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Busting Ghosts

You should really follow me on Twitter, honestly.

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Books & Audiobooks

Are Audiobooks Cheating At Reading?

Honestly, I don’t give a damn, because I’ve completed my Goodreads Challenge in half of the time! (Still, spoiler alert: the answer is no.)

Last year was a literary disaster, but can you really blame me? I attended music festivals, I discovered camping, and I found a sweetheart! I was going around meeting new people, travelling to new places, and being social! Books?

At the end of last year’s reading roundup, I was shamed in the face of some meagre twenty-four books. Which is not that bad, I know, but when compared to the sixty-four I had read the previous year, twenty-four felt like a new low for me. This year, though, I am back in the game!

I did set a low goal for 2019 because I’m not stupid, and I figured that if last year had been a disaster, I’d better be realistic, and leave some space for camping, and music festivals, and some more snogging. BUT, it is complete! Thanks, mostly, to audiobooks.

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My best friend* had the audacity to tell me TO MY FACE that audiobooks shouldn’t count because you’re not READING them, they’re BEING READ to you.

Well, excuse me, all audiobooks were unabridged? I did get the whole information regarding the stories – mostly non-fiction – that I would get by reading the books in print, but I took the chance to listen to them while at work, and the choice to do it while taking care of chores around the house, or while driving, so there will be no audiobook-shaming on my watch, if you please.

Also, on a more serious note, it’s ableist to say that audiobooks don’t count as reading.

In regards to this, I’d like to thank Storytel for keeping me entertained with a huge selection of audiobooks for less than €10 a month.**

For those who do not know it yet, Storytel is like Netflix for books: you pay a fixed price every month and you can read or listen to any book you want – as long as they have the title available, and they have a wide and very varied selection. Not as many titles as Audible, but you still get more than your money’s worth. I wish I had found it earlier. I’m sharing a family plan with a friend, which takes the monthly fee down to €7.50. They also have a free month trial, and you should all give it a try – audiobooks can take a while to get used to, but they’re so worth it once you do!

Currently, I’m listening to David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, which is hilarious, and I’m reading in print The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you have any reading goals set for the year, and do these include audiobooks? Plase, come talk to me about it!

 

(Here are a few tips on how to learn to listen to audiobooks, written by yours truly for Book Riot, if you want a little help starting on them.)

(* If you’re my best friend and you are reading this, no refunds on friendship are accepted at this moment, you’re stuck with me until further notice. ❤ )

(** Not sponsored, but hey, I’m open to sponsoring if Storytel is willing *wink wink* )

 

Personal

Aeroplanes

I was going to write more extensively about this here, but my tweets tell all there is to tell, really.

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(I still love him.)

Personal

Moving (Me to Tears)

Breathe in, breathe out, I tell myself, knowing that by tomorrow I’ll feel better and ready to drink from the glass I made a storm in. There is no storm, I’ll realise tomorrow. Today, though, there’s a tornado in my water.

Moving again means I’m confronted face first with all of the stuff I own. At this stage, I don’t know if being Marie Kondo’ed* is a blessing or a curse: do you ever reach a point in which you feel you own just enough?

I have taken breaks to have a little cry in between boxing stuff. The first cry took place when I decided to box my crafts. Oh em gee, why can’t I just get obsessed with one thing and stick to it forever? I do believe that liking too many things is stopping me from actually achieving something, because my attention is everywhere and, consequently, nowhere. I’ve taken up Hama beads (it’s not what it sounds like), felt, knitting, embroidery, and I’ve had some failed attempts at ceramics. I’m still embroidering but very, very slowly, and very very little. Yet, because of each one of these hobbies, I have a shit-ton of craft supplies which may or may not come in handy eventually.

I did manage to slim my crafts down and fit them into a single box, but not without first spiraling into a fit of sobs which led me to start practicing yoga again – for one day. I was thankfully, then, that I had at least decided to keep my yoga mat, just in case.

