Tag Archives: eco

ECO | ethics vs economics/possibilites


ECO | ethics vs economics/possibilities

quite recently, i stumbled upon this article, i kind of wanted to scream with joy. someone finally put my internal struggles into words – how much it sucks when you realize how important it is to make conscious shopping choices, but when your own budget prevents you from it.

i’ve been writing about sustainability, ecology and conscious consumerism (can such thing actually exist?) for quite some years now, yet i find myself reaching for the cheap pasta wrapped in plastic at Lidl almost every week and tossing out multiple metal cans quite regularly. every time i do this, it feels like a sharp cut into my soul – you, who preach so much about reducing waste and being sustainable, you do this? how pathetic. there are so many options to be even more eco-friendly, yet you don’t do them! you fucking suck.

yes, there are so many ways to become a conscious consumer: zero-waste shops, composting at home, making your own snacks instead of buying them and so on, no doubt about that. but, as most of these things often cater to those who have a steady income, have their own private place to live and can afford to spend their time on practising them, i, as a student with a limited budget, who has to move every other month because of the current surging housing crisis, who, in order to pursue own dreams, moves from a country to country every couple of months, find it impossible to make use of them. yes, i’d love to get myself a bunch of glass jars, only shop at Original Unverpackt, a waste-free grocery store in Kreuzberg, prepare my own cookies to bring to work, make my own deodorant and toothpaste and what not, but there are several elements that prevent me from it, and one of them is money. as the author of the previously mentioned article said, not everyone can vote with their dollars—or, in my case, euros—but that does not mean that my efforts are completely pointless or that i’m betraying my beliefs.

i am still trying hard to save the planet on as many accounts as i can (for example, i strongly refuse to shop at fast-fashion stores, even though it sometimes means it takes 10 times longer to find a garment i really need, like socks or underwear), but i will, for a while at least, have to keep buying pre-packaged stuff from Lidl, because i simply cannot afford to do otherwise, and i should stop feeling bad about it. unfortunately, a lot of decisions we make are often decided without us actively participating in the decision-making. 

i am not trying to make this a whole apologetic piece about myself, i just want to point out that even if we want to support a good cause, the way our society is structured can rule it out for some of us. however, it is important to keep on raising our voices about these topics, and to never stop hoping that this will eventually change. perhaps that’s actually even more influential. or?

ECO | sustainable consumer 101

ECO | sustainable consumer 101

would you like to live more sustainably but don’t know how to start? don’t worry – i’ve made a short list of the most important, pretty easy to do ways to begin your eco-friendly journey!

minimize the waste
thank god, quite many people have learnt to recycle their plastic / paper / glass / metal / what have you waste, but that is not enough. what’s even more important than that is drastically reducing how much each of us throws away – and that applies to packaging, food waste, throwing away old souvenirs and unnecessary impulse purchases etc. when it comes to shopping, just start looking for alternatives that are not excessively wrapped in unwanted layers of material polluting our world; or at least opt for paper wrapping instead of plastic. be smart when making purchases and with each item, think through whether you really need / want it – it will save both the environment and your wallet.

reduce, reduce, reduce
this might seem like repeating the first rule, and it actually is, to a large extent. but it also means reducing how much water, heat, energy etc. you use. (which is something i still need to work on!!) reduce your footprint by making smart choices!

invest in quality
simply put – quality pays off. while you might pay a lot in the beginning, after a while, the item will actually prove to be much more economic than buying several cheap things over the same time period. high quality = long lasting = extended usage time = economic value. simple maths, yet so many people will try to argue with you that they ‘don’t have the money to buy the expensive stuff’. of course, not everyone does, but, let’s face it, quite many of us, western privileged white folks, do. so, instead of going to, for example, a cheap retail chain and grabbing multiple fashion fads that will bore you in a few months (weeks even!), save up and invest in timeless, high quality pieces that will stay with you for a while. again, you’re not only saving the planet – your bank account will be glad too!

