Field Crew Spotlight: My Zero Waste Birthday: Beyond Not Creating Trash, A Life Well Lived

Here at Be Zero we're happy to share the stories and positive work of our Ambassadors in their own words. Our local Be Zero Ambassadors bring life to the Be Zero Mission here in Boulder by sharing and inspiring ways to live simple and low-waste lifestyles. I'm pleased to introduce Brooke, one of our first Ambassador Volunteers here in Boulder. Brooke is a joy and an inspiration to have in the Be Zero community. She shares a story with you about how intentional living and zero waste have changed the way she lives.  

Written by Brooke Lorimer | Boulder, Colorado

Zero waste and intentional living have shaped the way I relate and interact with the world since my discovery of the two earlier this year. By downsizing my wants and needs, and swapping out disposable products for reusable alternatives, I feel I am beginning to live a life that is value based. For my 21st birthday I knew I wanted to extend these values to the celebration. Beyond a lifestyle of creating less trash and decreasing environmental impact, Zero Waste also means embracing the moment in front of me, and getting rid of excess in order to engage with life fully.

The idea of embracing the moment in front of me and dropping expectations was not always what my birthday consisted of. For me, birthdays are a big deal. Birthdays prior to this one I wanted everything to be planned. The intended outcome of all this planning was that the day would be absolutely perfect. Of course, these ideals ended up causing more stress and disappointment than fun. 

I realized that for this birthday if I was to bring my true intentions of the Zero Waste lifestyle into the day, I would have to let go of expected outcomes and over planning. The result was absolutely blissful. Not only was it a low impact day, it was a day fully embraced. I had decided to drop my expectations and instead make only two requests, making as little trash as possible, while enjoying the day as much as possible.

To begin my birthday, my boyfriend and I ate at Zeal, Food for Enthusiasts in Boulder, CO where I currently live. Fresh organic breakfast, though I put too much hot sauce on mine, was the perfect way to start my birthday. Food is a large source of joy for me, so beginning the day with a deliciously prepared meal was exquisite (not to mention no harmful plastic straws in their beverages). After breakfast we rode bikes along the Boulder Creek Path. The water rushed by, as people passed and smiled. We stopped to sip water and enjoy the sun. With full bellies and exhausted legs we went back to my house, where I took a nap, and answered birthday phone calls.

Later that night we went to Steuben's in Denver for dinner where I had my first legal drink, but something much more important happened. I was stunned by the thoughtfulness and intentionality of the gifts my friends gave me.

Moving beyond gift culture and giving for the sake of giving, these gifts reminded me how much my friends respect my values, and honor my needs. My boyfriend gifted me a day trip of my choosing, my friends Ben and Madigan, a digital gift card for a massage, and my roommates gifted me things I needed such as a nut milk bag and produce bags, wrapped in brown paper with cloth string. It was the most beautiful zero waste wrapping I had ever seen! In addition to beautiful and intentional packaging, they gifted me a cooking class with my mom. The thoughtfulness that occurred in these gifts was beyond what I could have anticipated.


It meant so much to me that the people in my life had gone out of their way to not only enjoy the day with me, but to allow me to be respected and upheld in my values. 

By aligning myself with my mission to not create trash, not only was it a low impact birthday, it was also deeply joyful. By living my values, my quality of life has increased, this is one of the most moving aspects of living a Zero Waste lifestyle.