How to start a life with less waste? Dos and Don’tsWiebke Venter
A lifestyle with reduced waste starts, like everything in life, with a thought. You might have noticed the amount of plastic packaging and wrapping in supermarkets. You might wonder why your bin is somehow always so full. You might have seen or heard of all the plastic pieces lying on the beach. Whatever it is, these thoughts are the start of a big journey.
Then, slowly but surely, you pay more and more attention to related topics. Certain things and habits in your household gradually begin to bother you, until you finally feel the urge to do something about it.
Great! Congratulations! You have decided to make your world a little bit better.
But what now? How to start? And Where? Here are our DOs and DON´Ts for everyone who wants to get started easily:
Do start with the kitchen. The kitchen is a great starting point and opportunity to reduce waste easily. Instead of using film, you can start with wax wraps or bowl covers, and you can even cover plates and bowls with other plates. Shop at a local fruit and veg market and use mesh bags to buy loose produce. All food waste can be composted. An easy way to do this is by using bokashi bran. Instead of paper wipes, use washable napkins and dish cloths. Take a reusable bottle and drink tap water instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Just by doing these few things, you are already avoiding heaps of waste.
Do finish your items and replace them with reusable and sustainable items. Fir instance, bathroom waste such as disposable razors, plastic bottles of shampoo, shower gel etc. each began to bother me very quickly. I began by replacing my disposable razors with safety razors. I finished my shower gels, shampoos, creams and hand soaps, and replace them either with refillables, glass or self-made products.
Do rethink your cosmetic behaviors. A great way to reduce waste and plastic is to rethink what we actually need. Is it really necessary for a full regime of remove makeup, wash face, tone and mask, while using a separate face cream for different times of the day, for anti-aging, for different seasons etc.? Question whether you really need all your cosmetic products (eyeliner, concealer, eye-shadow, mascara, blush etc.). Do we really need to cover our faces or are we perhaps more beautiful when flaunting a more natural style (which we are❤️)? Does our hair really need shampoo, conditioner, masks and all those products to be beautiful and healthy or is it in the end even better to let it care for itself? Rethinking also works in other areas of the house. Most of the time we don’t really need as much as we have.
Don´t throw away what you have just because it has plastic packaging. Finish what you have or use it until it falls apart. Only then, think of a replacement when shopping.
Don´t compare yourself to people on social media who appear to be doing everything perfectly by having only one single glass jar full of waste per year. These people are experts in living this lifestyle and have years of experience. Remember, they too had to start from the beginning, which is right where you are now, so don’t be discouraged.
Don´t stop if it doesn’t work out as you wish in a day. This journey consists of baby steps and doing something is always better than nothing. So, if you forget your bottle at home, please don’t die of thirst. It will take you a while to adjust to this new way of living but you will get where you wish to be. Also, don’t allow people who aren’t aware or concerned with the saving of the planet to bring you down or discourage you.
In the end
It is important to understand that there will be always products that are not 100 % environmentally friendly. This is what makes this journey an adventure. Moreover, there are different defined goals and personal achievements for everyone.
We think it is important to start and get away from the mindset that we need to do everything 100 % right from the beginning. Start with one room in your home that bothers you the most and think of easy ways to change something. Think about what you can replace with more sustainable alternatives or how to abstain. Don’t forget, practice makes perfect!