If you didn’t have enough with the zero-waste guide or the 80 tips on how to go plastic-free, now the co-founder of Ourgoodbrands, Maxime Dücker, brings you her very personal eco-friendly bucket list for this 2019. She analyses and explains with clear examples why the future goals are achievable, and shares what she is already doing, AND what will come next once all those habits are built to last. Ready to level-up? Make sure you also share your ideas with us!
This time of the year keeps us all thinking… Generally saying, the most asked question in January is: “What are the challenges we want to reach this year?” And for us, the greenies (in the best sense of the word, of course), we always want to become a bit more plastic-free, a bit more zero waste, or even a bit more vegan. While everyone has their own bucket list, but I thought it would be a great time of the year to share my to-do-list when it comes to becoming a more eco-friendly person or same, having a more sustainable lifestyle.
We want to create good habits that will take us to the next level, and eventually, connects us a bit more with Mother Nature. Here is my very personal eco-friendly bucket list for this 2019, and I promise I will try my best! I also hope to hear your ideas and get a lot more inspired by this wonderful community of change-makers… At any time while you are engaging with this extend bucket list, feel free to pop-up a comment or share your recommendations. I would love to see what others’ challenges are, and eventually, give it a go!
One of the most interesting things for me while doing this exercise, is to realise how much I have achieved in just a year. I did not “bullet point” my goals last time, I just made a list in my mind for what seemed to me obvious things that simultaneously were feasible to implement in my new life. And it’s really great to see that some of the things I am doing in my everyday life are non-negotiable for me nowadays. This year seems like ages ago when I did not even think about any of these. So, I would definitely recommend you to do a very honesty and criticism-free exercise yourself and see your outcomes. It has proven to me that setting clear and viable goals has a very positive impact on my life – and also the environment. Would really like to hear about your eco-friendly bucket list too!
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
1. A bit more plastic-free
It turns out that it’s pretty hard to do shopping completely plastic-free. So far, of the eBook we launched last July with the 80 tips to go plastic-free, I am mastering the one on buying loose fruits and veggies. And I am very straightforward if a shop assistant intends to use one of these small bags that don’t have any other use than the fleeting convenience. I also make sure I tell them these bags are horrible and should be banned worldwide (try it, it’s funny to observe others’ people’s reactions and realise how most of them have never thought of it!)
The next step in my groceries shopping is to build a long-lasting habit to buy my nuts and legumes. I need a special bag for these two, and the brand ONYA is great for any kind of bulk-shopping. Also for the bread, I should find out a bakery that doesn’t use the plastic bag.
And the most challenging goal for me will be purchasing the pasta in bulk too, but I find it generally very expensive. Because I have the intention to flawless my veganism, I will try other options like semolina (my most recent vegan option discovery) and I will do my best to find it plastic-free. Help, any recommendations for me?
This year, I have barely used single-use plastic bags; just because I have not yet mastered putting reusable shopping bags in my front door, or enough of them in my backpack. For those few that I end up getting, I am now extending their lifecycle by giving them another use, but of course, they won’t last forever; each time I see them around, I feel a bit disappointed. It’s a good exercise to reinforce your brain and keep reminding yourself how important it is to bring your “own everything”.
Another good one that took me a while to get right is the straw. I got stainless steel from the brand everEco for my birthday present this year (It’s so lovely to see how my friends and family are now considering ethical presents for everyone!) and I got myself also a bamboo straw from the brand Yourstraw.
I need to make sure that in the case I go to restaurants or cafes, and order any drink that isn’t tap-water, to say “NO STRAW PLEASE” – not once, but twice! Because there’s such a large percentage of people in the world that don’t yet have enough education around this matter, they would go like “just for this straw I have much more to do, I will just chuck it away”… imagine how frustrating this is for those who make the extra effort. If the waiter/waitress is ready for a chat, engage with him/her and share the information about straws. Sure you would be surprised by their reactions, and how it can change the way they think about plastic straws. The best one so far is when you tell them about plastic straws sticking in the nostrils of turtles. Everyone loves them, and the thought of it makes people take action against the bloody plastic straws.