Because I’m moving into my boyfriend’s house, I’ve been taking some of my belongings to his place whenever I visit, which will save me the trouble of carrying too many things at once up and down two flights of super narrow stairs. By the time August comes around, I expect I’ll have very little to bring to Rotterdam, although I’m not so sure how much of it will already be stored in its right place, but that’s a cry for another day.

Today, I have tackled kitchen supplies and bed clothing, and I ended up filling up two more small bags for the give-away-shop, which did not stop me from wanting to cry again. So many plates, and cups, and dishcloths, and sheets! Loads and loads of sheets. I don’t know what my mum was thinking when she decided to start filling a wicker chest with stuff for a home when I was 16, for “when I get married”, but I now have enough bed clothing for a family with ten kids. Did I mention that I always use the same four sheets, since I have a washing machine and I am not eccentric enough to throw my sheets away after each use?

She also bought so many towels and dishcloths, that I’ve been taking them to my boyfriend’s house since May and I still have enough to use even if I don’t do any laundry until the end of July. Really, maybe I was meant to have ten kids by the age of 32 and no one sent me the memo. Oh shit, maybe the contents of the wicker chest were the memo and I just ignored it.

My house gets emptier and emptier by the day and what scares the hell out of me is that I’m loving it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go out and get more tissues, I guess my mum failed to stock up on that, because with ten kids, no one has time for a little cry anyway.

 

*(Marie Kondo’s books, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up and Spark Joy are a great tool if you’re trying to declutter your house, or if you simply need to organise your life and your thoughts. I listened to them as audiobooks and, even though I don’t follow all of Marie’s rules when it comes to organising my personal space, they are still a great read.)

Personal

Stabbing The Dark Or I Tried Everything And Now There’s This

Along the years I’ve been the type of person who compartmentalised everything, just because I thought it made more sense to create different blogs for each thing that interested me. A bit like Fernando Pessoa, using different pseudonyms to write about different themes in his poems. I’m not Fernando Pessoa, however, so I should have known better.

I’ve run at least five different blogs, at different times, sometimes more than one at once, and I’ve concluded that it doesn’t work for me at all. I mean, I still haven’t found a way to write a blog on a regular basis, talk about writing several.

This year, another question came up: I’m moving to Rotterdam, should I start a whole new blog about it, since I’ve got new plans for what I want to do when it comes to writing and keeping a blog? No, I shouldn’t, because that will only turn into another project abandoned halfway. At least I’m learning with the years.

This brought us here. My blog, previously called Zero Wasting, because it was all about my tries at making as little waste as possible, will become home to all of the things that I like, and I will write here about everything. Hobbies, new town, new country, new job, new whatever comes to mind.

And that’s that.

Zero Waste

Bulk Shopping | Klinder

Klinder opened only at the end of last year, in Hasselt. I had visited the store before, but in all of my excitement, I had forgotten to take pictures.

Hasselt is about an hour drive from my home, and since I was going to meet a friend there this weekend, I took the chance to visit the shop again and to get a few things.

It is a small shop, situated in the Lombaardstraat 13, but they are building their stock step by step; you can tell by their Instagram stories and posts that they’re trying to go with what the clients need and look for, testing the products themselves to make sure that what they’re selling is worth adding to the shop.

Here is a sneak peek of the place.

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Albeit small, the store has a nice stock, giving us more than one option of similar items: both soap nuts and Ecoegg, liquid soaps in bulk as well as soap bars, Beeswraps and Abeggo wraps, but also washable sandwich bags and stasher bags, and so on. It’s nice to have such a variety to choose from, in case one option works better for you than the other.

Personally, I got myself an Ecoegg, since I find that the soap nuts can’t always remove harder stains, and I’d like to try something that doesn’t require as much pre-care for clothing. I bought Eco Coconut scourers, which I’ve heard wonders about, and I’m hoping will be good enough to substitute my metal sponge once that one is used and done with, and I got a 100% compostable toothbrush. I’ve also stocked up on toothpaste tablets; I wanted to try other toothpaste options that they offer, like the Georganics paste in a glass jar, or the toothsoap stick, but I found them a bit too pricey for toothpaste, especially since I couldn’t get an idea of how long they’d last.

