In this video Karlé shares a few more tips on how to live a greener and more sustainable life.



Karlé Bell cannot help but smile at the strange glance the grocer shoots in her direction. His confusion is not unfamiliar to her and she knows the reason: the home-made mesh bag she holds in her hands to weigh her fruit and vegetables.

For Karlé and her family, plastic is contraband; they reuse and repurpose. Her bag was originally a lace curtain.


It all started a year ago while she was competing in a marathon. The route took her through an impoverished local community and she was appalled by the amount of rubbish that littered the streets.


Time to change


“I suddenly realised it was my rubbish that was destroying their community. It was my consumerism, my wasteful lifestyle,” says Karlé, a liaison officer at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.


It was time for a change. Reduce, reuse and recycle. “No, there are two more. Refuse and repurpose,” she says.


“We have to be aware of the stuff that is stuffed in our hands. We don’t have to take everything that is given to us. Why take a flyer when you can take a photo of it on your phone and refuse it politely?


“Refuse plastic bags, bring your own. Try to say ‘no’ as far as possible. When we go out for take-away sushi we take our own containers because polystyrene is one of the most difficult materials to recycle.”


What a change


The family’s lifestyle is unrecognisable from a year ago.


“When we started, some of my friends thought I had lost my mind. I would even get cross when my husband made himself guilty of bringing plastic bags home!” she jokes somewhat shyly. “I’ve mellowed a bit since then.”


The family take their own straws to restaurants which she confesses makes companions at the table feel a bit awkward. At home they have a small vegetable garden and a compost heap.


“Personally, I don’t really use animal products, but my husband and son do, so when I go to the butcher I take my own container. When I have to organise a function at work, I make sure there are glass jugs with water rather than plastic bottles.”


Let’s go for green


If a multitude of small delights constitute happiness, then a multitude of small compromises can make for a greener planet.


“Don’t think that you can’t make a difference by yourself. Look at the amount of plastic you use in a month just to put your bananas in and don’t tell me this doesn’t make a difference.”


For Karlé, that would be the last straw.