The new year is here, and as usual, it comes loaded with motivation to make the world a lil’ greener! Founder of Ourgoodbrands, Maxime Dücker, brings you her very personal eco-friendly bucket list for this 2020. Ready to level-up?
This time of the year keeps us all thinking… Surely the most asked question in January is: “What are the challenges we want to overcome this year?” And for us, the eco-nerds, we always want to become a bit more plastic-free, a bit more zero waste, a bit more vegan. While everyone has their own bucket list, I thought it would be a great time of the year to share with you all my very personal to-do-list to become more sustainable.
What is the good thing about writing your eco-friendly bucket list? I found really interesting to realise how much I have achieved in just one year. Last year I did not “bullet point” my goals and trusted it all to my (bad) memory. What a year ago seemed a challenge, today are non-negotiables. So, I would 100% recommend you to do a very honest and criticism-free exercise for yourself. And this eco-friendly bucket list is the proof that writing down your vision and goals can skyrocket your positive positive impact on the environment. If you do, please share it with us!
So, without further ado here is my very personal eco-friendly bucket list for this 2020 – my promise is that I will try my best!
My 10 eco-friendly achievable goals for 2020
1. Plastic-free groceries shopping
- It turns out that it’s pretty hard to do shopping completely plastic-free. Since we issued the free eBook with 80 tips to go plastic-free I am mastering the one on buying loose fruits and veggies. There’s nothing worse than those little useless plastic bags, I don’t even find them convenient.
- I try to engage with annoyed shop attendants as much as possible. I often realise they get annoyed at the cash register because I come with my veggie supply all lose. If they dare to complain, I become very straightforward and tell them these bags are horrible monstruosities and should be banned worldwide. You should try it; it’s funny to observe others’ people’s reactions and realise how most of them have never thought of it! Pro tip: take the awareness one step further with your collection of Activistickers and stick them across grocery stores.
- 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. I upcycle all glass jars to add to my handy collection.
- As for the bread, I either bake it at home or shop at a local bakery that doesn’t prepackage the bread in plastic. Turns out it all tastes much nicer!
- This year, I have barely used single-use plastic bags – slowly getting better as I remember to put reusable shopping bags in my front door or back to the car. For those few that I end up getting, I extend its lifecycle as much as possible, however, I must say I feel a bit disappointed – yet feels like that’s a good exercise to reinforce better habits and BYO-everything.
2. “No straw please”
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! Whenever the wait staff is ready for a chat, engage with them and share the information about straws. The best one so far is when you tell them about plastic straws sticking in the nostrils of turtles. As everyone loves them, they will quickly turn against the bloody plastic straws.
3. Bulk tea & coffee – BYO
Another point in my bucket list for this January is to buy more tea and quit coffee (which takes much more energy to produce than tea!). If you choose to have either, just make sure it’s bulk – especially the tea. 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.
In the case you buy coffee at cafes, please make sure to bring your own cup. There are plenty of brands, so so no excuses folks: Keep Cup, Frank Green, Atlas & Ortus… Please do not ever think coffee cups are recyclable, because it’s bullshit!
4. Go less to restaurants
I am almost there with quitting restaurants… They make me spend an insane amount of money, but most importantly: they are SUCH a waste machine. Yes, the hospitality industry is one of the most polluting ones.
Back in the days when I worked in hospitality, I was often horrified by the huge amount of waste created in just one shift. Shift after shift. Not to mention the amount of water it’s needed to wash the dishes, the cutlery, the glasses… And then, you have the napkins, made out of fresh-cut trees, with a huge impact on deforestation.
Straws, again, are everywhere; they are in fact considered a FANCY standard?! Interestingly enough, when I worked at cafes I always pretended to forget, and to be honest, 90% of the people would not ask for one. Of course not, as we don’t NEED a straw for the drinks!
I strongly support incorporating strict legislation against plastic in the hospitality industry, so restaurants would be left with no choice but go sustainable. This very same applies for single-use coffee cups, plastic containers…
3. Learn how to compost
Lately, I have become 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’ve 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, continuous travelling and moving cities (that nomad life)! So I did organise a second-hand market and every time I have to furnish a new home, I actively seek EVERYTHING second hand, including my stylish eco-friendly Airbnb house which I have furnished fully with donations.
With fashion, I have decided to purchase repurposed in second-hand shops and find thrifted treasures. Thrifting is now my absolute favourite, as I get to save so much money, extend the lifecycle of goods that are incredibly good, and sometimes even support causes on behalf of the second-hand stores!
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. In fact, I have been once involved in a circle where the not vegan person was literally rejected. I made my way out pretty quickly too.
Whereas I align with 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 the other way around, for those who make comments on “vegans being stupid”. I have heard this, especially from chefs at restaurants (apparently, we 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.
In my personal experience, becoming a vegan is a hard deed; I went through a deep journey to learn about the plant-based proteins and all the ingredients that are needed to cook fully 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.
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 to plant fresh species such as basil, parsley, coriander… these are expensive at the supermarkets, and for some reason, they also tend to be packaged in plastic.
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 really enjoy is The Wise Consumer by Madeleine Wisecup. In the upcoming podcast section, you will find some of the best authors in the world having conversations around sustainability matters.
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…). Podcasts are such a great source of learning through conversations and stories (so it sticks better in our busy brains). Oh, and I have to mention they are also cheaper and lighter than books. Great for minimalists, ah!
8. Practice yoga and meditation every day
It’s the best way to start the day! After my trip to India every morning I start with some basic Hatha, joints movements, Pranayama breathing techniques, followed by meditation. That takes me overall between 45 minutes and you feel so much lighter and brighter to start the day.
Then, yoga is truly aligned with the love of nature. After my Yoga Teacher Training in India last year, I wrote this ebook called “How to change your life with yoga while you make the world more sustainable” – it’s free to download and I hope you like it!
If it’s not yoga, do what makes you feel great! 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 with the good habit of practising sport 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 stuff.
I still own “things”, but only what is important to me: technology to run my 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. Does this make sense at all?
Now I got to the point that 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. Still, 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).
My current eco-friendly habits (proud!)
11. Drying the clothes outdoors; in the past years where I have rented a place that came with dryer, the rule was not to use it.
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, the 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 filter 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, just to make sure I don’t 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.
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. My new favorite is Coconut Matter, its a social enterprise handmaking the delicious deodorants.
22. Soap bars, instead of plastic bottles. Again, I love the Coconut Matter range but there are plenty of natural options out there!
23. Plastic-free beauty and skincare 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 Rubycup, AllMatters (that’s me!) or Mooncup, 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 a 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. AT ALL!
33. Recycling, which is 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. Not to accept freebies wrapped in plastic.
37. Don’t buy magazines or newspapers. Bad news and useless information is also not good for your brain.
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.
44. No gift cards, as you can write the same note on a piece of paper. Otherwise, you can always check more eco-frienldy FSC certified options.
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
49. I moved to biodegradable dental floss.
50. Wrap leftover food on plates and use bee’s wax instead of aluminium foil.
Next habits & goals to achieve in my eco-friendly bucket list
51. 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?
52. Not to eat at market stalls if their takeaway is plastic.
53. Reusable skincare rounds, instead of single-use cotton rounds.
54. Avoid palm-oil (which means understanding well how to read the labels).
55. Buy my next phone ethically; this is Fairphone.
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 these my friends?
60. Organising my next eco-friendly event (when the time comes!)
61. Making my own oats milk, as milk packaging is the one you will see more often in my recycling bin.
62. Be extremely mindful when buying online to avoid packaging that is not sustainable.
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!