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The Zero Waste house

As some of you may know, I have a problem with trash. Well, that and the general lack of fucks given worldwide about the environment.

For years, I was overwhelmed with the amount of issues to tackle. Now I have taken a different approach: I do “locally”. I do what I can in my home and around me. And I give money to other people that are better at tackling bigger issues or the bigger picture. It might not be the best approach, but I sleep better at night by not staring at the ceiling while thinking about ALL the issues, and instead dealing with the ones in front of me.

Sometimes, I feel like I work hard all year to not even offset my CO2 emissions when I fly to France and back, but no one is perfect.

That is the other thing I learnt over the last decade: it’s hard to do it all and there is some trial and error in the process. But when you find something that works, then it’s easy to stick to it.

As I hope I am not the only one concerned here, I thought I would share the best things I have found so far to reduce the trash at home. Last year while in France I was horrified at the amount of trash I was producing all by myself, like a medium size bag per week. And that was when being careful. So I went deeper into the household area of the trash and here are the best things I got so far:

In the kitchen:


I finally found a sponge that doesn’t stink or disintegrate yet that is not plastic. After many failed attempts, meet the coconut loofah sponge and its buddy the coconut brush.

Silicone covers:

I was never big on plastic film, but these are pretty great: they go over a cup, a bowl, a plate or half an onion and you put it bag in the fridge. So far a year in and no damage to report.

The veggie bags:

I got a first bunch of these mesh bags in a cool zero waste store in KL. Then I got some more made out of organic cotton. Easy to wash, easy to fold, bye-bye plastic bags at the market here when here they pack each type of veggie in a different plastic bag if you let them…

The freezer bags:

Thanks to the pandemic, I cook and therefore I freeze. And sometimes the container don’t work so you use a Ziplock bag or some sort of plastic to wrap and freeze. But I found these little silicone zipped bags and they are great to do just that.

Buying in bulk:

Not only it’s cheaper, it’s also less packaging most of the time: 5L jugs of oil instead of bottles, coffee packs of 1kg, big blocks of cheese that I freeze, etc.

In the bathroom

Meet the cute coconut toilet brush. No plastic, works the same and doesn’t look as ugly as your standard toilet brush.

The supplies: After some trial and error and bad products, I have found where to buy in bulk a lot of things: bodywash, conditioner, etc. I have to say I still have not found a solid conditioner that is good enough for my super thin hair. So now I buy normal one in 5L jugs. Looking at my actual consumption I think that will be less than 2 jugs a year. Less plastic, tangle free hair.

Bye-bye toilet paper:

Yes that is only possible in a country where you have a bum gun. But it doesn’t take much to be convinced that this is the way to go. However, let’s put it clearly: once you have a wet bum, if there is no paper how do you dry it before putting your knickers back on? With the Bum Towel. I have a towel next to the toilet only for my rear. My house hasn’t seen toilet paper in a looooong time.

Cotton pads:

This one is so easy: buy fabric pads to wipe your face, enough so that you can go a week or two without lacking supplies. Once a week, toss them in a mesh bag in the washing machine. I haven’t used those little cotton disks for ages.

Other random things I am happy with

Several water bottles: in a country where you cannot drink the tap water, I eventually learnt that having bottles lying around and some spare is the way to go. I think it’s been a few years now that I manage to survive with buying maybe 1 or 2 water bottles a year in situations where I didn’t plan enough, but most of the time I do.

The water filter: deals with the problem of non-drinkable water before you put the water in the bottle. I am on my second filter in over 5 years, so that has proven very efficient, costwise and everything else-wise too.

Any other awesome products or ideas I should know about? Please let me know!

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