Where to begin in 2024

Sophie Gorissen, 29-1-2024


Dear Life Enjoyers,

In my first blog, I talked about the idea of considering clothing as a long-term commitment. This means that I try to think about the reason for a sale, donate clothes I do not wear to a “kettingkledingruil” (a chain of clothing exchange in Oosterhout) to give them a second life, and look for second-hand stores first when I need a new piece of clothing. However, let’s be honest, I do not ALWAYS follow this practice. Sometimes I make purchases without thinking about alternatives, such as when I am in a hurry, desperately want something, or succumb to peer pressure. Recently, I did go to H&M a few times to buy a new December dress, a sports legging, and a going-out top. So, although I am not perfect, I am trying to be conscious of my choices and do the best I can. The second semester is starting next week already so let´s talk about 2024!

Buying clothes can be tough, but it is not my main concern because I do not enjoy shopping that much and do not buy that many clothes anyway. Therefore, this year I want to focus on finding the best way to eat for me in this world. I am not planning to go vegan, but I am looking for a more moderate approach. I already minimize dairy because I am intolerant to it, and I enjoy cooking vegetarian. Last month I went to a restaurant for a shared dinner. To start with I shared one fish, one meat, and one veggie dish. Against my expectations, the veggie dish, a glazed cauliflower was the best! Vegetarian dishes can be so tasty, they maybe only need a little bit more spices and effort. However, my biggest struggle is wasting leftover food and having vegetables go bad before I can eat them. I would love to learn how to plan and preserve my meals better! During the Global Entrepreneurship Week of 2023, Jamie Crummie, the co-founder of Too Good To Go, explained that households produce the most food waste, so we need to catch the problem there.

Furthermore, I want to make a conscious effort to reduce my usage of single-use plastic and cartons. To achieve this, I have gathered a variety of reusable products such as Tupperware, reusable sandwich bags, a tea and coffee tumbler, food huggers, bag clips, and a foldable grocery bag. However, I should note that I still use aluminum foil and clingfilm for certain items such as oddly shaped vegetables, as I feel it is unavoidable in those situations. I always carry my reusable grocery bag and coffee tumbler with me wherever I go (okay maybe not to a club), so I never have to purchase a single-use bag or cup. With these products, it’s much easier to cut down on single-use plastic usage, or any single-use for that matter.

In 2024 I also want to discover packaging-free shopping. Some stores are starting to offer this, for example, the specialty coffee and thee shop Simon Lévelt: you can bring your own can and they fill it with your loose tea or (freshly ground) coffee beans. And with the rise of package-free supermarkets, such as Elemental Eco in Breda, we could say goodbye to unnecessary packaging for certain products. But even something as simple as bringing our own bags to the market, such as the one on Saturday at Koningsplein in Tilburg, can make a huge difference.

Last month, I moved to Mannheim, Germany for my second semester. Although Germany is known for its organic grocery stores and vegan options, I find it more challenging than I thought to maintain a sustainable diet. Also, I forgot to bring my Dutch favorite sandwich spreads, such as ‘appelstroop’ or ‘100% natural pindakaas’, and the Germans love their sandwiches with cheese and ham, for example. So I am also trying to find a way to snack and lunch more sustainable here. This does not only feel important for environmental reasons but also for my health and finances (sustainable lifestyle in every meaning of the word). My first idea is to start planning and preparing my meals and snacks on the weekends since everything, except museums, is closed on Sundays here. This is going back to my point of planning meals. I will probably discuss more about the German lifestyle and food choices in the future. For now, I wanted to share my daily struggle for a sustainable lifestyle and my intentions for 2024.

Speaking of 2024, this year there are many international sustainability conferences planned. You can check them out via this link: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/towards-sustainability-look-ahead-environmental-moments-2024 . A few international days worth noting are:

  • 30 March: International Day of Zero Waste
  • 22 April: International Mother Erath Day
  • 22 May: International Day of Biological Diversity
  • 5 June: World Environment Day
  • 29 September: International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

The upcoming blogs will dive into each intention I mentioned separately. I would love to hear what your sustainable intentions or resolutions are for 2024, and maybe what you think of mine. If you would like to help me or brainstorm with me about the best option, feel free to reach out. Have a beautiful and sustainable year!


Sophie, your sustainable choice supporter.