Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Hello everybody and welcome back to my Zero Waste series!

A few weeks ago I posted my first Zero Waste Article, explaining the main points and my goals. Today I would like to share with you my first project – Zero Waste Grocery Shopping -!

Many people started to buy unpackaged food the past few years and many package-free food stores started their business. In my city, we also have such a store and I recently started to shop most of my groceries there, especially dry foods like Rice, Cous Cous, Seeds etc.
Now our local Zero Waste store is going to move to the city center which is quite exciting, since I hope that they will have a larger impact on the people in our city and encourage  them to reduce waste.

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Vegan chocolate at its best.

The idea of those package-free stores is pretty simple and I am sure most of you have heard of it.
Basically you bring your own jars and bags and spill your dry foods into your own sustainable package.
Cool thing is – it’s not only sustainable, it’s also so much fun and I recently started to really enjoy grocery shopping.

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Of course you can’t buy everything unpackaged but there are some simple hacks you can try in order to reduce waste.
At this point I have to underline that I only follow this lifestyle to a certain extent at the moment, but I really hope that I will improve within the years.
I strongly believe that we can have an impact together and reduce waste step by step.
Going „Zero Waste“ shouldn’t be another burden for you and you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself if you aren’t able to follow this lifestyle 24/7.
Personally, I feel that the main goal should be enjoying and appreciating this journey, showing respect to our beloved earth and feel good about making a difference.

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So here are some „rules“ I try to follow when shopping groceries:

  1. I buy dry foods at the package-free store and try recipes that include loads of good seeds, nuts, good carbs etc. Here are some of my favourites I always have in my kitchen cabinet:
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    – Brown Rice
    – Quinoa
    – Cous Cous
    – Bulgur
    – Wholegrain pasta
    – Chick peas
    – Red and brown lentils
    – Unripe spelt grain
    – dry soy bolognese
    – different kinds of seeds and nuts for salads
  2. I buy unpackaged fruits and veggies. Although people at a normal grocery store might be annoyed that they have to weight 8 apples without a plastic bag…however you could bring a reusable paper bag 🙂
    If they only have broccoli wrapped in plastic, I probably won’t buy it and look for an alternative.
  3. You can buy vegan chocolate and other kinds of sweets at the package- free store 😍
    I usually bring a chocolate jar, unfortunately most of the chocolate will be gone before I get home 😅

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  4. I avoid take away foods and prepare and cook as many meals as possible at home
  5. Buying at the local market supports local farmers and it’s environmentally more friendly to shop seasonal and local foods. (Unfortunately we don’t have home-grown bananas in Germany 😄)
  6. Due to sanitary and health protection, shops in Germany are usually not allowed to put meat, cheese etc. into your own plastic boxes, however some of the smaller/local companies sometimes make exceptions.
  7. One of the biggest problems for me is that I haven’t found any place yet that sells soy yoghurt in jars. I know you can buy cow milk products in bottles in jars but at the moment I am often trying to make my own oat milk. But unfortunately I am not able to make my own yoghurt. 😄

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As I already said, this lifestyle shouldn’t be a burden and I don’t fail just because I bought foods in plastic. Making a difference is very important and we all have to work together in order to reduce plastic and fight against marine pollution. It is so sad that there are several plastic „islands“ in the pacific ocean and that most beaches are polluted and full of trash. A few weeks ago National Geographic started a new campaign called Planet or Plastic? and I can highly recommend you to read it. We must not keep our eyes closed, we need a change.

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I love using an old smoothie bottle as a reusable water bottle!

What do you think about going Zero Waste and is this a project you will take into consideration?

I wish you all the best!
xx

 

Zero Waste Project – A Brief Introduction

img_0030Did you know that there exists a huge island consisting of plastic trash in the pacific ocean?
Probably yes, many people know that we produce and use way too much plastic in our daily lives and that this lifestyle damages our beloved earth.
However, there is still no solution for this problem besides from reducing the use of plastic.

 

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Visiting Indonesia was eye opening. I’ve never seen so much trash lying around and it was heartbreaking to see plastic bottles floating in the ocean and stepping into plastic bags while surfing in paradise. During rain season, all the trash gets flushed into the ocean and beaches are full of trash every morning. We need to change.

