10 habits that are easy to adopt in your daily life… and that actually make a difference!
A zero waste lifestyle sounds like a dream, it’s impressive, it inspires and above all… we want to adopt it! But when it comes to adopting new habits into our lives, we can feel lost. We can also have the impression that we are always making mistakes, even if we trust that we are doing the right thing. Don’t worry! And most importantly, don’t forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Changing one habit at a time is already being on the right track.
No need to turn your whole house upside down, get rid of your pretty wardrobe to buy the same clothes in a second-hand store, or buy a whole bunch of glass jars at Ikea… With these ten tips, you will gradually (and at your own pace) implement new habits into your daily life. In this way, you will contribute, on your own scale, to saving the planet, reducing your expenses and reducing exposure to chemicals.
Let’s stop talking and get ready for action!
1. “I will remain faithful to one and only one cup in my life”
No need for scientific evidence or long-lasting studies to conclude that having a reusable coffee cup or a water bottle (canteen)… reduces our waste production.
When you go to Starbucks or pick up your coffee at the nearest Tekoe, remember to refuse this paper cup with a plastic lid. Why take it, if you have the opportunity to brandish your own cup? You will not only look responsible, but also infinitely cooler… it goes without saying.
The same applies to the water you drink. With a canteen in your bag, you no longer have to “quickly buy a bottle of water”. You will always have the possibility to refill your bottle (preferably in aluminium or glass) without wasting yet another PET bottle.
2. Plastic wrap is crap (pardon my French).
No more plastic wrap! It is placed on a plate that is served the same evening. It has such a short lifespan and inevitably ends up in the garbage. Poor thing!
The solution? Beeswax cloths! If your first reaction is “just the name sounds complicated to me”, think twice! It is terribly easy to use and clean.
To adopt this new habit, you have two ways:
- Buy already made beeswax cloths that ready to use and very easy to find here!
- For the DIY enthusiasts, here is a recipe for making your own beeswax cloths. All you need are clean cotton fabrics and beeswax nuggets. The latter can easily be found in drugstores, pharmacies, organic shops or online.
3. I sneeze in a tissue made of… tissue!
Our grandparents understood it well: a piece of cloth in the pocket is more than enough to fight hay fever or a cold in the winter. There is no need to have packs of tissues in the bag, no need to spend money to buy more, no need to create waste for a runny nose.
A square of fabric, and you’re done! Even if this habit seems to have disappeared, you can find some cloth tissues very easily:
- You can buy them directly from producers and craftsmen who work ethically.
- For the sewing machine pros among you, you can create your own tissues! Here is as easy step-by-step explanation on how to do some “home made”.
- Making googly eyes at your grandparents so they’ll give you a few.
4. Ladies, you will love your cup!
Have you ever wondered what was in a tampon or sanitary pad? It turns out that this information is practically impossible to find, under cover of “trade secret”. (Gubri, 2017). In 2016, the magazine “60 million consumers” revealed the presence of residues of toxic products (such as dioxins) and pesticides (such as glyphosate) in many tampons and napkins. (Gubri, 2017).
How to protect yourself from these substances while menstruating? How can you use natural products or products whose list of components is explained in complete transparency?
There are three solutions that are not only healthy, but also cost-effective and zero waste:
- Washable sanitary napkins are easily available in buy-in-bulk shops, pharmacies or organic stores. By adopting this small piece of fabric, you can avoid the waste of the 300 sanitary pads that a woman throws away on average in a year.
- Menstrual panties are not only practical and ecological, but often elegant and discreet. No more discomfort from a sanitary napkin, no more unpleasant plastic wrap, no more filled garbage cans!
- And of course, there is still the solution of… (drum roll) the menstrual CUP! “Fantastic, great, wonderful, wonderful, comforting, soothing… for me, the cup is all that! “admits Fanny Desfray, editor for the blog “En Vert Et Contre Tout”. The “Fédération Romande des Consommateurs” writes the following about the menstrual cup: “Whether they are tested sitting, lying, and even running, no leaks can be detected. The most surprising thing is that they know how to make themselves almost invisible: you don’t feel them, or barely.” Pretty convincing, isn’t it?
