Kategorie: English

Everything you don’t need to live ZeroWaste

Everything you don’t need to live ZeroWaste

Click here for the german version of this post!

I also fell into the trap and let myself be seduced by all the shiny stainless steel boxes and straws offered in ZeroWaste stores and bought several of those ZeroWaste products. But to start the ZeroWaste process, you don’t need anything except a positive mindset and attitude that you want to change something in the first place.

If you want to start with ZeroWaste or just waste reduction at home and more sustainability, first use the things you already have. Here it should be clear that the „ZeroWaste“ products have to be produced, packaged and transported as well and therefore also use up resources. So it is generally more sustainable to use what has already been produced and what you already have at home. If you need something special, it is worth looking for second hand, borrowing it or asking friends and family.

So let’s look at the most common things that many people buy at the beginning of their ZeroWaste journey:

  • Fabric bags: Probably you already have some bags, backpacks or something similar at home. Use them until they are no longer functional.
  • Producebags: Many buy special bags for purchasing fruit and vegetables as well as dry goods. Here you can also just take the bigger bags you have or make your own out of old T-shirts. I have linked the instructions here (still in German)!
DIY Bag with sandwich
  • Straws: The stainless steel straw is still one of the funniest ZeroWaste items of mine and is always a conversation starter, so I still like it. However, I have rarely used it for its actual purpose, drinking liquids. It’s much easier to consume drinks without straws or opt for beverages that don’t need straws.
  • Spork/Bamboo cutlery for on the go: At the beginning I had also thought about buying a spoon-fork-blade combination (Spork) or bamboo cutlery, but finally I decided to use the normal cutlery from home. Now I always have it in my bag. It’s a bit heavier, but ultimately cheaper and I didn’t have to buy anything new.
  • Special body soap: normal soap will do 😉
  • Toothpaste tablets and mouthwash: The cheaper option is to make them yourself. You can find my recipes for them here (also still in German).
ZeroWaste Gadgets some bought new, others are resuables
  • Glass/stainless steel containers: I also bought fancy containers at the beginning and sorted out my old Tupperware. It would have been more resource-saving to use the containers I already had at home. Additionally I use the jars that accumulate when I buy products that come in glass containers (tomato sauce, corn, milk, yoghurt, beans etc.). These can be used for transporting food to work or university, as containers for liquid or dry goods from the unpacked shop and much more. It is not necessary to buy special jars. If the aesthetic aspect is especially important: the stickers on the jars and bottles go down well with sodium bicarbonate and water.
  • Stainless steel bottle: if I am honest, I need these quite often in their form, since mine works both as a thermos bottle and water bottle. In general I think it makes more sense to use a bottle that you already have at home. Here you could also use old milk bottles, jars, beer bottles with tilt caps or something similar.

By the way, I talked about this topic in the podcast „Hör mal wer die Welt verändert“ with two UBRM students Caro and Anna and with Vivi from ZeroWasteVienna. There you’ll also find more tips! You can also listen to the podcast on Spotify and ITunes. The podcast is in German.

„Hör mal wer die Welt verändert“ – Podcast recording with Caro, Anna and Vivi

So don’t let yourself be discouraged by perfect instagram images. First, think about what works best for you, what you really need, what you already have at home and whether you want to afford new items or not

What other typical ZeroWaste products come to mind that you don’t necessarily have to buy right away? Write it down in the comments!

Lots of Love,

Marolena 😉

*Disclaimer: unpaid advertisement – linked sites

ZeroWaste Travel

ZeroWaste Travel

Picture: Two years ago with small bag in Prague
Click here for the German Version!

Travelling and being on the road is a special topic when it comes to avoiding waste. Thinking through preparation and eventualities is the be-all and end-all.

Since I started living ZeroWaste two and a half years ago, I have experienced it again and again. Since I am on the road a lot, I always have cutlery, a small towel, a handkerchief and a water bottle and sometimes also a small bag and a sealed container for food purchases with me.

