Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Hello everybody and welcome back to my Zero Waste series!

A few weeks ago I posted my first Zero Waste Article, explaining the main points and my goals. Today I would like to share with you my first project – Zero Waste Grocery Shopping -!

Many people started to buy unpackaged food the past few years and many package-free food stores started their business. In my city, we also have such a store and I recently started to shop most of my groceries there, especially dry foods like Rice, Cous Cous, Seeds etc.
Now our local Zero Waste store is going to move to the city center which is quite exciting, since I hope that they will have a larger impact on the people in our city and encourage  them to reduce waste.

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Vegan chocolate at its best.

The idea of those package-free stores is pretty simple and I am sure most of you have heard of it.
Basically you bring your own jars and bags and spill your dry foods into your own sustainable package.
Cool thing is – it’s not only sustainable, it’s also so much fun and I recently started to really enjoy grocery shopping.

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Of course you can’t buy everything unpackaged but there are some simple hacks you can try in order to reduce waste.
At this point I have to underline that I only follow this lifestyle to a certain extent at the moment, but I really hope that I will improve within the years.
I strongly believe that we can have an impact together and reduce waste step by step.
Going „Zero Waste“ shouldn’t be another burden for you and you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself if you aren’t able to follow this lifestyle 24/7.
Personally, I feel that the main goal should be enjoying and appreciating this journey, showing respect to our beloved earth and feel good about making a difference.

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So here are some „rules“ I try to follow when shopping groceries:

  1. I buy dry foods at the package-free store and try recipes that include loads of good seeds, nuts, good carbs etc. Here are some of my favourites I always have in my kitchen cabinet:
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    – Brown Rice
    – Quinoa
    – Cous Cous
    – Bulgur
    – Wholegrain pasta
    – Chick peas
    – Red and brown lentils
    – Unripe spelt grain
    – dry soy bolognese
    – different kinds of seeds and nuts for salads
  2. I buy unpackaged fruits and veggies. Although people at a normal grocery store might be annoyed that they have to weight 8 apples without a plastic bag…however you could bring a reusable paper bag 🙂
    If they only have broccoli wrapped in plastic, I probably won’t buy it and look for an alternative.
  3. You can buy vegan chocolate and other kinds of sweets at the package- free store 😍
    I usually bring a chocolate jar, unfortunately most of the chocolate will be gone before I get home 😅

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  4. I avoid take away foods and prepare and cook as many meals as possible at home
  5. Buying at the local market supports local farmers and it’s environmentally more friendly to shop seasonal and local foods. (Unfortunately we don’t have home-grown bananas in Germany 😄)
  6. Due to sanitary and health protection, shops in Germany are usually not allowed to put meat, cheese etc. into your own plastic boxes, however some of the smaller/local companies sometimes make exceptions.
  7. One of the biggest problems for me is that I haven’t found any place yet that sells soy yoghurt in jars. I know you can buy cow milk products in bottles in jars but at the moment I am often trying to make my own oat milk. But unfortunately I am not able to make my own yoghurt. 😄

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As I already said, this lifestyle shouldn’t be a burden and I don’t fail just because I bought foods in plastic. Making a difference is very important and we all have to work together in order to reduce plastic and fight against marine pollution. It is so sad that there are several plastic „islands“ in the pacific ocean and that most beaches are polluted and full of trash. A few weeks ago National Geographic started a new campaign called Planet or Plastic? and I can highly recommend you to read it. We must not keep our eyes closed, we need a change.

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I love using an old smoothie bottle as a reusable water bottle!

What do you think about going Zero Waste and is this a project you will take into consideration?

I wish you all the best!
xx

 

Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival Chiang Mai #2

Welcome back to Yi Peng Festival 2017, today I would like to share with you the rest of my festival photos I took in Chiang Mai.
In my last post I talked a bit about the festivals themselves and the ceremony we joined in the city.
The ceremony was really beautiful and around ten we decided to go to the east gate bridge in order to see the rising of the lanterns. You definitely can’t miss the bridge since there are thousands of people walking down the streets of Chiang Mai to the east gate.