 

img_0029Why do I need a straw to have a drink?
Why do I have to buy food to-go wrapped in plastic?
Why should I get a new plastic bag every time I go shopping?
Why do I buy packaged food even though processed food isn’t even good for us (in many cases)?
Why do we rely on plastic?

 

Two weeks ago I watched a Ted Talks about Zero Waste, the speech was held by Lauren Singer, a young women who inspires other people to „go Zero Waste“.
I was so excited about this idea to reduce waste and immediately made a plan how I can stop producing so much waste and improve my ecological footprint.

img_0015The first step is probably to become aware of how much plastic we are actually using. It’s a lot.
Toothbrush? Made of plastic.
Toothpaste? Plastic.
Shampoo? Plastic container.
Even most „eco-friendly“ products are packaged in plastic.
Yes, it is really hard to completely stop using plastic, but we can at least give it a try.

 

Here are some of my ideas, on which I will elaborate in future posts:

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  1. Minimalism, having less and buying less leads to a decrease of demand, consequently less stuff will be produced.
  2. Buy unpackaged food, f.e. in package-free-stores, use your own bags and go to your local market
  3. Shop second hand
  4. Go digital and try to use less paper
  5. Learn to recycle and to compost

6. Grow your own veggies (might be a bit difficult, depending on where you live)
7. Make your own beauty products and use hair and body soap instead of buying big shampoo plastic bottles.
8. Make it a hobby, reducing waste should not be a burden, you are doing something great today that our earth will thank you for in the future! 🙂

 

img_0006I am very excited to start this new project and can’t wait to tell you more about it. I hope you enjoyed reading this and be prepared for my next „Zero Waste-themed“ articles.

Have a good week,

Sophie

 

My personal guide on how to become a Minimalist

Minimalism is not the lack of something, it is the perfect amount of something.

Since centuries, people think that having many possessions means being very wealthy. Living in abundance means being happy, lighthearted and having nothing to worry about.
Children often want to have as many toys as possible, they are unconsciously competing with other children in their surrounding.

As I already mentioned in my last post about Minimalism, we are predestined to buy things. And breaking this circle of buying and tossing is not easy but possible.

Today, as promised, I would like to share with you my tips on how to live a more minimalistic lifestyle.
However this does not mean, that you have to become a hardcore minimalist. But incorporating some of these ideas and habits in your life, may enrich your life to an extent you can choose.

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1. Developing a new lifestyle begins in your head

Your mind is a powerful thing, if you use it correctly, your life will start to change.
This means, that you will have to be aware what your goals are. This is a form of manifesting your goals.
Think about why and what you want to change.
If you start to think about it, you will change it. This is very simple, but it actually works. I will probably write a blogpost about it later this month.

2. Get informed and deal with it

After your mind is ready for the upcoming changes, you should not stop and just start doing something.
At first, it may be very helpful to read articles, books or blogposts about minimalism, or even watch some of the great Ted talks speeches.
While getting informed, you can make your own plan on how to rock the lifestyle change. Unfortunately, there is no perfect guide on how to become more minimalistic, these are just some tips and tricks and in the end, everyone needs to deal with it himself.

3. Start decluttering and tidying up

It is completely up to you if you want to declutter everything in one day, or if you would like to separate it and do one thing at a time.

I can highly recommend using The KonMari Method wich basically says that you have to pull out all of your stuff and then decide if it „sparks joy“ or not. If it does not, toss it, sell it, or even better: donate it!
Using this method, you will become aware of what you actually have and it will be easier to give things away.

Additionally, stop multitasking. What I want to say is, that you should not listen to music or watch TV while you are tidying up. These distractions will probably prevent you from actually tossing something. You need to be focused and you should worship your possessions and be aware of what you are doing.

4. Don’t mess everything up again after two weeks

Everyone probably knows this problem. You just cleaned your room and then after a couple of days, everything is messes up again because you were to lazy to put everything back at its right place.
Consequently, you need to develop a strategy, which prevents this. Like in our early childhood, we should put every item we used back at its place, immediately.
This is the point, where your new lifestyle becomes sustainable.

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5. Buy less

Being a minimalist does not mean to toss everything and buy new things.
It also means to recycle and to be mindful about what you buy.
Before buying something, I like to ask myself these questions:

1. Do I already have something like this?
2. Why do I need it?
3. Do I really need it?
And then I like to wait at least a week and if I still think that I definitely need the item, I may buy it.

