How to live wasteless -
Interview with Anke from
Anke is 31 years old and has a mission: To live plastic free!
At first glance, not so difficult, you can simply do without garbage bags at the cash register and without plastic water bottles. But of course it goes much further: all food, beauty products and kitchen utensils are packed in plastic - once you start thinking about what is consumed and used every day in plastic, the list does not seem end.
On her blog wastelesshero.com as well as on her Instagram profile wasteless_hero Anke documents her daily challenges, gives tips and motivates others to participate. Anke is also a mom and also involves "Mr. Baby" fully into the "Plastic Free Mission".
We think the mission is more than exemplary and that's why we talked to Anke to find out how each one of us can easily avoid producing unnecessary plastic waste.
How did you get the idea to live plastic free?
For one thing, I was too lazy to lift the huge garbage bag out of its holder every week. On the other hand, apart from all the garbage that I saw lying on on the beach while on vacation, I also heard about the garbage island in the Pacific. And there's a bit of a world improver in every one of us, right? As soon as I realized this, it was immediately clear to me that each and every one of us can change the world if we all do our part.
Unbelievable! This is Ankes family waste from one week!
What sets your wasteless everyday life apart from your previous one?
For the first few months, I learned something new almost every day and tried many things. For example, how do I wash my hair without shampoo that comes out of a plastic bottle?
In the beginning it was important to me to do it plastic free. In the meantime, I make sure to produce as little garbage as possible. I started to question some things in my life and we got to know many new things that save us a lot of time and money. I've gotten rid of many things and I'm really proud of that.
We eat almost no sweets at all, I do not drink light drinks or chew gum any more. Online shopping is a maximum of once a month, if we really need the stuff. We eat almost no meat and a lot more vegetables. In the morning I'm done much faster in the bathroom, since I no longer need hair conditioner and so on. When I used to travel for a couple of nights, my toiletry bag was huge. Sometimes I even had to take a second one with me. Now I can no longer fill it up.
I used to go every 2 weeks to the drugstore, now I rarely do; although many may think that I have to be there very often being a mom.
Since we began with the plastic free life I feel much more confident. I question myself a lot more and I am no longer chasing to live by the norm.
Oh yes! I'm not sitting in front of the TV anymore in the evening, instead I write about the plastic-free life and realize that there are already a lot of people who deal with it and even more who are aware of it through me!
How does the plastic-free life with a child work?
That's a real challenge! Because everyone around you is using disposable diapers, plastic drink bottles and so on and I feel like I'm the only one looking for micro-plastic-free sunscreen. Not to mention the mountain of plastic-wrapped remedies we bought against "Mr. Babies" flatulence ...
What simple and favorable steps can each of us do and what is your recommendation to start with a plastic-free life?
Start with things that come naturally easy for you! Of course it would be nice if everyone would use their own thermo mug for the coffee to go. If this is too stressful for you in the morning, then start somewhere else. Drink more tap water, take cotton bags with you for shopping! Put on an extra cotton bag, with which you get your bread at the bakery and in the supermarket the fruits and vegetables.
Or start, for example, in the bathroom. Here you can save the most money and time. Use a shampoo bar to wash your hair. It costs about 8 € and you can use it for half a year. For the body and the hands you can just take a piece of soap as before. That lasts longer and is cheaper. Get a safety razor. In my opinion they shave faster and better than the plastic ones and the blades cost less than the plastic ones.
What are the biggest challenges going plastic free with a child and how do you handle it?
Changing, feeding, toys and clothes. "Mr. Baby" needs an average of five diapers per day. That's almost 1900 disposable diapers per year. That's a nice amount. If we were to use disposable changing pads and wipes every time we change diapers, we could probably fill all our rooms with all the rubbish after a year. That's why we always use a washcloth for cleaning and cloth diapers at home. So far we have not used a single disposable changing mat. We just take gauze towels.
If there are stains after washing, we put the diapers in the sun for two hours or give them to the grandma for washing :).
When we are in the park, we just take off the diaper. We only use disposable diapers for the night and when we are on the go. Even though I know that it actually takes 450 years to decompose, they are burnt with the residual waste. We also only use wet wipes when we are on the go.
I am lucky that I can still breastfeed my child. That means I'm not worried about plastic bottles and feeding accessories. We are able to reduce a lot of waste only through breastfeeding. For those who bottle feed, there are alternatives to plastic beaks - natural rubber, for example. I do not have any experience with that yet. There are also reusable breastfeeding pads, which I also use.
Toys and clothes are a topic on their own. We get a lot of used and often also new things as a gift. Especially for the birth, Easter or Christmas. Most people know that we do not really want plastic and we deeply care about this matter. However, many garments made of polyester and most stuffed animals are filled with plastic granules, which consists of polypropylene.
What do you do first when you get up?
I cuddle with my child as long as possible. Then we have breakfast.
What is your greatest achievement?
Many of my friends have begun to make their lives more plastic-free. This shows me that even an individual can change the world.
What motivates you every day?
There are several things! Every time I go to the bathroom, I'm glad that there are fewer things around. When friends ask me how they can replace things or tell me that they are taking a cotton bag with them to the bakery.
Many of my Instagram followers write that they love how much plastic are able to avoid using and that they see me as a role model. That's really great!
Cleaning is now much faster, because we have to clear away less things before we mop the floor. Honestly, a transition to a plastic-free life takes time and is also a challenge for your own personality!
At first I found it difficult to ask the baker if they would put the bread in my bag. Now I feel proud every time I carry my bread out of the bag. One day I even gave my bag to a shop assistant because she thought the idea was so good. I simply took the bread in my hand ...
Wow! Anke lives her mission with conviction and goes this way despite the challenges. We are really inspired after this interview and are happy that Anke has taken the time for us! Thanks Anke!
And again: One week of waste for Anke, her husband and baby!
Melina is passionate about travelling and sustainability. Her new-year's resolution for 2018 is to avoid any plastic - and it’s still on! On her Instagram Blog she shares her excpierence about other countries and cultures. As an assistant to the founder Lilija she knows everything about the spirit and the vibe of Orbasics.