Every year in May, it is plastic awareness month in Belgium. Thanks to this initiative, we think twice about our plastic consumption and try to reduce our use of plastic. At COSH!, we are very aware that plastic is a big problem for the environment. Therefore, we try to share as many tips and knowledge on this topic as possible! We already wrote a blog with 7 tips to avoid plastics in our wardrobe. In this blog, we would like to take a different approach and share our best zero waste tips with you! This way, we can all reduce the amount of waste together!
Tip 1: Take it step by step
Our first and perhaps most important tip is: 'take it step by step'! Transforming into a zero waste warrior is not something you do lightly! By working on a theme or area in your home, you can make a zero waste lifestyle feasible. For example, focus on your plastic consumption in the bathroom this month, then switch to the kitchen and take further steps towards a low-waste lifestyle.
This is how Niki, founder of COSH!, went about her zero waste journey. She first switched from plastic shampoo bottles to shampoo bars and then looked for cosmetics with glass packaging and refillable make-up. You can find sustainable cosmetics products with refillable or biodegradable packaging at Druantia in Lier, among other places.
Tip 2: Support local initiatives!
At COSH! we are big fans of local shopping. Not only do you support local entrepreneurs, you also save on long transports which results in less greenhouse gasses. Win-win! A zero waste lifestyle fits in perfectly with the philosophy of local shopping. We would like to introduce you to some Belgian brands that are putting zero waste on the map!
Did you know that in Flanders almost 3 million disposable bandages end up on the garbage belt every day? Hygiene products are indispensable, but unfortunately they also create a gigantic amount of waste! Luckily, there are power women like Kathleen. With her brand Miokoo, she offers a solution to this problem! Thanks to Miokoo's menstrual underwear, you can end your disposable panty liners and padding consumption! It's super easy: put on your absorbent menstrual underwear in the morning and feel comfortable for the rest of the day! Bye bye plastic packaging!
Pss, this brand was also screened by COSH! on its sustainability! Check out the brand screening here.
Shampoo bars are everywhere these days, but have you heard of the brand Savonke? The 'Holy Guacamole' shampoo bar and 'Let's go Coconuts' conditioner bar are completely vegan and cruelty-free. What's more, they are produced locally in Antwerp using biodegradable products. Discover Savonke at De Groene Stadshut and KIEZ in Antwerp, at HOST - House of Sweet Things in Antwerp Berchem, at Tarra Verpakkingsvrij in Dendermonde and at Kudzu based in Bruges.
A zero waste lifestyle with pets, is that even possible? It certainly is! Savonke created zero waste products for dog owners: a shampoo bar for dogs called 'I will always Woof you'. With this shampoo bar, extra attention has been paid to the smell, making sure it is not overwhelming for your four-legged friend. The purrfect product for ecological dog lovers! Discover this product at De Groene Stadshut and Kudzu!
Løv | Elly's starter boxes are perfect for those just starting out with a zero waste lifestyle! Sisters Ellen and Leen sell several boxes focusing on a specific theme. The Happy Wash box, for example, contains a zero waste soap block, a shampoo bar, a ceramic soap dish and a konjac sponge. An ideal starter pack for a zero waste shower!
Tip 3: Look for zero waste hotspots in your neighbourhood
Have you decided which room or theme you want to tackle? Then it's time to go on a zero waste shopping trip! In the following shops, you will find plenty of products that will make your zero waste lifestyle easy peasy:
Orybany is founded by zero waste enthusiast Juliette. With her eco gift shop, she wants to encourage people to buy more consciously. In her store you can find soap, shampoo and body butter bars, as well as toothpaste in glass packaging and toothpaste tablets. Also for reusable pads you can head to Orybany! Buy your ecological gifts and new favourite zero waste essentials in this gift shop in the capital of Belgium!
At MINIMAL in Berchem, you'll find everything you need for a zero waste lifestyle. Owner Laura loves to introduce you to an ecological lifestyle and wants her shop to contribute to a cleaner world with less plastic and waste.
You will discover a wide range of zero waste products for your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. You can also fill your own jars with soap at the refill station. The zero waste kits are also highly recommended for those who want to start a sustainable lifestyle!
Do you want to visit the first packaging-free store in Belgium? Then Robuust is the place to be! In this zero waste store you will find local, organic, and fair trade products. They offer a wide range of dry goods and seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, but also zero waste care products and various eco-friendly household supplies. The perfect place for your zero waste groceries!
