To fully get why waste is the hero, you first have to understand my relationship with it from right back when I was a little girl.
My mother grew up on a farm, her lifestyle, and that of her parents and social circle, was what we would call now ‘minimalist’, ‘self-sufficient’, or ‘zero waste’. It became ingrained into my Mum and as such when I was a child in the 80s I was made to wear handmade clothing, constructed from the waste of clothing my mum made for others; I will never forget the patchwork tracksuit, ever! I am still a little scarred from being made to wear it, but at least I was never cold. What I didn’t know then but I do now, is that because of her upbringing, the ’waste not want not’ mantra was so deeply embedded into her language that it became equally embedded in my own.
We were waste free warriors and with Zero Waste Kulture I returned to those roots.
So, where did those ethics go, what happened to that way of life? The birth of free trade, overconsumption, working a 40 hr week, both parents being at work, the demand for convenience and voila.... we have products that are designed to be used only once, industries that are created primarily to wax an apple to travel across the globe and half way back again, textile industries creating materials, that use natural resources at extreme levels, for the fashion or furnishing industry only to end up in landfill when the new season style comes along. Of course there is now the chance that they might end being repurposed in the form of Zero Waste Kulture products, like with this wonderful collaboration with Arnhem but you get my point.
Two years ago I had a nervous breakdown, it was really extreme and it was created from a culmination of many things, but the real source of the breakdown (which I only came to understand after the fact) came from working in a world that had different values to mine. I was being challenged to my absolute core. I remember at the beginning of this awakening I was in Peru, and sobbing most of the time I was there. I didn’t really know why, but I knew that the earth and the magic of the planet was being eroded by the very same way that I had managed to get myself to Peru, on a budget holiday a ‘real bargain’, but at what cost? As I said above, all these realisations and lightbulb moments only came to me after the healing began and the dreaming was once again reignited.
I began dreaming and Zero Waste Kulture was born. I realised that there were untold resources of material waste that was otherwise ending up in landfill, after living its first life, that had so much more life to live. Waste once again became part of my narrative and I returned back to working with it and wearing it (not a patchwork tracksuit mind you...not yet anyway) like it was an old friend, one I had neglected for too long having been caught up with the wrong crowd, the shiny crowd….like the one that leaves you at a party.
And now, 18 months into this journey of recovery and rediscovery waste is my hero. It is healing me, giving me purpose to make an impact on the planet by saving it from landfill, it’s creating jobs for those around me who help me make my products, it’s giving back to the community by not ending up in landfills and it’s generating funds for charity. All these benefits and values underpin what Zero Waste Kulture is all about, and all that I do.
The journey to get here has been one of digging deep within, and finding the jewels in the darkest of hours. Along the way there has been amazing encouragement and opportunities to collaborate with businesses and brands and this has opened up a world of promise, a network of like-minded souls who also see waste as the hero. Arnhem, a global fashion brand, saw the opportunity, and in our recent collaboration and co-branded Zero Waste Kulture products we have collectively pooled our resources and made the hero of the story shine once again. I am so proud of what we have achieved together, and indebted to Arnhem for seeing an opportunity with Zero Waste Kulture to further underpin their values, and help them stand out in an industry that can so often be seen as a real menace when it comes to waste.
Take a look at our beautiful products and if you are interested in recreating your waste and making it the hero of your story please get in touch with me.
Read more here about the Arnhem collaboration. https://arnhem.co/blogs/blog/talking-zero-waste-kulture