Low impact lifestyle in United States

By | North America, United States | No Comments

What to ask yourself before purchasing something

Before buying any sort of products, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:
1) Do I need it?
2) Do I already have something similar, can I borrow it or buy it second hand?
3) Do I really like it? As Derek Sivers says, “if it isn’t a hell yes, it is a hell no”
4) Will I get a lot of uses out of this item? If a food purchase, am I going to consume it within the next week or before its use-by date?
5) Am I buying this item as impulse or is it a thoughtful decision?

After having gone through all these questions, if you still decide to proceed with your purchase, there is also another important question, you may want to check: Has this item being made in conditions that are in line with my values and is produced locally?

Checking the ethics of the brands you are buying to ensure you are not supporting big corporations taking part in destroying the environment etc. is also key in the purchase decision.  The application Buycott helps you to better understand this aspect, suggesting you alternatives and therefore helping you to choose the products you buy knowingly.


Repairing or restyling objects

Giving your belongings a second life by repairing or restyling them instead of throwing them away, is a good way to save a lot of resources. There are many DIY out there to help you do so. So use that rainy Sunday afternoon to mend a piece of clothing or transform furniture etc.

You can also go to a repair café or a fablab in your area to get some help from volunteers and borrow the tools needed to repair your belongings.

For more complex items like high tech products, you can either contact a specialist such as The Cellphone Fix, The Apple Repair or if you feel more adventurous and want to mend it yourself, check How to repair or I fix it.

For more complex items like high tech products, you can either bring them to a specialist, such as Docteur it,


Renting, borrowing or sharing objects


If you want to borrow a beautiful dress or accessory for an event, why not renting it instead of buying something new you will only use once. This is what 1 robe pour 1 soir allows you to do.

Baby clothes and accessories

If you have young kids or babies, you may want to check My baby loc to avoid buying new items and renting them from other families instead. If your baby is growing older and you don’t know what to do of the old clothes or childcare articles, you can also use this website and post an add to have someone else renting them from you.


Public libraries are well developed in France, so you can always borrow books from there instead of buying them.

The association Les boîtes à partage focused on Lyon area is referencing all the places where people are making available objects to be borrowed.

You can also register your books on Ton book too to share them with people in your area and also get access to the books of community if you subscribe.


Buying or selling second-hand

In general, when you have an item you do not have use for anymore, consider selling it instead of letting it sit in your cupboards or worst dumping it in waste reception centres.

High tech products

Electronic products are using a lot of resources to be made. As example, 1 smartphone takes around 183kg and 1 computer 836kg. So think about buying a repurposed or second-hand equipment instead of something new to avoid wasting resources. For that, we recommend you to check BackmarketRebuy for all kinds of high tech products,  Ecodair, AFB or Commown specifically for computers and Envirofone for second-hand smartphones.

When changing for a new high tech equipment, look into selling your current one even if it is broken. Indeed, professionals might be able to repair it or at least spare parts could be reused for repairs. To do so, check Rebuy for all kinds of high tech products, Ecodair specifically for computers and Envirofone and Backmarket to sell your smartphone.


The fashion industry is one of the most harmful for the environment so buying vintage clothing and repurposing old clothes is the way to go! You can either find a thrift store, a second-hand market or an Emmaüs store in your area. Emmaüs who also happen to have now an eshop in case you didn’t want to go to one of their stores directly but they won’t have everything listed.

You can also check one of the following websites to find second-hand clothes and accessories: Vinted, which has a wide range of clothing and accessories, and Vide dressing for high-end and luxury brand items.

Your unloved clothes may make somebody else really happy. So, think about dropping the clothes that are sitting in your cupboards to your local thrift store, register to take part in a second-hand market or bring them to your local Emmaüs store.

If you find it easier, you can also sell them on Vinted or Vide dressing.

Books, CDs and DVDs

If you want to buy or sell old books, CDs and DVDs, you check for local second-hand booksellers in your area or Gibert, the French reference for second-hand books in France.


For clothing and any other random items, you can look for nearby second-hand markets as well as your local Emmaüs store or the Emmaüs eshop . You will be sure to find treasures for a ridiculously low price.

Decathlon has also created a specialist selling platform for second-hand sports, travel and outdoor products.

Finally, anything random you may look for or wish to sell, including all the above, you will probably be able to do so on ebay or Le bon coin. But be careful of scams on the later. Our recommendation however, is to sell on specialist platforms to avoid your ad ending up being lost in the mass.


Donating objects

If you can’t rent, sell or repair your items, think about donating them instead. Indeed, if you just dispose of them at waste collection centres, these will most likely end up staying in the landfill while they could have been reused or repurposed.

Books, CDs and DVDs

You can also drop some books in one of the Les boîtes à partage. These types of boxes are also available available in other areas in France but are not necessarily referenced. So just keep your eyes open for them.

Recycle livre also helps you to find the nearest collection points for your old books, CDs and DVDs.

Local libraries as well as Books without borders may also accept your old books under certain conditions.

Fashion and other textiles

Textiles and shoes that are clean, dry and non stained by paint (even if they are ripped or have other types of stains) can be dropped off at collection points to be recycled. You can find your closest collection bin on La fibre du tri or Le relais.