The Ecoegg, I opted for the 210 washes one, which is supposed to last for a year (taking that you do 4-5 washes a week – I don’t do more than one wash a week), and I was very surprised at how cheap it was! Less than 18€ for 210 washes? Yes, please!

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I still haven’t had the chance to try any of the items above, but I’ll be using my Ecoegg on my next wash, so I’ll be sure to drop a review here.

If you’re planning a trip to Hasselt – which is a lovely town and deserves a trip for itself – take the opportunity to drop by Klinder! The staff is friendly and helpful, and it’s a nice, cosy, very neat little shop.

Zero Waste

Zero Waste Essentials Or Just Zero-Waste Buying Compulsion?

I believe that one of the things that lead us to make an important change in our lives is directly related to buying new things, even if we don’t realise it. I have no scientific proof to back up my claim, but I’d say that the most thrilling part of start going to the gym is buying new equipment. Of course, most of us continue to go to the gym because it’s important for our health or self-esteem, but the starting point that keeps us on the track of keeping our resolutions is the instant reward of the preparation, which usually comes with getting new things. It gives us the feeling of stuff being done; we are more ready to tackle things if we feel that we have the right instruments to do it from the start.

It’s very often also the case when it comes to zero-waste; when at first you start researching how you can stop producing as much waste as before, you’ll want to change a lot of things in your house, you’ll want to buy the perfect zero-waste item rather than sticking to the old wasteful thing you had. And in some cases, that’s good: you’ll stop buying aluminium foil and cling film, and replace it with beeswraps perhaps. Then, you’ll feel the temptation of throwing away all of the plastic in your house and buy containers in aluminium, cluttery in bamboo, and hairbrushes made of wood.

I’m guilty of buying things when I started this journey that I didn’t really need, and I think that those who have the budget will fall into that trap. Finding new alternatives is, after all, what got us going, so it’s more than reasonable that we will feel the compulsion to buy because we are inundated with zero-waste items from all corners. If we’re lucky, we will eventually realise that we’re better off just reusing our old plastic tupperware, which will probably last us a lifetime anyway, and save our money for another useful treat. Eventually, we learn.

Last week there was a very pretty set of drawings going around on Instagram, with zero-waste kitchen essentials. I don’t know who the original publisher of the post is, but I bumped into it through Bea Johnson’s account. And Bea made a lovely point of it.

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This graphic (excluding the red crosses on it which I'll explain) is going around on social media. I am not sure were it originated (I could only trace it to @pg_recycle but they are unable to confirm it's theirs). I thought I'd share it anyway, to point out the ironic turn that the waste-free living movement is taking on social platforms. These past couple years, I have noticed a trend (from social media influencers and bloggers) encouraging people to buy buy buy… reusables. This lifestyle is about getting away from consuming, but graphics like these ironically support the opposite! If you are getting started on your journey, please don't go on a big shopping spree, filling your kitchen with items that you don't need in the first place. You do need a few essentials but only so few (I would encourage that you shop your home first). For over a decade our family has confortably lived waste free without the need for the items that I crossed out in red, and so can you. Before filling kitchen drawers with such reusables as straws, beeswraps, and a phletora of containers, ask yourself: Do I even need it in the first place? Can another item in my kitchen provide the same purpose? Remember: Waste free living is about living simply first and foremost. And one way to get to simple living is to stop unnecessary things from coming into your home. As my book explains in great detail, Reducing comes before Reusing! Happy (simple) zero waste journey! #zerowaste #zerodechet #zerowastehome #unpackaged #bulk #ZWHtour #ZWH #zerowastehomebook #zerowastelifestyle #5Rs #refill #reuse

A post shared by Bea Johnson (@zerowastehome) on

I’ve made my own kitchen essentials list from that post which, as much as I agree with Bea’s point of view, it’s not the same as hers.

