Zero Waste Living With Erica


Name: Erica

Occupation: Microbiologist

Current City:  Brisbane

Born and raised in Italy, but currently residing in Australia, Erica is a microbiologist who is always looking to start a new project or pick up a new trade or skill. A little under a year ago, she’d came across the zero-waste movement. Not only did it pique her interest, but she adopted the lifestyle and is now sharing her journey, as well as tips and tricks for those interested, on Liberetto Reviews.

To learn more about Erica’s journey to zero-waste living, please read on below!

When did you adopt the zero-waste lifestyle and what was the motivator for you?

It was in May of last year.

I was at home sick and as many surely do, I was mindlessly browsing YT and stumbled across Bea Johnson's TedTalk. Needless to say, it changed my life.

There was no real motivator. I wasn’t a “save the world” type of person before that moment. I didn’t even recycle. But after that video, and the many others that followed that day, I suddenly had a shift in my perception of the world, and how my daily life impacted on its welfare.

When my partner came home that night, I shared my findings, and we agreed that it was time to get immediate action. And we did it.

What was the most challenging part of going zero-waste, and how did you overcome it?

It was taking back control of my life.

One thing that I love about the zero waste lifestyle is that it's not just a movement aimed to reduce your waste, but is also a journey of self-discovery. I rediscovered my power as a consumer and being a shy person, I struggled at first to Refuse (first step in ZW). I often sent my partner forward to assess the possibility of using our own containers, and more than once left the store very demoralized with a plastic bag in my hands because I was too shy to say “No, I don't want it."

On the flip side, were you ever pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to switch certain things over?

Absolutely yes! We were so entangled in plastic and used to things being a certain way that we couldn't see the simple alternatives available to us. Take the bathroom, for example, and the fact that for years I have used 10 different products on my body. Think shampoo, conditioner, leave in mask, body cream, face cream, day cream and more – all of which was heavily packaged in plastic.

Now, I can carry all of our toiletries in a small make-up bag with every single item package free or 100% recyclable.

Do you believe zero-waste and sustainable living is a privilege?

Yes and no.

It’s a privilege to have access to bulk food stores, farmers markets and even drinkable tap water to fill my reusable water bottle with. These things make the process easier, but shouldn't be the reason why a person decides to do nothing just because they can't do everything.

Zero waste is something to strive for that can be adopted as a lifestyle if you choose to be sustainable in the long run for you and you only. Everyone follows a different journey, but eliminating unnecessary plastic is achievable by starting small, from shopping for loose fruit and veggies or using a reusable bag.

What inspired you to share your journey with the world and launch Libretto Reviews?

Actually, Libretto already existed on the internet. I used to talk about books and share my thoughts about my readings. I slowly transitioned it to what you see today because my change of lifestyle was so mind-blowing for me that I wanted to share the benefits with as many as I could, and social media and my blog seemed the appropriate place to start.


What type of content can readers discover on your website?

I like to share my progress and show possible alternatives to transition into zero waste, from the cloth bag to the DIY toothpaste and deodorant. Sometimes I also share my view as a scientist and microbiologist of certain aspects of a greener life that hold back many people like switching to natural cleaning detergents.

Outside of Libretto Reviews, how do you help make the world a greener place?

Zero Waste is actively part of my life, even outside of social media. I do beach/park clean-ups on my own (every time I go somewhere I always have a bag with me to fill with trash that I collect around). Other than that no, I only write for myself, but I would like to take my zero-waste to the next level.

What’s one piece of advice you can give individuals trying to adopt a more eco-friendly, zero-waste lifestyle?

I actually have 3:

  1. Every small action counts: so do what you can to the best of your possibilities.

  2. Look around for the alternatives that your city has to offer: farmers markets, neighbor's veggie patches, second-hand shops, swap parties, community gardens. Anything that can help you reduce your waste.

  3. Rediscover simple living: we don't need all this stuff, all these processed foods, all these chemicals, and all this waste. Simple living will improve your life and give you back the most valuable thing in the world: time.

Who are your go-to brands for a zero-waste living?

None. I don't think there are specific brands that can make zero waste possible. Op shops (thrift stores) and second-hand markets (Facebook, eBay, Gumtree in Australia) are the best options that everyone can afford.

All the brands that produce menstrual cups, reusable pads, ethical clothes and all the farmers out there are superheroes for me!

What’s your green resolution for 2019?

Focus more on reducing and less on recycling.

Casha Doemland