Hi Deborah, welcome on OUTSIDE THE BOX and thank you for finding some time in your busy schedule to answer our questions!
To start this interview, can you please give us a few info about yourself: your name, age, where you live, where you come from, what you do for a living, your hobbies, your favourite food, your strengths and weaknesses…anything that defines you as a person! Hi Marie, thank you so much for welcoming me to OUTSIDE THE BOX, what a honor. There is not much to say about myself:
I am Deborah, 32 years old, live in Zug and I am original from north of Germany. I am engaged to an Indian and I am a stay-at-home mother. My priorities and hobbies have changed so much since our little one was born. But what I can tell you, one thing hasn’t changed: my passion for Indian food. You are engaged and mum of a little girl. How has motherhood changed your life and your perception about the world?
When I became a mother I finally got the chance of living my dreams. And I noticed right away that nothing else in the world mattered as much as our little one. And since she was born I have been avoiding extreme negativity in all kind of sense. With her I am learning that there is not much time and the day passes by way to quickly. So, why wasting it with negativity?
Before her I spent way too much time thinking about fights, arguments, bad feelings and trying to understand others. Now I simply don’t care about the „why“ anymore. If a person doesn’t make me feel good, the person has no place left in my life. My life should be filled with happiness, love and laughter. I need to keep my environment as positive as possible, not only for myself but more importantly for my daughter. How do you apply these words into your everyday life?
It can be people I avoid or simply some topics. What doesn’t make me feel good, is not worth any second of my attention. Because the way I feel is how my daughter feels. And life is just too short to spend it with anger or frustrations. Of course this is easier said than done and it is a learning process. Yoga helps me a lot with it. Especially at the beginning, I learned how to let go of bad feelings with yoga and meditation. You have been working a lot towards a zero-waste lifestyle, tell us more about it!
I am actually quite new in it. Or better said, I have been all my life unconsciously in it but now I am consciously working about it.
I remember growing up and my father would tell me not to waste the water or not to waste the food as other children don’t have any. I was just annoyed by it. But when I lived in Brazil I saw the other side of the story and it is tough to actually face the children my father spoke about all the time.
Now I am trying to be more conscious about everything. May it even be small habits, for instance how long you let the water run while washing your hands.
What has been the most difficult zero-waste concept to start and work on every day, and on the contrary, what has been the easiest?
The most difficult one for me, were the cleaning products. Until I found „Sauberkasten“ and I love their concept and products.
The easiest on the other hand was the diapers for my daughter. It was easy, because it was for her. And this is actually how I started to get into the zero-waste and no plastic concepts. And now it is such an amazing feeling to change her diapers and have actually REALLY zero waste.
That feeling overcame me last week again. I was done changing her diapers and looked at her and the changing table and there was literally zero waste. Few month ago, I would have a nappy, cotton pads, changing mat all inside the trash. Now we have washable diapers, washable changing mat, washable pads to wipe her, and the lotion for wiping her is homemade. It feels amazing to know with what you are wiping your own child and that it is free of chemicals. In one of your Instagram post you mentioned the reactions of your fiancé about it. Is he onboard with your plans, and has it been hard to convince him to join? What were/are his main concerns? And how did it help you to achieve?
Oh he didn’t really have a choice! I just made the change.
I do ask him though if he likes the product better than the old ones. Some products he loved right away, e.g. bamboo toothbrush. Some product he needs to get use to it, e.g. tooth paste or hair soap bar. It is super nice to see that he actually makes some changes himself, without me even asking for it. He is clearly on board and it’s so sweet to hear him say to our daughter: “today we go shop in Karma, because there Mama can fill up our glass bottles with rice, lentils, nuts and musli. Because Mama cares about zerowaste and so do we.”
And sometimes it’s even him saying „we forgot our cotton shopping bag inside the car, let’s carry all with our hands“ You are doing some of your cosmetics/hygienic products yourself. Where do you find your inspiration, your recipes, and what have you prepared/created so far?
Instagram is my greatest inspiration. It’s so easy to follow people there and learn from them.
I first did the wiping lotion for my daughter diapers change, the next was the toothpaste, followed by some scrub for tile and sink, then some vinegar spray, liquid handwash soap, air diffuser, dishwashing powder, laundry detergent, glass cleaner and an all around cleaner, heavy duty cleaner, granite cleaner, a body lotion (which didn’t turn out good and I need to improve it).
The worst one was the hair wax I tried lately for my fiancé. We were laughing as it was impossible to use. But it’s all about trying again and learning. Deodorant is the next one on my list and then let’s see what else will catch my interest.
You are doing also a lot of yoga and keeping a healthy lifestyle. What does yoga bring into your life, and how do you connect it with sustainability?
Yoga brings wisdom, peace, patience, love and quality time to my life. I just love the way I feel during the yoga, and after. And it is interesting to learn that the older generations of yoga are also the ones that are most concerned about sustainability and teaching about the positive impact it brings.
It teaches you to appreciate what life and especially nature give you and how to be thankful for it. This alone already changes your perspective of wasting products and living a more sustainable life. What are the values you’d wish to share with your daughter?
Not to take anything for granted and appreciate our lifestyle. But most important, I hope that she will always be a happy and positive person and see the beautiful things in life. What advice would you give to people who want to do something at home for the environment?
For instance, what recipe/idea could you share so that they get started?
Just start in the supermarket. It is shocking how many of these little plastic bags we are using to put in our bananas, kiwis, apples, pears, oranges, nuts and so on. I bought reusable and washable cotton bags / tote bags and don’t use any of this plastic bags anymore you find on these rolls in front of the fruits and vegetables.
And for starters, I can really recommend “Sauberkasten”. They send all ingredients together with the recipe. It’s fun to do and so extremely easy. That’s why I manage to produce my own cleaning products.
Also there is a amazing young lady in UK having her online shop, you can find all kind of zerowaste and plastic free products. Her shop has inspired and helped me a lot! What will you do next in terms of activity, or zero-waste project, etc…?
I will keep trying out to produce more cosmetic such Deodorant. Also making a change right now of my make-up and buying a more environmentally friendly make-up. It’s from Zao and I am really liking their products and business idea. Zero-waste seems to be a never-ending project. I walk in a room and think “what can I improve here?” And then I go research and check the options. But surely this will go on for many many years until I will find myself fully zero-waste adapted. Anything else you’d wish to talk about? Here are some of my favorites sites to shop eco-friendly. As a side note, I don’t get paid for any advertisement. I just like their ideas and products and want to share them with you.
https://www.plasticfreedom.co.uk amazing got starters. Has shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrush etc
https://elephantbox.co.uk for stainless steel products to replace plastic lunch box, Tupperware, etc
https://www.ecco-verde.ch for the ZAO make-up and lots of other amazing natural bio products
https://die-besten-stoffwindeln.de for the washable diapers
https://sauberkasten.com to replace all kind of chemicals cleaning products with simple and natural and plastic free utilities
https://www.tendances-emma.fr/3-bebe For washable baby wipes, changing mat, etc
https://www.familien-bande.ch/ to replace your plastic water bottles
https://www.spiritedchild.ch Snack bags and beeswax to replace cling film
Thank you so much Marie for giving me this opportunity to reflect on this topic and to share my experience.