Thanks to this new way of living your menstruation, you avoid contact with toxic substances and also prevent the risk of having toxic shock.
5. Remove your make-up in the best possible way
A simple action: replace disposable cotton pads with washable cotton pads! You use them, you put them in your washing machine, and there you go: you re-use them! Everything is clean and ready for a second use… then a third, then a fourth etc.
These “cotton pads” can easily be found in organic or cosmetic shops, but can also be handmade for those who like to do some DIY and know how to use thread and a needle. You can even watch a video explaining each of the steps involved in creating “homemade” washable cottons.
6. Solid shampoo… here I come!
Homemade, purchased in a bulk store or specialized boutique, solid shampoo is ideal to avoid the abusive use of plastic containers. A shampoo here, a conditioner there… isn’t that a lot of bottles near the bathtub?
Discover this recipe that teaches us how to make a solid homemade shampoo easily.
7. I just need the essential… well, essential oils.
It is quite possible to replace certain chemical compounds with essential oils. Indeed, they can be used to make homemade household products and they can be used to replace certain drugs in your pharmacy.
If you want to make your own cleaning products by using essential oils, you can look at the recipes available here. This way, you will protect the environment, your skin and your wallet.
8. I’m a super ninja with a super zero-waste kit!
Whether you are in the office or enjoy the sun outside, you can maintain your good habits even when not being at home! But how? By creating a super zero waste kit for the super hero that you are! and of course, you will keep that super power with you!
“Eating outside is often our biggest source of waste. Who cares, we’re not taking it home, it doesn’t count! If only…” writes Camille in her article “Le kit du citadin Zero Waste“. She explains how to make a minimalist zero waste kit. All we have to do now is take it everywhere!
- A cloth towel: to wipe your face, to protect your clothes, to pack dry food.
- A bulk bag or snack bag: ideal for wrapping your sandwich
- A plastic box, a bento box or an aluminium box, there are even foldable silicone boxes to minimize the space it takes.
- Cutlery… no plastic fork or knife!
- A fabric bag: ideal when you do improvised shopping. This way, there is no need to take plastic bags at the cash register.
- A water bottle.
I hear you… how do you get used to this new habit?
” (…) Your kit must become an essential part of your life, like your keys and your wallet. When I leave in the morning, I check 3 things: my phone, my wallet and my ZW (zero waste) kit! “admits Camille in her article.
9. Infinitely cool phone apps to help me each day
A large number of apps have been created to facilitate the transition to a zero waste or more natural lifestyle. Here is a selection:
- Too good to go: The whole principle of Too Good To Go is based on a surprise basket, made up of the unsold items of the day from producers near you. Unsold products are “fresh from the day” products that shopkeepers can no longer sell the next day, like pastries or daily specials for example.
- Zero Waste Objective (android, iOS): This application works like a personal coach who guides you through certain challenges. You will have missions to accomplish and you will see your progress towards a life without waste.
- Go green challenge (android, iOS): This fun application gives you weekly and daily tasks to improve your knowledge and habits regarding environmental protection. You will find plenty of advice and information on the topic of ecology and the environment in general. (Maiwenn)
- Code check (android, iOS): is an application that allows you to scan barcodes on your cosmetics and food products in order to know the components in a fully transparent manner. Not only will you know the composition of your products, but this app will also give you an explanation by detailing the impact on your health.
And of course, don’t hesitate to replace your search engine with Ecosia. Ecosia is committed to replanting trees around the world with the money generated by your searches while giving you results as accurate as other search engines. An ecological Google? Yes! You won’t change your habits and you will plant trees!
10. I vote three times a day
The way you eat can have a huge impact on your waste production, your environmental impact, your expenses or your relationship with the small producers around you.
Why not do without supermarkets for a few days? Why not go to a bulk store more regularly? Why not eat seasonal fruits and vegetables? Local fruits and vegetables that have not crossed borders? Why not meet the producers who are at the origin of our plate? Why not become a vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, food raises many questions and everyone does as they can and as they see fit. But wouldn’t the first step already be to become aware of the actual situation? And to become aware that we can change?