Whenever I talk about Zero Waste with people, one of the first questions that pops up is 'How can I start with Zero Waste?'. So I was thinking hard about this question and finally came up with 3 easy ways to start.
1. BAGS, BAGS, BAGS
Always bring your own bag. When I go food shopping I always bring my own bag. If I forget it I try to carry everything with my hands or look for an alternative. Luckily most Austrian supermarkets don't offer single-use plastic bags at the cashier anymore, but reusable ones instead. So I just buy one of these. Do I have many cotton bags at home already? Yes, I do. But I love them and they always come in handy when I have to carry stuff or go shopping.
In case you have plastic bags at home, give them another purpose and turn them into a waste bin. They work perfectly fine for that and you don't have to buy any extra litter bags :)
Last year I did a promotion job for a huge cosmetics company and of course I took some of the products home. When my dear friend Aphrodite, an studied ecotoxicologist came over on day she showed me the ToxFox-App. The App was developed by the 'Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND) - Friends of the Earth Germany'.
ToxFox works really easy. After downloading the app you just scan the barcode of the product (in my case it was creams, face masks, shampoo, …) and see right away if the product contains contaminants, like cancer-causing substances or substances that can cause infertility.
So of course we tried the app and even tho it was a lot of fun to scan all the products, the results where catastrophic! I ended up throwing away most of the products.
It's not just that I don't want to use any products which contain contaminants. I also don't want to use any product where I don't even understand what's inside, like who knows what 'Sodium Methylparabene' or 'Polyquaternium-10' is? (except maybe you are a chemist) or which makes my skin look even worse than it actually is. I prefer natural products for my body.
The ToxFox-App was a great way to start cleaning out my bathroom and make it plastic free.
3. CLEAN OUT YOUR HOUSE
I know this sounds like a lot of work but in the end it is one of the most relieving activities ever. Every time I do it I feel much better and lighter and it also gives space for new things to happen again. All the things I sort out I either donate to organisations, sell them at flea markets, throw them away or give them to friends and family. It is always a great way to make other people happy and feel a bit lighter :)
I am a huge fan iDoc! Everytime I have a problem with my iPod I go to iDoc. These guys are very competent and fix your problem in no time for a very good price.
When your phone, laptop, ... breaks think twice befor you buy a new device. Better save money and resources. Repairing your device is often cheaper than buying a new one, you just have to know where to go. When I first wanted to repair my iPod at one of Apples official repair stores I was stricken how expensive it is and how complicated it would be to send my device to another place and then get it back only in a couple of weeks.
Wastelady's Tip: on their homepage at.idoc.eu you can even find tips on how to repair your electronic devices yourself
Okay so a couple of months ago my laptop fell on the floor and I couldn't recharge it anymore. At the beginning it was sad not to have a laptop anymore. After I got used to it I, I didn't miss it all and was sad when university started again and I finally had to do something about this topic, because studying without a laptop can become difficult after a while.
At first I thought I should buy a new one since my laptop is around 8 years old already and it just felt like a time for a change. So I went to stores and got totally confused with all the extras and zoll and which laptop is better for what. My mum even knew more about it than I did :)
The next thing was the price. Laptops are sooo expensive. It's like, I could book a first class ticket and fly to the end of the world with it.
After a while I gave up on this whole topic and then remembered that I once read an interview with Sepp Eisenriegler, the founder of 'R.U.S.Z. - Reparatur und Servicezentrum'.
R.U.S.Z. is an amazing place! Their mission is to REDUCE ELECTRONIC WASTE (E-Waste), such as radios, washing machines, laptops, ... simply by REPAIRing them.
Did you know that more than 60 % of all electronic devices who make their way to one of Viennas disposal sites ('Mistplätze') are actually still fully functional? Well I didn't and was shocked when I found out about this. Within the last 12 years years R.U.S.Z. repaired more than 5 million kg of electronic devices.
And so they repaired my laptop as well. It is working perfectly fine again (otherwise I couldn't sit here and write this) and I am very happy I didn't buy a new one and could save a lot of resouces and money.
Hey there, my name is Fiona. I love travelling and getting to know different cultures. Because of travelling I realised I don't need many things to live a happy life. My transformation started ten years ago with my first big trip to India, since then I live a very minimalistic lifestyle. For a couple of years now, it is not only minimalistic but also zero waste.
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