Hi everyone! Today I have another zero waste post and it's all about how to shop zero waste. This is a collab with my friend Khaya from Wasteless Africa on Instagram. Both of us are sharing easy zero waste tips as well as groovy places where to shop. Hers is focused on locations in Cape Town, South Africa and mine is about what you can do to be more sustainable in the Netherlands!
Firstly, lets talk about food waste. I was pretty shocked when I realized that many restaurants within the Netherlands simply don't do leftovers. In South Africa it's a common practice and saves a ton of food from being thrown into landfill. One way I tackle food waste is by writing up a grocery list. This way, I know exactly what I need. I also shop locally at my farmer's market, bringing along my own bag. I also keep a few produce bags so I can separate my fruits and vegetables into the produce bags before placing them in the larger canvas bag.
|Local fruit & vegetables stored in reusable cotton bags|
Grocery shopping zero waste at the supermarket is a little trickier and often doesn't result in zero waste purchases at all. Unlike in Cape Town, there aren't bulk stores in Tilburg (where I stay) so I try to have to do low waste shopping. I suggest sticking to loose, unpackaged items and settling for items that aren't always the prettiest, as those will be the ones other people won't buy, and they'll go straight to landfill. If you're a tea lover, aim to buy loose-leaf tea. If you're into chocolate, look for local and fair-trade chocolate. I get mine from the organic store WAAR and I simply recycle the paper packaging. In supermarkets, I still buy cheese and canned soups; the soup cans I wash and recycle and the cheese comes in plastic (unfortunately). If I buy bread at the super market, I choose to buy bread that comes in paper packaging as I can recycle the paper as well. For candy, I go bring my produce bags along and put them in there.
|Zero Waste Candy!|
Unfortunately I still get a sticker, but many people choose to eco-brick. If that's an option for you, I highly suggest you try it out! I do almost all of my grocery shopping at the local market as it's open Thursdays and Saturdays where I live, so I only opt for the grocery store when I need to. Not always zero-waste, but definitely low-waste and reducing my carbon footprint in ways I normally never would.
Next thing - clothes. Fast fashion is incredibly wasteful. It's cheap and on trend, meaning it can easily be replaced or not worn again if something else becomes popular. To combat textile waste, I occasionally go thrift shopping or have a clothing swap with my friends. We get together with clothes we no longer like and trade them with each other. It's pretty fun and you get to experiment with a bunch of new clothes and styles. I find this important because when clothes are thrown away into landfill, the dyes, chemicals and ink in the clothing can actually harm the environment and pollute water sources if not disposed of properly. This year my goal is to shop more at the thrift store, (with the exception of underwear, swimwear, shoes and socks) so I'll definitely keep you updated about that.
Lastly, easy every day swaps. Conventional plastic toothbrushes and plastic toothpaste tubes stay on this earth forever - they literally outlive us. I decided to switch to a bamboo toothbrush and a solid toothpaste which are both biodegradable.
|Biodegradable toothbrush purchased from HumbleBrush and recyclable toothpaste purchased from Babongo|
I also switched to bar soaps (shampoo bars, facial soap bar, body wash bar) that comes in paper packaging. No more bulky plastic bottles for me!
|Zero waste mini shampoo bar purchased from Babongo|
Purchasing a reusable water bottle was a pretty smart decision, I can simply refill instead of throwing away disposable bottles after every purchase, saving myself about €10 a week.
|Super cute reusable stainless steel water bottle purchased from Typo|
I also ordered a reusable cutlery set from Etsy, to avoid the single use plastic knives and forks on my university campus. It came with a stainless steel straw which is fantastic as restaurants throw away about 45,000 straws a YEAR - so much of that goes into oceans and water sources, it's predicted that there'll be more plastic than fish in our oceans in 2050. If you don't want a steel straw, there are tons of paper, glass and bamboo options available.
|Handy dandy reusable steel straw purchased from Etsy|
I hope you liked this post! If you want to see more posts like this be sure to check out the first two posts in this series and be sure to check out Khaya's post, too!
All my love,
M I A H
M I A H