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Why I Really Started Going Zero Waste

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Last Updated on January 23, 2024

This post has been a long time coming. Some stories need to be told, even if we feel incredibly vulnerable.

Most of my family and friends don’t even know this story. It wasn’t until I was being interviewed on my “about” page I realized, I couldn’t keep up the lie.

Even though my great gran, Willie, and her generation serves as inspiration for my journey, they were not the cause.

I felt like a deer in the headlights when asked to elaborate on Willie. Sadly, I didn’t know her that well. Only from the stories my grandmother and mom passed down.

So what’s the scoop?

part one:

Around six years ago, In college I started feeling unbearable pain in my left breast. It felt like someone was stabbing me.

I couldn’t wear a bra, it hurt to have fabric rub up against me, and it could be difficult to raise my arms. This was beyond normal pain.

I went to see the doctor and she immediately sent me to the breast cancer ward. They performed an ultrasound where they found several tumors.

Thankfully they were not malignant.

They didn’t want to operate; because, there was a very good chance they would come back.

Instead, I was to be monitored every several months over the course of a few years for any changes. 

Even though nothing changed, it didn’t stop the pain. 

This whole experience really, really got me thinking about what I put in and on my body.

Previously I had thought the “all-natural” movement was crazy. I mean – The government couldn’t possibly allow products that could harm us to be on the shelves? ……right!?

Oh, so wrong.  

I realized that my hormones were completely out of whack, and I started over hauling everything.

First I started cooking from scratch. Then I started making my own cleaning products.

Then I started making my own beauty products, and when I switched to an all natural deodorant – my pain went away. Gone. Vanished. 

I have been pain free for a year and a half. Of course I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up, but I truly believe this is due to the aluminum in the anti-perspirant I was wearing.

Since dropping it, I haven’t had any pain.

part two: 

After I graduated college I took an acting gig in PA. The contract ran almost half a year. As you well know, I had a massive closet. I also had a TON of stuff.

I had a fully furnished apartment in AR, and I had to whittle all of that down into what could easily fit into the trunk of my car.

I took only my favorite clothes, favorite pieces of jewelry, and a few personal items. I left everything else at my family’s house in AR.

During my time in PA, I got a really devastating phone call. All of the furniture, clothes, dishes, almost everything I owned – burned.

I lost it all in a fire.

I mean, it’s actually kinda hilarious – the house was struck by lightning, caught on fire, the roof caved in, and then it flooded.

Fortunately and unfortunately, it was only my side of the house. Everything else and everyone was fine.

But, there was a plan. Isn’t there always a plan?

In PA I had, very unexpectedly, met someone pretty amazing.

Two weeks before news of the fire dropped, He asked me to runaway with him to California.

After we finished our contracts, we packed up our little cars with what fit in our trunks and we drove out to the bay to start a new chapter. 

And ya know, my quality of living hasn’t suffered one bit. I haven’t missed any of that stuff. 

Because, it was just stuff, just things – it didn’t matter. My memories do not belong to inanimate objects. My memories are alive in me.  

After moving out to CA, I started focusing on waste reduction efforts. There’s so much plastic and waste going out to sea.

It broke my heart. And, everything that has happened has really led me to this point.

I have no doubt in my mind. I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. 

So, that’s how and why I really started going zero waste.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey and your continual support. I truly believe we can make a difference in this world.

I’ll update my about page to reflect this new information.  Thank you for understanding why it took time to publish this information. 

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  1. This was wonderful. Thank you for sharing your story and fighting through your vulnerabilities :] I have a similar "part one" story, as my mom has thyroid problems and developed rheumatoid arthritis. They doctor recommended avoiding plastics, synthetic cleaners, etc, because they can mess with your hormones. It’s amazing how many harmful products have been approved for our everyday use.

  2. This is such an incredible story and I’m so glad you shared! I’m not ashamed to say I teared up a little reading it. I too have come to zero waste by first switching up my diet to battle chronic health issues. Now that I’m a parent, use of plastics and toxic materials/products seems insane. Why would we ever knowingly put ourselves in harms way for the sake of beauty/convenience/etc. Kudos again and hope you continue to get good feedback on this and all the other great content on your site! <3 Meredith

  3. Hi Kathryn,

    That is a very heart-going story!! But that is how life is. I’m glad you shared it exspecially the part with the health issue. It could inspire people changing their lives, because they see it works by your example!
    Keep healthy and strong as you are! I love your blog!

    Kind regards from Germany

  4. I enjoyed reading your story. Totally understandable, and who knew that switching to zero waste is life-changing, in all senses of the term?!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so great to hear how things have worked out for you. That’s really interesting to hear about your deodorant experience. What deodorant do you use now?

  6. Thanks for sharing this! I love the honesty in your story.
    I also stopped using traditional antiperspirant because I read so many studies linking the aluminum to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in my family. I’ve been using baking soda, water, and lavender essential oil mixed together in a spray bottle…works perfectly!

    I love following your blog – can’t wait for more posts!


  7. Hi Kathryn

    I have only been a reader of your blog for a month but thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine it took great courage!

    Zero Waste is not only important for me because of the environmental aspect but the personal ones too. It’s important to have a healthy planet and personal health as well.

    Your posts have been great inspirations for me, even in the UK! Especially the one about not being able to buy in bulk, which we can’t often do here.

    Thank you.

  8. Wow what an amazing story! I love your webpage and your writing is short and to the point! Perfect! Thank you for all of the amazing tips on how to be zero-waste! So helpful

  9. I’ve only been reading for the past week or so, but this post really struck me. I have dealt with eczema since I was a child. I couldn’t buy anything with synthetic fragrance as it made my skin break out into horrible, itchy, red rashes all over my legs, arms, and sometimes face. It took me several years to find "safe" products for my skin, until I came to college and was dropped into the world of natural and package free products. Since I’ve started using them, I have not had any skin issues! Thank you so much for sharing. I was insecure about these issues for years and honest posts like yours make me feel so much better about how I can help the environment and my body too! (:

  10. Thanks so much!
    Each of us has different reason for zero waste! Living in SE Asia opened my eyes and the trash which is not out of sight…
    It is very important that we change our habits because habits create our destiny..
    Thanks so much for your blog. You are an inspiration!

  11. Thank you Kathryn for sharing your story. You don’t know how much it has inspired me. Whenever I feel hopeless, I visit your page.