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!