How I Live Zero Waste: Stories of real people and their horoscopes

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Zero Waste activists talked about their lifestyles and I tried to find eco-friendly pinpoints in their natal charts.

“Zero Waste” is a type of lifestyle when you try to minimize your waste. American blogger Bea Johnson was one of its founding activists. You may have heard about her when she tried to fit her year-worth of trash into a mason jar. You can see how she did it on her YouTube channel

But some things are already clear: Bea buys from the bulk section, shops with re-usable bags, recycles and doesn’t buy stuff she doesn’t need.

We didn’t get that many Zero Waste followers to speak statistically. However, it’s still interesting to look at the charts of people who tailor their routines and needs to support an idea.

Natalie Perez-Regalado

  • Sustainable Works Student Greening program coordinator at Santa Monica College
  • Carries around re-usable napkins and a metallic straw, re-cycles and composts, doesn’t buy shampoo
  • Was born on May 14, 1993 at 6:46 p.m. in Salinas, CA

Natalie grew up on a military base in Arizona, where eco-friendly lifestyle just wasn’t a thing people discussed. After high school she enrolled in Santa Monica College where you can get extra credit if you attend sustainable living workshops on campus. 

“When I got exposed to it, I really kind of just went all in. The desire increased as I studied geography and environmental studies, and I would watch clips and documentaries in class.  I love documentaries, so I would watch them outside of class too, and I was just seeing an inconvenient truth about the trash and the true cost, and the plastic in the ocean…from different angles they [documentaries] just kind of tackled, I guess, climate change in general, and how wasteful our human population is.”

 Astrology Commentary:

Natalie’s Sun and Mercury are in conjunction in a nature-oriented sign of Taurus. Her synthetic sign has the exact same placement, which highlights her interest in the environment. Pluto, Sun/Mercury and Moon/Saturn also form a T-square combo in Natalie’s chart which points to her ability to discipline herself, not give up and pursue her ideals.

Natalie admits that she struggled to keep up with the Zero Waste lifestyle after she got out of college. But the more she traveled, the more motivated she was to keep going. 

“There are so many places in the world where people, unlike us, can’t just leave their trash outside the house and it just magically disappears the next day and gets buried somewhere.  I’ve seen people burn their own trash, and just breath in the air of the burning plastic water bottles. Every time I witnessed something like that, it was just a one big step in the Zero Waste direction.

In the morning I have two choices for a toothbrush that help with your waste. You can either get a bamboo toothbrush that can be composted once you’re completed with it, or I also came across a company called Preserve that actually makes the toothbrushes out of your recycled containers, and then allows you to recycle your toothbrush afterwards which is pretty cool.

I also don’t actually use any product for my hair in the shower. I only use all-natural products which also means I’m not constantly buying shampoos and conditioners in plastic containers.

I tried to do no shampoo, no conditioner, but it did not work with my hair type. So then I went to just washing my hair with a bar of soap, all natural, organic. Usually I prefer goat milk soap. I can find it at almost any farmer’s market. 

I just recently purchased a menstrual cup which I’ve been testing out. That way I can reduce the use of tampons, which obviously are very wasteful. Not only the use of plastic wrapper and the plastic applicator but also the fact that it’s just used once and then thrown away. 

We had a sustainable fashion show last year and ever since then I really upped my fashion game – increased thrift store shopping and just really trying to find out where the products that I’m purchasing are from. I don’t mind spending time doing research if that means I’m going to end up buying something vegan from a company that takes care of the environment and their workers.”

In the kitchen Natalie swapped plastic wrap for a wrap made out of bees’ wax, and plastic produce bags for re-usable ones. 

“I carry a re-usable bottle with me everywhere, along with my re-usable utensils, my metal straw and a re-usable napkin.

I have re-usable bags, including re-usable produce bags in my car that I always try and use instead of the free ones they offer at the store. I do purchase from imperfect produce section which helps reduce food waste from going to landfills, which I think makes a huge difference. 

