Let’s create less waste

Hi everybody,

How are you all? Summer break has finally started! Well it kind of already had for me, but for my brother and all of you, that still go to school or already go to Uni or college, it probably did as well.

What better way to start your summer a little bit more concious, than with trying to help our planet one small step at a time, am I right? Well if you’ve always wondered, what you could change in your everyday life, to reduce plastic and waste in general, then I’d say this post is perfect for you.

I’ve been pretty passionate about this topic for a while now. In school we learnt a lot about how much waste we as humans produce and hardly about how to do something to do something about it. I am well aware, that a single person won’t be able to change everything, but if everybody made small steps, even baby steps, such as reusing plastic bottels, it would have a huge impact on our environment. This post certainly is not here to tell you what you have to do and that this is the only right way to do it. You might have your own choices that do the world some good, which are just as good as my ideas, but for all of you who want to implement small changes in their daily routine and don’t know what they can do or need a little refresher on easy switches, here you go.

Here is a list of things I do or more a list of things i have, that I either swapped for a more eco-friendly version, or got to avoid buying something wasteful.

One of my most used items is my reusable water bottle. I was kindly gifted this one from a friend and it’s such a handy and a particular pretty one. This specific brand has its own website, sells bottles in different sizes and has multiple mouthpieces to choose from.(here the link, if you are interested) In general any reusable bottle, that isn’t single use plastic, is a great alterantive. I love mine, since it is made out of stainless steel and therefore keeps my water nice and cold at all times, which is perfect for those hot summer days.

Sticking with the theme, I also own two coffee cups. The metal one is for when I bring my own coffee somewhere, since it is a thermos flask and keeps my coffee either hot or my iced version cold. The glass mug is the „keep cup“ which was specifically made to fit barista machines, so this is my coffee-to-go-cup-alternative. I got this one in Ireland and I love it so much and bring it whenever I go to the city, or anywhere cute coffeeshops are around, so I can quickly sneak in, get my coffee in my keep cup and be happy about not having to waste the plastic-lined to go cups.(here the link, if you are interested)

I always try to bring my own food, when I am travelling for example. Not only does it save a lot of money, but also keeps you from making unnecessary waste.

My family and I also own many tupperware or plastic items, which work just as fine as the others. There are also various other options, such as bamboo or stainless steel for example. I also wanted to make clear, that if you already have items like these in the picture above, that they serve the exact same purpose and should certainly be used before buying anything new. Sure some of those special zero-waste gadgets look so much cooler, but it wouldn’t make much sense buying something new, if you already have something, that still works perfectly fine. I always keep in mind : I want to creat less waste. If I were to throw out all your old tupperware, it would still create a lot of unnecessary waste. So use these things, until they don’t function properly anymore, then you can replace it with something more aesthetically pleasing.

You might have already heard about some of those tips and I thought I’d mention them again, just as a quick reminder, but also wanted to include some, that I haven’t heard very often. I for example cleaned those milk- and tomato-sauce-bottles and used them again. I once filled them with home-made Sangria, for a picnic-party I had with some friends and they were perfect for that occasion and once the lables are off, they also look pretty cool.

One more reusing tip: Last summer we harvested some of our mint and dried it. We needed a dish or jar to put it in, so we cleaned this Nutella-jar, labeld it and filled it with the dry mint leaves, which by the way make the most delicious tea.

Everyone is currently talking about them: the reusable straws. So many people are switching to a more eco-friendly alternative, which is really cool.  I for one bought my stainless steel ones two years ago or something and only drink out of those now. Sure just using no straw is also a perfectly good option as well, but since straws motivate me to drink more, (Why? Well I don’t know, that’s just how it works for me.), I got those stainless steel ones. I also say no to straws, if people in restaurants or pubs ask me, if I wanted one. I still try to get better at it, because I always forgett to tell them if they don’t ask me, but hey I am only human and making a new habbit takes time, right?

There is also a straw in my to-go cuttlery set, but this one is made from bamboo, just like the cuttlery and the chopsticks in here. They come in  this cute little cotton-napkin-baggy-thing, which keeps them all in one place, which is so handy. Now whenever I am travelling I don’t have to worry about buying those annoying plastic forks and knives, cause I came prepared. And that’s really all it takes, a little bit of preperation. You could easily make a set like this from cuttlery you already have at home and a kitchen towel. I also was gifted this one from my friend, which was so very thoughtful of her.

Little side note: If you ever take this with you when you are travelling by plane, probably better take the knive out, you know security-standarts.

