Daniel, who has decided to live by "producing" as little garbage as possible: "Minimalism is my philosophy"


I grew up in a healthy family - we always respected nature, my grandfather raised bees (until he got old a few years ago), and my mother kept saying - garbage must be collected! Throwing anywhere is wrong.

1) Some people are taught to sort, to think about the environment, to save the environment from an early age - they grow up in such families - while others have a "turning point" at some point in their lives? What is your case?

I grew up in a healthy family - we always respected nature, my grandfather raised bees (until he got old a few years ago), and my mother kept saying - garbage must be collected! Throwing anywhere is wrong.

Then, after 24 years of living with your parents, you move into your own home. And you find that even your parents, who know a lot, don't notice everything. They miss this one. For example, they buy a lot of plastic (but at least they sort it, which is great), they eat a lot of animal food, they throw away a lot of food waste, they use their cars for every trip...

...I'm not saying that my parents are somehow bad. No, they do enough already! So I've noticed that I can do less of these ecological poisons myself. And it all starts with yourself, doesn't it?

2) What do you think can change a person's behaviour and attitude? Most people are aware of the terrible statics of pollution, the threat of climate warming and so on. But the habit of dropping litter or buying an ordinary plastic bag remains.

Unfortunately, I don't think the gruesome illustrations will help.

Similarly, when it comes to veganism, only a very small minority of people have become vegan (which, by the way, is also an ecological philosophy that encompasses much more than just diet) after seeing the horrific images of animal farms in Lithuania.

Unfortunately, we become immune to intimidation. Like the hundredth time you hear an advert on the radio about safe driving, you just change the channel and that's it.

So, I believe we should share ideas! And positive support, encouraging manufacturers to develop eco-degradable packaging (which is, by the way, one of the European Union's missions for 2030 - I'm very happy about that), and sharing with friends how to live without creating so much useless rubbish.

The problem is below - green solutions are not chosen because they don't realise how easy it is!

...And also, some people try to make their everyday life happier with their purchases. It's like buying happiness by having a phone with a number one higher in the model name. Throw the old one in the bin, of course! Wasting the resources used to create it.

So here are 3 things: share these good ideas with your friends, try it yourself, and encourage producers who care about nature.

For example, nobody asked me, but I'm happy to take the opportunity to announce - there are fantastic vegan frozen meatballs called "Pupuliai". Not only are they tasty (of course), but the packaging is eco-degradable! I recommend these to almost every friend I meet!

3) How did we get interested in the Zero Waste philosophy? What inspired us?

Oh, it was really prompted by a girl I had a crush on. It's a silly story - I got involved and it turns out she didn't want a longer relationship. But the idea that I could live greener, and maybe even completely without rubbish, stuck!

4) Zero Waste has different "models". What are you most focused on? What are the key highlights, principles? Complete absence of plastic, substitution by glass, etc.?

I have published a book about a productive, happy lifestyle: 'The Sloth Manifesto'. And in it, I mention perhaps the most important philosophy of my life - minimalism.

What is minimalism?

It's all about picking what matters most. You can't have, do and get everything (unfortunately), so why not enjoy what's best?

So here's what I think is the best way to avoid creating rubbish don't bloody buy them!

Yes, yes, you want new shoes badly... But will they solve the reasons for your dissatisfaction? Especially when you already have at least a pair of shoes for every kind of weather? And what's the point of a new phone if you only use it for calls and Facebook anyway? What the hell is the point of buying a car if you only drive 5 kilometres at most and can use a Citybee or other travel alternative for the rest of the journey?

So: Do I really need it?

Sometimes it takes much less than the satisfaction of the moment. And I understand that it might result in fewer sales (so fewer people buy my books, less VAT is collected by the state...), but a meaningless purchase is meaningless. It is better to spend money on something that is of good quality, durable, and really well thought out.

And when you don't buy rubbish, you've basically done a great job! Now try using reusable cloth bags (handy because they don't tear!), buying products in paper packaging... or whatever the future holds.

Perhaps in the future, plastic will no longer be so terribly harmful to the environment. So the fundamental question of minimalism is "Do I really need it?" will remain.

5) We often hear about different challenges - a week's rubbish in a jar or a month's rubbish on the balcony. Have you had any of these yourself? Can you tell us about them?

Oh yes! For the whole month of January, I lived without rubbish. Well, I tried to live without it. As I saw, 100% couldn't survive without creating anything. But it was fun! I invited a few friends and acquaintances, and together we exchanged ideas on Facebook about how to replace the usual cat litter, where to find bread that isn't in plastic, whether it's worth giving up paper towels...

As I saw it - there is plastic all over. And a hell of a lot!

But I'm glad that I discovered the joys of material bags (instead of plastic ones), I tried the Lithuanian Solidu shampoo, which is made without water, and can be bought just wrapped in paper like soap... Actually, I wrote a lot more about this (with links to pages full of Zero Waste ideas) in my blog Debesyla.lt! This story can be found here. (https://debesyla.lt/menuo-be-siuksliu/)

6) Does your family live by similar principles? How do you deal with relatives who do not respect these principles - do you moralise or ignore them?

Oh, they don't live so zero waste themselves yet. So I love these people - it's only through positive support, I believe, that change happens!

7) People often cite infrastructure as one of the reasons for not sorting. How do you see it in Lithuania?

For spawning? Yes, it's true - infrastructure is a problem.

Partly because of education - some people think that if one lorry comes to pick up the rubbish, they put it all in one compartment, when in fact the current rubbish trucks and sorting systems separate everything - it's certainly not a pointless sorting. It takes no time (literally throwing it in the second bin under the sink) and the benefits are enormous!

It's a problem when you don't get the chance to sort.

For example, in our family we didn't sort for a long time because there was no sorting container service for private houses in Kaunas. As soon as it was available, we took it and we are happy, because sorting costs even less! Thanks to Kauno švarai. I hope that they will not change this policy of positive support in the future.

But the situation is improving. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the distant parts of Lithuania, but at least in the cities there should be enough. Enough already!

8) What does your house look like, how many different bins do you have for sorting? What other tricks do you use when shopping, collecting rubbish, recycling or sorting?

I currently have two bins - one for plastic and one for food waste.

What's fun is that I've learnt how to eat in such a way that there is practically no food waste. I just eat it all... Ha. That food waste bin is mostly empty. Then there's the plastic bin - which, because I don't buy a lot of plastic products, I don't fill up either. I put paper in a separate drawer - as I heat my house with solid fuel, at least in the winter time, everything gets collected during the year - I don't have to look for something extra for the crib.

Hmm... That's it! When you don't buy rubbish, there's nothing to throw away. When you think about it, there's nothing to throw away. What remains is the joy of doing something good not only for myself but also for the environment.

9) What are your goals for the future on this issue?

I would really like to drive less! So far, I've even used it for those 5 kilometres. But, hey, I have a bike, which I used to take out so rarely... So, for a few weeks now, at the moment, I've been cycling to my jobs in the city and home. It's easy, it's nice, and I'm glad that Kaunas has more and more cycle paths. And they say it's quite healthy to move - nice!

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