I just read a blog post the other day about plastic free living and zero waste shopping and some people commented in a negative way that this is only a lifestyle for people with money and a lot of free time every day. So I thought I share a few tips everybody of us can do and make these little changes into the living a minimalistic plastic life direction without spending loads of money and loads of time.
Because I think and know: if you want to you can achieve a lot of things.
You live on a budget and still want to make environmental friendly choices?
I know its not easy in every country and city and household to go shopping in organic and zero waste stores because, we should face it,: they are (still) more expensive than "normal" supermarkets, and not everybody can afford this.
And why? Because the big chains can order in bigger bulks, thats always cheaper, and also the normal agriculture is getting supported with money from the governments, so they can produce and sell cheaper.
But nevertheless, we all can make some small choices in daily life to make a little change, to BE the change. We can decide where we´ll spend our money, and which company we like to support.
Every little change counts! Don´t you agree?
1) Buy toilet paper made of recycled paper.
And cut the plastic wrap open on one of the short sides, so you can use it as a plastic bag for your bin.
2) Kitchen and toilet cleaning with vinegar, baking soda or lemon. Your sink and toilet will get clean just the same as with toxic and strong smelling cleaning stuff.
3) Take your reusable bags for grocery shopping. This is not a new invented idea. I go shopping like this so many years before I even heard about "zero waste shopping" the first time.
I always have one in my bag with me in case that I want to buy something when Im out. If you don´t want to pack fruits and veggies without wrapping in your trolley, buy some cloth bags, reuse paper bags from the bakery or make some cloth bags yourself out of old shirts, scarfs, etc.
4) If you take a look around you might experience that there will be some products you can get in carton, rather than plastic. I´ve seen these in a lot of countries so far. Pasta, rice, oats, couscous, millet, etc. Maybe you need to check one or two different supermarkets until you find a plastic free choice, and sometimes its not a 100% plastic free choice because some brand love to have a tiny plastic window on the packaging, so everybody can see how a spaghetti looks like (aahhh wow, I´ve been eating pasta a few times in my life, but I didn´t know a spaghetti looks like that ;) ) But a tiny plastic window is a better choice than a whole plastic bag. So whenever you can, buy a carton rather than plastic. The good thing about dry products, you can store them for a long time, so even if you find a supermarket a long way from your house, go there once a month and buy in larger quantities ;)
5) If you have the choice (I know in Germany we have the choice in every bigger supermarket(not at the discount supermarkets though)) choose the reusable bottles for drinks (preferably glass).
6) If you buy cheese at the deli, and you don´t have a container with you or the staff cant fill the cheese in your own container because of the hygiene standard, ask them if they could avoid the double plastic packaging. I experienced in some supermarkets they already use paper bags to pack the wrapped cheese, but in many countries they wrap the cheese in cheese wrapper and then in another plastic bag. Could easily be avoided, so try and ask before you order.
7) Buy soap bars rather than plastic bottle soap. I even got my boyfriend to make this swap, and he like the soap so far ;) There are a lot of different smells, colours, brands out there.
8) If you fancy a sugary lemonade once in a while (we all know why we should avoid sugar in the first place ;)) go for a glass bottle or a can instead. Why a can you´ll ask? Aluminium is known to be recycled much more often than plastic. Its too expensive and toxic to produce new aluminium cans/foil etc, so they really like to collect and recycle aluminium. Even in countries like Indonesia(Bali) it´s easier to collect and recycle cans, the plastic lemonade bottle will likely end up on landfills or on the beautiful beaches.
9) Drink tab water if your lucky enough to live in a country with safe tab water. If you don´t, theres mostly always a filter option available for your tab. Even in Malaysia we lived in a flat where they had a filter for tab water, so we safely could drink this and refill our bottles. If you go on holiday somewhere, and you want to book a hotel/hostel one of your questions could be: is the tab water safe to drink? If its not the second answer is: Do you offer free drinking water?
I know many hotels do offer free drinking water in SEA for example. In Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia they even had some public fountains in the parks.
If nothings available, go for the biggest plastic water container you can get (we found 5-20L container) to avoid all the small bottles that go straight to landfill or just end up around the corner.
10) If you are out and want to eat or drink coffee somewhere just look for a place to have a coffee in house in a ceramic cup. If you´re not sure on first sight go ask the barista, and if they say no, go somewhere else. If wer are honest: there are just too many coffee shops everywhere, so we actually always have a choice!!!! Mostly smaller private owned cafes have more options than bigger ones.
Same with food. Have a look first how other people eat at the place, if you see styrofoam and plastic everywhere don´t even bother go inside and ask. Have a look at other options or just go for a sandwich in a paper napkin or buy a healthy alternative and go for bananas and apples (if they aren´t plastic wrapped).
And if you go out for some drinks always remember to order: NO straw please ;)
Any more tips for a plastic free shopping on a budget? Let us know in the comments:
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Hi my name is Jule
I am a nature and ocean lover. A passionate runner and minimalistic traveller. On this blog I share my experiences, thoughts and ideas about the "sustainable lifestyle" and how you can stick to this while traveling.
You like what I share? If yes, feel free to buy me a coffee <3