Before a trip I think about what I plan to do, how long I will be on the road, if there will be vegan food at the destination, what kind of weather conditions are there, etc. I like to pack things here that can fulfill several purposes. For example handkerchiefs that can also be used as napkins or small bags for shopping. Additional tip: pack foldable things in glasses or boxes to save space in your backpack! I try to pack as little as possible but as much as necessary regarding my ZeroWaste travel gadgets. On my last four day trip to Krakow I brought the following things with me:

  • digital bus ticket
  • an extra smaller backpack
  • a cloth bag
  • several smaller bags
  • a jar
  • headphones to avoid having to use the headphones in the bus (or on the plane)
  • cutlery incl. stainless steel straw
  • fountain pen and ink for refilling
  • powdered deodorant
  • peppermint oil against headaches and tensions
  • menstrual cup
  • period underwear and a cotton pad
  • sunglasses plus cleaning cloth
  • a hood
  • several cloth handkerchiefs
  • a small towel
  • one filled water bottle, insulated (for hot and cold drinks)
  • toner in a reusable spray bottle
  • a make-up remover cloth (although I didn’t have any makeup with me 😉 )
  • coconut oil in a small reusable container
  • face cream
  • a small soap for showering
  • solid deodorant
  • homemade tooth powder
  • a bamboo toothbrush
  • food for the bus or train journey
  • snacks like nuts, fruits, biscuits, or the like for fast hunger or low sugar attacks

I have to say that I was also ill at the time of the trip and therefore had cream, peppermint oil and many handkerchiefs with me. In general, however, these things were very helpful and versatile during the trip.

In addition, I can recommend to bring a stainless steel box or beeswax paper and for a (wellness) holiday also a slightly larger towel, flip-flops (for the sauna and swimming pool) and a swimsuit. These things are often provided, but if you take your own products with you, you can avoid the washing or throwing away materials on site. Also, to avoid buying plastic bottles, refill your own bottle over and over again. In countries with lower water quality, you can often ask restaurants if they have filtered water that you can use. Another option would be to take a small filter unit with you.

If you are longer in one place and have the possibility to cook on your own, you can also try to buy package-free either in a bulk store or at a market. Here or here you can find a map with shops worldwide and in cities there are often bigger permanent or temporary markets. The Internet is also there to help ;).

When it comes to avoiding packaging in other countries, you should not be so strict with yourself and the people there. Due to language barriers and comprehension difficulties, it can sometimes be tricky to ask for no plastic bag or straw. But with your hands and feet, humour and a friendly smile it usually works out quite well! And don’t forget to say thank you 😉

And although the following points have little to do with waste reduction, here are a few general tips for traveling sustainably:

  1. train before bus before plane and if possible always #stayontheground
  2. explore your surroundings, head for nearby destinations – good things lie nearby!
  3. use local public transport and bicycles
  4. compensate flights e.g. via Atmosfair, CO2mpensio or the platform of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna
  5. pack appropriately for the place you have travelled to, so that you do not have to buy anything quickly on the spot.
  6. write a packing list and research a few ecological restaurants in advance.
  7. plan your trip
  8. pack minimalistically
  9. eat/drink in a restaurant instead of ToGo
  10. pay attention to sustainability when looking for accommodation
  11. buy from local companies
  12. pay attention to the ZeroWaste rules while on the road

So have fun on your travels!

Yours Marolena 🙂

*Disclaimer: unpaid advertisement because of linked pages

ZeroWaste Fashionista – en

ZeroWaste Fashionista – en

Left: Dress – Thred-up, Bag – swap party, Shoes – Steve Madden Thred-up * Middle: Leather jacket – Redone leather from Dublin, Body – Erlich Textil, Pants – by Mama, Shoes – old/repaired * Right: Top – swap party, Pants – old, tailor-made to shorts
Find the german Version by clicking here!

