Sustainability and conscious living is something I’m extremely passionate about. I haven’t always been so aware of the importance of sustainability, or what it actually takes to start moving in that direction. But the past few years as being more aware of my surroundings and especially with my travels, I become more and more aware of how many people we are and how fragile our earth is. I love traveling to Asian countries, but the lack of their awareness towards plastic and rubbish just breaks my heart. I remember sitting on one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam and I wanted to pinch myself because the beauty of the surroundings felt unreal, but what also caught my eye was all of rubbish that lay all round the beach and it seemed like no ones cared about it. I got up and went to a bar nearby to ask them if the beach ever got cleaned. The look that I got from the staff got me even sadder, because then I realized that no one does anything about it and no one seem to be aware of the consequences that plastic and rubbish has on our environment and wildlife. From that day, I promised myself to go as plastic and rubbish free as possible.
Realistically, the way we live now is far from sustainable. However, there are some things you can do to start lowering your impact on our very important, very exhausted earth. It may be a bit hard in the start as you have to remember to bring your own things, but if you’re vegan, you’ll probably know that its just difficult in the start until in turns into a habit. I’ve made a little guide for you to show how easy it is being sustainable and living a zero wast life – well, as much as possible and always remember: small steps in the right direction has a huge impact in the end!
Every single plastic straw that has ever been used is still in existence on the planet today. The plastic doesn’t break down for what is estimated to be hundreds of years, if ever. They are just one more thing stacking up in landfill that we can easily change.
A simple solution is to take a stainless steel or glass straw with you when you leave the house. Mine lives in a reusable cutlery satchel (I’ll get to this in a sec) that hangs off my stainless steel water bottle (will also get to this). That way you can reuse & reuse your straw, contributing a little bit less waste each time you buy a drink.
Your smoothies will taste much better with a glass straw
Bottle & cutlery
Yep, like I said, I have a stainless steel bottle and a set of reusable cutlery. I personally can’t stand drinking from plastic water bottles. Not only the chemicals from the plastic leeching into the water, they take just as long as the straws to break down. Plastic cutlery is all the same too. Just think of all the take aways and street food eateries, how much plastic they use. And this is not only in your country, its all over the world in every each city. Millions and millions of plastic – used for 10-15 minutes, but last forever!
I often get told “what difference is one person going to make”, but if one out of 4 people have the same opinion & start taking their own cutlery/straws/water bottles, thats a lot less waste. It’s all about responsible living.
My favorite reusable bottle that I always keep in my bag
I always carry reusable cutlery on my travels
Reusable coffee cup
Taking your own coffee cup is such an easy way to minimise unnecessary waste. Conventional takeaway coffee cups are made with a plastic/cardboard compound and can’t be separated during the recycling process, therefore end up in the rubbish. Honestly, this is a silly design. Some companies are creating better options – compostable & biodegradable cups – but why not go one better and produce no waste by bringing your own.
Taking your own coffee cup might save you some money too! Lots of cafes are now offering discounts to customers who bring their own takeaway cups.
Coffee to-go in a more sustainable way
Pasta sauces, mayonaise (vegan, of course), salsa & lots of other shopping list items come in glass jars. To recycle them they need to be rinsed out anyway, once their rinsed why not put them back in the cupboard to reuse?! They can be perfect for storing nuts, homemade sauces or to use for takeaway juice/snacks. Such a simple way to reduce plastic in the house and produce less waste. They are especially good if you buy your seeds, dry beans, grains and nuts in bulk. Its a way cheaper and more sustainable way to do your groceries.
Cute coffee jars that I have reused to storage my dry foods
Reusable tote bags
Like with straws and plastic cutlery – millions are used everyday. Luckily more and more grocery stores and shops are aware of the impact that plastic bags has on the environment and shift their plastic bags to some more sustainable kind – either biodegradable or reused, but you can also do help by invest in a reusable tote bag made out of fabric.
Make it a habit to always carry a reusable tote with you
This may seems weird, because why should it help to shift your plastic toothbrush to one made out of bamboo? Well, it help to think that if you change your toothbrush 4 times a year, you’ll probably use around 350 toothbrushes in a lifetime. Put that amount for every single person on the planet. So yes, it helps the environment to make small changes, that we normally don’t notice or think about. Again, small steps leads to a huge impact in the end. I also recommend you to use reusable pads, ear buds made out of sustainable wood and use organic toothpaste. This one is from a Danish brand Urtekram that makes foods and personal hygiene products mostly all vegan and organic. I use toothpaste without fluoride as I try to avoid it, but its up to you which toothpaste you use, just make sure its not from a brand that does not test on animals.
Vegan and cruelty free toothbrush and paste
So if you have any questions or comments about this zero-waste lifestyle, please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear some of yours sustainable tips and life hacks. Remember, you don’t have to switch all of the items out, but you can have a goal and start with one thing. I started myself with the reusable bottle and since then slowly reduced my plastic items with some more sustainable alternatives.