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Clara del Rey // 15 June 2015 //  #GoingGreen #WasteNot

When I decided to begin my journey toward a waste-free lifestyle, the first space I put my hands onto was our bathroom. Besides our kitchen, this is, the room where we store most products packaged in single-use, toxic and non-biodegradable materials (you’re guessing right, most of the time this is plastics). And it’s not even hard to realize this: Almost all products found in the bathroom, from cleaning supplies and detergents to body care products, everything appears to be packaged in plastic bottles that are designed to be used just once.

Waste-free soap bars | © Clara del Rey
Waste-free soap bars | © Clara del Rey


So let’s start with one easy step. It is actually very easy to substitute all your shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels with their fragranced, natural and wrap-free bar equivalents. I’m not even talking about the countless additives and chemicals that are commonly identified in many beauty and cleansing products. When it comes to packaging materials, doing the simple math of calculating the amount of plastic containers I’d be saving the environment by changing this simple habit truly encouraged me to become waste-free. These bars look great – and they clean my skin and hair so effectively that, for me, there is no way back! Now, for those of you who’d like to try out a few of these things in their bathrooms as well, check out these five simple tips toward going ‘zero waste’ in your bathroom. Also, if you got curious about these package-free soap bars, why not make your own from scratch? These recipes from the treehugger blog will surprise you and get you hooked on making your own soap, trust me.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."
 
Clara del Rey // 16 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Crystal rock deodorant, bought in Kansas City, April 2014 | © Clara del ReyCrystal rock deodorant, bought in Kansas City, April 2014 | © Clara del Rey


Once I had completely freed the showering process from waste, my second resolution for a sustainable bathroom was to swap classic deodorants (aerosol or roll-on) for a deodorant crystal rock. It has been more than a year now since I bought this one in Kansas City (April 2014), and it still goes on and on, potentially lasting for several more months. It came packed in a cardboard box, but even if you only find it in a plastic container, the fact that it lasts for so long makes buying it absolutely worthy.

Unlike the usual deodorants, crystal type deodorant isn’t fragranced, and for that reason it can take you a while to get used to it. And yes, this type of deodorant won’t always keep you from sweating (it is not an anti-perspirant), but it inhibits bacteria and so prevents body odor from occurring. They are typically made from minerals and salts that occur in nature. Furthermore, it doesn’t block your pores and it seems to be free of chemicals that are assumed to be related to different kinds of health risks, for example breast cancer—so tons of good reasons to give it a try. Want to learn more about this eco-friendly alternative? Then check out this user review on mineral rock deodorants.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."

 

 
Clara del Rey // 17 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Reusable depilation kit | © Clara del ReyReusable depilation kit | © Clara del Rey

If you try to keep a sustainable lifestyle, sooner or later you will come across the eternal question: What do I do about my facial and body hair? The easiest solution is to stop removing it once for all, but that is just a personal choice and let’s face it, not for every taste.

Because I do care about waste but at the same time, I want to remove my body hair, I came up with the idea for this reusable depilation kit. The electric epilator (2004) was a present from my mum when I moved to Madrid for my studies, and still looks and works like new. The grandpa-style stainless steel razor (2011) cost £5 and has been with me ever since. The fact that industries have hidden steel razors from our markets, substituting them with disposable ones made from plastic, is one way economic interests for profit clash with the actual needs of nature and the environment. Because these products just endure, and you don't need to buy more than two or three in your life, it is safe to say that they are quite uninteresting to money makers. Here's an interesting post by Lauren Stinger of Trash is for Tossers about her approach to zero waste shaving.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."

 

(Edited by Marilena Peters - original submission Thursday, 28 June 2018, 5:20 PM)

 
Clara del Rey // 18 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

(Almost) waste-free tooth brush, mouth wash, and tooth paste | © Clara del Rey(Almost) waste-free tooth brush, mouth wash, and tooth paste | © Clara del Rey

This is what a waste-free teeth-kit looks like: bamboo brush, homemade paste and concentrated herbal mouthwash, stored in a glass jar. If you give it a quick thought, disposable plastic toothbrushes are a big environmental concern. Each of us uses an average of one toothbrush per month that systematically gets tossed to the landfill, because they are recycled in only very few countries. There are several proposals to avoid toothbrush waste, but for me, bamboo seems to be the most practical one. Bamboo grows fast and can biodegrade, so it keeps my conscience clear. I also make my own toothpaste with only two ingredients: coconut oil and baking soda (you can add essential oils of your choice if you like), and it truly works well for me, my teeth are whiter than ever, but you can also buy your paste in an aluminum tube, and make sure to recycle it properly.