If you want to get rid of something you don’t like anymore, including all of the above, provided it is in a fairly good condition, you can donate it to Emmaus. There are many stores all over France you can drop it at (as the website is only in French, you can check this guide that helps you to understand how to navigate it).


Buying presents or souvenirs

When going abroad, you may feel like bringing back something from your trip as a souvenir for yourself or loved ones. Instead, consider sign-up for experiences while abroad like a local cooking or dance lesson for example. This will allow you to re-use those skills when back home. For your loved ones, what better gesture than a postcard as a way to show they your affection.

If you really want to bring back something, look into bringing back food (when authorised by customs) or supporting local artisans and businesses. Check the objects carefully and ask questions to the vendors. Besides, an easy way to identify if your purchase is ethical is to look for the Fairtrade certification. It may not be perfect but can help you make a more conscious purchase.

If you wish to buy a present for a host or someone that helped you along the way, what about always keeping with you zero waste items that could be easily be shared as gifts such as a reusable straw or bamboo toothbrush etc.? It could be a great way to introduce them to the zero waste lifestyle and have an interesting discussion on this topic. I would also recommend you to offer to do the food shopping and cook a meal for your hosts if you are staying at someone’s place. Sharing a bit of your culture through its food is a great gift![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Inspirations zero waste and eco-living in United States

By | North America, United States | No Comments


Having role models can help you progress in your ecological transition. See below a non-exhaustive list of influencers that are following or moving to a lower impact lifestyle, vegan recipes in United States.

  • Vegan chefs and recipes

Deliciously Ella
Hannah Chia
Rainbow Plant Life 

  • Zero waste lifestyle in US

Trash is for Tossers
The Zero Waste Collective
Going Zero Waste
Girl Gone Green
Zero Waste Home

  • Workshops

In NYC: Super Heroes Project – DIY workshop, Tote bag & Glass container collection and donation


Community groups and NGOs

Being part of a community can be really useful if you have a specific question, if you want to share some tips or simply if you want to meet-up with like-minded people in your area.

See below a non-exhaustive list of associations and Facebook groups. Do not hesitate to drop us a note if you know about others.

Extinction rebellion
Post Landfill Action Network

  • NYC

Lower East Side Ecology Center
Reclaimed Organics
Manhattan SWAB
Transform don’t trash NYC
NYC Zero Waste

  • California

Zero Waste California

  • Florida

The Girls Gone Green


Podcasts or other resources

The Vegan Vanguar
Green Dreamer
Hippie Haven Podcast
Salted Spirit 
Conscious chatter


Festivals and events

There are more and more eco-friendly festival and events in United States. We have captured a few below but don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you hear about other ones happening in your area in United States.

Burning Man Festival
Northeast Florida Veg Fest

Low impact eating and zero waste drinking in United States

By | North America, United States | No Comments

Zero waste food shopping

Fruits and vegetables

Buying non packaged fruits and vegetables is fairly easy in United States as, even in supermarkets, most produces are selected and weighted by consumers. You can also check if any farmers markets are happening in your area. For organic fruits and vegetables, they can be found in any food co-op across the United States, you can check the directory of the stores or buying clubs to find the closest one to you. We don’t necessarily recommend you to go to Wholefoods, even if they do have organic products as they are now owned by Amazon.

To lower your impact on the environment, we recommend you do go for local and seasonal fruits and veggies and to avoid as much as possible imported products.

Meat and dairy

In order to reduce your impact on the environment, it is better to avoid meat or dairy as well as fish or at least cut down your consumption.

Buying less but better quality meat or fish can do its part so do look for local butchers, fishmongers and cheesemongers and ask them about the origin of the products you are buying. It is also easier in these instances to bring your own containers and avoid pre-cut and packaged food.

Other food products

Bulk selling is getting more frequent and this directory helps you identify co-ops, bulk stores or stores that are allowing you to bring your own containers or offer reusable packaging all across the United States.

If you are in New York City, Elsa, our local ambassador, actually recommends you to check the 4th street food co-op as it is one of the best across the United States!

Online food shopping

An innovative service called Loop has been launched recently in the United States, allowing you to do your grocery shopping from main brands in returnable and reusable packaging.


Eating out

Vegetarian or vegan restaurants

As you probable know, stopping to consume or reducing your consumption of animal based products especially red meat, is a good way to lessen your carbon footprint. The application Happycow, helps you to identify vegan or vegetarian restaurants in your area. Marie, a New Yorker, has also created a map of vegan restaurants in NYC.

Tips for zero waste take-outs in United States

When eating out, we recommend you to always carry with you your zero waste kit with your flask, a container, a bag, a straw and cutlery to avoid single use items as much as possible.

Make sure you explain to the person preparing your meal what you are trying to do and stay close when they prepare your meal or drink to intercept a straw or else being placed out of habits in your drink etc.


Drinking zero waste

Tap water can be drunk in United States except on some rare occasions in more rural areas where it is then specified, so you can easily refill your flask anywhere. You can actually usually find refill points in most parks. The water quality in the United States is regulated by law and especially the Safe Water Drinking Act. You may still want to add a filter to improve further the quality of the water you are drinking depending on the area you stay in. There are different types of filters that will get rid of different contaminants such as activated charcoal filters.