How To Get Happier With Less Plastic

How To Get Happier With Less Plastic

As illustrated in Pharrell’s new documentary (yes, it is a documentary and it’s going to make you want to cry!), today we live in the age of plastic. There is plastic everywhere, it‘s all around us, it’s even in us. We have literally ‚plasticized‘ ourselves.

Scientists had a closer look on plastic pollution in the ocean of all sizes and it’s simply overwhelming how much is actually floating out there.

It’s indeed bizarre that the things we use for only seconds will be there for 1000 years to eventually be broken down if not eaten by that baby seal. We just throw it away, but where exactly is away.

This is a global issue and we are more connected in this than we might realize. While big organizations are still producing new plastic instead of using recycled plastic, some others are coming up with creative solutions to make positive changes. The 23-year-old Lauren Singer based in Brooklyn is a great role model and inspiration to us because she is even living free of plastic. She made two years of plastic trash fit in one single mason jar. Lauren says that since she is living a zero-waste lifestyle her life has improved a lot. She saves money, eats better and is happier than before.

As we all have demanding jobs and busy social lives, there is not always much room for making conscious choices. Here are some simple tips that will make you hop off the ‘plastic-train’:

1. Reuse glass jars

There is lots of prepared food you can buy in glass jars like peanut butter, pasta sauce or juices. If you end up buying these don’t throw them out. Simply wash and reuse them so you won’t need any plastic to store food. You can also bring them when you buy bulk food. If you have plastic containers leftover from yoghurt or other food, don’t throw them away you can use them to store food as well.

glass jars instead of plastic


Shop Smart & don’t buy Waste

2. Just BYOB (bring your own bag)

Luckily cotton bags are popping up everywhere. Go shopping with hip reusable totes while skipping all those plastic bags. If you don’t have these yet it may cost you a little, but there won’t be any extra costs for the environment in turn.

9 reusable bag


3. Opt for glass products

Yesterday I went grocery shopping when it hit me: Have you ever noticed how many products you buy that come with plastic packaging? Next time we do our grocery, let’s have a second look whether we can buy the same produce without the plastic e.g. oil in glass bottle versus plastic bottle.

 4. Go to a small shop or to the market

It’s much easier to resist the plastic packaging when doing your groceries in a small shop. Here you can just fill in your reused containers and bags with everything you need. Choosing to buy bulk food is the perfect way to avoid any packaging. Using a reusable wine carrier may make it easiest to carry all your glass jars home. What’s even better, see if you can make time to go to the local market and fill your own shopping basket.


Spot Hidden Plastic

5. Say ‘no’ to Straws

There are fancy, reusable stainless steel or glass drinking straws if you don’t want to give up on straws. If you are in a restaurant you may simply tell the waiter/waitress that you don’t need a straw.

9 plastic (3)

 6. Give up that Gum

Actually gum in its origin was made of chicle, a natural rubber. However, nowadays we purchase synthetic gum consisting of polyethylene and polyvinyl acetate which in fact makes us makes us chew and probably also on toxics. Healthy alternatives you might like are licorice root, sunflower seeds or nuts, mints or parsley for a fresh breath.

7. Check out the CrazyRussianHacker

You have already bought plastic bottles and don’t know what to do with them? Check out these 5 Recycled Life Hacks.

“Let’s stop this plasticization and instead challenge ourselves joining the zero-waste movement!”

Let’s do it all together. Are you in?

A Common Product Most Women Use & 7 Benefits Of Using This Alternative

A Common Product Most Women Use & 7 Benefits Of Using This Alternative

Have you ever wondered if conventional tampons and sanitary pads are safe for your body? They are put for prolonged periods of time near our reproductive organs. Imagine if they would contain toxins and other harmful substances. Considering that the vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of your body, that would be an unsettling thought…

So what do we know about conventional feminine hygiene products? If it’s according to the manufacturers; not much to nothing. Since tampons and sanitary pads are classified as ‘medical devices’, manufacturers do not have to disclose any information concerning the ingredients. Talking about the safety of tampons in public is also something that is not common, making it a topic undiscussed among the majority of its users.

