A Life Without Plastic - Interview with Erin Rhoads

18 Nov 2015 A Life Without Plastic - Interview with Erin Rhoads

There is lots going on out there, with many inspired people making changes and helping others learn how to live more in tune with nature, creating less waste, improving life for future generations. Lets meet one and ask a few fair questions. 

1. Introduction.

My name is Erin, I am a plastic free, zero waste blogger and speaker from Melbourne. 

The journey began after I watched a documentary about a couple who set a goal to reduce their waste. It was extraordinary and I was left feeling that I needed to do something about the waste I was creating – which at the time was a lot. I jumped online to find out ways to create less rubbish and discovered Plastic Free July.  I signed up for the month long challenge of going plastic free, discovering at the end of July that saying no to plastic helped me reduce the amount of waste I was making. 

I documented the journey on my blog, therogueginger.com, sharing my experience with others. After a year of living plastic free I decided to go zero waste. Zero waste is the active decision to divert 90% of waste from landfill. Giving up plastic has already reduced my waste so the transition was a natural one. 

It has been two years since I decided to go plastic free and I have completed 1.5 years of zero waste. Now I get to talk with schools and community groups about my journey and sharing how making some changes will reduce plastic and cut down on waste too. 

Erin speaking at LiveWell Yarra http://livewell.net.au

2. What is your area of passion.

The area I am most passionate about is reducing what we think we need. The human race thrived and survived without food packaged in plastic. For the longest time us humans were really good at making the most of everything, not letting things go to waste. 

I want to show others that reducing waste, especially plastic, will not make life more difficult. There are many benefits not only for ourselves but everyone and everything we share this planet with and the future generations will benefit too. 

Cloth bags for fruit and vegetable shopping can be made at home or purchased. 

3. Was there a defining moment or event that triggered your passion?

Yes, in the documentary I watched (The Clean Bin Project) I learnt about the great pacific garbage patch and the direct impact this is having on the albatross of the Midway Atoll. Type the words ‘midway atoll bird’ into a search engine and you will see photos of albatross with stomachs full of plastic. Seeing this made me realise that while I was not purposely polluting, buying unnecessary plastic was saying this was ok.

Seabirds are suffering with the human plastic obsession. The equivalent volume of plastic found in dead birds if translated to the average person would equal the size of a football.

4. Where do you see us heading in the future on this?

Recently I gave a talk to a primary school about my plastic free and zero waste life. After the talk, two of the kids went out and collected rubbish to sort properly, making sure the correct items were going into recycling not going to landfill. Kids at the same school are also setting up a petition to ask the school canteen to stop handing out plastic spoons and use. These are just two small stories about one school where seeds of change are being planted. There are a growing number of people around my age giving talks, workshops and sharing the message. I can see the domino effect happening and I believe people will be more aware about waste and plastic sooner than we can anticipate. 

5. If you could say just one thing to encourage people to do something, what would that be?

"Did you know, it takes millions of years to make a plastic item that you are going to use once and throw away".   

6. Music, Art or Sport, what keeps you happy? 

A bike ride with my boyfriend, jumping on a train for a spontaneous weekend away or just daydreaming in the sun makes me happy. 

Erin Rhoads

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