Lauren Stinger, from Trash is for Tossers, inspired me with her recipe for homemade toothpaste. She writes in her blog that there are at least three good reasons why she eliminated storebought toothpaste from her bathroom:

  1. The packaging: Yes, this is a very obvious aspect. Most tooth pastes come packaged in plastic or aluminum tubes, plus an additional carton. Self-made toothpaste can be produced in greater amounts and stored in a glass jar.
  2. The ingredients: Have you ever wondered what the ingredients of your tooth paste are? Just to name two examples: Triclosan, which is commonly found in tooth care products, has been linked to cancer, and socium laryl sulfate (SFS), which makes your tooth paste foam evenly, can potentially harm your gums – yuck!
  3. The savings: You can produce your own tooth paste for as little as one tenth of the regular store price. That alone is quite a good reason to try it out, if you ask me.

So, check out

and try it yourself!

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."

 

 
Clara del Rey // 19 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Sustainable house cleaning 101

Self-made, eco-friendly all-purpose house cleaning spray | © Clara del Rey

Soon after beginning my conversion to a waste-free lifestyle, I found myself re-evaluating my entire approach to cleaning our house. I used to be one of these persons who thought that when it comes to removing dirt and stains, the stronger the chemicals I used, the better. Also, I firmly believed that each space in the house required its own particular product, and so I did the only ‘logical’ thing: I accumulated dozens of sprays, bottles, tubes, cans—you name it, filled with toxic liquids under my sink. For me, this was normality, and a necessary step in the process of living in a healthy and clean house.
The trigger that eventually made me rethink my assumptions wasn't other than trying to reduce the amount of plastic I was purchasing and tossing to the landfill. And so I began doing my own research on how other people living a plastic-free lifestyle manage to resolve the cleaning issue. Soon I discovered that not only is there a sheer multitude of recipes and tutorials available for making these products easily yourself, but also a hundred more reasons (at least!) to abandon the conventional ones. Many of the chemicals those bottles contain are quite harmful for us and the environment. The antibacterial component triclosan, for example, which is commonly added to dishwashing liquids is non-biodegradable. Or take your common polishers and laundry detergents:

Researchers have found that dryer vents can emit more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets are used, including seven VOCs classified as hazardous air pollutants. This is particularly concerning when dryers don’t vent outside or are blocked, causing indoor air pollution

writes the eco-blog Mother Earth living. Such VOCs have been linked to causing cancer, and can lead to nausea, wheezing, and skin rashes. This is why I came up with the idea of making one—and only one—disinfectant that I always keep in the same reusable bottle, of course. It is harmless for my body, and yet an effective alternative to the products sold in supermarkets. Mine is made from vinegar, which is very effective with lime scale, bathroom scum and tarnishes on metal; tea-tree oil, a natural disinfectant; soda, a mild abrasive with low toxicity to forming detergent when reacting with grease; and a squeeze of lemon to inhibit mold growth and deodorizing (orange or lime or grapefruit peel or juice work just as fine). You don’t believe me? Then check out these 5 nontoxic recipes for effective cleaners from the GAIAM life blog and see for yourself.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."
 
Clara del Rey // 23 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

 

RecOil EU Project used Cooking Oil (c) Pablo Quero

A matter that had always concerned me about my household was disposing used cooking oil responsibly. Why? One reason is that for every drop of oil we pour down the pipes, we are polluting one thousand drops of water.

When I was still living in Spain, recycling used oil was ‘relatively’easy as you could keep it until have a large quantity, and then take it to a collection point offered by the City Council for this particular purpose. (Here, for example, you can read about a campaign to recycle used olive and other cooking oils to make soap and biofuel in the city of Lleida, Spain.) In Scotland, however, this isn’t as easy, or at least I couldn’t find the way of recycling my oil, and just I wasn’t comfortable flushing pollutants down the drain. There are many proposals on how to reuse your used oil, but being in a DIY phase as I was, after the success of the all-in-one cleaning spray I had created, I decided to do what thousands of wise women (my grandma included) have been doing for centuries: make my own soap.

Collect used cooking oil and add citrus peels | (c) Clara del Rey

Collect used cooking oil and add citrus peels | © Clara del Rey


So now I collect the oil in an old jar for green olives (quite appropriate, isn’t it?), together with some orange or lemon peels to eliminate bad odors, and when I have collected about a liter, I start the process. Making Castile soap is actually quite easy, you only need oil, water, and caustic soda, which is a chemical you can buy in any drugstore and isn’t as toxic and harmful for your health as the chemicals I mentioned in my previous posts. And if you like it a bit more fancy and enjoy experimenting, then simply add leaves and essential oils to make your own unique hand soap!

prepare soap... | (c) Clara del Rey

Mix ingredients and cook soap | © Clara del Rey

In fact, Castile soap is a multifunctional ally in our household: I frequently melt it, grate it, or dilute it in water to make dishwashing liquid, floor cleaner, and laundry detergent.

