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firsttinyecosteps

Simple tips to changing something in your life and home to make it a bit more enviromental-friendly!

Cook in bulk

As a student sustainability has always been important to me. In regards to food, economical sustainability has been a major question to me and I can probably count on my hands the times I’ve bought lunch on the go. I have always had an interest for cooking, and a mind for saving a few pennies so bringing my food has been natural to me. For a student, it’s almost a must. After graduation, I continue seeing it as a must.

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Beside allowing me to eat exactly what I wanted, I know exactly what is in it. It is more economical: buying in bulk it’s cheaper and I don’t have to waste money on fast food. Its also more environment friendly: I can use healthy, near produced products to make my lunch and I use recyclable containers thus minimizing every-day waste. It’s a win win in every way.

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Leftovers in glass

If you are, like me, the kind of person who bring leftovers for lunch, you should consider which container you use. I used to have the small simple plastic ones, because they take minimal space in the cabinet and in the freezer. Ideal. But, it’s neither healthy or great for the environment so I´ve decided to change that.

I´ve invested in a few glass containers for my leftovers instead, and although they are still too few to fill up my need, I try to prioritize them. They feel nicer to eat in, and I know I don´t get any plastic in me from microwaving them. And of course, they are prettier and don’t go that ugly yellowish color after a few uses. The ones I have are from IKEA if you want to get some.

There are however two issues.

One, they are to big to fit conformable in my freezer. I´m going to look for smaller ones that work better and that problem will be solved. If you aren´t a regular leftovers-person this is not an issue, but for me who cooks for ten meals at a time it’s a problem.

And second, what to do with my old ones? This is a general issue when changing to eco-friendly products: it shouldn’t mean you throw the other stuff out because then you still created extra waste. Therefore, I´m still using my old ones, and I’m trying to figure out if I can give them to someone who needs a few free.

So they are two solvable issues at least.

Oh, and in the other container in the picture is a food thermos which is perfect for picnics and stuff, or soup. And if you often bring salad you can use glass jars for that – it’s easy and looks really tasty.

Soft against your cheek

I love cloth and sewing, so I try to find new products I can replace. One of the things I’ve done this far is making make-up wipes. I still haven’t replaced all my make-up products with environmentally friendly ones, because of the simple reason that mine haven’t run out yet. But pads to run out so they have been replaced and I must say I love it.

Like with period cloth pads, one of the main reasons I like them is because they are prettier. But of course, it does have the benefit of reducing the manufacturing of cotton pads since they are used several times. You can also eco-approve them by choosing better materials. Mine are made of ecological cotton and bamboo fleece which is super soft against your cheek.

I usually use mine a few days in a row with a quick rinse in between, then give them a proper tumble in the washing machine and they’re good to go again.  It´s a never ending circle of awesomness. 

Anything for you?

Welcome to my tea shop!

What do you like?

As you might guess from this picture, I love tea and have waaaay to many kinds of tea. I do however use only tea in bulk and no tea bags. My primary reason for this is that I can find more exciting flavours and variations that way. (And I get to use my cute container)

That I make use of less packaged products that way is simply a plus. Tea in bags are processed one extra time as they are cut to tiny pieces. I´ll readily admit that I don’t know much of the manufacttring process but what I did find after a quick search was that the filter paper the tea bags are made of is abaca. This is the leafstalk of bananas, a kind of hemp. Sadly though, I don’t know much more of it.

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However, it is logical to see that bulk tea cuts out half the process the tea goes through since there is no cutting and no packaging. Thus, a lot less machines and time is needed to make bulk tea. That saves the environment through energy usage, and raw material. And also, using bulk tea there is less waste. But mainly, the taste of bulk tea is awesome.

A crystalized alternative

Today I use a crystal deodorant as you can see. It’s made of a salt called Alun that has antiperspirant and antibacterial properties. You just add water and it’s ready to go. It seems too simple but it actually works quite well. It doesn’t add a smell to cover your sweat, so after a tough workout I still smell a bit, but for everyday use it’s perfect. That it doesn´t smell is my favorite part because it feels more natural.