I’m also vegetarian, so no meat. I try to stay away from fast food because I think that has to do a lot with the use of single-use items – the bag that they come in, the napkins, all the plastic. Everything made just to be thrown away.

When I have some food waste, like I had an orange and I have a leftover peel, I sometimes have to remind myself that I can keep it in my bag and take it home to put it in my green bin instead of just throwing it into a trash can because that would be easier. But a lot of this has become a habit so I don’t have to think about it as much.”

After college Natalie wanted to help spread the knowledge about eco-friendly lifestyle, so she joined a Santa Monica College non-profit Sustainable Works, where she leads the workshops for students. 

“It’s free for the students and a lot of them end up taking it because a lot of professors give them extra credit if they complete a workshop. But I personally don’t care how you got there. If your butt is in that seat, you’re learning about sustainability. And I can’t judge you because I initially took the workshop for extra credit and it completely changed my life.

Everything we do is to spread awareness about sustainability and Zero Waste.

Every year the owner of big car dealerships throughout the LA area hires our team to work at his parties. He’s a very eco-conscious person and wants his holiday parties to be zero waste because they have over 100 people attending. So we go out to each of his locations on the day of their parties and we help people sort their trash. They’re all zero waste events and at least 95% of the waste is re-cycled or composted. They use either re-usable napkins or unbleached napkins that can be composted. The last event had bamboo silverware so that could be composted.”

My family responds differently to my lifestyle. My mother is very supportive and actually has began to adopt a lot of sustainable habits along with my two sisters. A couple people in my family try to start a conversation that usually turns into a little bit of a debate back and forth, arguing if the decisions that I’m making are really making a difference in the world overall. But I explain myself and kind of go deeper into why I make these decisions. They don’t really give me too hard of a time.

I live this way because I want to preserve the beautiful Earth that we have. I love being outside and I love mother nature, I feel so connected to it. Once I had the knowledge about sustainability, I don’t understand how someone could not change they way they live once they get this information. I just can’t go back knowing everything I know. I can’t un-learn it.” 

Tatiana Tarelkina 

Tatiana grew up re-cycling paper. During the Soviet Union times it was actually mandatory. 

“It was kind of hard to find so much paper as lots of things didn’t come in a package. And if they did, people re-used that package. We went around asking neighbors so we could meet the quota – once a quarter we had to bring 3 kg (6.6 lbs) of paper to school for re-cycling”.

As an adult, Tatiana started sorting and re-cycling waste again after she realized how many free advertising newspapers she was getting in the mail. She had so much paper laying around her house – the amount she couldn’t possibly find as a child, even after asking every neighbor. 

“I remember getting so irritated taking out a stack of free newspapers from my mailbox every morning. It didn’t feel right to just throw them away. So I found a re-cycling event and asked my husband ‘What if we take our newspapers there?’ He agreed. That’s how we got to having a re-cycling bin on our balcony now. Besides paper waste I also now sort plastic, glass and aluminum.” 

 Astrology Commentary:

Libra, the sign that loves harmony and balance, is boldly highlighted in Tatiana’s chart. This might be an indication of the way she interacts with others about composting and sustainability. Tatiana’s activism isn’t fanatical, she only talks about it with those who’re interested in the topic to begin with. Her asceticism in the beauty department comes from Venus. The planet falls into the last degree of Aries, opposed to Jupiter in the 1st House, which points out that Tatiana priorities social needs over personal desires.  

A year and a half ago Tatiana started composting food and organic waste on her own, with the help of vermicompost bin (a bin with warms which compost organic waste – editor’s note). And a little bit after that she started teaching others about the process on social media.

“I’ve been interested in the idea of composting organic waste because I grow my own vegetables and herbs on the balcony. Vermicompost works 100% great – no need to throw food waste in the trash, and there’s no smell. My public social media page is a non-profit and educational project. I don’t sell or advertise anything, my goal is to spread awareness of this way of handling trash.