Another point in my bucket list for this January is to buy more tea and drink less coffee, but most importantly: buy tea in bulk. I got myself a small tea strainer, so I am excited to have my range of teas that I know will highly benefit my health (and take me out of my coffee addiction. Eventually. Ehem.) One brand of teas that fits in those standards is Wild Tea Qi.
If you had a chance to read the ebook on how to go plastic-free (you can download it for free here!), there is a video that shows how tea-bags are made, containing plastic and why you cannot recycle them.
2. Go less to restaurants
Not that I go much, but definitely restaurants are SUCH a waste machine. I have been working in hospitality for a while, and it’s horrendous to see the waste created in just one shift. Not to say the amount of water it’s needed to wash the dishes, cutlery, the glasses… And the napkins, made out of fresh-cut trees, with a huge impact on deforestation. Yes, the hospitality industry is one of the most polluting ones.
Straws are everywhere, and for some reason, in Australia (been living here for a while now) they fancy to put a straw for whatever drink that’s ordered. And really, is a PLASTIC item fancy? I hate this new standard. I always pretended I was forgetting them when serving the drinks, and to be honest, 90% of the people would not ask for one. Of course not! We don’t NEED a straw for the drinks; I can agree that smoothies are another issue, but restaurants have definitely not mastered getting bamboo straws for everyone.
One of my bigger plans this year, is to go to different cafes in the city (Melbourne has over 4,000 on TripAdvisor) and offer the chance to swap to bamboo straws… It’s hard work, but I could eventually earn a dollar or two while doing good, but most importantly educating the cafe owners. If I manage to do this, I will share the story with you all, that’s a deal!
And if by any chance I order a takeaway coffee, I would bring my own Keep Cup (or any other brand really, they are sold everywhere – so no excuses folks!) If I forget to take it with me, I would have it right at the cafe in a mug, or not have it at all. Do not ever think coffee cups are recyclable, because it’s bullshit!
3. Learn how to compost
I am very interested in how this composting-world works, and I admire people doing it. I just find it a bit difficult to manage this in big cities living in a small apartment.
I have promised myself to become more interested in composting this year, to research and study the different techniques and when the right time comes, I will get my composting bucket.
4. Go more to second-hand shops
I have been a lot around this year, quite busy travelling and, on top of that, I also moved to a new city. So I did organise a second-hand market and now I am planning to furnish the whole house with second-hand items. Also, unless I purchase new ethically made clothes, I have decided to purchase repurposed in second-hand shops and find thrifted treasures. Because aside from giving a better use to what is already there, it’s cheaper and you also support the organisations behind those stores. As our friend Jen Guice says you “look good by doing good”!
5. Perfecting the Vegan thing
Surround myself ONLY with vegan people (NO WAY… THAT’S A JOKE LOL!) I have heard stories about this and just wanted to make my point on how much I do not agree with this. With all my respects, everyone can do whatever they wish when it comes to surrounding themselves with people alike or their food choice. But I have been once involved in a circle where the not vegan person was literally rejected. I made my way out pretty quickly too. I don’t like extremes and whereas I agree with most vegan values and it has proven to improve my health in so many ways, I will never censure or practice any kind of harassing behaviours towards others. I agree you can decide to just have vegan friends or even a vegan partner, but because you live in a world of all colours, if someone who is not vegan approaches to you, please be inclusive. If you are open-minded enough to go vegan, be ready to accept people eating all sorts of food; you will not achieve much behaving like an asshole. And this also goes for those who make comments on “vegans being stupid” – which I have heard especially from chefs at restaurants (apparently, you make their lives very complicated). That’s also another reason why I intend to eat less out, and if I do, I will try to go to vegan/vegetarian restaurants where they are happy to give you great-tasting plant-based food.