don’t be a blind consumer who buys whatever the advertising world urges them to try. be interested in where your products come from, who made them, what is in them, what the story of the whole company is. we simply cannot be possession-seeking ignorants anymore – it is time to open our eyes and ask questions about the products we buy, and create a demand for fair and sustainable treatment of the produce.

reuse, recycle and upcycle
this goes hand in hand with the reduce the waste rule. instead of getting rid of things you don’t need anymore, try to think of new ways the items can serve you, and if you can’t come up with any, the Internet is full of DIY tutorials and videos! almost anything can have a new purpose, so think twice before you throw something away!

buy 2nd hand
this does not only apply to clothes, but pretty much anything. furniture, appliances, equipment,… go to thrift stores, flea markets, join Facebook groups, swap with friends – the options are endless!

share, inspire, educate
while it is great that you as an individual are trying to do something nicer for the planet, it is probably not enough. try to speak up about your effort and influence people to do so too!

and remember – it is a continuous process!
it is not easy to be sustainable in our society, but don’t give up and keep trying!

ECO | fashionable slow down

ECO | fashionable slow down

i had been thinking about it for a long time.
and then, 392 days ago, i finally did it.
i decided to stop buying at fast fashion chains, precisely H&M, Zara, Topshop, Weekday, Monki and other similar shops.
not that i would have been a huge enthusiast of these stores before, but i would shop there every now and then.

anyways, on 11th August 2014, i consciously made my last purchase at H&M, a stupid necklace that started breaking down a few weeks later.
i did not want to support the industry that produces so much of completely unoriginal clothes using cheap (child) labour in horrible conditions and so on.
i have to confess i wasn’t 100% fast-fashion-free during that year and something: in the winter, i was in desperate need of tights in Herning and i went to Vila (in fact, when abroad, i have to buy tights at supermarkets because i simply cannot afford some eco high-quality ones so i’m guilty of that too) and i also got socks from Urban Outfitters back in January. (Teva sandals bought at UO don’t really count, right?)
but it’s a slow process, especially when you particularly don’t have the fund$ to fully switch to ethical clothing straight away.

so, where do i buy my clothes from then?
well, most of them are from second hand stores, almost all my t-shirts, sweaters, jackets,…
i’m trying to support local young designers, but it’s a pricey thing, so i tend to save up for these garments and buy some just when i really need a certain piece of clothing. (like my jacket last year)
when i really cannot find the desired garment in any second hand and the designer pieces are too much for my budget, i usually get it at American Apparel – yeah, it’s a retail chain too, but at least it’s sweatshop-free and their clothing is quite timeless, both in terms of quality (at least from my experience) and of style.
you could have read about my struggle with finding the underwear made in Europe here, i luckily solved that, but i’m struggling to find the perfect sock company that would sell comfy, right-height, black, warm socks. if you have some suggestions, drop me a line!
i got a pair of vegan black Dr Martens last autumn, which, i believe, might not have been produced in such a sustainable way, but i have barely been wearing other shoes ever since and they show no marks of being worn out, so at least the high-quality part is checked. and as i’ve said, i got the Teva sandals as my only summer shoes, which are supergreat too.
(more tips can be found under the ‘consume’ tag btw)

it’s not only about where you shop though.
the main thing, in my opinion, is developing your own certain style, getting rid of the inner pressure to constantly buy new things and being able to get satisfied with less, but of more quality and timelessness.
once you get to this point, it’s pretty easy.

i’m not trying to say that this will change the whole problem.
(in fact, if all people stopped shopping at fast fashion stores, it would cause more problems than profits, right?)
but one thing’s for sure – an action needs to be taken, and that’s what i’m trying to do. to sort of get some message across. deal?

