You found out about Zero Waste Lifestyle and this new way of living resonates with your values. But since there so many resources out there (blogs and books for example) and a lot of recipes for things to make from scratch it can be somewhat overwhelming in the beginning.
Before you start digging in your trash can, make sure to separate your organic waste. You can buy a fancy compost bin somewhere or simply use a bucket with a lid. This bucket or bin you put next to your trash can and all organic waste goes in there except for meat and bones. So any type of veggie or fruit peels or cores, food left overs, egg shells but also coffee grounds, tea (without the tea bag), even the cardboard rolls from toilet paper.
Now find a way to getting rid of the contents and that will greatly depend on what’s available in your area. Hopefully you can get a green bin. Or even better you’ve got a garden and can make a compost. If not, maybe a worm bin is for you. If all those options aren’t for you, maybe you can find a friendly neighbor who has and would be willing to take green scraps from you. Also look for larger gardens in the area, maybe there is a compost option there?
We’ve grown used to disposable products up to the point that we’re not even realizing how much waste they create. Find the disposable products that you are using and consider switching to a reusable alternative. For example handkerchiefs: Maybe you can find some lovely cloth handkerchiefs at your local 2nd hand store, or maybe your grandma still has some she could share with you. Another example for a disposable item often used is the plastic straw. There are reusable alternatives made from bamboo, glass and metal. The plastic shopping bag is also one disposable item that can easily be replaced with a reusable alternative. Or those plastic ear swaps! There even reusable ear swaps available made from bamboo.
There are often things in our homes that we either bought in the past or received as a gift, that we don’t use any longer. That happens with clothing and other things like electronics and toys and kitchen tools. Pick a time and date for your first decluttering session, like for example 2 hours on Sunday. And then review all the pieces of clothing in your closet. All of them. And for each item, ask yourself if you really need it. Or if you in reality wear it. Some things we just keep because they were gifted to us and we would feel guilty not keeping them. But there might be another person out there would absolutely wear those pieces. So maybe you can let go of them?
After the decluttering session you might have a bundle of things that you’re willing to let go. Now you can either try to sell them online, give something to friends or find a nice 2nd hand shop where you can donate them. There is a list of 2nd hand shops and also online places where you can sell things in this Guide to Zero Waste in Haarlem.
When you’ve managed to find a nice 2nd hand shop make it a habit to look here for things you need. Many tools for the kitchen and books and toys can easily be found in 2nd hand shops. And if you have kids, 2nd hand shops will save you a ton of money since kids are growing like weeds and need new clothes all the time.
Everything is easier together. Once you’ve done the steps above, you’ll be ready to look into the details, product by product. It can take time to find a good alternative solution for so many things but if you find a group of people that are on the same look out, you can help each other out. So maybe consider joining a Zero Waste Group. There is one specific for Haarlem and one for Amsterdam. Both are in English. If you’re looking for a Zero Waste Group in Dutch, have a look at Zero waste/less waste Nederland.
- Switch from liquid soap and shower gel to soap bars. You can even ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottle and use shampoo bars and conditioner bars which your hair will love.
- Rethink your dental care. There are lots of options to get rid of the plastic in that area too: Bamboo toothbrush, plastic free floss, plastic free toothpaste and powder…. Click here for zero waste dental care.
- And how about plastic free deodorant (also vegan and free of any nasty ingredients btw.)
One important point to always keep in mind:
Don’t get stressed out in the process! You don’t have to be perfect, it is not a contest.
Every thing you can change for the better is just that: it’s better!
A word upfront: This page is work in progress.
This is a growing guide for eco-friendly living and going zero waste in Haarlem. It will be updated and added to. So it’s worth checking back again over time. And if you happen to know a location or business that would fit well on this list, just let me know.
If you’re a business owner and would like to be considered for this list, send me a message as well.
Second Handshops in Haarlem
This is simply an amazing place! You’ll find here preowned Materials for handcrafts including paint, buttons, fabric, paper… a ton of stuff. Please check it out! And you can also donate materials! Link
Thrift Rataplan Haarlem
Bijna Gratis Markt
This 2nd hand shop is across the street from Rataplan Zijlstraat. It’s smaller but they have really nice finds there. So if you go to Rataplan, definitely stop by at Bijna Gratis Markt as well! Link
Mph || Marktplaats Helper
Large second hand shop with furniture in good shape. They don’t seem to have a website but here is the google link.
Kringloopwinkel Paleis Noord
One of the genuin thriftstores in Haarlem: good prices, she supports several charities as well as the community and has true heart! Link
Lovely little kids clothing 2nd hand store in the city center with good quality products. Link
Buy things packaging free
Simon Lévelt coffee and Tea
Good bread and pastry and you are welcome to use your own bags. Link
Sogno di pasta
Bring your own container for different types of fresh and packaging free pasta, ravioli and variety of olives. There is also a selection of olive oil on tap available. Bring your own clean bottle or get one there. You’ll get a discount each time your bring a bottle. Link
oodles and pinches
An ever growing range of Zero Waste Products for bathroom, cleaning, kitchen, baby, on the go… Find vegan & cruelty, plastic free, natural products and as local as possible. Check out the Market Day page to find the oodles and pinches market stand in Haarlem.
Check out the shop: Link
Packaging free cosmetic products with wide range of soaps and bath bombs. Not every ingredient is natural though so check the ingredients list. They welcome customers with their own containers. Link
Zero Waste Haarlem
Definitely join this group! You can ask questions, get inspiration, find events and likeminded people for Zero Waste Lifestyle topics specific to Haarlem. Link
Buy & Sell Amsterdam
Huge group with mostly English offers. Link
Gratis spullen gezocht en aangeboden in Haarlem
Dutch group for things that are given away for free. You can also ask if someone wants to give away what you’re looking for. Link
Gratis af te halen
Dutch group for free things. Link
Haarlem Buy & Sell
Mostly English in this group. Buy or Sell products in Haarlem. Link
Zero Waste Blogs
|Waste Land Rebel||wastelandrebel.com||English and German|
|Zero Waste Home||zerowastehome.com||English|
|Trash is for Tossers||trashisfortossers.com||English|
|Going Zero Waste||goingzerowaste.com||English|
|Het Zero Waste Project||hetzerowasteproject.nl||Dutch|
Other helpful web links:
World overshoot day Learn more about world overshoot day, our resources and how to make it better. Link
There is even a calculator where you can calculate your own personal overshoot day. Link
Hautschutzengel: Find out what’s in your cosmetic products. This page is inGerman but google translate can translate it for you. Either find the product in there or add a product and then you can see how good the ingredients are for your body. Link