This article comes from Djuli with Mint Green Mind
Hi! I am Djuli, 26 years old and I am a food photographer. On my blog Mint Green Mind you will find tasty and easy vegan recipes. I can also be found on Instagram. In addition to my recipes, I also share tips about sustainability and fair fashion.
I am by no means a sustainability expert, but I like to share easy tips to make your life a little greener step by step. Here are some of my sustainable habits.
It Started with Plant-based Food
My sustainable journey started in the summer of 2015. I was doing an internship in Spain and there I decided to eat vegan for a while. That may seem like crazy timing, because Spain is not really known as a very vegan-friendly country, but it was nice not to have to take into account the eating wishes of my parents, friend or roommates. I could just try it on my own for a while. And I liked it so much that I never stopped! It wasn’t always easy (especially in the beginning), but it just felt like the right choice and I feel a lot better now both mentally and physically.
In the beginning I did vegan food purely for the animals. I no longer wanted to participate in animal cruelty. Only after a while did I realize what a huge positive impact it has on the environment to eat plant-based (more often). And that motivated me to make more sustainable choices in other areas as well.
My Top 5 Sustainable Habits
1 – Plastic-free in the Bathroom
I wanted to do more for the planet, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I found an article about (disposable) plastic on the blog of the Green Girls and I decided to focus on that. The bathroom seemed like the easiest place to deal with my plastic consumption, so I started there.
I began by looking for more sustainable alternatives to products that you can only use once (single use). I replaced my razor blades with a safety razor, my plastic swabs with bamboo swabs and my disposable cotton pads with washable cotton pads. I soon noticed that the trash can in my bathroom was much less likely to fill up!
2 – Fair Fashion
The next step was my wardrobe. I’ve never really been a fashion girl, but when I needed something, I usually bought it from a big fast fashion chain. But I found out that the big fashion chains are huge polluters and their clothes are often made by people in poor working conditions. So, I didn’t want to spend my money on that anymore.
Now most of my clothes are second-hand. I usually buy them at the thrift store or through the Vinted app. Sometimes I buy something from a fair fashion brand. These are slightly more expensive items, but with care they will last for years! I don’t buy a lot of clothes anyway, so I don’t mind spending a little more every now and then on a beautiful and durable piece of clothing.
3 – Cleaning up Litter
I really like walking! It’s wonderful to be outside and get in touch with nature. But during my walks I am annoyed by all the litter, so I decided to do something about it myself.
Now and then I meet up with a friend to clean up litter during our walk. It’s fun to do together, it brings a positive change in our neighborhood and it immediately gives a purpose to the walk! We always get a lot of nice comments from our neighbors and other hikers. Give it a try!
4 – Sustainable Habits in Travel
Something I haven’t thought about for a long time is the impact of air travel. I knew that flying was bad for the environment, but I didn’t really want to know how bad it was. I already did so much for a greener world, so I thought I could take a plane trip every now and then.
During my holiday in Ibiza in 2018, I decided that this was my last flight holiday for the time being. I am not saying that I will never take the plane again, because I would like to go to South America or Australia someday, but certainly within Europe I will always opt for a less polluting way. A city trip to Berlin or London by plane, as I used to do, is really no longer an option.
We almost always go on holiday with our van now. We never go very far, but we go out for a weekend much more often. We have already been to many places in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland.
Traveling by train also sounds great to me! I dream of one day Interrailing around Europe and visiting some big cities I haven’t been to like Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.
5 – Biodiversity in the garden
The sustainable habit I am now learning more about is contributing to more biodiversity in your own garden.
Soon I will move with my boyfriend to a house with a large garden. I don’t have a green thumb at all (yet), so I’m currently reading a lot of books about natural gardening. I highly recommend the book ‘Sustainable Gardening’ by Anne Wiegers!
A Positive Approach to Sustainable Habits
As you may have figured out by now, my sustainable journey has been a long one (and actually still is). I’ve always focused on one thing.
The most important tip I want to give you if you also want to make sustainable changes in your life: take it step by step and take your time.
You can’t do everything at once. And don’t expect the same from others. I have found that a positive approach works much better. This way it remains fun for yourself and you also motivate the people around you faster!
Djuli is the photographer and blogger behind Mint Green Mind!
You can find her articles and her beautiful imagery at mintgreenmind.nl
We also recommend following her on Instagram @mint.green.mind!