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  • Reusable shopping bag

Here in Belgium stores charge for plastic bags, either reusable or single use, and I have long used the same reusable bags to carry all of my groceries at once. I even have one that I brought from Portugal, I’ve been living here for seven years. I always keep one or two in the car, because I usually do my groceries after work, so I’m always prepared. They do not need to be made of cloth, I reuse whatever I already have and I also use these when I go out to any shop to buy clothes, for example, not only for groceries.

  •  Cloth napkin

I have stopped buying paper napkins and have instead purchased a few cloth napkins, which I also use when I have people over. I still have some leftover kitchen roll, which I use only to soak grease, and I then throw into the compost, but I won’t buy more when it is over. I tried bambooee, and you can check my opinion here (spoiler: not necessary at all).

  • Reusable produce bag

I never bought produce bags for myself; I did gift a few to a friend who was also trying to cut on plastic consumption and didn’t have yet an alternative that she could use. I have made a few cloth bags which I use to purchase fruit, veggies, and other things in bulk, either it’s sweets, nuts, or a slice of pizza. I can sew a bit, and I had a lot of fabric lying around. They’re slightly heavier than the thin produce bags, but the difference doesn’t justify the costs I’d have buying new ones. Here is a tutorial to make fabric bags.

  • Reusable sandwich wrap

Beeswraps substitute a lot of things: aluminium foil and cling film, but also sandwich wraps (like boc n roll) and those fruit huggers. I use them almost daily, because they keep bread, vegetables, and fruit fresh for longer, and they offer a great way to carry any food you need with you. I’ve even made a few myself. They’re not cheap, of course, but they are a worthy investment, in my opinion. They also last for a lot longer than the year the brand claims they last (I’ve been using the same beeswraps for over three years now and they’re still good to go). You can even learn to make them yourself.

  • Glass jar

Since I now buy more things in jars, I never needed to buy mason jars. I wash the ones in which my food comes in and that’s it.

  • Reusable containers

All of my containers are reusable, all of them made of plastic, that I already had before going zero-waste. I’m not going to buy more containers or give these away while they are still in good condition. I did find three metal containers for a bargain at a thrift shop that are smaller and handier to take food with me to work, and that’s the reason why I specifically bought those.

  • Stainless water bottle

I would say that reusable bottles are one of the first things to get if you’re avoiding making plastic waste, but I don’t think they necessarily need to be made of stainless steel. They should be durable, to last you a very long time, and I do own a couple of them that I got for a good price, but I also own a durable plastic one just because it is less bulky and it sits better in my backpack. In the end, it’s about the choice which works better for you.

  • Plastic-free scrubber

I found completely biodegradable sponges which I can throw into the compost at the end of their life, but that doesn’t have to be everyone’s choice. A rag, or some wooden brush which you can then compost and keep the handle works great too.

  • Cloth bowl cover

You don’t need this if you have beeswrap, or anything else which works the same way, but if you do feel the need for these you can make your own, they are a great addition to substitute cling film. I wouldn’t have bought mine if I couldn’t sew them myself, though. If you can sew at all, here is a tutorial on how to make them.

  • Reusable coffee cup

I usually take coffee or tea at home, but sometimes when I go on a city trip I like to stop by a coffee shop and have some hot chocolate. In certain stores, like Starbucks and Pret-à-manger they offer you a discount if you take your own cup, and I can say that I have received discounts just because people though my mug was cool (it looks like a camera lens). It’s the item I always carry around with me, because it can be used for other purposes too, like to keep food leftovers or even serve as plate at events when they serve things in plastic.

  • French presser

French pressers are durable and really handy and you can buy a good one wihtout spending a lot of money (I got mine for 7€). They can be used to make tea and coffee, but also to double as a substitute for milk bag to make your own plant milk.

