LIVING A 'LESS WASTE' LIFE
In 2017, I decided to take steps towards a 'less waste life'.
I started with just one change. Every week or month I added one step on my list and we got to work.
2020: During these three years, my husband and me experimented with around 100 positive changes . 80% of our list below became new habits in our life.
"Before learning a new habit, you go through an awareness process."
We do not live a zero waste life. The changes we made are achievable within our living situation. We shop local, healthy and package free whenever possible.
When you start a 'less waste' life, you become more healthy, happy, creative and you save a lot of money!
Ellen, founder of Ekobie
"Choose one step and make your
own positive story!"
Ekobie is a sustainable coach for everyone who wants to make positive changes. Wether you are a working mom or a school, company, municipal. Contact us for more information.
sustainable solutions, less plastic
First things first:
1. Recycle: clean a few bottles @ invest in a few jars.
2. Reuse your (bread) bags, cotton bags or other shopping gear
3. Visit a packaging- free store
4. Reduce: buy less
5. Communicate with your family about your sustainable plans and ask your local stores (even supermarkets) if it is ok to bring your own packages
Food & Kitchen
6. No more plastic bags
Invest in cotton bags or use biodegradable bags
7. No more plastic bottles
Invest in a sustainable drinking bottle
8. No more plastic cups
Invest in a sustainable thermos for coffee or tea
9. No more tetrabriks
Use glass bottles for milk or juice
10. No more cans
Use glass bottles or make your own lemonade with water, herbs and fruit
11. No more single use plastics
Say no to: cutlery, plates, cups, straws...milk,
cookies, sauces in single use plastics
Step by step you can try alternatives like bamboo straws.
12. No more prepackaged meals
Buy seasonal and fresh
13. No more fresh vegetables and fruits in plastic
By local from bio farmers and packaging - free store
14. No more dry foods in plastics
Buy flour, coffee, quinoa, rise, muesli, pasta, cornflakes,
breakfast cereals in a packaging - free store or in
bio - degradable packaging
15. No more (foods in) fluids in plastics, such as oil, olives,...
Buy in a packaging - free store
16. No more yoghurt in plastic packaging
You can buy this in a glass or in a packaging - free store
17. No more cheese and meat in plastic packaging
By local from bio farmers and butchers
18. Reuse your bread bags or invest in a cotton bread bag
Make your own bread
19. No more butter in single use plastic
By in a sustainable packaging or from a farmer
20. No more candy, chips, cookies, chocolate
in plastic packaging
Start baking :-)
Buy in packaging - free store
21. No more plastic foil or aluminium foil
Use a sustainable lunchbox/bag
Use beeswax, buy in a packaging - free store
or make it yourself
22. No more 'regular' teabags (non- bio)
They are full of microplastics!
Buy some biological tea and bags or: make your own tea
with herbs of your garden
Tip: when you go out for a drink, you can prepare some
teabags and take them with you
23. Use alternatives to storage food in your refrigerator and
24. Be aware of your water consumption
25. No waste of food
26. Avoid electrical machines
Do really need a dish washer or microwave?
Skincare & body
"I regularly make my own natural skincare products. Because I have a sensitive skin and: I don't want chemicals or micro- or nanoplastics in my body! When you find some time, give it a try. It is easy to do, relaxing and healthy!
Every product in this list is available in most packaging - free stores or easy to make yourself. I added some ingrediënts."
Use a bar of natural soap or refill your recycle bottle in
a packaging - free store
28. Body scrub
Find the most sustainable package or
make it yourself with shea butter and bicarbonate.
You can also use just a little bit of bicarbonate and water
29. Body cream
Sheabutter, coconut butter
30. Body lotion
Some stores provide packaging free lotions, see links of stores below
Tip: Dry your own rose petals from your garden
(without chemicals!) and put them in (almond) oil. After a while: strain all the liquid into a clean jar. You made your own calming and healing tonic.
32. Make- up remover
Rosewater and oil (50/50)
33. Fabric cotton pads
Easy to clean with oxen gall soap
34. Facial mask
Clay and water
35. Lip balm
Beeswax and oil
Use a shampoobar or refill your bottle in a packaging
- free store
37. Tooth brush, made of bamboo
Or: toothpaste powder available in a packaging - free store
Use a product in cardboard packaging or a cream in a
Plastic ear-sticks are a big part of global litter and
Use natural ear-sticks, made of bamboo of reusable
41. Sunscreen bar
Some stores provide package free sunscreen bars, see links below
42. Menstrual cup
43. Sanitary pads
44. Stainless steel razor
45. Razor cream instead of foam
46. Hair coloring
Not an easy one: a few brands have some natural and
packaging free henna coloring. See links below
47. Natural oil
Refill your recycle glass bottles in a packaging - free store
48. Medicinal balm
CBD, shea butter and natural oil
49. Band aids
Soms brands have non- plastics band- aids, I find it still a
50. Bring empty medicine packaging to your local pharmacy
51. Use recycled toiletpaper
In a packaging - free store you find also toiletpaper
wrapped in recycled paper
52. Use a bamboo hairbrush and comb
53. Be aware of your water consumption
Put an empty bucket in your bathroom to collect water
For example: until you have warm water
54. Tissues: use fabric or tissues in a cardboard box
55. Avoid a hairdryer
56. Sustainable clothing: second - hand, exchange, buy less
Do some research and examine the (origine of) fabrics
"Our grandmothers knew how to do it: with a few, natural products they cleaned their house perfectly and it smelled like flowers!