In the following TEDx video the organic tampon and pad manufacturing company Yoni explains the harmful effects of conventional tampons.

The top reason to avoid conventional tampons is that they absorb everything including the bad bacteria. The usual regulation of the pH-balance through the production of fluids and good bacteria is distorted by the absorption of the tampon. This can dry out the vagina.

Also, in the production process of conventional tampons harsh chemicals and bleaching methods are used. Unfortunately, not only does the tampon absorb blood and vaginal fluids, the vagina can absorb the tampon’s ingredients e.g. chlorine bleach, too. To see what these chemicals do when they are lit on fire, check out this video! The video shows the difference between a conventional and organic menstrual pad when lit on fire… Wow!

Thirdly, when a tampon is taken out, the fibers can be left behind in the vagina. These fibers can be a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Another issue for buying conventional tampons is that it is not environmentally friendly. An average woman uses 11.000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. These products end up in landfills and in the ocean…

And lastly, the price of buying tampons monthly can add up quickly over a lifetime. Buying products that can be used for a longer time can save money in the long run and can help sustain a healthy environment.

So then, what is an alternative? Besides using organic tampons and pads?

An alternative: the menstrual cup.


A menstrual cup brings some extra benefits:

1. It holds up to 5 times the amount of a regular tampon.

2. Reduces chance of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) since it does not have absorbing properties (it is made from silicone) and it does not leave anything behind. 

3. Chances for leaks are slimmer due to the suction between the cervix and the cup.

4. It can be used for up to 12 hours. This makes it great during sleep. (Make sure that the suction is correct before dozing off, otherwise leaking can occur!)

5. It does not strip your vagina from its natural fluids or healthy bacteria, which can dry you out.

6. Amazing for the environment and your finances: One menstrual cup can last up to 10 years!

7. You don’t have to bring extra products with you when you go for a trip.

Mooncup UK

Curious how to use a menstrual cup? Check out these 14 Steps By WikiHow.


If you have experience with the cup, feel free to share it in the comments below, or on facebook or twitter under the post!


You can buy menstrual cups online on the following websites:

The Netherlands and Belgium on this site:

In the US:

In the UK:


For further reading:


3 Reasons You Should Ditch Conventional Deodorant And How To Make Your Own!

3 Reasons You Should Ditch Conventional Deodorant And How To Make Your Own!

There are many benefits to making your own deodorant. Firstly, you save money by not paying for branded product’s marketing campaigns and other costs that are not needed when you make your own product! You simply need the base ingredients and you can add your own personalized touch to it! Secondly, there are many harmful added ingredients in conventional deodorants.

5 Harmful Ingredients in Deodorant

Here are 5 common harmful ingredients used in conventional deodorant – and in many other skin care products:

  1. One of the most used harmful ingredient in deodorant is aluminum. It is used to block the sweat that is escaping the pores. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men in several studies.

Concerning breast cancer, the added concern lies in the close proximity of the armpit to the breast tissue. Aluminum is known to be an estrogenic, which means that it acts as the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen promotes breast growth, which can lead to cancerous overgrowth when there is an access.

  1. Another ingredient that some people are familiar with is paraben. It is in most beauty and care products found in stores in the form of methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben or benzylparaben. These compounds, similarly to aluminium, are estrogenic as well. They can disrupt hormone balances in our bodies.
  1. A third harmful ingredient in many conventional deodorant and other skin care products is propylene glycol (PG). It is a compound that helps to make skin care products easier absorbed by the skin. It is a cheap way to give a softer consistency to cosmetic products and it is even used in processed foods.

It is questioned by consumer safety advocates if it is safe in small amounts, since in large quantities it damages the liver, heart and nervous system. In deodorant higher concentrates of PG are used than in other skin care products.

  1. Phthalates have been linked to various health issues. They act as hormone disruptors and increase the risk for cell mutations. High phthalate levels in women of child bearing age are linked to an increased risk of birth defects.
  1. The synthetic antibacterial compound Triclosan is registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide and it is classified as a chlorophenol – chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. It is also a hormone disruptor, which in the long run can decrease fertility, change genetic material and increase the risk for birth defects.