I don’t think the other items are all too necessary; they can certainly be an addition, and it all depends on your lifestyle. The most important is to think well before purchasing, keeping into account necessity, durability and, of course, your own budget. Klean Kanteen, for example, is not an expensive brand when you think of the durability of their products, but not everyone has over 20€ to spare to buy one water bottle.

Trust your own judgment, don’t buy impulsively or just because it looks cool on an Instagram feed, and try to make this zero-waste adapt to your needs as well.

Zero Waste

Gave It A Try | Soap Nuts

When I first started to try and make less waste, I found soap nuts on my googlings, and I’ve been wanting to buy them ever since, but I still had a full bottle of washing liquid (I stopped washing softener a long time ago, because I just didn’t see any difference in the clothes which would justify its use), and that bottle is only now, almost two years later, empty and done with.

For those still not familiar with soap nuts – sometimes they are referred to as washing nuts – they are exactly what it sounds like: natural shells of a berry which contain a natural detergent. They grow on trees, and come from India or Nepal. You throw about five nuts inside a small cotton bag into the washing machine for a regular wash, and you can reuse each batch three or four times.

There’s a bit of controversy surrounding soap nuts, due to concerns of overexploitation, but you can find several articles online which simply explain that the harvesting time of the soap nuts is quite long (February to September), and that only half of those resources are being used at the moment.

 

I had high hopes about them, and I am not disappointed.

For my first wash, I decided to go for 40 ºC, since soap nuts need warm water to activate the detergent in them. I never wash anything above that temperature, and I figured it would be hot enough to make the saponins in the soap nuts go. The clothes came out clean and, although the dried nuts smelled of vinegar, the clothes didn’t. They actually smelled of… nothing. Of washed clothes, but with no specific or noticeable scent and, if nothing else, that would have been enough to please me, because I really don’t appreciate the smell of most washing liquids, as I get tired of them after a while.

Granted, my clothes aren’t usually stained; very dirty clothes might need extra care before wash, but you can also add store-bought washing soda, which you can find packaged in cardboard – or you can make it yourself out of baking soda – for white clothes, and for stained clothes. And if you need that extra boost of scent, essential oils are a great substitute.

Since I mostly wash at 30ºC though, I later tried a tip I read somewhere: I poured boiled water on top of the nuts before throwing them into the tumble, to release the saponins inside. The clothes seemed as good as when I did a wash at 40ºC, so I’m pretty much sold. I won’t be going back to washing liquids.

Now, I really want to try and boil some of the nuts to make liquid soap – both for washing clothes and as dishwashing liquid – and I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on those as well.

I bought my soap nuts in Rotterdam, at an online shop called Berivita. They cost almost 9€ for 750gr, but I wouldn’t recommend buying there, simply due to the fact that the nuts still come wrapped in a recyclable plastic bag. Some supermarkets, like Albert Hijn, sell these as well, but I find that the price becomes a bit of a put-off, and the cardboard package they come in still has a plastic window.

I did find soap nuts in a zero waste shop which has just opened, in Hasselt – Klinder – which sells 1kg for 5€, in a very cute cotton bag. I’ll be buying from them in the future.

After the soap nuts have done all they can for your clothes, you dispose of them in the compost pile. No waste, not bad chemicals. It’s a win-win.

 

Guest Post

About Zero Waste | Gest Post #2

Last time I posted on this blog was in August, last year, after a long absence. I now have a few things I want to add here soon, including this guest post, which was long due to being featured here.

Claire is the person behind A Renewable Life, which you can also find on Instagram under the same name. She wrote to me about her Zero Waste journey, and I’m happy to share it with you now.

“I can’t exactly pinpoint when I began my zero-waste journey. Maybe it started in 2013 when I began using the Diva Cup because I was sick of spending money on tampons and hated how wasteful they were. Maybe it started in 2014 when the bus became my primary mode of transportation. Or maybe it started in 2015, when I saw a video featuring Lauren Singer and her jar of trash, but brushed it off because I wasn’t that out there (but started looking up more zero-waste videos on YouTube).  I’ve always cared about the environment, but things got serious for me on November 8, 2016, Election Day in the U.S. I was shocked when Donald Trump was elected President. I felt hopeless in the wake of the election of a climate change denier that is anti-woman, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic.

