“I spent most of my childhood in Cleveland, Ohio. I was born in France and then moved around in the Midwest. I’m living in St. Louis now and working at Monsanto. I have family in South Africa and took my first trip there when I was 8 years old. I remember falling in love with the nature, wildlife and openness even at that age. When I was 13, we took a big trip from Johannesburg to the coast of South Africa where we drove through the savannah and I was in awe of the expansive landscape around me. That’s when I really committed to my passion and mission of sustainability. I wanted to see that natural beauty last for countless generations. I was already passionate about sustainability and had started a neighborhood sustainability club called “Love Green, Live Green, Spread Green.” For me waste has always been an important component of the footprint we are leaving on the earth because of how connected I feel with nature uncontaminated with waste and pollution. It has always been inherent to me to care about the environment and I try to live that more every day.
Being powerful is living aligned to my values and passions. Finding confidence is finding that purpose in your life and being really passionate about it. At work, I feel most confident when I really care about something, and it goes both ways; I think the key to living life purposefully is confidence.
What I’m doing is purposeful consumption. It’s not zero waste, but I try to be conscious and purposeful. Even just buying products that are going to last a little longer. When I started this low waste lifestyle, it was all vegan. I’m not strictly vegan, but I work hard to be conscious of the footprint my actions and decisions leave on the earth. I kind of split up my lifestyle in a few areas of sustainability. There is waste in the kitchen, the living areas of the home, and bathroom. You have to start somewhere, so I compartmentalize and evolve into more purposeful consumption within each area.
LIVING ROOM – Essential oils are a minor way to improve the smell of your home in a sustainable way. I use a reed diffuser. It’s easy and can be used instead of a plug-in diffuser. You pick your favorite essential oil, put it in a jar and put some reeds in to diffuse that natural scent. It’s a very lasting sustainable way to make a place smell nice. I think it works even better than artificial air freshener. Every time I’ve tried something new that’s more sustainable, I like it more than the alternative. You quickly find you don’t have to sacrifice anything.
BATHROOM – For my hair, I use a shampoo and conditioner from Lush with no packaging. It comes in tins that are refillable, so it has totally eliminated packaging. We use a lot of packaging, so I try to eliminate it. The people at Lush were really excited and supportive when I said I was trying to go zero waste.
KITCHEN – I’ve totally changed how I shop for food and groceries. I started by finding a place I can buy in bulk. I’ll bring my own containers to fill up when I grocery shop. I’ve also been eating a lot more vegetables that are easy to throw in a mesh produce bag. I have a lot of grains, legumes, and nuts in reusable containers. I plan everything I’m going to eat, so I buy exactly what I need. I love that I have to meal plan now. It’s very purposeful.”
Audrey’s list of items to zero waste:
Shampoo and conditioner: