Clean liv­ing... the Perth woman prov­ing it is pos­si­ble to live al­most rub­bish-free

Eastern Reporter - - News - Lisa Thomas

AS Perth’s self-pro­claimed “Earth Girl”, Karla Hooper lives a life where waste is no longer an is­sue; in fact, she is un­likely to fill even one rub­bish bin with waste in a whole year.

Her life turned full cir­cle in 2010 when she left her cor­po­rate job in the oil and gas in­dus­try and went in search of a more sus­tain­able life­style.

“I quit my job, shaved my head, rented out my house, put my dog in my car and trav­elled around Aus­tralia,” Ms Hooper said.

Dur­ing her two-year Out­back ad­ven­ture, Ms Hooper spent time catch­ing wild camels, which in­spired her to take on a pet camel and Clydes­dale horses as sus­tain­able forms of trans­port.

Af­ter re­turn­ing to Perth she landed a job as a coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer, which is where her pas­sion for a waste-free life­style re­ally kicked off.

“They didn’t have kerb­side re­cy­cling at that stage and I started learn­ing about the waste in­dus­try and what a mess it was,” she said.

“When I started think­ing about waste, I thought if all I did in my life was con­cen­trate on re­duc­ing the waste I cre­ate, then it would have a flow-on ef­fect on my health and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Now I buy ev­ery­thing at bulk food stores and take my own jars. We grow our own ve­gies, have pet chick­ens for eggs, shop at farm­ers mar­kets, make home­brew beer and kom­bucha, and take our own re­fill­able flagons for our wine, as well as mak­ing a lot of our sauces, dressings, but­ter and meals from scratch.

“We don’t go with­out, we just make sure we have some­thing to put it in, so we don’t need sin­gle-use plas­tic or pack­ag­ing.”

Ms Hooper also leads work­shops on how to make per­sonal care prod­ucts such as sham­poo, tooth­paste and de­odor­ant from nat­u­ral prod­ucts.

She is about to launch an on­line pro­gram called Zero Waste Liv­ing Made Easy, where peo­ple can learn how to live a zero-waste life­style and come to­gether to learn and pro­vide sup­port. She en­cour­aged peo­ple to em­brace plas­tic-free July.

“I don’t think plas­tic is evil, but it should be made for an on­go­ing pur­pose and sin­gle-use is just such a waste,” she said.

Pic­tures: David Baylis d482801

Be the change you want to see: ‘Earth Girl’ Karla Hooper.

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