Eh voilá! Self-made, organic soap from recycled oil | (c) Clara del Rey

Et voilá! Self-made, organic soap from recycled oil | © Clara del Rey

Want to try it yourself? Check out these easy methods to recycle and reuse cooking oil and try out Frugal Kiwi’s step-by-step guide to producing your very own and unique Castile soap.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."
 
Clara del Rey // 25 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Once I had crossed out from my list all the potentially hazardous home cleaning products and replaced them with a handful of biodegradable and almost edible ingredients, only two more plastic bottles were left in my cabinet: laundry detergent and softener.

Day 7

Making your own softener from scratch isn't that difficult| (c) Clara del Rey

I was quite skeptical in the beginning, but it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that vinegar, in spite of its strong smell, really is the best natural softener you can find. If you combine it with a bit of soda and the essential oil of your preference (mine is ylang ylang or perhaps lavender), it leaves a pleasant fragrance on your clothes. If by any chance after using this for a while you need to get back to the industrial, run-of-the-mill softener, you most likely will feel bit overwhelmed by the smell, realizing how strong it actually is. For the actual detergent I use either some washing soda from the drugstore, or simply my grated Castile soap. Also, lately I have discovered these comfy soap nuts that biodegrade completely. According to the Paleohacks blog, soap nuts are

the shell of the fruit that grow on a bush/tree in the lychee family, native to Nepal and India. The best part is that they’re an all-natural, (usually) organic alternative to chemical laundry detergents. They’re totally non-toxic. On top of that, you can also use them in a variety of ways unrelated to washing your clothes.They’re great for babies and for people with chemical sensitivities.

In a nutshell (no pun intended), all you do is put a couple of these shells in a little cloth bag, throw it in your washing machine, and do your laundry. That’s it. Each batch of shells lasts a few loads, so they’re economical as well. When they are no good to use anymore, you can throw them into your compost bin.

You see, even if you’re not into making your own soap and detergent, there are lots and lots of ways to green your laundry.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."
 
Clara del Rey // 30 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Reusing glass jars is easy: clean them in hot water and store them in your kitchen until needed. | (c) Clara del Rey

Reusing glass jars is easy: clean them in hot water and store them in your kitchen until needed. | (c) Clara del Rey

When adapting to your new waste-free lifestyle, organization, determination and creativity are key to success. Without any doubt, the kitchen is the place where we use most single-use products and it is also the place where we keep most plastic tools and containers.

If you indeed want to commit to a zero-waste lifestyle, the kitchen will be your site of experimentation to get rid of old habits. For me, this has meant to change some of my regular routines and adapt new ones.

First of all, try to avoid buying single-use items. Even if some of these products can actually biodegrade, you should keep in mind that the three “Rs” – reduce, reuse, recycle – are best followed in that sequence. Ask yourself, “Can I reduce it?”, that is, is it possible to avoid a product altogether? If not, can you at least reuse it, and thereby prolong an item’s lifespan? If you can neither reduce nor reuse an item, then at least you should find out how you can recycle an item once you have used it, or find a way to dispose of it responsibly.

I keep many ingredients in these decorative and reusable jars on our kitchen shelf. | (c) Clara del Rey

I keep many ingredients in these decorative and reusable jars on our kitchen shelf. | (c) Clara del Rey

So evaluate which of the kitchen tools and materials are really necessary for you and use your imagination and resources to substitute them for clean alternatives. Personally, I have realized I don’t need as many things as I thought in the beginning. Here’s a list of my durable kitchen essentials:

  • Reusable rags (I wash them periodically with my laundry) instead of paper towels. Also, kitchen towels and cotton napkins are a great replacement for their paper equivalents.
  • Reusable kitchen or baking sheets made of silicone instead of wax paper and aluminum sheets. They come in cool shapes and colors, too.
  • Upcycled jars to store goods in shelves or in the fridge, instead of plastic containers and cling film. Mine look fantastic when filled with different ingredients and placed openly on shelves. You can also decorate them!
  • Needless to say, ceramic or glass plates and cups instead of the disposable ones.
  • A good glass bottle to refill with water instead of its plastic equivalent.