If I am out in a supermarket I try to opt for the plastic free version whenever possible. The cool thing is, you can also reuse those little bottels. I actually just separeted the labels from these bottles and now i have beautiful amber glass vases for some flowers, how cute right?

The last food or kitchen themed item I have, might be a little funny for some of you, since this is an egg carton. We hardly buy supermarket eggs anymore, since we buy them at a local farmer now. They developped this system themselves I guess, but they have a fridge, infront of their stables where they sell eggs, potatoes, herbs and some other seasonal vegetables. There is no one selling them, but it works like an honesty-bar, where you take it out yourself and put the money into a little box (yes they installed a security cam recently, but it is manly built on trust I guess). When you are finished with the egg carton you just bring the empty carton back, so they can reuse it again, how simple and easy right? As far as I know this works very well and I just love it. Just be on the look out for little projects like this, or ask the closest farmer if you can buy eggs or milk from them. If you do so, you not only buy seasonal and regional food, but also support your local farmers.

I know what you thought, how cool’s this bag, didn’t you? Well that’s because I have the most talented friends, who create gorgeous bags like this and then gift them to me. I think those tote bags are pretty self-explanatory, but oh well I thought I’d mention them again. They obviously are a great alternative to plastic bags, but also to paper bags, since they rip way too fast when you want to transport heavy foods in them for example. Just grab one or two before you go shopping for food or clothes, store some in your car or have one ready in your handbag ( they can fold down, to tiny little squares I promise ), so you’re always prepared.

Moving on to my toiletries and bath-essentials. A pretty long time ago I swapped conventional cotton pads to these fabric versions. At that time I bought them from a cleaning company, who normally sell cleaning clothes. Now I’d say you could get these from a lot of different brands. Surly I could switch to some booshie bamboo-pads, but to be honest, these still work just fine for me, so I’m not going to get new ones, until these fall apart or get super yuckie. How they work: you basically put water on it and it gets rid of most of the make up, but somtimes I either add toner or make up remover, just as you would do with normal cotton pads. After two to three days I put them in the washing machine and voila, simple as that they are clean and ready to use again.

Next thing I try is to look for glass-versions of things, just as I said with the coffee-bottles. Sure not all your beauty products come in glass-bottles or jars and that’s okay, but if there is a more eco-friendly option, why don’t think about taking this one instead. For beauty products I personally also try to look if they are being tested on animals or not, since this is important to me as well. I surely could do with some more research about that, which is going to be one of my next steps, but for now I am happy to have found a few ones I trust.

I also switched to plastic-free shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. My shampoo and conditioner bars I got from Lush, which offers a wide variety of plastic-free versions, which really impressed me, when I first heard of them. They really only sell the bars to you, which you can take home in a small paper bag or in a metal container (reusable), like the one you see on the left side of the picture. For the soap and the other shampoo I went to my local bio-supermarket (Dens-bio, for all you Germans or Austrians). Of course you have to get used to the way you use these, but they work just as good as conventional ones and leave your hair and body just as clean as „normal“ ones, simply without the plastic packaging.

I also switched to the bamboo-toothbrush, since I needed a new travelling-toothbrush. I still use my electrical one from time to time, since it’s still working fine, but for travelling I have this one now.

One for you females out there: I am currently testing it out and can’t tell you, if I like the menstrual cup or not yet, I don’t want to give you wrong information since I simply don’t have enough experience with it. But I thought I’d put it in here as well, since it is another way to reduce waste for us ladies.

My second last tip is one, I haven’t heard that often, which is to reuse your gift-wrappings and gift-bags. For my birthday I only got presents from my parents which were in little paper bags, so I could reuse them again for the years to follow or for friends. For the other presents I collected the wrapping paper, just take your time to take it off carfully and you’ll see, you’ll have a good collection of some really cute papers in no time.

My last tip, is to make some of your beauty-essentials yourself. I just recently got a book from a friend, about making those things yourself. I I didn’t really have the time to try things out yet, but I am so excited to do that soon. So get your cleaned jam-jars, milk-bottles or whatever you have and get on with some DIYing.

Well I hope I could inspire you with one of these tips, swaps or changes to do something as easy and yet as important for our planet. I don’t think I have to mention how much we pollute the world everyday, since most of you will have already learnt about things like the great-garbage-patch in school or heard of it from the news. And I don’t want to sound like an activist, of course everyone can do what they wish to. But in my opinion something has to be done about it. So if you found some motivation in the post, pick one little change and try your best, I promise, the smallest changes you do can have a huge impact on the whole world.

See you soon,

Lena xxx

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