Are you quite mad? A Zero Waste journey in Bangkok? …..

It’s been quite over a year now, that I started to aim for a Zero Waste Lifestyle in a city of over 14 million inhabitants – Bangkok. I still get the odd looks and questions why I would even think of something like that, when life could be lived so much easier… And I agree that it sounds mad, but it has become one of the most rewarding journeys in my life.

Here goes my story….

I have always considered myself quite “green” taking my reusable bag and bottle with me everywhere. (“I must have been hallucinating”…) I remember that going on vacation with friends and hubby last year to Koh Pangan was the first time, I took a closer look to what I found on the beaches and roads around me. Of course, I have seen the waste issues around Bangkok many times, but never really questioned it until I was on vacation that time April, 2015. I guess, it really opened my eyes and made me think. How plastic or wasteful had my life become?

Taking a closer look at my own waste – September 2015


I was blown away by my own waste production… Packaging of all kinds (food packaging, cleaning products, beauty and menstrual items, etc.) I was part of this ever-growing consumer circle not realizing the impact of my own carbon foot print. This is when I started to re-evaluate my life again:

  • Plastic bottles, bags and Straws had already been banned for as long as I can remember!!!!!!
  • Packaged food items: I banned Styrofoam from my home knowing that this is one of the worst pollution items as we cannot upcycle or recycle it!! This required a re-thinking process for both of us, but it was an immediate change we could implement right away.
  • Local food markets replaced packaged fruit and vegetable items… I couldn’t believe that I had developed such a bad habit. Living in Bangkok, we have plenty of local food markets, where one can shop without plastic wrapping, if you bring your own bags..
  • Bathroom: The Oil Cleansing Method replaced my endless supply of facial cleaners with a few simple steps… It was amazing to discover how much money I spent on chemical cleansers and moisturizers and now I wouldn’t go back…., Homemade toothpaste and deodorant, Shower gels were replaced by Bar soaps, Shampoo (still struggling to find a better solution), Conditioner – Apple cider vinegar, which has so many different uses, Sanitary towels by a menstruation cup, Plastic toothbrushes became Bamboo toothbrushes, …..

Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 10.21.09 AM

  • Household Cleaning Materials: All non-sense cleaning products in plastic containers were replaced by the old and common recipes from the past, … Vinegar, baking soda and lemons have been doing an amazing job, Soap nuts have become my new best friend in the laundry department and the list continues…..


Of course, all these changes didn’t happen overnight. Its been an adaptation process over this past year and a lot more has happened/ changed, which I am proud of.

So I want to finish my post today with a quote from from Bea Johnson (Author “Zero Waste home):

“Start small. Start anywhere. It feels good because it’s the right thing to do – and that’s contagious.”




11 thoughts on “Are you quite mad? A Zero Waste journey in Bangkok? …..

  1. Great job! Your journey is somewhat like mine is. Just slowly waking up to the amount of waste we produce. I’ve tackled the bathroom, but not cleaning supplies quite yet. I’ve heard good things about soap nuts.


    1. Hi Katy, thanks for connecting and sharing about your own experience… love that we seem to share a similar path. Its all pretty much work in progress, which doesn’t stop… My wake-up call came during a trip to Koh Pangan in April 2015, where I couldn’t believe all the trash I found on what they call “paradise” island… every trip to more islands in Asia opened my eyes even more and that’s when I started to look at my own waste… I love soap nuts… they can be so useful for laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, etc… even when you are finished with them, you can blend them together with coffee grinds and make a beautiful body scrub out of them… Mother nature has provided us with all the tools and we just ignored them for too many years…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I love the quote at the end by Bea – it just seems so accurate and relevant! We don’t have to be “zero” immediately. The important step is to start somewhere!


    1. Dear Jenica, glad you liked my story… Its wonderful to connect with like-minded people around the world. Bea Johnson has been an inspiration on the way… Currently trying to learn more about the Asian way of doing things… lots of local wisdom, which is truly a remarkable experience…


  3. I think sometimes people who do not live a ZW lifestyle read these blogs and become simply overwhelmed. But that’s because we are pretty well set up already to live this lifestyle, and we have made many many changes over a long period of time. I remember the VERY first thing I started doing was composting. Then came reusable water bottle and travel mug. Then came handkerchiefs and soap bars. And then and then and then. Bit by bit. Change one small thing. And then just keep going 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Nadine, thank you very much for your reply. I have just discovered that the replies on my posts require approval.. I apologize for the delay. Really enjoyed reading your feedback about your own experience. I have started this journey now over a year ago and living in a plastic addicted city like Bangkok is a daily challenge. No matter how hard I prepare, it doesn’t always work out 100%, but the learning experience in the process is valuable. When I was in Germany this summer, life was a bit easier as we have two bulk stores in my city and lots more alternatives. However, living in bangkok has provided me with the opportunity to share my story and create new opportunities… Composting for me has also a become a major change factor as in Asia about 64% of waste is food waste… I have had my first batches of beautiful compost, which gets me really excited these days… This path has returned full happiness into my life and I’m grateful for it…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s the feeling I get when I give talks and workshops. People feel overwhelmed…. I always suggest to take a mindful approach and start with what would be easiest to change.


    1. Dear Estelle, someone bought them for me in Chinatown, however not the same as the ones I had bought in Bali two years ago. I have received another contact from Chiang Mai, which I will try.


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