Following the election, I knew I had to do more. I started purchasing alternatives to single-use products like reusable sandwich bags, solid shampoo, and bar soap. Finally, in August I took the plunge and joined the zero-waste community by starting my blog, A Renewable Life. Since then, I’ve made more swaps, reduced the amount of stuff I buy and consume, and have spent more time reading and watching content created by other zero-wasters. I still don’t feel 100% comfortable using the term “zero-waste” to describe me since I am nowhere near Lauren Singer status, but I tell myself what matters is that I am trying.

Being a part of the zero-waste community is both exciting and, at times, overwhelming. I know that I am doing more to reduce my environmental impact than a lot of people, but it can be hard not to doubt every action or think of all the ways I could be doing more. I still create a lot of food waste, and while I am eating way less packaged foods than I was before, I still fall to the temptation of chips and candy wrapped in plastic. Just recently, I felt like a fraud when I got take-out and carried home a plastic bag with food in Styrofoam containers. Being zero-waste in the U.S. is difficult (though I imagine it is hard everywhere). We love convenience and are accustomed to disposables everywhere around us. I got brunch last week at one of my favorite spots in town. Every table has a napkin holder and yet the waitress brought us more napkins when she brought out our drinks and again when she dropped off our food. And right now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop where multiple customers are using to-go cups even though they are sitting in the shop and the shop has plenty of ceramic mugs.

The most surprising part of my zero-waste journey is the impact it has had on other aspects of my life. I feel that my life has more purpose and I am living with more intention. I am saving more money because I have stopped shopping as frequently as I did before this journey. And while I still eat junk food, my diet is certainly healthier, and I am beginning to notice small changes in my body. For people that are intrigued by the zero-waste movement but still on the fence, I would suggest that you think of two swaps you can make to reduce waste. For example, you could switch to a zero-waste menstrual product and stop using straws, or give up buying packaged sweets and use public transportation more frequently. If your experience is like mine, once you start thinking more critically about waste it becomes easier and easier to cut waste out of your life.  

I don’t know if I will ever get all of my trash to fit in one Mason jar, but I can say with confidence that this movement is not a fad, it is a lifestyle that I intend to live by for the rest of my life.”

How about you? When did your journey start? Share it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!

Guest Post

About Zero Waste | Guest Post

I know it’s been ages since I’ve written for the blog; on one side, being zero waste in my house has become a habit. On the other hand, I find that there are battles I had to let go of.

Still, at the time this blog was being updated regularly, I had requested two zero waste fellows to write a guest post for this blog, explaining their journey into it, and I felt it was a shame those posts were still not up for everyone to read. Listening to the experiences of others is a major help when we are trying to achieve something.

That said, here is the first post, the second one will go up during the weekend as well.

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I found Agathe on Instagram, where she posts lovely photos of her beautiful life with her kid, and her attempt at zero waste. Here is her recollection of how she started zero wasting.

“I’ve always been fairly conscious about the environment and as a teenager I’d even arrange protests and was quite the activist. However, like many others, I’ve also spent a lot of time burying my head in the sand. It’s worried me, the whole plastic consumption, and consumption in general. I’ve been concerned about all the garbage bags I could fill, especially since they mostly contained packaging. I don’t even store things in the original packaging anyway, so it seemed like such a waste. But then the trash is picked up and taken away, and you don’t really have to deal with it. I didn’t realise there was another way to live. I thought it had to start with «them». 

It wasn’t until I randomly came across a Facebook group called something «zero waste» that I learned differently. It blew my mind that people actually tried to live without producing trash at all. Up until then I had thought that trash was a necessary evil. But it actually could be avoided! What a radical, but intriguing idea! I followed groups like these religiously for a while and started off with the typical swaps. I got some beeswax wraps instead of cling foil, I got produce bags so that I could buy fruit and vegetables without the plastic bags, I got a reusable cup for those times I get beverages on the go. The start actually felt quite materialistic, because I spent some time buying more, not less.

