When I started our Zero Waste Journey a few years ago, I was surprised by three facts:
- I was spending less money on food, home products, and personal care items.
- I was no longer buying the same (often single-use) things as my parents!
- Reducing Waste at home was easier than I thought, and it wasn’t based on extreme measures.
Even though there are still improvements to be made in our home, I am quite proud to say that I no longer buy a long list of conventional products. Products that were deeply anchored in our daily lives before.
I was raised with the idea that I ‘needed’ them for different reasons: efficiency, personal comfort, or a sense of belonging to the latest trend. However, I quickly realized the benefits of purchasing differently!
Here are the 12 things I no longer buy:
- Aluminum foil and cellophane
- Plastic (trash and food) bags
- Paper towels and paper napkins
- Cleaning products, such as laundry detergent or dish soap
- Conventional Q tips and cotton swabs
- Disposable pads and tampons
- Shower gel and hair products (in plastic containers)
- Coffee pods and tea bags
- Plastic water bottles
- Food produced on the other side of the world
- Paper books & magazines
- Cheap and supposedly trendy clothes
Let’s take some time to walk you through our logic for each area of the house or when going out. For us, at Puratium, living a minimalist life goes hand in hand with decreasing Waste.
- If you only buy (first, but ideally second hand) products of high quality, and made of sustainable materials, there is a better chance for you and your family to enter the Low Waste Community. In truth, you will keep your objects longer, and you will be able to recycle or compost them more easily, i.e., less harmful to the environment.
- The main reason why we are sharing our story at Puratium is to raise awareness of the consequences of sending (avoidable) trash to landfills.
- By doing so, we wish to convince more people to transform bad habits into eco-friendly behaviors. And, it all starts with being more mindful of your day to day choices.
- But most importantly, it does not mean going extreme and become a perfect Zero Waster. It comes down to buying and consuming less and therefore identifying your essentials:
We sincerely hope each section will help you reflect on your lifestyle and priorities. No need to do it all at once, but rather take a step back from mindless consumerism.
Better Choices In Your Bathroom
The below items are the only ones left in our bathroom (on top of our towels, of course).
Thus, we now have much more space, and therefore decided to store our underwear and pajamas in our bathroom, as we find it more convenient when showering in the evening.
- Deodorant, soap, and shampoo bars: 100% Zero Waste, and suitable for kids, men, and women.
- Wooden hairbrush: a great compostable alternative to conventional hairbrushes.
- Lotions: our organic shop offers refillable lotions coming in stainless steel bottles (one for the body, and another richer version for the face).
- Safety razors: an eco-friendly alternative to disposable razors. Ladies, not sure how to start? Have a look here!
- Washable, organic cotton pads: to remove makeup or clean our ears.
- Menstrual Cup: yes, a Zero Waste Period is possible!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: we are fans of our bamboo made toothbrushes.
- Makeup: we did a thorough analysis of our favorite and most sustainable brands here.
Go Greener In Your Living Room
Being a minimalist does not mean you have to give up technology, on the contrary!
- As Millenials, that was for us an obvious choice to make. Whether for books, or anything else, we only use online platforms, and we try to identify our top 10 items. These are classics that we rewatch and relisten to for special occasions.
- Device wise, we apply the same rule as for clothes: buy the highest quality products from sustainable brands. Moreover, once they no longer function properly, try to repair before selling or disposing.
- And your phone? It is has become easier to find fair and durable phones, i.e. and eco friendly phone cases, using less energy, with no toxic or hazardous materials during the manufacturing cycle. This great post from Earth Maven gives you an exciting overview.
- Apps: at some point, we had so many apps that our phone ran out of space. That was the click to reorganize our desktop and pick the most useful ones. We now have 18 apps each that we organize by color or by category.
Sustainable Fashion & Accessories
No need to totally sacrifice your fashion habits, but rather, try to follow as often as possible the below tips:
- Buy second-hand clothes: even designer clothes! It is worth having a look at the numerous Facebook pages or online platforms such as ThredUp, Poshmark, or The Real Real.
- Sustainable brands: not all brands are investing the same in terms of eco-responsibility and sustainable packaging. We highly recommend the App ‘Good On You’ as they will give an overview of each brand’s impact on three things: people, the planet, and animals.
- Fast fashion is in the past: most fashionistas have admitted not wearing all the clothes they own. The world has changed, and together with social pressure, it is expected of us to buy and wear the latest trends. It does not have to be that way. Buy high-quality clothes, in which you are comfortable and feel beautiful. Opt for simple items that will be ‘fashionable’ for years such as jeans, white and black t-shirts, blazers, or a warm hoodie. Go shopping with a friend, someone who will help you find the best piece, rather than the ‘just in case’ or ‘special occasions’ kind of clothes.
- Our interior is vital to us: we like it clean, (half) empty, with a touch of green and lovely scents. One of the only luxurious items we have is our eco-friendly Brooklyn Studio’s candles. Take time to have a look at what you own and what you truly love. Why not start with your living room? You could be having fun with a friend in your local flea market, and at the same time, let someone else use the items you don’t particularly like. Try to only keep the decoration you adore, and once in a while, find a luxurious treat that gives you peace.
Minimalism In Your Kitchen
- Food: as explained in several articles, we believe it is important to buy real food, i.e., avoid as much as possible ready to eat meals or items that come with several layers of packaging. Instead, opt for food easily accessible in bulk, such as in your local farmer’s market or organic shop.
- Water: filtered water instead of plastic bottles will significantly help you decrease Waste. We recommend activated charcoal. Moreover, instead of buying different ice teas, sodas, and the like, why not prepare infused water once in a while? Find your preferred flavors here. Simple, easy, fresh, and more affordable than bottles from the supermarket.
- Coffee and tea: we used to throw away way too much Waste due to coffee pods and tea bags. Moreover, we used to buy the latest flavors online just to ‘try it all.’ What we now buy is two types of our favorite tea and coffee (in bulk). We take time to prepare our coffee in the morning, which helps us start the day more relaxed. Not sure how to use a French press? Here are the all details and tips.
- Cleaning products: we grew up thinking that we needed different cleaning products for each area of the house and each type of stain. No more! With less than eight ingredients, you can clean the entire house. The proof is here.
- Packaging and conservation: there is nothing easier than replacing single-use plastic in the kitchen. We first thought it was so convenient to have hundreds of containers and freezer bags. We gave most of them to friends and family, and decided to keep a maximum of 15 Tupperware. With time, we have also managed to reuse mason jars to store other food and liquids. Lastly, we now use beeswax wraps instead of foil or aluminum.
- Aromatic plants: we are grateful to live in a luminous apartment. We love the idea of having our aromatic plants to prepare our food. It gives much more taste than their dried version in bottles. Moreover, when taken care of properly, they can last for years. In addition to their cooking use, we love the smells of our lavender and mint. In truth, aromatic herbs are multipurpose: great cooking herbs, and when sitting on our terrace, they give off a lovely scent and a relaxing feeling.
Becoming a minimalist and a low-waste believer can take a bit of time and adjustments, but for sure, it does not need to be a radical change. I hope this article on things i no longer buy convinced you that making better choices and adjusting your purchase habits is an easy way towards eco-responsibility.
I also recommend you take a look at our Zero Waste Swap guide here. To help you see other changes that are quite easy to implement.