Have you had enough of classic supermarkets full of plastic packaging? Go shopping at a bulk store like Karma Markt! Bring your own pots and packaging and scoop up the amount of nuts, spices, rice, pasta, etc. that you want! Discover here a complete overview of zero waste grocery stores!
Discover numerous products for an ecological lifestyle at Kudzu. Looking for an Ecoegg, a bamboo toothbrush or a reusable coffee capsule? At Kudzu, you'll find products for everyday use. What's more, you can easily search by category in the shop, which is super handy! Order online or pick up your order at Kudzu's warehouse in Bruges.
OHNE is the place to be for those who want to shop packaging-free, organically and locally. Discover a wide range of organic food, cosmetics and household products. Bring your own glass jars, bottles or bags or make use of the jars with a deposit that OHNE offers. Zero waste shopping has never been so easy!
Discover OHNE in Aalst, Gent Steendam, Gent Elizabethlaan, Zwalm, Nevele & Ternat.
At The Barn in Antwerp you will find zero waste and organic food. The Barn wants to make organic and packaging-free food accessible. In the organic market you will find products at accessible prices. The shop attaches a lot of importance to good partnerships with their producers and always studies the story of their suppliers. That's why you know what you eat at The Barn.
Discover The Barn in Antwerp
Also in Amsterdam you can find lovely zero waste products! Take a look at Het Faire Oosten, for example. At this beautiful and large store you can find next to a wide range of fair fashion, interior design, books, stationary and much more, also soap and shampoo bars, face cleanser bars, body scrub bars, … You name it! When in Amsterdam, this is a must-visit for your sustainable and zero waste shopping trip!
Do you want to find more local shops in your area? Go to our shopping guide!
(read further below the button)Go to the shopping guide
Tip 4: Get creative!
Of course you don't have to buy a lot of new products to start living a zero waste lifestyle. This lifestyle is perfect for getting creative with the things you already have!
Melt your candle scraps and make new candles, collect scraps of fabric and felt them into coasters... The internet is full of fun upcycling DIY projects that allow you to turn something old or used into something new!
Would you like to make your own cleaning products or cosmetics? Anne Drake will help you on your way! On her webshop you can find packages with all the ingredients to make your own ecological cleaning products! Or, join one of her workshops and make these ecological products together with her!
Tip 5: Get inspired
Could you use some extra inspiration? Then it's always useful to follow sustainable bloggers and influencers on Instagram. Some of our tips? Veerle Colle, Sustainable Family, Elisabeth Van Lierop, Laura from The Dessert, Planttribe.be ... Of course, you can also find plenty of tips on the page of Mei Plasticvrij, the plastic awareness initiative in Belgium!
Tip 6: Avoid plastic in your clothing
It's obvious that our supermarkets, bathrooms and kitchens are often filled with plastic. But did you know that there is also a lot of plastic in clothing? Polyester is a common material in clothing and is just plastic in disguise. Other synthetic fibres and materials like nylon and elastane are also very common. Do you want to avoid plastics in your clothes? Then be sure to check the clothing labels when you go shopping. No idea what to look for? These tips will help you on your way.
Tip 7: Don't just throw old clothes away
Do you have a lot of out-of-fashion or unused clothes hanging around in your closet? Spring cleaning is nice, but don't throw out all your pieces. This is not sustainable at all! Did you know that less than 1% of all clothes are recycled? This is because garments made of different fibres are difficult to recycle. Even with today's innovations, it is still not possible to separate fibres on a large scale, so clothing often ends up in landfill. So, think twice before you throw something away!
Do you want to take care of your wardrobe? Discover here a useful step-by-step plan to do this in a sustainable way!
Tip 8: Visit an organic hairdresser
Did you know that our cosmetics often contain plastics? Micro-plastics can for example be found in scrubs, shower gels and toothpaste because they have a cleansing function. Next to that, silicones are used in shampoos and conditioners. These are just liquid plastic! Do you want to know more on how to avoid plastics in your cosmetics? Find it out in this blog!
Because of this reason, choose a natural hairdresser who uses biological products like Hoofdzaak Nana in Ieper or Hair Clinic in Brasschaat! That way you help the environment and keep the waterways clean. Not convinced yet? Read more about why organic hairdressers are better for your hair and the environment here.
Are you ready for a lifestyle with less waste?
With these 7 tips, we hope you're ready to reduce your waste and plastic consumption! Throughout May, we are sharing extra content on our social media to inspire you to live a sustainable and ecological lifestyle. Curious to see which zero waste actions the COSH! team is already doing? Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!