And thirdly, when we buy products that are ultimately bad for our health we are actually supporting the manufacturing of these products. This way we are contributing to the public health issue of more chemicals in our every day products, environment and our bodies… So by opting out and making your own deodorant – or buying one that is health-conscious and environmentally-friendly, you are making a statement that you care about the health of others and yourself. Who doesn’t love that? 🙂



As we’ve shown you how it is both better for your physical, mental health and financial health, now let us reveal how to make your own deodorant from ingredients that you might already have in your home! With just 3 base ingredients and in 3 simple steps!

TIP! Since it’s easy to make large batches, you can hand it out to your friends. It will be a unique and caring gift!

You will need…

  • An empty container (e.g. a lip balm container)
  • 6 table spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 table spoons of baking soda
  • 4 table spoons of corn starch e.g. maizena
  •  Personal touch: A few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance (e.g. rose, lavender, eucalyptus)


Step one:

In a pan let the coconut oil melt on a low temperature. Make sure it does not boil; this step is simply to make the coconut oil liquid so that the other ingredients can be mixed into it.

Step two:

Add the baking soda, corn starch and essential oil into the melted coconut oil and stir until completely blended.

Step three:

Pour the mixture into the containers. And put it in the fridge to let it cool and solidify.

Voila! Your harm-free and health conscious deodorant!
Voila! Your harm-free deodorant!

That’s it! Enjoy your homemade, health-conscious deodorant!


For A Better Future: 5 Things We Can Learn From Ecovillages

For A Better Future: 5 Things We Can Learn From Ecovillages

First of all, what are ecovillages? Here is a wonderful quote that explains what ecovillages are in a nut shell:

“Ecovillages are human-scale, full-featured settlements in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.” – Gilman

The way we live and what we do daily, changes the world. Every small and big step counts. The idea of starting or joining an ecovillage is an attractive idea for people looking for ways to better the world. The opportunity to be a part of a meaningful and intentional way of contributing to the planet is an exciting thought.

66% of world’s people in 2050 are expected to live in urban areas, rising from 54% in 2014. Sustainable urban development has to find ways to adapt to this increase. Ecovillages have an important part in this since they are working on finding and experimenting with different ways to live sustainable.  Their example can have a real impact on the course of global sustainability.

Photo taken by Mackenzie Black
Photo taken by Mackenzie Black

5 things we can learn from ecovillages

Here are 5 things we can learn from ecovillages:

1. Economic sustainability

Ecovillages not only wish to change their environmental impact but how their economy works as well. Their economic goals encompass community self-reliance, sustainability and social justice.

2. Sustainable building

The focus of the houses are to live as energy-efficient as possible with a low footprint on the environment. Recycled or local resources and sustainable materials – such as straw bale, hemp – are used with a focus on high insulation and durability.

3. Renewable energy use

The ultimate goal is to use less energy than is produced by the ecovillage. This is reached by ingenuity and using renewable resources (solar, wind, water, bio-gas etc.) as well as reducing the energy consumption.

4. Sustainable agriculture

Simply put, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, plant or animal products using farming methods that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

5. Community living: shared space and sharing skills

Every eco-community consists of a different group of people and therefore have different social ideals. The main common goal is to increase face-to-face organisation as well as interaction in a setting where people can thrive and develop their potentials. Sharing skills takes place with the prospect of bettering the community and therefore their quality of living.

In following posts we will take you on a journey to explore how ecovillages master these points, featuring one ecovillage in each article. In the meanwhile, we recommend to watch this video by the Global Ecovillage Network:

Further readings:

Documentary:  A New We: Ecovillages and Ecological Communities in Europe (


KT Litfin, Eco-villages: Lessons for Sustainable Community (Polity Press, Cambridge, 2014); [2] J Fosket and L Mamo, Living Green: Communities that sustain (New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, Canada, 2009)