Back to the point, because of my health, and because of the animals, and because of the environment (!!!) and because it’s also easier to go plastic-free when you have a plant-based diet (I find it anyway!), my bucket goal is to have less cheating moments: so less cheese and fewer eggs. I find cheese or any lactose products tend to give me acne. I get also liquid accumulation on my legs easily, which leads to bad circulation problems. And for the eggs, they just don’t feel right texture-wise or the thought of “what an egg really is”. But it’s true that eventually, every now and then, my body will crave eggs – so I would have them. I like to say that I am trying to become vegan, but that I am not stupid… in the sense of the importance of listening to your body and its needs.
Also, becoming a vegan is a hard deed if you weren’t born in a family that has food knowledge, or you have a passion for cooking and learning about ingredients naturally! I find it takes a long time learning about the number of proteins, the substitutive ingredients, as well as getting your food-pantry ready to do all sorts of vegan recipes. Be gentle with yourself and enjoy the process. My pro tip is to focus on the positive steps you make and be proud of yourself.
If you intend to change to a plant-based diet, there are some side-effects of veganism. For instance, get yourself some vitamin B12 (in a glass packaging, please!) as it will help to balance out the need of this particular vitamin. Apparently, non-vegans would get this from the meat; I also recently learned that meat doesn’t have B12 naturally, just that in farms animals are fed with extreme levels of this component. A fun topic that also seems to create many discussions between vegans and non-vegans… so I would love to hear what you have to say. I am constantly learning too.
6. Plant more
Adding more greens to your house environment is a good and super-green idea. It connects you to the eco-friendly side while making the house look great. If you are a minimalist, try to decorate with plants and nice pictures and you will find out how your mood raises pretty quickly. Another biggie for me is to give life to more eating plants, like basil, parsley, coriander… Fresh species are expensive at the supermarkets, and for some reason, they also tend to be packaged in plastic; I find it a waste, especially if I don’t manage to finish the whole lot.
7. Listen to more podcasts
Aside from my affinity to Tim Ferriss podcasts, I have recently discovered some audio-treasures out there! There is some really good stuff, especially if you are after green-kinda-inspiration podcasts. One that I am loving lately is The Wise Consumer, of my new friend in California, Madeleine Wisecup. If you are after high-level in-depth conversations misfits and outliers in a range of different worlds, I would also recommend my friend Christine McDougall podcast called 2:23 AM; another great point is that lately 2:23 it’s become more specialised in “What it means to be a man in today’s world”, and me being a feminist, I love to have the different perspectives!
The good thing about podcasts is pretty obvious: you can listen to them on-the-go, while doing anything else (sports, shopping, walking the dog…); they are such a great source of learning through conversations and stories (so it sticks better in our busy brains); and it is also greener because it’s a digital resource which you can delete of your device afterwards. Oh, I forgot to mention it’s also cheaper and lighter than books. Great for minimalists, Ah!
Soon we will publish a full guide with the best references for you make sure you stay tuned (literally!) and would love to hear any recommendations you have on the comment box below! Feel free to ask me any more in detail recommendations for episodes that I really enjoyed.
8. Practice yoga and meditation every day
It’s the best way to start the day! There are many types of yoga… I was told once by an Ayurvedic doctor right in India while doing my 200-hours yoga course, that I should not practice Ashtanga or Vinyasa. Instead, I am doing basic Hatha, joints movements, Pranayama and meditation every morning. That takes me overall between 40-50 minutes and you feel so much lighter and brighter to start the day. I have met many people that believe yoga is not for them… fair enough! I guess you would be more into active sports like running or training at the gym… Do what makes you feel great, but make sure you spend time in your body, as you don’t want to regret it in the future when there’s no way back. One hour a day is nothing if you look at the big picture: within a week you have over 300 minutes, which is equal for 5 hours on average. And all the benefits that come along it’s truly invaluable!