Although it was very very crowded, (we were barely able to make our way down to the river without getting lost) we even met a friend we made in Bali which was so cool since tens of thousands of people attend the festival every year.

However, we bought a lantern for 50Bath and „joined the spirit“- it was magical! I will never forget this feeling of almost unbearable happiness!
As there is also the Loy Krathong Festival at the same time, we later went to the river and let my little boat float away. Unfortunately it got stuck, nevertheless it was an amazing experience!

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Have a good week!

xx

Traveller’s Autobarn Australia, our experience

There are two big car rental companies in Australia where travellers under the age of 21 are allowed to rent cars: Juicy and Traveller’s Autobarn.
Since we wanted to rent a car and drive from Brisbane to Sydney, we asked our travel company ‚Peter Pan’s Travel‘ for help and decided to rent a Ford Falcon Station Wagon.
The car came with a tent, a stove (which didn’t work but we bought a new one and got the money back), cooking supplies and two chairs.
Well, our trip was cool but there are some reasons why I won’t go with Traveller’s Autobarn again.

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The staff from Traveller’s Autobarn in Brisbane was quite friendly and the pick-up was totally fine. We spent the first day driving from Brisbane to Beenleigh and made our way to Gold Coast and Lamington National Park the next days.
So, on our last day in Lamington we realised our car battery was dead.
Yes, we did pay attention not to use the lights of the car, the radio or whatsoever.
Problem was, that there was no phone signal, only for Telstra Sim Cards. At that time we had vodafone data sim cards, but fortunately I kept my old Telstra sim and consequently was able to call the road assistance. It took them two hours to get to the park (thirty kilometers uphill) and the guy jump started our car and told us that the battery only had half the power it was supposed to have. However, what he said was something like ‚give it a good ride and you should be fine the next two weeks‘. We were slightly annoyed since we were back on the road at five in the evening, although we had planned to drive to Byron Bay that day. Instead, we were forced to spend the night on a creepy highway campground/parking space.

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Our Falcon broke down a second time in Byron Bay and some Australian guys gave us a jump start. In order to be able to continue our road trip the next day and drive to Port Maquarie, we drove around for twenty minutes. Obviously our plan didn’t work out and we called Road Assistance again next morning. They jump started our car AGAIN and told us to go to the next garage in Byron Bay. Surprise surprise, they told us it wasn’t the battery but the alternator and we had to wait three hours until they had replaced it. Consequently, we lost another day.
The people from the garage also talked to Traveller’s Autobarn and fortunately they paid for the repair.

 

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You think everything was alright then? It wasn’t. The fourth time our car broke down was in Crowdy Bay National Park and we had to ask again for a jump start on our campground. This time we were so annoyed and contacted Traveller’s Autobarn.
A staff member told us that we would get a refund for the two days we had to rely on Road Assistance and said we would get a refund if we returned our car two days earlier.

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Green Mountains Camping Area was the best campground we had!

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At that time, we were totally exhausted and annoyed. The car had ruined our trip and we were scared our car might break down again. It had already forced us to sleep at gloomy motorway rest areas and we just wanted to get rid of this car and finally arrive in Sydney. Since the guy told us that we could return our car earlier, we decided to go for it quitted the trip.

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Again- surprise! We got into trouble with the Traveller’s Autobarn garage in Sydney since they didn’t want to give us the full refund of four days and told us that there was nothing wrong with the car. They said they had checked it and everything was alright. If we knew that they wouldn’t give us the refund, we would have stayed in Newcastle.
However, we returned the car earlier and had to pay another two nights in our hostel.
Too bad.

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Reading ‚Gone Girl‘

To summarise, they gave us a car that didn’t work properly, they gave us false information and the staff in Sydney was rather arrogant than friendly.
Even though we spend a lot of time worrying and waiting, our road trip was still very cool but I know for sure, that I will NEVER EVER rent a car at Traveller’s Autobarn again.
I will probably publish another blogpost where I will be talking about traffic, roads, gas and the positive aspects of our road trip the next few weeks.

