plasticpollution

020 My month without plastic

How does it feel like to completely eliminate plastic from your life? Is that even possible in the 21st century?

Well, I tried. For 30 days at the end of 2017, I refused to buy or use any single-use plastic, and looked out for alternatives. In this episode, I speak openly about the struggles, experience and learnings of that month.

ZeroWaste Clara Bütow Plastic Challenge Alternatives Survive without Plastic Impact Revolution

What’s the matter with plastic?

Also, I share some facts about plastic, so you understand the background why anyone would ever be so crazy to eliminate it from their life. Today, there are already 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic on the planet, and the numbers are growing steadily. If we don’t change anything, there will be as much as 34 billion tons in 2050.

500 times more plastic than stars

Plastic harms the environment, damages human health and impacts wildlife in many forms. And it’s so omnipresent that you can find plastic particles on the most untouched places on earth already. The amount of plastic particles in the ocean – 51 trillion – outnumbers the amount of stars in the universe times 500. Can you imagine? Scientists warn of the toxic characteristics of plastics, and yet they are the base of most of the products we use every day.

We all got three choices

When we hear all these stats and facts, there are three things we can do: Ignore the problem, put the blame corporations, governments and organisations or look at our own lifestyle and start with small changes. I’ve decided to go for the latter, and live that decision to the extreme for these 30 days.

 

Bulk food, festivals and shampoo experiments

The first things I looked for were all food-related: Am I gonna be able to eat anything besides bananas in this month? Oh yes! Needless to say you have the whole variety of fruits and veggies available, if you just skip the unnecessary produce bag and put the sticker directly on the fruit after weighting it. And even though my diet got pretty clean without potato chips and processed foods, I still got to live on the whole awesomeness of pastas, grains, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, flours and even cornflakes and chocolate I found at the bulk store. Seriously, these are total game changers, and I keep going back with my jars aaaall the time. Google it, or check here, if there are any stores available in your city!

  

Next stop, bathroom: How can I replace shampoo, shower gel, disposable razor blades, toothpaste and co? The magic solution is DIY: I found amazing recipes for making my own toothpaste, deodorant and co, and shared them all on my instagram page, check them out! Then, I experimented around with all sorts of shampoo alternatives like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, medicinal clay, rye flour. Listen and hear how it went… 😉 The easiest change of all? Soap bars instead of liquid dispensers! One more thing I can recommend is switching to safety razors (much cheaper anyways!), wooden toothbrushes and, to all ladies out here, the lunar cup! All of these changes have literally zero effect on your daily life and make you feel better and healthier, too.

What about the household, darling? Home, that was a tough one. I read online about washing nuts to clean your clothes and recipes for own detergents, but somehow wasn’t really happy with the stuff I made (please, if you have any recipes, send them to me). I went and asked around, and finally found a store that sells ecological clothes, dishwasher and cleaning detergents in bulk, you just bring your own containers, add a scent of your choice and that’s it. Super cool, cheap, healthy and good for the planet.

 

Around the city. My friends always make fun of the amount of things that I plan in one day, and I do indeed have a very active lifestyle. From sports over parties and organising all sorts of events, to this podcast, art exhibitions and uni life, there’s a lot I do and I spend quite a lot of time on the streets. So how to mix that with the plastic challenge? One thing I learned is to be creative and adaptable: For the lack of a reusable coffee cup, I was carrying around an old mason jar to fill up with fresh hot coffee, or just had my cup to stay whenever I was craving it. My water bottle still is an old tomato sauce bottle, and works perfectly for me like that. Food-wise, I sometimes took bags or my own containers when I wanted to get bread or takeaways, and consequently said no to chocolate bars or other guilty pleasures. And of course, I learned quickly to order any drink without straw. I even went to a four day music festival, and with a bit of preparation, smart drink choices and my reusable cup, plate and cutlery didn’t have any problem either – anything is possible if you just want it enough.

Would I do it again?

I am super grateful for the experience, it really opened my eyes towards the incredible amounts of plastic that usually is in our daily life. At some point I went into a normal supermarket and suddenly felt like I was walking on a landfill. Our world has become super disposable, and I’m very happy about all the changes that I’ve learned about! Although I’m not 100% plastic free anymore, I still haven’t bought a single plastic bottle, bag or straw and kept most of the habits I learned during those 30 days. If you want a summary of all the changes, here it is. Feel free to share the picture, just please tag me for the credit.

ZeroWaste Clara Bütow Plastic Challenge Alternatives Survive without Plastic Impact Revolution

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Posted by Clara Bütow

018 Rob Greenfield: Adventures of an environmental activist

If you’re somehow into environmentalism, you probably know Rob Greenfield.

He calls himself “dude making a difference” because he really is. Rob’s activist campaigns and environmental adventures have taught thousands of people around the globe how to live more sustainably, free and happy and care better for both the people and the natural environment around them.

Rob Greenfield Impact Revolution Podcast Trash Me Off the Grid Food Waste Fisaco

No matter whether he transforms into the trash man and wears his trash for a month, he lives off the grid in a tiny house, he saves food, he cycles around the USA to do good or survives with only 111 possessions – all his campaigns have one thing in common: they create awareness, make you rethink what you do and spread a very positive attitude.

Rob’s adventures have inspired me for years to become more sustainable.

Yes, I admit that I’m a huuuuge fan of Rob myself, and you cannot believe how happy it makes me that I’m now able to share an interview with all of you.

On the Impact Revolution Podcast, we talk about his campaigns and adventures around the world and share facts about waste generation, emissions and the impact our daily lives have on the planet. Rob also explains some easy changes you can implement in your life right now and lets us know how every single one of us can find ways to speak up for the causes we care for. If I were you, I would’t miss out on a chance to learn from Rob and get to know his motivation, approach and ideas for next really cool adventures!

To get you started, here’s a short video summary of what Rob has done the past years. You’ll find the podcast episode below!

Wanna know more about Rob Greenfield?

Watch at his Ted Talk on the Food Waste Fiasco, the “Trash me” Campaign or his youtube videos or read through his website and look at the cool project he shares on his Facebook page and on Instagram.

 

 

Posted by Clara Bütow