serious cash, too.
‘I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of single use plastic I was bringing home every week from my grocery shopping, and then I read an article about Bea Johnson, who managed to reduce her family of four’s annual waste to the size of a litre jar,’ Kate told FEMAIL.
‘A week later I found her book, Zero Waste Home, in a charity shop and it completely changed how I view the world and operate in it. I began to follow the 5 Rs in order:
‘Refuse what I do not need – plastic straws in drinks, freebies, plastic bags and so on.
‘Reduce what I do need – and give items I’m no longer using to the second-hand market.
‘Re-use – by switching any disposable items for reusable alternatives, and shopping second-hand wherever possible.
‘Recycle – but only after I’ve refused, reduced and re-used.
‘Rot – in other words, compost. I now have a worm bin but I’m constantly bothering my council to offer a food waste collection service, which they’re finally testing out in my small area.’
Less IS more
‘Embrace simplicity. I found simplifying our cleaning products to just vinegar and water not only saves time and money, but it also means I’m not breathing in potentially hazardous chemicals that make my eyes water and skin hurt.
‘In the bathroom I use bicarbonate of soda for lots of different things: as a deodorant (simply pat it on after a shower), a tooth powder (sprinkle on to my wooden toothbrush) and a spot treatment (mix with a little water to form a paste and leave on spot overnight). One product for a whole range of different uses. It can also be used in baking and for cleaning too.’