9. Becoming more minimalist
Since I had the chance to watch the documentary of the Minimalists I adopted many of the techniques. And it’s kind of addictive not to buy stupid things. I enjoy going to the markets and watch trends and well-designed stuff. But do I need to buy it? Absolutely not! I tend to solve my cravings for purchasing by getting some fresh fruits and veggies (which is often a plastic-free paradise).
While I am here in the new city, Melbourne, waiting to move to my new apartment I have been living in a 10 square meters room with my partner, and you can believe it when I say that all we own the two of us fit in perfectly in the space. Of course, I will need a washing machine, a fridge, a bed, a table and some chairs in my new place… but this is as easy as surfing online and find some of the many freebies’ websites. You will do much with a minimum budget, basically because unfortunately, many people change their decoration pretty often – which becomes the perfect opportunity for the digital nomads to make good use of them. And donate them afterwards!
My big thing is Tech to run the business, my yoga equipment and the kitchen stuff. I love to come into an empty house because it gives space and freedom to my always-busy brain. Not to mention that my weekly to-do-list has become so much shorter because when you own stuff, those things can become a problem you need to fix. If you have shelves, you will want to put stuff on them – and that means you need to worry about the dust more than you should.
In my previous life, I never bought much but I still had many things and cupboards full of shit that I NEVER used. But I still kept them… and every month or so, I had to re-organise everything. I would collect easily things others didn’t need, and then realise I also did not need them myself. What is the sense of this?
I own little amount of clothes and shoes now, but I love all I have. I don’t have to feel guilty for not wearing something. So yes, getting better at being a minimalist is always a challenge.
10. Less weight when travelling
The minimalism can also be applied for your travels. I promise I have made such a big change over the past years, but I still am disappointed every time I take on a trip. Because there are ALWAYS a few things that should not be there. Planning a bit better your outfits’ combinations, pick one for a hot/cold day and of course, look at the weather before you go. If you like to read on the aeroplanes, getting an ebook reader in your life is also a good option as you can put in endless books and even songs or podcasts (also the light on the screen is healthier than direct light and less heavy in your hands while reading).
What other habits I already have that could be an eco-friendly bucket list for you?
11. Drying the clothes on the clothes horse or line.
12. Get wood or stainless steel pegs, if you need them at all.
13. Run a full dishwasher or load of clothes. By the way, dishwasher uses less amount of water than washing by hand. So if you have one at home make good use of it, save in time and space!
14. Washing clothes when they are dirty instead of after a single wear. This will also extend your clothes lifecycle.
15. Not using air conditioning or heater (it makes us sick too!) If it’s too cold, put on a sweater and socks before turning up the heat. Turns out that being eco-friendly is also cheaper… LOL!
16. Carrying my water bottle everywhere. If you like the water filtered I recommend Lifestraw (it works if you are in countries where tap water is a problem, so great for travelling); there are endless brands out there such as Atlas & Ortus, Frank Green…
17. Have the straw in my bag by default, and taking them out right away if I plan to have a smoothie (to not forget…)
18. Purchase groceries in the glass jar as an alternative to plastic (for example, honey, vitamins and supplements, all sorts of food…) The good thing is that you can reuse the jars for another purpose, such as bulk food ingredients.
19. Use natural fruit and veggies for smoothies instead of frozen (I only have an issue with the Açai berries, which I cannot find without plastic!)
20. Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, it’s a non-negotiable in my life (unless I am not at home, of course).
21. Long-lasting deodorant on a plastic-free packaging.
22. Soap bars, instead of plastic bottles.
23. Plastic-free beauty and skin care products, I like the new zero-waste trend of using aluminium. Of course, glass it’s also an option just a bit heavier and it could be a challenge for the logistics, especially if you order online… I still have products from the past that are plastic-packaged, but I am slowly making the switch as I bring new brands into my life. What it’s a clear standard is buying what’s organic, vegan and cruelty-free when it comes to beauty products. Some of the brands you will find on our platform are Mandala Dream Co., Beechi Organics, Plaine Products…
24. If you are a woman you would have your period once a month. Then I would suggest getting some long-term alternatives such as Organicup (that’s me!), but there is period-proof underwear with these two great brands our friend Gabi Goddard shares about her very personal experience.