Becoming zero waste is a journey. It takes time. Especially in the beginning I often felt discouraged. There’s just so much trash in the world! What good would my little contribution do? Sometimes I would order something zero waste with good intention, only to have it arrive in even more packaging, and I felt like all my efforts were just cancelled out. What has been key to me all along though, is to take it one step at a time. I’m really into turning things into habits, not rushing it. All those fails, and every bad habit I kept until I felt ready to let it go, I let it be okay. I kept my focus on turning around habit after habit, in my own pace.

I started out with eliminating some basic plastic products that I could easily avoid. In addition to those already mentioned, I also started using shampoo bars and ditched the bottled shampoo, I quit buying toothpaste in plastic tubes and started making my own and so on. But then there are so many other things. Like the yoghurt that I can only get in plastic tubs. I kept buying them until I felt it was time to take a new step, then I started making my own yoghurt at home. Then I switched to baking sourdough bread so I wouldn’t have to buy packaged yeast. I started getting into herbal medicines to see where I could eliminate pain killers or other medicines for less serious ailments. 

The same way, I also upped my game, step by step. Like when I stopped using chemical cleaners and started making my own, and for making my own, I needed vinegar. I also started using vinegar to rinse my hair and as a facial toner. It was a step up from what I had used in the past, no chemicals, but still packaged. So then I started making different vinegars at home, and I could eliminate even more plastic packaging. And where I started off by using my food scraps to make other things, like vegetable broth, I eventually added one more thing: An indoor compost system, so that none of it would have to go to waste.

In the end, I started seeing some real results. Suddenly I realised I hadn’t taken out a trash bag in weeks. What in the beginning had felt like a losing battle, suddenly paid off! 

I really enjoy this journey because I’m learning so much. Some discoveries are life changing. Like all my explorations into herbal medicines, which is turning my health around. And I have fun! I believe it should that way. I don’t believe it should be about denying yourself anything. To me, life has become much more rich from becoming more zero waste. Take clothing for instance, where I have stopped buying fast fashion, and I instead have things hand made for me or buy things that are long lasting and well made. It feels so much more luxurious! And my bathroom, where I’ve had to remove several storage units, because I don’t anymore have piles of products in different (usually not aesthetically appealing) bottles. Now I have a few things, and it’s all wood and glass. It looks so much nicer! 

At the end of the line, I can only do so much. I live in a remote place where I can’t get hold of much that isn’t wrapped in plastic. I will probably never have a zero waste store nearby. A lot of the things I need I have to order online, because I can only get groceries here, which means it’s hard to avoid some packaging. (Though I ask people to send me things plastic free where possible, and I try to order as much as I can from ethical and conscious shops.) I also have a young child, and controlling everything that enters the house through others to him, is not where I want to go. 

For me to become completely zero waste as this point is almost impossible. But I am pulling my weight, and in the end, something has to happen on a bigger scale. I am hoping that the zero waste movement will make the big companies become more conscious too. After all, they’re losing customers to zero waste, I’m sure! And I hope that in this way, some day it’ll be so much easier to get environmentally friendly products with minimal packaging everywhere, even on remote islands in Norway! But it will only happen if we as consumers let them know it’s time.

Meanwhile I make sure to pat my back and be pleased with the steps I do make. And I keep adding more (or eliminating more), as well as doing more research into what I can do. My dream for the future is to get some land where I can grow my own vegetables. At the moment, I try to forage as much food as I can in the wild. And that is the biggest reward I have seen from all this personally, my journey towards zero waste has brought me much closer to nature! I spend so much more time outdoors now! And in return, I have experiences that can’t be bought for money, and it makes me value what I already have even more.”

I hope Agathe’s post inspires you in your journey. Give her a follow on Instagram!