So, why did we changed and starting to use unhealthy products, full of chemicals?
A few years ago I also started to make my own household products, inspired by a friend.
Let us honour our dearest grandma's and reinvent their positive habits. The same applies here: these natural tools are efficiënt, healthy and budget friendly.
Most products in this list are available in a packaging - free store or easily made yourself. I added some ingredients in the list below.
'Must haves' in your household package: bicarbonate, vinegar, citric acid, esssential oils."
57. All-purpose cleaner:
Vinegar, boiled water and essential oil
58. All-purpose cleaner soda
Bicarbonate and boiled, hot water
59. Deep cleaner
For example: cleaning floor drainsBicarbonate, Citric acid and boiled, hot water
60. Deep cleaner scrubcream
Available in some stores
Citric acid and boiled water
(In a spray bottle in your kitchen and bathroom)
Soap flakes Marseille
63. Wooden dish brush
(do you really really need a machine to wash your dishes?)
Detergent powder or tablets
Available in a packaging - free stores
65. Laundry detergent
Soap flakes and washing bicarbonate
66. Fabric softener
Other softeners also available in a packaging - free store
67. Window cleaner
Or also available in a packaging - free store
68. Toilet cleaner
Available in a packaging - free store
69. Vinegar toilet cleaner
Empty a bottle of vinegar and leave it for one night
70. Deep toilet cleaner
Bicarbonate, citric acid and boiled water
(Attention: this bubbles! Always a lot of fun :-))
71. Fragrance freshener toilet
Essence oil: citrus, lavender
72. Mops, cloths and sponges
Try to use without microplastics
Look for the most sustainable solution
In some stores you can find subtractors made of recycled
74. Avoid electrical machines
Do you really need a dryer?
Living & Office
75. Minimize your possessions.
Sorting, storage and eliminate
Step by step
76. Avoid online shopping.
When needed and possible: By in bulk
77. Reuse and exchange toys
78. Alternative for fleece blanket (microplastics)
79. Keep a small stock of (non- plastic) boxes, giftwraps, ribbons and fabrics. You can reuse all these for future gifts.
80. Use tealights without aluminium cup
81. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner
Use a sweeping brush from time to time
82. Use paper- tape
Instead of plastic tape
83. Try to use less ballpoint pens and markers
84. Use cardboard folders instead of plastic
85. No pesticides! I never used pesticides but this is so important to share: Do some research and be aware of all the consequences of using this chemicals. It is a danger for our environment and our health.
There is a natural solution for everything!
86. Make your own insecticide
87. Make your own fertilizer
88. Grow your own food
89. Let your garden be a wild place of biodiversity
90. Avoid using a lawn mower
91. Use organic growbags instead of plastic jars to grow vegetables and flowers or reuse plastics jars
92. Use less water
On the road
"My "outdoor less waste solution" I bring a basic package with me such as: a drinking bottle, a reusable cup, some straws, bamboo cutlery... it depends on the situation and context.
Maybe this sounds extreme but for me it's an evidently step in my 'less waste' evolution."
93. Stores and brands often give away plastic toys, merchandise,
for publicity and image. Stop taking these home with you.
94. Music festivals, (Christmas/Easter) markets, parties, events:
'bring your plastic free package'
95. Going to the movies: (everything is in plastic here!)
'bring your plastic free package' with your own candy for
example, a reusable cup, drinking bottle,...
96. Take away food: bring your own sustainable packaging
97. Organise your plastic free, less waste party
98. Find alternatives voor balloons. Balloons are a big part of
the global litterpollution
99. You don't necessarily have to travel by plane to go on vacation
100. Drive as little as possible with a car
Because it is a essential part of waste reduction I give this some extra attention: Water is probably one of the most precious resources and vital for everyone’s everyday life. Despite this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food (look at the water footprint of meat!), paper, cotton clothes, and almost every other physical product.
Inside our outside, be aware of your water footprint and try to use less water. Collect cold water when you wait for hot water, eat less meat, ...
Rob Greenfield: www.robgreenfield.org
The Barn Bio Market, Antwerp/ Etterbeek/ Sint Gillis: www.thebarn.bio
Tarra verpakkingsvrij: www.facebook.com/tarraverpakkingsvrij
Lara Mora, Sint- Niklaas: www.laramora.be
Zonder Meer, Kortrijk: www.zonder-meer.be
For Body and Soul, Lokeren: www.facebook.com/shopforbodyandsoul
Boqua Natural, Sint- Niklaas: www.boqua.be
Druantia, Lier: www.druantia.be
Klean Kanteen: www.kleankanteen.com
Ohne, Gent: www.ohne.be
Paper & Boo: www.paperandboo
Too good to go: www.toogoodtogo.be
Beat the Micro Bead
My Little Plastic Footprint