This is an easy product to change in your everyday routine. A downside is the plastic package, but for a deodorant it is still a preferable alternative. You know exactly what it contains and that the production had minimal environmental impact compared to other deodorants. Also, it lasts for ages so it will be forever before you have to change and contribute to yet another packaging. At that point, there is probably a glass casing too.

An effective change to brushwood

These are my brushes for dishwashing. When I was younger we usually had one of the heavier ones, made of brush wood,  at home and used quite a lot. So when moving out it was quite natural for me to find one. And I love it. For one, it’s less plastic than a normal one, but I also feel that they are much more effective and easier to use. Since you hold the brush itself it somehow feels easier to get everywhere and to scrub as hard as needed. And well, brushwood is harder than plastic so it makes sense.

The thinner horse hair brush with the metal clasp is one we decided to try but that haven’t made a hit in our kitchen. It’s too soft, but I still prefer it for frying pans to that they are not damaged. I have another head to change it to, but we get along so well with the other one that I haven’t gotten to it yet.

Anyhow. You should get one with brushwood if you haven’t already.

An easy wrap

This summer I did my first zero-waste wrapping. It turned out better than expected.

For wrapping papers I used a food magazine for its pretty pictures. It looked much nicer than using newspaper, which are a thinner material, has more advertising and can leave ink impressions. I used a paper based twine to tie it together. I´m quite happy with the results though it was hard to keep the paper down and in place while adding the twine.

The couple I gave it to sadly threw the paper in the normal trash can, along with the twine (which they cut instead of opening), so it wasn’t recycled or reused yet another time. I wasn’t fast enough to stop them, but next time I will try to be before they open. The more usage the better, especially for the twine since it’s not harmed in any way during the packaging.

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To do this you just need: magazine paper, scissors, twine and fast fingers.

Good luck!

A must-do tiny eco step

An easy and necessary little step to take is changing your plastic water bottle to a metallic or glass one. The next step it to actually use it and refill it. If you, like me, live in a country where tap water is clean and drinkable this is a must-do.

My metallic bottle is one I got a long time ago from 4H but did not use regularly until recently. Today it goes with me everywhere. I love that it has a carbine and can hang on my bag, otherwise I would have to leave it behind a lot.

Which kind of bottle do you use?

A cup of awesomeness 

Another period-related tiny step I´ve taken is using a cup. And I don’t think I can say enough kind things about it. I´m using it as I write and it is simply so easy.

I saw an article the other day that a normal pad contains the same amount of plastic as 3 or 4 plastic bags. I didn’t look into it so I don´t know the sources, but there is for sure a fair bit of plastic in them. Along with other materials, and blood of course, making it hard to recycle. Thats pure waste when we have good alternatives: cloth pads.

I think the largest objections I’ve meet when speaking about cloth pads is that is outside your body and gets a bit gross. This then is the same people that  wouldn’t wear a regular pad either since it’s outside the body. I´ve always found tampons scary – it’s a bit of treated cotton you put inside you. I hate the feeling – when it’s full it swells and becomes really uncomfortable. When its not full enough it’s hard to get it out because it’s all dry. And when you put it in its all dry aswell, making it less than comfortable.

This is where cups win. They are neither dry or super heavy. They are easy to get in a variation perfect for your vagina – small or large, hard or soft, tall or short. I find them super easy to put in, and they are more comfortable to keep in there – I don’t feel them at all. Plus, I can take it out anytime without any harm.

Plus, the optimal worth of course: they can be reused for several years. No more buying tampons and throwing used one out – creating even more waste. It feels more sustainable since it’s something I know creates less waste. Also, having something that is reused and last a long time feels awesome in it self. And that feeling is great. Not only can I be comfortable during my period, but I can feel that I’m actively minimising my environmental footprint every day. 

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