We don’t buy things we don’t need, and prefer to buy things in bulk to reduce the use of packaging. We don’t take plastic grocery bags at the store, and use eco-friendly re-usable shopping bags instead. We also use fabric re-usable bags when buying and weighting produce. We get rid of unwanted items at free markets or donate them. I’m not high maintenance when it comes to my appearance. I have a basic wardrobe – sets of clothes for work and leisure. When buying clothes for vacation, I try to buy things that would go with anything I already own and could be combined into outfits. I buy certified eco-friendly cosmetics. These days it’s not hard to find those at all. I don’t go to beauty salons, but I do live a healthy lifestyle and eat well instead. 

Naturally I am pretty self-disciplined, so I don’t really have to put too much effort into my sustainable lifestyle. I just have to put more effort into taking steps further. For example, they recently opened a new store in town, where everything is sold in bulk, and you can bring your own bags or containers. But because the product selection is not that wide yet, and they don’t have some staples that we need, we haven’t gone there yet. My husband participates in sorting the waste, and helps me take it to re-cycling stations. Other relatives are also pretty chill about our lifestyle, especially since I don’t try to force my views onto them.

I wouldn’t say that I’m up all night thinking about mass deaths, or the future of my child. Sustainability for me is just something logical that I’ve learned, understood and built my lifestyle around. It’s not an emotional choice for me, it’s a logical one. That’s why I don’t push my values onto people who’re not interested in them. When I go to someone’s house, I throw my trash wherever the hosts do. When I have people over at my home, I ask them to obey our house rules.”

Galina Smirnova

  • Electric power accounting engineer
  • “Green Train” non-profit volunteer, refuses to use plastic bags, sorts trash
  • Was born on 23 February, 1990 at around 12:00 p.m. in Votkins, Udmurtia, Russia

“I’ve started having more and more people in my social circle who aren’t oblivious about the future of our planet, so slowly I’ve become attracted to this topic as well.

But what really made me mindfully change my lifestyle was learning about a local Izhevsk (city in Russia – editor’s note) volunteer non-profit organization “Green Train.” I went along with my friend to one of their meetings, and they discussed issues that I’ve never even thought of before. I didn’t know how dangerous the things we use daily can be. For example, I learned that when you heat up disposable containers and utensils, they release toxic chemicals. Batteries spoil the soil, so you should never through them in the trash. I’ve also given up meat products, but that was more from an ethical standpoint, however, it is definitely beneficial for the environment.

My boss supports me at work and gives me his plastic waste, so I could take it to the re-cycling center. He also separates film and electronics that don’t work anymore. He even got me a shredder just so we are able to re-cycle paperwork. 

My mom really understands my lifestyle, and supports me with pride. When we refuse a plastic bag at the grocery store, she explains to the cashier that her “daughter is eco-friendly.” Sometimes she separates her waste as well: she burns paper in the fireplace, composts food waste, and makes bathroom matts from plastic milk bags.”

Astrology Commentary:

The sign of Capricorn is the most populated sector in Galina’s chart. Her aspiration for self-discipline is also highlighted by the position of Saturn there, and her attraction to asceticism is explained by conjunction of Saturn and Venus. 

Galina is an activist and oriented to improve our environment thanks to the busy upper hemisphere of her natal chart.

Galina participates in the “Green Train” projects that bring locals together and encourage them to sort their waste. At the “Green Train” they also sell eco-friendly shopping bags and re-usable shoe covers.

“Every year we get more and more people who re-cycle and sort trash. This makes me happy. I really hope the local and federal governments can start supporting these initiations. I hope they see soon that we are ready to re-cycle waste, instead of burning it, because we care about the quality of air we breath in and water that we drink.”

I remember growing up we placed newspapers at the bottom of a trash can and just rinsed it off after, so we didn’t need to use plastic trash bags. It wasn’t hard. So, one day I want to get to the point where I refuse to use trash bags too. I already have the desire to do that, now I just need to form a habit.

I’m inspired by people around me, by volunteers, who are ready to show up to events on weekends, in freezing cold, rainy or hot weather, help improve our planet and clean it up. I also feel inspired by the locals who come to our events and bring their kids, educating them of the importance of sustainability from a young age.”


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