Award-wining author and mother, Anita Vandyke is an expert when it comes to living a zero-waste lifestyle.

Since becoming a mum to two-year-old Vivian, Anita knows now more than ever that ‘zero-waste’ is not just about living plastic-free. It’s about not wasting your life away.

The qualified rocket scientist and medical doctor (Bachelor of Engineering – Aeronautical Space and Doctor of Medicine) has a new book, A Zero Waste Family.

In the book, Anita runs through everything she learnt during her first year of motherhood whilst trying to reduce her family waste by 80%.

The book is broken into three sections, organised according to the concept of a ‘ripple effect’ – self-care, home care and child care – because if you can’t look after yourself first, how can you be expected to take care of others?

But here, Anita shares her favourite family-friendly tips for reducing waste.

When it comes to living a zero-waste lifestyle, Anita Vandyke has al the tips and tricks.

Make secondhand your first choice

Op shopsand garage sales– discover your local charity shop, they have amazing, and often brand new, baby clothes and accessories. Garage sales are absolutely full of baby gear in great condition for next to nothing, especially in the suburbs. Just wash them in a hot wash before your baby wears them.

Make it yourself

Make your own baby food – use a high speed blender to make your own organic, plastic-free baby food. Freeze the food in baby portions for easy access. I collected small glass jars which could easily be frozen, or you can batch cook and freeze larger portions. There are number of other things you can make such as beauty products, homemade creams and also cleaning products! For more recipes check out my Instagram (@rocket_science).

Participate in the share economy 

Join the library, toy library or a swap group – we need to take advantage of our local resources. Our library has Storytime and Rhymetime, it also has Indigenous storytime, and loads of other free activities for children.

A small weekly subscription can get you access to a local toy library which allows you to borrow toys whenever you want. Participating in the share economy allows you to prevent virgin resources being used to make more ‘stuff’. It also prevents clutter from overwhelming your home.

In her first year of motherhood, Anita set a plan to reduce her family household waste by 80%.

Get outside

Enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors – One simple, yet highly effective way to be an everyday activist is to head outdoors every day as a family. When your children are connected with nature, even if it is a simple walk in the local park, this allows them to see the beauty and grandness of nature. You also come to appreciate nature is worth fighting for.

We need to be everyday activists so that we are reminded that Earth is the only home we’ve got – there is not Planet B.


Anita Vandyke’s new book, A Zero Waste Family (published by Penguin Random House) is available now from leading book stores.