After seeing the film True Cost it became clear to me that I no longer wanted to support the fast fashion industry. But since I also enjoy wearing new outfits and living creatively, I have been looking for good sources for cool fashion over the years.


Sales of clothing almost doubled between 2002 and 2015. In 2014, 100 billion new garments were produced while in Germany people buy about 60 new garments per year (Greenpeace 2017). So we buy much more than we really need. The most distressing aspect is that these garments are mostly produced in unethical, unsafe and sometimes life-threatening facilities. Women and children are exploited for the most part. The picture becomes even gloomier when you realize that there are still lots of old clothes on the market that are no longer worn and cannot be resold. In addition, large fashion chains such as H&M simply dispose of many unsold items or even burn them (kurier.at 2017).


However, there are some possibilities to change something here as a consumer. Fair fashion is on the rise, you can do without the consumption of clothes for a while, reduce it and at the same time hold large corporations accountable and demand sustainable and fair production.

Since there are some Fair Fashion bloggers* who have great tips, I’ll list a few of my favorites here and concentrate myself on the ZeroWaste alternatives for great fashion. In general, you should ask yourself the following questions: „Do I really need this? Do I have something at home that can fulfill the same function? Do I already have something like this at home? Does the piece go well with the rest of my stuff?“ If you’re not sure or you’ve come across a great piece while wandering around, let it be put aside for yourself and sleep on it again. By now I only buy things myself when I’ve really thought about it for a long time, when I really need it and/or when I can’t get it out of my head.



But since fair fashion also has to be produced first, I like to fall back on already existing clothes. My favourite source here is clothing from my mum, sister, roommate or friends*. I also sort clothes out myself again and again, especially since I’m on a minimalism trip. So are some of the favourite women around me. Every now and then I can choose great things from these friends. Thanks to you power women!

Hat – merino wool, produced in Salzburg (brand I don’t remember anymore), scarf – found, sweater – swap party, trousers – swap party, bag green – leather, old from Ireland, bag white – swap party, shoes – polar bear by Waldviertler

Top-Swaps are very similar to this. I like to go to private parties from my circle of friends here, because you can also combine swapping with chatting. However, there are now also many exchange parties on a larger scale and professionally organized. Since I have already experienced many variants of Top-Swaps, next week an article will follow with tips and tricks for the implementation of your own party!

Another great way to get special clothes is to borrow something. In Austria there is for example the Start-Up Endlos Fesch. There you can find very unique pieces at regular pop-ups. You pay a rental fee for a number of items, can wear them for a month and then bring them back.

I also think it’s great to wear my clothes at home in new variations. My favourite trick here is to wear a men’s shirt as a top or skirt or a T-shirt the other way round. This can change a whole look completely. Just try it out, combine it anew and let your imagination run wild!

It is also important to try to repair broken clothes before disposing of them. Old T-shirts can also be used as cleaning cloths. You can also reduce the amount of new clothes by sewing them into new ones. I still ask my grandma for advice or try out simple changes myself.

If you really want to buy something, secondhand shops are a good option. There are also online variants out there!



Tested myself and found cool:

More stores:


  • Carla shops of Caritas
  • Humana
  • Local Second Hand Shops

So this was a long article and if you’ve read it so far, you’re great! I’m looking forward to your comments about your experiences with ZeroWaste Fashion. Write your favourite second-hand shops and fashion sources here as well!

All the best,

Your Marolena :*

*Disclaimer: Ad, becouse of linked sites and products/not sponsored! 


Kurier, 2017. https://kurier.at/style/hm-verbrennt-tonnenweise-neue-kleidung/292.998.788

Greenpeace, 2017. https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/s01951_greenpeace_report_konsumkollaps_fast_fashion.pdf

My wasteless menstruation

My wasteless menstruation

Because of the beginning of a new year and the celebration of my blog beeing online for six months now, I translated the most read article on the blog from last year to English! So enjoy or check out the original (in german) here 😉

First of all I would like to say that I think it is very important that every woman knows exactly what she likes and if those are not ZeroWaste products in this area of life, that should be perfectly OK! I was a bit hesitant in the beginning, but after some trial and error I got used to my best ZeroWaste menstrual variation: the menstrual cup. More about this below!

