Welcome to episode one of our zero waste blog series!

We started this series to share the joys that a zero waste lifestyle can bring. Besides that, we hope to create awareness about plastic pollution. It’s not a coincidence that we’re starting on July 1st. Today is the kickoff for PlasticFreeJuly!

What would be a better start to this month than sitting back for a second and reading all about the inspiring story of zero waste advocate Monica? She’s better known as ‘girlforacleanworld’ on her instagram and blog.

We hope that you’ll enjoy this series as much as we do. And be sure to check out next week’s story, too!

All photography rights belong to Monica Rosquillas. But that’s enough from us. Here is what Monica has to say about her zero waste lifestyle:

Hello! My name is Monica Rosquillas.

I’m a Mexican American from Chula Vista, California, and I’m currently traveling in a van in Spain with my husband Fernando and our beloved adopted boxer, Apolo. I’ve been living a zero waste lifestyle since 2014 and my zero waste journey sort of happened gradually.

Zero waste grocery haul

I was working as an environmental educator for a San Diego environmental non-profit at the time. I was going to schools and teaching kids from the ages of 6-18 all about plastic in the ocean, our landfills, and pollution in our watersheds. It was while preparing for my presentations and doing hours of research on the pacific garbage patch and visiting landfills and recycling centers first hand, that I realized that although I considered myself an environmentalist, I had to change a lot of my habits.

Up to this point I was buying a lot of packaged food, shopping at fast fashion stores, and sending my food scraps to the landfill. Slowly I started changing how and where I shopped, found a way to compost, and jumped head first into the world of thrifting.  

Monica enjoying her zero waste snacks on the beach

Living a zero waste lifestyle hasn’t been necessarily easy, but it’s very worthwhile and it’s made me a happier person. Speaking up and having to do things differently has made me more confident and my happiness every day depends less on the things I own.

For me, the most challenging thing is the fact that you’re doing things differently than everyone else. It’s not always easy, especially if you’re shy like me. Also, planning ahead and bringing reusables day after day can be exhausting sometimes. But after 4 years I’m certain it’s all been worth it and I’ve grown so much as a result.

Zero waste reusables
My number 1 tip for anyone wanting to start a zero waste lifestyle is to learn as you go. We live in a world that’s designed for us to produce waste at every stop, making zero waste difficult! Remember to take it slowly, search online for ideas and inspiration, and think long-term.

It’s also important to remember that zero waste does not mean ‘zero’ waste. Waste happens and what we’re trying to do is minimize it as much as reasonably possible.

Good luck, you got this!

Monica with her dog Apolo and a friend hiking

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