Brush Collection – Zero Waste

I apologize for my long absence from blogging! I took a week long camping trip with my husband in the Netherlands and planned to have a ton of beautiful stories and photos to share, but sadly the actions of a few cast an ugly shadow over our trip and I didn’t feel like getting out the camera or writing. Happily, we still met up with some good friends and once again I was amazed by¬†the strength and support my husband gives me. I am almost rested and recovered, and I have a bunch of blog posts planned in the next two weeks!

First up, I would like to share our brush collection. I am kind of a ‘clean freak’ and it was important to me to be able to keep my home tidy and body healthy in a sustainable way.

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  1. Redecker rubber brush. This is fantastic for removing cat fur and dust from my sofa, friction creates a static charge which sticks the hair to the brush. Water breaks this charge, releasing it when you rinse. I love cleaning with science ūüôā
  2. Bamboo body brush. I have heard that brushing your skin increases circulation and will naturally moisturize it. I haven’t been using this long enough to recommend it, but I will be sure to post results when I feel ready.
  3. Bamboo comb. I don’t brush my hair but will give it the occasional comb through when dry.
  4. Brush cleaning brush, this is literally just to clean other brushes, but it gets a lot of use!
  5. Dirty brush, we use this in the bathroom to brush away stray litter in between vacuuming. We will also use it in the garden or to brush off camping supplies and boots.
  6. Bamboo comb (2). my husband prefers this size, and I will use it if I have a particularly naughty knot in my hair.
  7. Bamboo toothbrush. I have been using bamboo toothbrushes for about 2 years, and I love them.
  8. Vegetable brush, we use this to clean off veggies. This is useful for store bought veg, but vital if you grow your own. Potatoes and carrots, in particular, come out very muddy!

This is what works for us, and I can think of anything else we would need to add at the moment. I dust with a cloth and use a vacuum to clean the floors. For the kitchen and surfaces, I use a cloth and homemade antibacterial spray. We do have a mop which is plastic, and I am planning to use that until it breaks down.

An important thing to remember is that I moved into a new home with almost nothing. I do not advocate throwing away your plastic items in favor of sustainable ones. Use what you have and replace it with a sustainable option when you need to. Although I find a lineup of bamboo brushes aesthetically pleasing, the real goal is to be kinder to the environment, not to take trendy Instagram¬†photos (that’s just a bonus!).

Brush Collection – Zero Waste

A Plastic Ocean (Netflix Documentry)

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There is no away ‚Äď because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible. When you cast it into the ocean, it does not go away.

Sir David Attenborough

I really appreciate the trend of videographers¬†teaming up with scientists and passionate members of the community to create ‘global movement’ films.

A plastic ocean is another documentary that seeks to give people the tools they need to make better choices. I’m already committed to being plastic free so you would think a film like this is preaching to the choir in my case, but I still found fresh information and inspiration to take away.

I knew that ocean plastic was entering the human food supply, but I did not realize to what extent this was already happening. I might be a vegan, but I still care about the millions of people who rely on fishing for their primary source of protein (not to mention my fish loving kitties!).

The biggest concern I hear about using reusable bags, cups, etc is that it’s hard. People are already struggling to juggle work, social commitments, health, kids and a million other little things and they just want to convenience of a plastic bag. Being passionate about a cause removes that mental hurdle, once you incorporate reusables into your life, this ‘new way’ to shop and enjoy your coffee becomes a habit, and it does not feel hard.¬†I compare this to going vegetarian or vegan, the first month is the most difficult, but in time you can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Zero-waste options and alternatives are exploding right now, in my home city of Berlin I have seen two grocery chains introduce a zero waste section in just the past two months. You can’t have missed all the plastic-free July posts on social media. I’m not normally into trends, but this is one that I encourage all people to jump into head first!

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Abraham Lincoln

A Plastic Ocean (Netflix Documentry)

Schloss Charlottenburg – Berlin

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This weekends green trip was to Schloss Charlottenburg. I had been avoiding this as it is a major tourist attraction, but I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of peace and space we had when visiting.

Charlottenburg Palace was built at the end of the 17th century, commissioned by Sophie Charlotte who was the wife of the Elector of Brandenburg. It was heavily damaged during WWII, but has been renovated and now functions as a public space. Although entrance to the palace is 12 euro, anyone can enjoy the extensive gardens for free. Honestly, I recommend skipping the palace and saving yourself some money.

The gardens are split into formal and informal, the informal being much larger. You can easily walk around for 2 hours in this huge wild space, and although you will see joggers and sunbathers lounging around there are plenty of private nooks for those who need to escape the busy city.