Why the step towards ZeroWaste menstrual hygiene at all?

Here are a few more hard facts*:

We women need about 10,000 to 17,000 pads or tampons in our lives.

… for approx. 500 periods!

These pads and tampons have to be bought expensively, disposed of somewhere after usage and unfortunately often end up in our oceans. Many conventional pads and tampons also contain plastic fibres which are not only harmful to the environment but also to the body. Who would simply push a piece of plastic into their own vagina and assume that it can be healthy?

The alternatives

1. not garbage-free yet, but at least organic quality and degradable: pads and tampons made of organic cotton and without additives.

2. the menstrual cup: my absolute favourite! The menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina just like a tampon and keeps itself in the right place through a vacuum seal. The insertion is achieved by folding the cup in different ways: e.g. C, S, or a bent U – PunchDown – fold. Here you will also find a great video, where the folds and also causes for a leak are better explained (in german). At first I didn’t get along so well with my cup, but then I tried a different fold and that increased the comfort and the security against leakage considerably!

In the beginning I would recommend to simply try a cup. There are usually two sizes and different brands. Please, however, use one that is medically certified silicone! Try out the insertion, different ways and the removal in a peaceful moment at home. Rinse the cup briefly with water before inserting it, this will make the procedure even easier. For example, I changed my cup as often as possible in the shower at the beginning. Then it doesn’t matter if something goes wrong. But after some time I got the hang of it and don’t have a bloodbath in the toilets anymore. With a little humour and curiosity, I’m sure that at some point a woman will find out how to handle it correctly.

Important is the cleaning before, during and after the period. Before and after please let it simmer for about 2 minutes in boiling water and rinse it with water while changing or at least wipe it with paper if there is no water available (water bottle, toilet with sink etc.).

In my opinion the advantages of the cup are manifold: environmentally friendly, inexpensive, pleasant, astonishing because of the insight into one’s own menstruation, getting to know oneself and one’s menstruation and vagina better, practical for on the go! In any case, I have a completely different view of my period, the amount of blood, the colour and consistency and can also deduce whether anything has changed since the last menstruation.

Update: there is a menstrual cup group on Facebook where you can get advice on the right choice.

3. fabric pads: these are now available in some unpackaged shops or online and are used just like traditional pads. I have one for the night, so to speak as security. But there are also workshops or instructions on the Internet on how to easily sew such bandages yourself. Just keep your ears and eyes open!

4. period underwear: More and more of these panties have been coming onto the market for a few years now. On the outside they look like normal underwear, but can hold up to three tampons of menstrual blood, depending on brand and model. Then they are washed with the laundry and can be reused every month.

5. sponges: I have also heard of period sponges that are inserted into the vagina instead of a tampon. Made of natural materials and biodegradable, of course. But there are also some made of plastic. I have not yet tested them myself and can therefore not say whether I would recommend them.

6. free bleeding/free menstruation**: it is said that through training it is possible to bleed in a controlled way on the toilet. Similar to normal urination, then with the menstrual blood, because the blood also comes in waves that can be noticed. I haven’t tried that myself yet, but maybe one of you already has experiences with it that she would like to share!

If you’ve now became super curious and want to learn more about your menstruation, the cycle and the sustainability of your life, then I’d like to share this with you. I am hosting a workshop on ZeroWaste and the female cycle on March 2nd of this year. Come by if you want to get more involved with the female cycle and waste reduction in this context. The workshop is open to all genders and will be held in German.

I am looking forward to your comments, registrations and feedback and hope you dare to take the step towards a garbage-free period!

Your Marolena 🙂

Further links:

Runter mit der Tampon-Steuer

More of my offers