Within walking distance of where I live, I can purchase dry goods in bulk, package-free soap, charcoal water filters, and a few other, but by no means all, package-free versions of the things that I eat and use daily. My city doesn't offer municipal compost pickup, but because Chicago is so large and the demand is there, I'm able to choose from several affordable compost pickup services. These factors make living nearly waste-free possible for me.
Many people have access to better zero waste resources like bulk stores in compost options in their areas than I do; many, many more people probably have access to fewer zero waste resources. So much of what you're able to do to reduce your waste depends on whether there's a culture of and facilities for shopping sustainably, composting, and recycling. So while some of the tips on zero waste blogs like mine apply universally, some certainly don't, and it can be more helpful to connect with people who live close to you.
To that end, here are a few of my favorite zero waste or simple living blogs or accounts based in countries other than the United States. Even if none of these is near you, they still offer beautiful perspectives on what it looks like to live simply and sustainably around the world. And this list is by no means exhaustive - if you have other favorites, would you share them in the comments?
Paris To Go is the queen of the long, in-depth, research-backed post; writer Ariana lived in Paris until recently and shares all her resources for living waste-free there. See all her posts about Paris here, or start here for a post that rang true to me of late. In the UK, Little Birdie features stories about slowing down and spending time outside, with photographs that always make me want to head straight out the door for a long walk. She's not zero waste per se, but her practical and creative approach to eating seasonally, shopping thoughtfully, and using plants inside the home for decoration is a good one. In Turkey, Amira Made takes beautiful photographs of her simple, minimalist home and talks about how she approaches zero waste.
My friend Rachel of The Foraged Life recently moved to South Africa, where she posts about living sustainably, adventuring outdoors, and working toward environmental justice. It's so good to watch her navigate her new country and learn more about life in South Africa. Amira lived in Libya until recently and started the group Zero Waste Libya. I'm not sure they're active anymore, but their accounts still offer resources for the area - visit them on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
In the Philippines, Dani shares snippets of her life and her zero waste / simple living challenges and victories on her Instagram account - her photographs make sustainable choices look even cooler than you already thought they were.
Allison of Zero Waste Vancouver has the best tips for where to shop, eat, and compost in the area, and is generous with her expertise. I haven't read much of PAREdown home's blog yet, but it looks like if you live in Canada they offer incomparable lists of resources for where to find what you need.
I love reading stories about how sustainability efforts are different around the world and yet in many ways so similar - we have lots to learn from each other. It's crucial that we choose to build bridges with people who live in other countries. While we watch governments deny the science of climate change and do less than they should, we can work on growing a worldwide culture that chooses and demands sustainability.
If nobody listed above lives near you or you want to find more resources in your area, you can find a larger list of zero waste blogs around the world here, complete with an interactive map. Or, if you're planning a trip you can always reach out to a zero waste blogger in the area for tips on composting and grocery shopping, or just to find great local places to eat or visit. And for a few more ideas on building a zero waste community near you, I shared a few tips for how I approach it here.
Photograph from my trip to Ireland last year. I was so happy to find that the areas we visited were really good about food scrap collection for composting. PS - more from Amira coming up on Monday, stay tuned.