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Instead of using a commercial cleaning agent, mix baking soda and vinegar in a tub and use it to clean the shower. This is just one of the hygiene steps that our super sustainable students did last week. “It cleans better than other cleaning agents. And a few drops of essential oil will make it smell nice too,” concludes Roos. “Now it smells like vinegar …”
Kim discovers that there are only two sustainable options in a whole supermarket shelf of cleaning agents. And how do you even know what sustainable even is? “That’s hard to see,” says Bart. “We look at the eco labels and at the ingredients. But not all sustainable products have an eco label and it is not always clear what the eco label stands for. This could be improved by a universal rating system such as we have for energy labels (A-G).”
‘I don’t want to feel guilty’
Shorter showers this week is another challenge. A one minute shorter shower won’t help as much as a water saving shower head. So why don’t the students buy one? “We all live in rented rooms or rented houses,” says Bart. “So you can’t always replace a shower head or buy a more sustainable heating system. What we are doing now are things that everyone can do that help.”
Hanne lives in a DUWO house in Leiden where the washing machines are in a shared space. “The only thing you can control is the temperature and whether you want perfumed or unperfumed detergent. I don’t know if it’s sustainable detergent,” she says. “One good thing is that not everyone buys their own washing machine. If DUWO would buy sustainable detergent, the laundry of 1,000 people would be sustainable in one go without them minding.”
Apart from hygiene, the students are still eating more consciously. How’s that going? “I had a vegan meal with one of my flatmates. It was tasty, but the vegan cheese was really expensive,” says Bart. Roos is eating less and less meat. “I am cooking more often and only eat meat if I eat out.” The Saint Nicholas festive season will be tricky for the students. “It’s really hard to find vegan sweets,” says Bart. Roos tells him about a shop where they do sell vegan sweets.
What the students find challenging is to constantly think about everything. “At a certain point I even started to feel guilty,” says Hanne. “At that point I felt that this project was going too far. I don’t want to feel guilty.” Next week the group will look into sustainable clothing, not only in terms of buying clothes, but also using them. How can you make sure that your clothes last longer?
- Do you have any tips or questions for Kim, Roos, Hanne, Bart and Julia? Mail the editors or leave a reaction on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. And make sure to check out the previous vlog.