ECO | minimizing

ECO | minimizing

majority of people take minimalism from the aesthetical point of view only. they see monochromatic colours, clear lines, empty spaces, lack of something perhaps. that is true; and i am a huge fan of the aesthetics myself.
but minimalism can also be pursued from the economic, consumerist, philosophical, ecological point of view.
minimalism is basically about a mantra, that is to have less, which can be applied to anything basically.

well, we sorted that one out, now to the main idea of this post.
as i move from country to country / travel a lot, being the minimalist consumer is somewhat of necessity.
a) baggage restrictions
b) money
if you’ve never moved abroad (or even within your own country) several times per year, you probably cannot imagine how much money you lose with each moving. let me tell you – a lot. it’s deposits, transport, extra fees for luggage, all the household products you need, buying the basic food you’ll have for longer time, room decoration,… it’s hella lot of things you splurge your money on when you move. (just recently i realized i could have actually bought a small second hand car for all the money i had spent on moving, unreturned deposits and other fun stuff if i had stayed in the Czech Republic, ha)
but, the thing is, i don’t want to give up on that. even if it’s hard and costly, i still want to spend my savings on exploring new places than staying at home.
so, naturally, i need to adjust to that.
minimize the belongings, minimize the spending.
here’s how i do it.
economically, ecologically and without excessive possessions.

stay solid.
solid cosmetics are saving my life. a) they take up a very small space, b) they can’t spill in your bag, c) they last long, d) they are much more eco-friendly because they come without the unnecessary plastic packaging.
considering the picture, it’s (from L to R): Lush Aromaco deodorant, Alverde lavender soap, Lush Sultana of Soap, Lush Jason & the Argan Oil shampoo (100% tutti frutti, aaah), coconut oil (okay, that’s not 100% solid all the time, but it’s great and multifunctional and lasts forever) and a simple pumice stone (fuck those with plastic handles etc, so unnecessary!)

build your own basic wardrobe.
you know all that fuss about the French wardrobe made of a few, simple but classy pieces? there’s something about it. but the thing is, you don’t have to stick to boring black-beige-navy-white and little black dress and sailor-like striped t-shirts. just create your own basics, in any style you like. for example, my real basics i couldn’t live without atm are: black t-shirts of all kinds (turtleneck, long sleeves, short sleeves, crop tops, t-shirt dress etc), some glitter stuff (= a turtleneck and one sweater-like top), some mesh stuff, a bomber, a raincoat, a winter jacket, a light sweater, regular sweater, a black skirt (i have 2 atm), shorts, jeans / pants, doc martens, a bumbag, a backpack, black socks and black lace underwear. i’m wearing the same stuff over and over but i don’t care, i feel great in the clothes and that’s the only thing that matters. seriously, if someone cares, well, fuck them.
to sum up, the key is to find out what your style is and in which clothes you feel the best. get rid of the rest. fuck trends. fuck what people think. just wear what you want and buy what you need only.
all clothes on the picture are 2nd hand, tops from Humana, bumbag from Colours in BLN

don’t toss the packaging.
decorating your room can be super-expensive, right? plus, if you have to do it several times per year, it’s very eco-unfriendly to always buy new stuff. the trick is: re-use. buy cherry tomatoes / nectarines / pears / whatever, eat them and use the plastic box for organizing your stuff. it’s see-through and pretty in its contemporary way. use old, cleaned cans for holding your pencils. use old wine / beer bottles as vases. use mason jars as flower pots or candle holders. etc etc etc. it’s about giving a new life to the things you’d throw away otherwise, and finding their specific beauty.
and remember, recycle them when moving out!
on the picture: ex-beetroot mason jar, ex-beer bottle from Berlin, ex-wine bottle, ex-mason jar from my grandma’s jam, ex-canned beans, ex-cherry tomatoes box.

reduce the waste.
creating less waste and trying to pollute the Earth less can also be seen as a minimalist thing. so, re-use the packaging. take your own plastic bags when going grocery shopping, or (preferably) avoid using them / having to buy pre-packed products at all. recycle. buy 2nd hand stuff (clothes, decoration, appliances, electronics) – sure, they’re not superfresh and new, but they’re cheaper and still function just right so why leave them lying somewhere? it’s all about the attitude.
considering the picture again: both cameras and the phone are 2nd hand. and work just fine. okay, i did have some problems with the iphone because it was one of those from the faulty series with bad batteries, but i got it fixed at istyle for free.