For vegans making the trip, I highly recommend stopping at nearby Attila Hildmann on Schillerstraße 71 for incredible burgers and the best vegan ice cream I have ever had!

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Schloss Charlottenburg – Berlin

July Favorites – Design, Jeans, and the best Pig.

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Documentary: Objectified – this is a documentary about design, but it strongly relates to minimalism. Some of the world’s leading designers (like Dieter Rams, my favorite!) talk about sustainability and how good design can lead to products you love to use for decades or even generations.

Book: I finally read 10% Happier by Dan Harris and I am putting my skepticism aside to try meditation. I have been extremely hesitant about it and the whole mindfulness trend, but looking at it merely as an exercise for the brain, rather than as a religious practice, has motivated me to give it a go. The most interesting thing about this book for me is that I was about 60% of the way in before I got really interested. I was fully prepared to write this off as hype for the first half and only continued reading out of habit, but I am glad I did.

Clothing: I combined money received for my birthday to get some MUD jeans. This company has an incredible commitment to sustainability. They can be returned after ANY amount of use to be recycled, and you can get a new pair. You can also swap them for a different style or size, or send them back to be repaired by MUD. The goal of this company is to ensure that the clothing they produce never ends up in a landfill.

Film: I watched Okja on Netflix, and it was an incredible film with a powerful message. I can’t praise this enough. The locations and filming were beautiful, the acting was incredible, good CG, and it was a lot more fair and nuanced than many films that deal with animal rights. The only downside is that made me very sad, but only because¬†of how realistic the storyline is. I won’t spoil it, but the ending is neither entirely good nor entirely bad.

Humans: A new set of Maori words has been created to describe mental and physical health. They are beautiful and non-judgemental, which is a positive direction to take in describing issues that have been taboo for most of human history.

YouTube Channel: Journeyman Pictures touches a range of subjects from off grid living, to sustainability, to over-reliance on prescription drugs, to human stories from around the world, always shot and edited in a beautiful way.

 

 

July Favorites – Design, Jeans, and the best Pig.

Giving Time

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I have clear priorities in my life. My husband, our cats, my business (which is also my passion), the garden, maintaining our apartment, further education, and then a group of activities that I vaguely call culture. Culture includes going to museums, public events, outdoor activities, reading, and blogging.

I want to make time in my life to blog well, but I frequently feel like I am trying to get my post out in 15 minutes. Rather than a carefully edited essay, my posts are more like jotted down thoughts and pictures. There can be great value in unedited thoughts, but that is not the kind of blog that I envisioned myself starting. I want to really provide others with clear methods and instructions for applying minimalism, zero-waste, veganism, and kindness into their lives. To share lessons I have learned over many years of seeking an alternative lifestyle. I also hope to improve my storytelling skills in the process.

Right now I am trying to decide if I should blog more often in a less stylized way, or only post once a week with a focus on creating better content. I am wondering if any sweet bloggers out there would be willing to share an opinion in the comments.

Should I choose less is more? Or is an unedited insight into the vegan, zero-waste life valuable in it’s own way? What do you think?

Giving Time

Natural Pest Control

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Our first crop of spinach was mercilessly attacked by bugs, so I bought some natural bug repellent plants – mint and lemon thyme – to add to our garden. I also made a mixture of castile soap and water to give the plants a spray every few days. I used about 2 teaspoons of Dr. Bronners soap and 1 liter of water, plus some crushed garlic directly into the bottle. New spinach and cabbage seeds are germinating, and the older tomato, basil, and carrots are still going strong!

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Natural Pest Control

Unpackaged at Bio Company!

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After a trip to Original Unverpakt yesterday Jonathan and made a trip to the local Bio Company this morning and were delighted to find out that they are now offering unpackaged products! This is a huge step, as Bio Markt is a big chain across Germany. Thanks to low taxes on food and good eating culture many Germans shop in biological supermarkets like this one, so good low-waste food is not a ‘luxury’. I spoke to the staff to share my enthusiasm about the new line, and they also seemed genuinely enthusiastic about unpackaged goods and excited to expand their selection further.¬†The two products we still couldn’t find unpackaged were tofu and soy milk.

In addition to veggies and pasta, I picked up a vegetable brush and well as a couple bathroom supplies. I bought a small comb, pumice stone and body brush. I’ve heard quite a few bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers talk about using body bushes to increase circulation and skin softness (to replace moisturizer) so I decided to give it a go myself and will be sure to report the results here.

This is such a wonderful step in the right direction, and it’s actions like these that continue to give me hope for our future.

 

 

Unpackaged at Bio Company!