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SUSTAINABILITY-CONSCIOUS LIVING WITH ANKE SCHMIDT

@wasteless_hero

Our daily life is completely surrounded by plastic: cosmetics, clothing and even food are often made of plastic that is not easy to recycle. But can we imagine our life being completely plastic-free? German blogger Anke Schmidt knows the solution and is ready to share her story with Staiy.

Words By Daria Müller Velasquez

January, 6th 2021

A 34-year-old blogger from Cologne and a mother of two wonderful boys, Anke Schmidt began her plastic-free journey in 2013 and has set up her own blog and online store since then. By proudly calling herself a “Wastelesshero”, she underscores her commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. On the pages of her sustainability blog, Anke shares helpful tips and tricks with her community, as well as informative and educational podcasts where she explains how anyone can start a plastic-free life of consumption. In her opinion, everything that exists in our daily life can be easily replaced with sustainable and environment-friendly goods: for example, shampoo can be replaced with rye flour, cleaning products can be made by hand, and bread can be stored in a cloth bag.

@wasteless_hero

When asked whether it was difficult to get rid of the plastic, Anke admitted that it was, especially at the very beginning of her journey. “A few years ago we did not have the options that exist in our everyday life at this moment, for instance, we couldn’t shop without plastic or use stores without packaging. I remember spending a lot of time looking for eco-friendly stores in my area! Lack of opportunity led me to decide to try some things on my own. However, even here an unforeseen circumstance arose: almost all the information available on the Internet was in English. Thus, I came up with the idea of ​​creating a blog where I could share information and make it available to anyone who speaks German. The path was long, but now we can make almost everything with our own hands. Even our own deodorant!”, shares the Cologne-based blogger. “I learned that if you mix cornstarch and lemon oil with baking soda, add water and lime oils, you can get a vegan mass that protects well against sweat and odor.” emphasizes Anke.

Reflecting on whether it is difficult to lead a sustainable life in Cologne, Anke explains that nowadays it is very easy, because thanks to Germany’s focus on sustainable consumption, many shops, which offer their customers products without packaging, appeared on the market. “In our area there are several sustainable and fair fashion stores where we often buy our clothes that cannot be bought in second-hand stores, such as underwear or sportswear. Additionally, there is now the opportunity to rent areas where you can grow your own food, and only around Cologne can be counted about four of such places. Me and my partner often go there on a bicycle with our two children, bring our seeds and plant them in the fields. All we have to do is water and care for our seeds so that later they can turn into delicious organic food”, continues Anke.

@wasteless_hero

“It is also important to understand that if you have children, you can only be 90% sustainable…”

But like everywhere else in metropolitan areas, life in a big city as Cologne may not always be sustainable, especially when you have kids. “It is also important to understand that if you have children, you can only be 90% sustainable, because you cannot have a 100% sustainable-conscious life with children,” notes Anke. Even after her family stopped using plastic and then dedicated themselves to zero waste, and later on decided to go vegan and eat only organic foods, there are still times when she has to buy products that contain plastic. “What is not easy to replace is make-up,” says the blogger. In addition, medicines and electrical goods almost always contain plastic.

“Sometimes it’s important to stop and think: do I really want this? And how will this affect our planet?”

“Sustainability plays a crucial role in my life” continues Anke. “It means to be sustainable to myself, to take care of my body and mind without being overwhelmed with intense working hours like I used to be before”. Anke strives to show her audience how important it is to ask questions at the time when we make any decisions, because what we do or eat depends on our own choices. “Sometimes it’s important to stop and think: do I really want this? And how will this affect our planet?” emphasizes Anke.

The sustainably-conscious native of Cologne already offers a small selection of eco-friendly alternatives for everyday life in her own online store where most of the products are made in Germany. For example, washable panty liners and make-up removal pads. Talking about the future, Anke shares with Staiy her plans to expand her store even more and educate the community that would like to start a sustainable path but still has a doubt on where to start.