Schlagwort: zerowaste shopping

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