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How not to be zero waste

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Zero Waste, Lifestyle

Updated on:


It was our third anniversary yesterday, so we decided to do something different. And we did. We went rock climbing. Even though it was indoors and not really rocks, we still had a lot of fun. 

rockclimbing indoors

It is a really good workout for the entire body and hey for all the single ladies out there, my fiance was pointing out that it seems like a good place to meet guys. Strong muscly but not blown up gym guys. So give it a go, most likely there is an indoor climbing center near you.

After our evening together, it was up to me to do the cooking. I opted in for a portobello mushroom burger. But I got asked to do pasta instead since she needed the carbs more.

I mean, who can argue with that. I happily make pasta, especially since I am pretty good at boiling water and throwing some pasta there. Since we were staying at an Air BnB, we went to the supermarket, and that’s where the craving started.

The supermarkets of evil 😉

Bombarded with marketing colors and advertising from left to right, we found ourselves lost in this sea of craving. “Try and meditate in a supermarket.” I thought that would be the next level.

Especially since we are trying to buy consciously and refusing to buy plastic as much as we can, but hey, we are only humans, and so we decided, ok, let’s get some Bahlsen cookies, just as a little treat.

Say No to packaged Food

They are packaged in cardboard, at least on the outside, and they have childhood memories attached to them for me. I guess that was the main buying reason.

The pasta packaging was cardboard, but they put these little plastic windows in there now, so you have to peel that off before you recycle your paper.

I did not have them in Australia ( which I call home now) but being brought up in Germany, yes, they send me back like so many food things, and smells have these memories attached to them. It is beautiful if you want to take a trip back memory lane, but it is not always zero waste.

My mission here is to tell you it is ok to give in sometimes. Suppose you are aware of what you put in your body most of the time, then it is ok to give in to cravings once in a blue moon. Nobody is perfect, and we also don’t want you to be too hard on yourself, and then you end up feeling bad and give the zero waste journey up altogether.


The cookies were delicious, and just like I said, they brought all these memories back. But when I was reading the back of the packaging, I realized what I had really done.

  • supporting non-local food
  • palm oil = no home for orangutans
  • Three different types of sugar in those cookies.
  • plastic packaging

4 reasons big enough for me to say, ok, that was the last time I had these cookies. Time to make some new memories. And while my fiance loves cooking, I believe we can make some awesome cookies ourselves. I mean, I made chocolate once, AND I have no idea how to cook. The chocolate was better than any chocolate I have ever tasted, and it didn’t actually involve any cooking.

Two things that are important to me here and that can hopefully inspire you too.

1) You don’t need to go and buy a new thing to impress your partner/wife/lover memories are made by doing things together, such as rock-climbing or hiking or skating or throwing axes at a wooden target. ( I know, right, only in Canada, I guess)

But you see, most of us work almost all year round to spend a couple of weeks at a beach creating memories for you and your partner. To keep you motivated at your job doing the same thing again next year. While in the meantime, we have been conditioned to consume stuff and fill the void that we feel within.

But what if you start and create as many memories as you can with your loved one.

  • Surprise them with homemade cookies or chocolate.
  • Say something nice.
  • Listen.
  • Be present and at the moment. These are the gifts that don’t break the bank and they are in her/his heart for a lifetime.

The new toy or necklace is going to break at some stage. You replace it with a new one and the cycle goes on. The memory is there forever.

2) The best part is you are also doing the planet a favor and don’t consume as much. Using fewer resources and man, you are just going to win at your relationship.

The zero waste lifestyle is not easy to adapt to, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Take little steps each time you shop for groceries or buy lunch. Make all the difference when you avoid plastic as much as you can. Your body will thank you for it and your mind too. Oh, and the earth!

What are your thoughts on the subject? How important is it to you to spend quality time with your significant other?

Featured Photo by Fernanda Rodríguez on Unsplash

Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

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