25. Metal safety razor instead of plastic razors. I proudly own a Rockwell Razor and the same Braun hair remover machine for the past 14 years.
27. Shorter showers and turn the water off while brushing my teeth. Here some important insights and tips to solve the water inequality crisis.
28. DoTerra essential oils for infusing your home, take as medicine and as supplements.
29. Ethical scented candles, such as the slow made brand MJ London.
30. Kitchen and cleaning stuff wood, bamboo or stainless steel whenever possible. You will find is healthier and better quality than the plastic shit.
31. Pack my lunch when going to work. A brand that I cannot wait to get on board is Swivlit, check it out! I find taking away a huge amount of waste, as well as money… generally, I could cook the exact same food for at least 400% cheaper – you make the maths for a year.
32. No paper napkins or tissues.
33. Recycling, the minimum everyone should do. If you get confused about what is recyclable and not, check directly with your council and find out about their waste management guidelines. You will be disappointed to learn that most plastic is not recyclable.
34. Public transport or walk. If you are in the city, a scooter or motorbike is better and cheaper than a car (you will save in parking fines too!)
35. No spam on my mail, such as a letter from your bank statements.
36. Saying “No” to promotional items, such as flyers in the streets or supermarkets.
37. Don’t buy magazines or newspapers. Bad news is also not good for your brain; unless you like an excess of useless information.
38. Say “No” to receipts (even though many places print it by default…)
39. Printing only what is essential.
40. Using both sides of the paper.
41. Donating to second-hand shops instead of throwing to the rubbish.
42. Repairing my clothes.
43. Buying meaningful gifts (if I do) such as experiences or something I know the person really needs (so ask the question). You will find me boring, but for many occasions and over the past few years, my partner and I have not exchanged birthday or Christmas presents, however, we make gifts when we knew we needed them instead and generally enjot the shopping day together.
44. No gift cards, as you can write the same note on a piece of paper. Otherwise, you can always check options such as Saluti.
46. Research before buying, and asking key questions to avoid greenwashing. Ourgoodbrands is a great platform to get you started 😉
47. Buy locally made whenever possible.
48. Using Ecosia as your main browser on the phone and computer, and plant a tree for each search
Next eco-friendly bucket list and higher goals I aim to reach
49. Doing my own toothpaste: I made the attempt once, but I need to find a better recipe that is truly healthy for your tooth and gums. Any recommendations?
50. Reusable skincare rounds, instead of single-use cotton rounds.
51. Biodegradable dental floss.
52. Not to accept freebies wrapped in plastic.
53. Not to eat at market stalls if their takeaway is plastic.
54. Avoid palm-oil (so read better the labels).
55. Purchase a set of bee’s wax for food storage; I use plates or food containers for now, but I find these handy to store better the food and make it last longer.
56. Go more to farmers markets and purchase more organic plant-based.
57. Unplug electronics when not in use.
58. Eco-friendly sunscreen (to avoid the bleaching of the coral).
59. Plastic-free make up. I need to find a brand that is friendly and gentle to my skin. For now, the only one that seems to work on me is Clinique, so here’s an extra challenge for me! Any suggestions on this mates?
60. Organising my next eco-friendly event (when the time comes!)
61. Making my own almond milk, as milk packaging is the one you will see more often in my recycling bin.
Well, I am sure I forgot some relevant points, please please make sure you share them with us all on the comment box just below!
Oh hey! And we have a gift for you: if you’d like to go plastic-free easily here is an ebook with 80 tips download here for free!
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