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#meiplasticvrij - 62 zero waste swaps

Since a couple of years, I'm much more aware of my consumption habits and the impact on nature.

Last year, the #meiplasticvrij campaign was the perfect way to step up my game and the engage myself to share at least 31 plastic free swaps (old ones and new ones). Since then, we saw our non-recyclable-waste being reduced to at least half of what it was before.

This year, I wanted to add 31 extra plastic swaps to the 31 swaps from last year (you can follow my swaps daily on my IG-stories) and share some more about my experiences. It became clear to me, that living sustainable is not enough, it's also importent to rase awareness, being an activist and trying to inspire other people to do some swaps and/or become more aware of plastic consumption. I think showing people how easy it is to change some simple things, has an even bigger impact than just doing it by yourself! As @meiplasticvrij says: 'Each One, Teach One'. , because the more people see how it can be done, the more normal it becomes.

In this blogposts you can find my 31 plastic free swaps from 2020 and 2021.

I hope this list can give you some new ideas or inspiration, and, of course, I would love to hear your ideas!

Next to this list, I'm also working on a photo-series of people who are actively working on sustainability. These pictures and short interviews will be shared on this blog, onder the Zero Waste tag, and on my Instagram.

Let me start with the most importent tip:

Be Imperfectly Vegan

Be Imperfectly Zero Waste

Be imperfectly Plastic Free

Be imperfectly Sustainable

Because small conscious

changes are better than

non at all.

(via @thefairlylocalfamily)

(Scroll down to see the other 62 tips)

Year 1 - day 1

1. Paper cotton swabs: since I saw the picture of the little seahorse, struck in a plastic cotton swab, by @justinhofman during a U.N. exhibition in 2018, I never bought plastic swaps again. Paper cotton swaps are available in most big warehouses, or in bio shops. Cotton swabs with paper instead of plastic are 100% compostable and the package made of 100% recycled material (without a plastic 'window'). Double score!

Year 1 - day 2

2. Wooden dish brush: unfortunately, the conventional yellow-and-green sponges most people are using, are made out of plastic ((I have used so many of them, before I knew this!! :()). Every time you use it, you are accidentally washing tiny particles of plastic into the sea. On the blog of @sustainablylazy, you can find all the reasons why sponges are not a good idea AND 15 sustainable alternatives for plastic dish sponges.

Year 1 - day 3

3. Edible straws: there are 170- to 500 million disposable straws used per day!!!! That's just crazy! I don't use straws at all, but by chance I've found these edible straws from Wisefood, and I must admit, it's much easier to drink 8 glasses of tap-water a day, f you can pretend these are cocktails... ;p

Year 1 - day 4

4. Home made Corona-kilo's (stored in a recycled pickle jar) , instead of store-bought-plastic-wrapped cookies. Super easy to make (only 3 ingredients) and super delicious. These so-easy-I-could-make-tem-myself zero-waste-cookies where made with:

  • oatmeal

  • coconut oil

  • rhubarb (*)

(*) Also works with apple or banana

Year 1 - day 5

5. Plastic free shopping: inspired by Gittemary Johansen's series on Zero Waste Supermarket Shopping, I try the same at my supermarkets. On the picture you can see the zero waste result of shopping at Aldi. Zero Waste shopping at a conventional supermarket can be a bit challenging and if you always go to the same supermarket, you haven't got a big variety of zero-waste things to chose from. I was lucky to find strawberry's in a compostable package, so I celebrated this win by buying a bottle of sparkling wine! ;)

P.S. This is how 30 days of waste per person looks like...

Check @robjgreenfield for more tips on a inspiring, educating and empowering actions on sustainability, equity and justice.

Year 1 - day 6

6. Plastic free gum: chewing gum is made of plastic!

One more time, just because: chewing gum is made of plastic!

This is why you can see the black spots on every side walk. They stay there forever, because it's plastic!

The consumption of chewing gum creates 100,000 tonnes of Plastic Pollution every year. How crazy is that?!

Most of the chewing gum is made from butadiene-based synthetic rubber, a polymer, a plastic product made from oil, a bit like the stuff we use to make car tires. This very interesting article on the Just One Ocean blog tels you everything about it!

Since I've discovered this gross thought, I'm only buying plastic-free-gum, like True Gum, a Danish brand who makes plastic-free, sugar-free and vegan chewing gum, with delicious flavors! (ginger is my favorite)

Year 1 - day 7 & day 8

7 & 8. Home made bread & home made pizza

If this lockdown is good for one thing, it might be home made bread and home made pizza!

