About a year ago, I started my journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle. I haven’t looked back since. My life has become more of a struggle in some areas (if you have tried to not buy plastic for a period of time, you know what I mean!), but altogether it has become so much more enjoyable.

My goal has been, and still is, to become a more conscious consumer. To achieve this I have made a lot of changes in my life, especially when it comes to the products I buy.

I have started to buy non-toxic and natural cosmetics, haircare and skincare products, and I have also taken a small step into the DIY world. I have (almost) stopped buying from fast fashion stores, and I have learned to love secondhand shopping. And thanks to a lot of good documentaries on Netflix, I was already eating a more plant based diet when all of these other awesome changes started happening.

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Self-made body butter with coconut oil and shea butter. Toxin free and natural.

Zero waste and the five Rs

I have also tried zero waste and switching to plastic-free products. Zero waste is about reducing the amount of waste you make, and ideally not produce any trash that goes to landfills. You do so by following the five R’s of zero waste, and the main point is to always start with the first R before you work your way down.

  • Refuse – what you don’t need
  • Reduce – consumption = buy less stuff
  • Reuse – what you already have or buy second hand
  • Recycle – what doesn’t fit in the above R’s
  • Rot – compost your food scraps
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Out on a walk with one of my reusable bags. One hot tip is to always bring one with you. ALWAYS.

Creating awareness towards consumption

By learning to say no to stuff more often and buying less, I have gained so much more appreciation for the things that I already have. I have learned to fall in love again with old sweaters and shoes. And for the first time in a long time, I have truly realized what I actually do need more of (which isn’t always more stuff).

Even though I am far from a perfect zero waster, I generally think a lot more about what I bring home with me. It has made me so much more aware of everything around me.

Less waste or zero waste, it’s about creating awareness towards what we consume and all the products made from plastic, which are having a huge negative impact on the oceans and surrounding wildlife.

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Beautiful nature and ocean view. These are some of the things I want to take care of by producing less waste, using less plastic and generally having a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Ten products I use to reduce waste:

  • Reusable bags: I use them for everything!
  • Small cotton bags for fruit and vegetables
  • Steel reusable water bottle
  • Reusable coffee cup
  • Straws made from steel
  • Reusable wooden cutlery
  • Steel food containers
  • Glass jars for food, deodorant, shampoo
  • Kitchen towels for wrapping stuff up
  • Reusable make-up removers
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Buying waste free and plastic-free shampoo at Mølleren Sylvia in Oslo, in a jar I brought with me.

More gratitude

If zero waste or a more eco-friendly lifestyle is new to you, I think it’s important to take one step at a time. You don’t have to do everything at once, and it’s also super important not to get too frustrated with yourself if you forget your reusable grocery bag one day.

Making new sustainable habits takes time. Remember that every small step in the right direction is a win for the planet!

This lifestyle has made me more grateful for all the wonderful things I’m already surrounded with, and somewhat freed me from the constant hunt for the next thing I must have.

It has given me more time for things and experiences that actually matter to me, and that I gladly spend my money on. Products that I know won´t harm the planet, the people making it or myself.

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Going on a trip with my steel water bottle from Klean Kanteen.

Three of the most important things I have learned so far on this journey

  • Every day you can vote for the future you want, with the money you choose to spend and the actions you choose to do.
  • Knowledge is power: Educate yourself!
  • One of the best things you can do to improve the world, is to improve yourself (Jen Sincero from the book You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life).

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Ann-Kristin Hexeberg is the writer of the eco-conscious blog “A Green Heart” and just finished a degree in marketing. She has a small obsession for tiny houses and loves writing, yoga and being out in nature.