I hope some of you found this helpful. If some of you have ever rented a car at this company, please tell me about your experience :)!

xx, Sophie

Zero Waste Project – A Brief Introduction

img_0030Did you know that there exists a huge island consisting of plastic trash in the pacific ocean?
Probably yes, many people know that we produce and use way too much plastic in our daily lives and that this lifestyle damages our beloved earth.
However, there is still no solution for this problem besides from reducing the use of plastic.

 

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Visiting Indonesia was eye opening. I’ve never seen so much trash lying around and it was heartbreaking to see plastic bottles floating in the ocean and stepping into plastic bags while surfing in paradise. During rain season, all the trash gets flushed into the ocean and beaches are full of trash every morning. We need to change.

 

img_0029Why do I need a straw to have a drink?
Why do I have to buy food to-go wrapped in plastic?
Why should I get a new plastic bag every time I go shopping?
Why do I buy packaged food even though processed food isn’t even good for us (in many cases)?
Why do we rely on plastic?

 

Two weeks ago I watched a Ted Talks about Zero Waste, the speech was held by Lauren Singer, a young women who inspires other people to „go Zero Waste“.
I was so excited about this idea to reduce waste and immediately made a plan how I can stop producing so much waste and improve my ecological footprint.

img_0015The first step is probably to become aware of how much plastic we are actually using. It’s a lot.
Toothbrush? Made of plastic.
Toothpaste? Plastic.
Shampoo? Plastic container.
Even most „eco-friendly“ products are packaged in plastic.
Yes, it is really hard to completely stop using plastic, but we can at least give it a try.

 

Here are some of my ideas, on which I will elaborate in future posts:

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  1. Minimalism, having less and buying less leads to a decrease of demand, consequently less stuff will be produced.
  2. Buy unpackaged food, f.e. in package-free-stores, use your own bags and go to your local market
  3. Shop second hand
  4. Go digital and try to use less paper
  5. Learn to recycle and to compost

6. Grow your own veggies (might be a bit difficult, depending on where you live)
7. Make your own beauty products and use hair and body soap instead of buying big shampoo plastic bottles.
8. Make it a hobby, reducing waste should not be a burden, you are doing something great today that our earth will thank you for in the future! 🙂

 

img_0006I am very excited to start this new project and can’t wait to tell you more about it. I hope you enjoyed reading this and be prepared for my next „Zero Waste-themed“ articles.

Have a good week,

Sophie

 

Yee Peng Festival #1

It’s the second of November 2017, we are in Chiang Mai and excited for the annual Yee Peng (or Yi Peng) and Loy Krathong Festival. We met a Scottish and an American guy in our hostel (Gonkaew Hostel Chiang Mai, very nice place with free tea, coffee and toast the whole day, they even have free breakfast) and spent the day with them.

During Loy Krathong, people build small floating boats and release them on the river. I even made one myself in our hostel, they taught us how to build these little boats out of a trunk of a banana tree, banana leafs, flowers, joss sticks and candles. The women at our hostel told me that adding a hair to your boat is supposed to save you from bad luck.

Yee Peng is the famous lantern festival where thousands of people release floating lanterns into the night sky. It is magical! There are actually two different „kinds“ of Lantern Festivals, one is celebrated in the city and the other one is at Mae Jo University.
The second one is especially for tourists they told me and it costs about 80-100$. The festival we attended in the city, was completely free (besides the lanterns of course).

We went to a ceremony with lots of lanterns in the city and later went to the East Gate of the city, in order to get to the bridge across the river, where most people release their lanterns. It was magical to see all the lights rising into the sky and thousands of people celebrating.
In this post I am sharing with you the pictures I took at our first stop, in the second post, I will finally show you the other pictures I took at the bridge.
Hope you enjoy ♥️

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