Year 1 - day 9

9. Reusable cotton pads: since I saw the beautiful, handmade, cotton pads from @claudia.dn, I'm only using my reusable cotton pads. Mine are not as pretty, but they do the job perfectly, and I never bought any single-use cotton pads (nor an extra set of reusable pads) since. (Did you know it's almost impossible to recycle cotton pads?)

Year 1 - day 10

10. Poop bags with biodegradable plastic technology. According to Wikipedia Biodegradable plastics are 'plastics that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually microbes, into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass. Biodegradable plastics are commonly produced with renewable raw materials, micro-organisms, petrochemicals, or combinations of all three.'

Altough they can biodegrade a little bit faster than normal plastic bags, it still takes years to do so. It's a little bit better, but still not 'good'.

All plastic bags or package I accidentally get (f.e. the package of toilet paper), I also use as a poop bag. This way, it has at least two uses, instead of a single-use.

All tips and suggestions on completely plastic-free-poop-bags are welcome! (I live in a city and I don't have a garden, so picking it up with a scoop or newspaper are unfortunately not an option.)

Year 1 - day 11

11. Plastic free dog toys: toys from ropes, a bone from coffee wood, 2nd hand stuffed animals... There are not many, but still a couple of possibilities (although I have to admit the plastic and VERY noisy little pig toy is still Missy's all time favorite... ;)).

Year 1 - day 12

12. Bamboo toothbrush = the easiest swap with an incredible impact. I you remove the nylon bristles, the bamboo can be thrown in the compost bin!

Every plastic toothbrush ever made since their invention in 1938 still exists somewhere on this planet!

To give you an idea about how many this is: if you laid out the toothbrushes thrown away in the U.S. in a year, they would wrap around the Earth four times! If everyone replaces his toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, about 23 billion toothbrushes would get trashed annually. Most toothbrushes are unrecyclable because the composite plastics most are now made of are difficult, if not impossible, to break apart efficiently.

More about the history and impact of plastic and plastic-free toothbrushes on the National Geographic website.

Year 1 - day 13

13. Plastic free snack: popcorn.

I could eat salty snacks all day long, but knowing that the packaging of chips and lots of other snacks are almost impossible to recycle, made me look for alternatives. Slated home made popcorn is not only plastic free (you can buy mais in bulk), but also very budget-friendly and very easy to make. Win + win + win! :)

Year 1 - day 14

14. Compostable packaging: in almost every grocery store you can buy eggs in a compostable package. When it's made of cardboard, you can trow it in the compost bin!

Year 1 - day 15

14. Soap bars: another super easy and extreme effective plastic-swap: soapbars everywhere: one at the kitchen sink, one at the bathroom sink and one in the shower.

Year 1 - day 16

16. Shampoo bar: here are 7 reasons to make the switch to shampoo bars (via unwrappedlife)

  • package free

  • very concentrated

  • great for travel

  • space saver

  • minimalist aesthetic

  • a low carbon footprint

  • multi purpose

Year 1 - day 17

17. Ice cream in a cone: even if you don't like the cone, it's a better choice than ice cream in a plastic cup!

P.S. Berlin has THE BEST ice cream bars with lots of vegan options! I loved this 'kugel' of vegan raspberry sorbet from Rosa Canina!

Year 1 - day 18

18. Plant based coffee mug: most disposable coffee cups are non-recyclable, unless you find a gem like the Holzmarkt in Berlin, where they have plant based coffee mugs, which can be composted!

Year 1 - day 19

19. Drinking bottle: Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles are bought in the world and according to the National Geographic, 91% of all plastic is not recycled worldwide. Best case scenario, they end up in landfill. Worst case scenario, they end up in the sea, causing harm to birds, marine animals, and fish.

It's not only THE EASIEST PLASTIC SWAP, but also the most budget friendly. If you swap two plastic bottles a day for one stainless steel reusable bottle, you safe more than 700 euro a year!

Year 1 - day 20

20. Baking soda, the zero waste hero!

Baking soda can be bought in bulk or in paper bags and it can be used in countless ways.

These are my favorite baking soda swaps:

  • As a cleaning product (no chemicals and no micro plastics through the drain!)

  • As a laundry whitener (no chemicals in your clothes!)

  • To unclog drains (no chemicals and no micro plastics through the drain!)

  • More baking soda ideas? In this article you can find uses for this miracle compound.

Year 1 - day 21

21. Vinegar, another zero waste hero!

Vinegar can be bought in glass bottles or in the bulk store an it can be uses in countless ways.

These are my favorite vinegar swaps:

  • As a cleaning product (no chemicals and no micro plastics through the drain!)