So, what are you waiting for? To get you started, check out these great tips. The Foodwise site will show you that creating a waste-free kitchen only takes a few ingredients: a piece of paper, clear airtight storage containers, an efficient fridge, a freezer, a measuring cup, and a sense of adventure. Or check out these 7 tips for a zero-waste kitchen from the Zero-Waste Chef blog. Finally, a great approach to freeing your kitchen from waste comes from the Mother Earth Living blog. Happy experimenting and enjoy transforming your kitchen!

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."

 

 
Clara del Rey // 1 July 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Homemade stew | (c) Clara del Rey

Homemade stew | (c) Clara del Rey

Next week I will blog about where and how buying your goods in a conscious and respectful manner. In this post, however, I want to explore the foods you don’t need to buy at all, because you can easily make them yourself with two or three tools and a bit of practice. When I decided to go zero-waste, I looked for inspiration and ideas in all sorts of blogs and Instagram accounts. Soon I discovered that many of my fellow bloggers seemed to have one thing in common: they cook (quite simple, right?). Some of them with true skill, some others (myself included :) ) with better intentions than results, and a good amount of patience.

Here’s the point where I have to make a confession: At the beginning of this transition, I only knew how to fry a steak a make a salad, and I thought I just wasn’t made for cooking at all. I used to spend a big portion of my salary buying convenience food and snacks in the supermarket. I remember getting tired easily and always feeling as if in a bad shape. Becoming waste-free has truly helped me to learn new skills and live more healthily, and now I love cooking and trying new recipes and cooking hacks almost every day.

Day 9.2

Glass jars, pulses, and a pressure cooker have become steady companions in our kitchen. | (c) Clara del Rey

Here is my selection of products you can easily cross out from your shopping list by making them in your kitchen using only an oven and a stove, a pressure cooker, a ceramic and a tin tray, a hand blender, a frying pan, and a medium sized pot. That’s all I use.

  • All the cakes and desserts that you want, including energy bars.
  • Breads, chips, Mexican tortillas (it is an obligation for me, as I am gluten intolerant).
  • Preserves (jams, chutneys, tomato sauces, etc.).
  • Pulses and all kind of casseroles and stews.
  • Vegetarian pates.
  • Ketchup, mayo and all kind of sauces.
  • Yogurts and some cheeses.
  • Juices.

What? You don't believe me? Just don’t be afraid to try and experiment, cooking, as any other skill, is something that you acquire, not a natural talent! Here are some of my favorite recipes: These no bake energy bars by Lauren Stinger's blog Trash is for Tossers. (Also, check out the entire recipe section of her blog for some inspiration.) This super delicious homemade fruit jam that also makes a great present. This tasty tomato ketchup that will leave you wondering why you've never tried this before. And this guide to cooking beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas. Bon appétit!

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."
 
Clara del Rey // 3 July 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

How do you like my reusable lunch kit? | (c) Clara del Rey

How do you like my reusable lunch kit? | (c) Clara del Rey

Nothing about the consumption habits of our society saddens me more than a take-away shop and the ready-made meal section of the supermarket. What a waste of plastic and resources! The solution to this enormous waste issue couldn’t be, on the other hand, easier: get a waste free lunch kit, plan your meals ahead, and cook them at home. You will quickly appreciate the beneficial results of this new habit as you’ll drastically reduce your waste, eat much healthier, and save a lot of money.

A plastic free, reusable lunch kit is very easy to assemble.

  1. You will need, of course, an airtight container. I got a stainless steel container online for my cold meals, and I simply use a glass jar for the hot ones (so I can conveniently reheat it in the microwave).
  2. Be sure to get a spoon and a fork. I got my trendy “spork” as a gift from Travel Well Magazine and Life Without Plastic, but before that I simply used to take a pair from home and put them in my backpack. You can use this every time you buy some snacks or ice cream on the street, refusing to take plastic ones (I agree, it may feel a bit odd at first, but why not give it a try if you carry them with you anyway?).
  3. Always take a cotton napkin with you.
  4. Make or buy a fabric case for your sandwich. Mine was also a present and is made from linen, but you’d be surprised with the ideas of people online. They make very cool cases with old pillow cases or dresses!
  5. Finally, get a reusable bottle to refill with water, tea, coffee, or your homemade drink (mine is just a lemonade glass bottle my sister bought last December). There are plenty of options, for example, glass or stainless steel bottles. Whichever you choose, you should definitely avoid the little plastic cups on the water cooler, and consider stopping buying drinks bottled in plastic. Even if you can recycle some of them, remember that the best way to help the environment is to reduce!

So, why don't you make your own reusable lunch kit? The Nourishing Gourmet blog has some really stylish alternatives to your usual plastic containers and snack bags. Also, if you rather would like to create your own unique snack kit, take a look at this tutorial on creating reusable snack bags.

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."

 

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