This personal method is pretty simple and you can adapt it to your needs.

6. Track your income and your monthly expenses

After having tracked my monthly expenses, I became aware of what I am actually buying. Since we tend to buy so much stuff with cash and we basically lose track of our finance. If you are into money saving, you should definitely check out my blogpost about How To Save Money For Travel (unfortunately it’s written in german)!

7. Digitise almost everything

This step is optional, but for myself I like to digitise everything possible.
You can digitise your memories and create e-books or presentations. Having everything saved on your laptop is very useful.
However, I also love journaling and having printed pictures on my wall.
Though, I started to buy e-books because books are heavy and hard to handle when your moving to another apartment for example.
Anyway, this is something everyone has to decide for himself, since I know that reading a real book and the smell of the pages is just amazing!

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8. Utilise your phone and your laptop

If you start to utilise your phone and your laptop, you can get rid of useless notebooks and calendars. Personally, I love to habe my Moleskin calendar and my Bullet Journal, but I also like to use Microsoft One Note to take notes, which is very useful!

9. Create Journals or Memory Books

If you are obsessed with keeping bills and tickets from your last vacation, like me, then you will probably love the idea of creating travel journals or memory books.
I guess I will write a blogpost about this later this month but I can already say that it is so amazing to have a folder or notebook with all the lovely travel memories in it.
Thus, you have all things you collected in one folder and they are not cluttering up your room.

10. Sustainability

Minimalism is like veganism about sustainability. It is about feeling good, about being mentally healthy but it is also about our earth.
We need to make a difference and stop buying useless things which clutter up our minds and our earth. We are living on a wonderful planet which nourishes us, gives us oxygen and all the resources we need to live.
Now it is time to say thank you!

Be mindful, care about yourself, our planet and other people, and start to protect our environment.

I hope you enjoyed reading my minimalism guide.
xx, Sophie

 

 

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My thoughts on MINIMALISM – happiness, a state of being or a state of having?

„Spend your money on experiences that are gonna feed your soul instead of stuff that’s gonna clutter up your life!“

…is one of my favourite quotes from a TED talks speaker, who held a speech about minimalism. I can highly recommend watching these speeches, they are so motivating, informing and inspiring!

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Today, I would like to talk about a topic which is very important for me: Minimalism.
When I was a child, I used to collect everything. Dolls, papers, leafs, everything.
My room was always full of useless clutter! Later, when I became more interested in clothes, shoes, make-up and stuff, I hoarded tons of these things and the more I bought, the unhappier I became. At that time, this did not make sense to me. I mean, we are almost conditioned to buy stuff in order to be happy. We always need the latest iPhone, that new pair of Nike Sneakers etc. Large business companies want us to maintain our consumerous lifestyle,  they keep on creating new innovations and produce products, which are „predestined“ to die after two years.

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After years of buying and tossing, I decided that I do not want to promote this lifestyle and I started watching Ted talks speeches about minimalism and downsizing.
In addition, I began to downsize my own stuff and stopped buying without thinking.
The point of minimalism is that you do not have to toss and sell everything in order to have all your belongings fit in one backpack, (don’t get me wrong, this is amazing!) but you have to create your own rules and live your personal minimalistic lifestyle, in order to become happy with less belongings!

Additionally, one side effect of minimalism is that you will have more money. Consequently, you can spend your money on experiences and travel for example and in most cases, these experiences will probably fulfill your life to an extent which consumer goods never will.
Why should we spent hundreds of dollars on a designer bag when we could also live in Thailand for a month for the same amount of money?

The less you own, the less you have to take care of.
And the less you own, the happier you will probably be.

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I really wanted to share my personal thoughts with you, and I would also love to write a „Minimalism Guide“ as well. Please let me know, if you are interested!
At the moment, I am often thinking about happiness and how to create a lifestyle and a mind-set which allows us to be happy and independent of how much money we have.
You may have wondered why I am showing you these pictures of me, sitting in front of a white wall. I do not really know. I guess it is because I love to take minimalistic photographs, because there is no clutter which distracts the viewer from the human being in the centre of the photo.

Have a nice and sunny week! Enjoy the little things.

Sophie

 

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