  • As a laundry softener (no chemicals in your clothes, and no, your cloths wont's smell as vinegar!)

  • As a descaler for the coffee maker (no chemicals in your coffee, nor in the drain!)

  • On my salad! :)

  • More vinegar ideas? In this article you can find 16 genius vinegar uses.

Year 1 - day 22

22. Flowers in paper packaging: whenever you buy flowers, it’s a good idea to support a local florist near you, rather than ordering online. This will help boost your local economy, and it also takes less time to get to you, resulting in less carbon emissions. Also, you can ask to pack the flowers in paper, instead of plastic. More tips on how to get sustainable flowers on the blog of

Year 1 - day 23

23. Recusable bag: I only use reusable bags. I have a tote bag instead of a handbag and there's always a bag, in a bag, in a bag, because, you never know when you might hit a Farmers Market on the road! ;)

BUT, there is a but! The production of cotton bags is less sustainable than the production of a plastic bag, so if you use a cotton bag, make sure to use is for a long time and not use it as an easy replaceable bag.

Even though reusable bags are often made of recycled materials, most of the time they are not recyclable their self!

In this article about Reusable Shopping Bags, you can read that 'Some studies say that it takes 100 uses of one of those reusable bags to offset the amount of energy it takes to manufacture them beyond a regular, non-reusable plastic bag.'

Year 1 - day 24

24. Plastic free toothpaste: dental tabs!

We all need tooth paste, but unfortunately, the tubes of tooth paste are not recyclable at all!

This is why I al so happy with dental tabs. One package of dental tabs (125 tabs) in a paper bag equals the use of two non-recyclable toothpaste tubes. And although it takes a while to get used to the structure, it pays up so much, if you think about how much plastic you can safe!

Year 1 - day 25

25. Experimenting with deo: I must admit I haven't found the perfect deo yet. I've been experimenting with deo cream, a natural deo roller and deo kristal. All of them come in a glas jar, but al of them also have a plastic lid. The search goes on!

Year 1 - day 26

26. Kitchen garden: I don't have very green fingers, but my kitchen gardens always do very well.... :) The fresh herbs in pots on the window shell keep on growing and regrowing, so they make sure I have to buy much less dried herbs in packages.

Also, a lot of vegetables sprout again VERY easy! Green onion, leek and celery are ready to use again in less than a week.

Year 1 - day 27

27. Composting! Probably the most effective tool when living as zero waste as possible! We don't have a yard, but in Berlin, compostable materials are being collected. This means our trash is cut by at least 30%!

And that's not all...

When food gets thrown into landfill it doesn’t break down & it releases methane, a toxic greenhouse gas. Methane is 72% more powerful than CO2 which means it’s responsible for hastening climate related issues.


If yo have a yard, composting is literally giving back to the earth. ❤

Even if you don't have a yard, there are a lot of possibilities:

You can store your food scraps:

  • In a compost caddy (a small bucket or bin with a lid) on your kitchen counter

  • In a paper bag in your freezer (it won’t make your freezer smell)

  • On your balcony or porch if you have one

You can bring your food scraps:

  • To a local community garden with compost bins.

  • Ask local growers or farmers if they are interested in your food scraps.

  • Ask friends or family who have a compost bin or chickens if you can bring your food scraps to them.

  • Find a community composting organisation, like @sharewaste . You can sign in as a compost donor & find a compost host in your local who will accept your scraps

Year 1 - day 28

28. Conditioner bar: I bought this conditioner bar at the Lush naked store (= not only plastic free, but completely package free). It smell delicious!

Year 1 - day 29

29. Follow Friday: 'each one, teach one', here are a couple of my 'teachers':

Year 1 - day 30

30. Jars: almost everything is available in glass bottles or jars. If I can't find it in glass, I always realize, I don't really 'need' it. :) And the best thing about glass bottles and jars? They can be recycled or reuse over and over again!

Year 1 - day 31

31. And beyond... By being more aware of my plastic consumption for a whole month, I realized how easy it is to make plastic-free swaps, but I also realize how much more plastic (and other waste) we still have. This is not a one month-a-year-thing, but a way of life.

Year 2 - day 1

32. Reusable sanitary pads: did you know it take 500 to 800 years to breakdown single use sanitary pads? I was so shocked when I first heard that! Imagine all these sanitary pads in the landfill or in the sea...

Luckily there are so many reusable options these day!

I found some beautiful reusable sanitary pads on Etsy, handmade with love by @cat.flight.

Year 2 - day 2

33. Easy like Sunday Morning: just buy the plastic-free alternative.

(and if you ask me, ketchup does taste better from a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle! :))