Blazhka Dimitorva is the winner in our campaign for Bulgaria’s Young and Successful Women. She’s not only charming but also an inspiring social entrepreneur who started Bulgaria’s first zero-waste restaurant. The Zero Waste initiative is also one of her world-changing projects. She has worked on numerous causes and initiatives to promote the idea of lowering waste throughout the world. In the next articles, we’ll have the pleasure to introduce you to a few exciting ideas on lowering waste that you can use both at home and at the office.
Beach, sand, sun, cigarette buns, plastic cups… That’s the reality of the true summer vacation we get at the Black Sea beaches these last years. The situation is both sad and dark. The good news is that we can start changing that as of right now. So pack your stuff, put your flip flops in the bag and get a ticket because we are about to change the way we treat our seas forever. In particular, we’re talking about the top 5 items you shouldn’t miss on taking with you on the beach this summer while reducing your waste drastically.
1. Reusable Straws
Cocktails, frappes, juices, and smoothies are a must during the hot summer days. Some of them require a straw, others don’t. But one thing is certain. Straws are everywhere we look especially around beach retreats. Barmans frequently use more than one straw per cup to create a more appealing decoration. Add a plastic umbrella or a tiny cherry sword and the cup already contains more plastic and chemicals than a real drink. All of those go straight to the sea and ocean where they degrade to microplastics which eventually finds its way into the tummies of big and small fish, sea birds and other marine creatures. If this doesn’t scare you enough, think about all the fish we eat at dinner, all “well-nurtured” with a hefty dose of plastic. Today, we have a few alternatives ranging from bamboo, paper, wheat and metal straws. Steel straws are the best alternative yet. You can find these in any eco-focused shops all over the internet. Steel straws come in different shapes and forms as well as a handy cleaning brush. Cleaning itself takes less than a minute with warm water. When you order your next cold drink on the beach don’t forget to warmly say “No straw please. I bring my own.”. You’ll find yourself proudly taking that luxury looking eco-friendly accessory out of your bag. Looks and sighs of interest will definitely come afterwards.
2. Reusable cup
The cold drink you just ordered can also be served in your own special cup. Plastic cups that people use for everything from beer to coffee are a true horror for nature and our inner microbiome. Have you heard a whale has been found recently with over 250 plastics in its tummy? Yuck!
Take your own cup and start ordering your drinks in it. There is a wide range of reusable cups in the market. Bamboo, steel, and glass are the usual materials. My favourite cup is a glass jar from one of my daughter’s baby purée servings. It has its own cap which prevents the liquid from spilling. You can find a wide array of options on the web or around your local market. The choice is yours.
3. Reusable bottle
I would actually put this one in the first place because having your own reusable bottle is the minimum requirement you have to follow to stop throwing away bottle after bottle of mineral prepacked water this summer. Start filling up your bottle with water straight from the tap or choose a favourite mineral water source around you. Bulgaria’s tap water is safe to drink without any filtering which is a huge plus. We promise you at least 200 lv saved in your pocket per year if you stop buying water. I got my favourite reusable bottle here. You can also buy from eco-friendly shops. You can also get a special thermo bottle with a double steel layer that keeps the temperature for up to 24 hours. Cool, isn’t it?
4. Reusable Food Box
Getting hungry on the beach is inevitable after a good dose of tanning and swimming. Bring your own food, either fresh or home-cooked in a special box. You’ll save tons of money on food packs, plastic bags and plastic boxes which easily get damaged after a few uses. Larger plastics actually don’t break down in the ocean and stay as they are. They also are not fit for recycling so not stimulating manufacturing altogether is the best option.
If you’ve been to Bulgaria’s beach resorts you’ve probably seen people sell boiled salty corn. Just hang them over your box and ask them to place your corn in it instead of using a plastic plate. If you wish to order fried potatoes and fish chips bring your box out of the bag. You’ll get used to it so quickly that you won’t think about plastic alternatives altogether. The advantages of having a reusable food box are that if you don’t eat everything on the plate you can easily save it for later.
5. Homemade Organic Sunscreen Cream
If you don’t want to get a sunburn after a long day on the beach you should always wear sunscreen lotion. Yet 75% of the lotions on the market cause skin irritations and contain numerous toxic chemicals so it’s hard to pick between sunburn and an allergic reaction ( or even skin cancer ).
Let’s leave these unpleasantries behind us. There are plenty of eco-friendly sunscreen options these days. A great and easily accessible option is The Sunblock by Lush. You can also mix your own, but be careful.
Voila! You’re ready for a fresh, zero-waste summer!