nEW, positive HABITS

"In 2017 I started with one sustainable change. Every two weeks I added a step to my list. Four years later, about 80% of this list are new positive habits.

We do not live completely without waste. each step is feasible within our own living situation. Finding a sustainable balance is different for everyone.

Behavioral change takes time but it is easier than you think. 

I would like to share with you the steps that were a path for me and my husband to more sustainability." Ellen

sustainable solutions,

less plastic

First things first:


1. Recycle: clean a few bottles and 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."

27. Soap

Use a bar of natural soap or refill your recycle bottle in

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

31. Tonic

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

36. Shampoo

Use a shampoobar or refill your bottle in packaging        

- free store

37. Tooth brush, made of bamboo

38. Toothpaste

Or: toothpaste powder available in a packaging - free store 

39. Deodorant

Use a product in cardboard packaging or a cream in a

sustainable jar.

40. Ear-sticks

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 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

little overpriced

50. Bring empty medicine packaging to your local pharmacy

51. Use recycled toiletpaper

In 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.

A list of opportunities to make it yourself or buy it package- free:"

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 floors

Bicarbonate, Citric acid and boiled, hot water

60. Deep cleaner scrubcream

61. Descaler

Citric acid and boiled water

(In a spray bottle in your kitchen and bathroom)

62. Detergent

Soap flakes Marseille

63. Wooden dish brush 

64. Dishwasher:

(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

73. Windowsubtractor

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, giftwrapsribbons 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

Collect rainwater

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, ...


Interesting links:

Rob Greenfield: www.robgreenfield.org

The Barn Bio Market, Antwerp/ Etterbeek/ Sint Gillis: www.thebarn.bio

Rawijs: www.rawijs.be

Tarra verpakkingsvrijwww.facebook.com/tarraverpakkingsvrij

Ecolita: www.ecolita.be

Lara Mora, Sint- Niklaas: www.laramora.be

Zonder Meer, Kortrijk: www.zonder-meer.be

For Body and Soul, Lokeren: www.facebook.com/shopforbodyandsoul

Lush: www.lush.com

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

Waschbar: www.waschbar.com

Too good to go: www.toogoodtogo.be

LETS: www.letsvlaanderen.be

Interesting applications:


Beat the Micro Bead

My Little Plastic Footprint

Virtual Water