Living Zero Waste & Eco- Friendly in a Big City

I live in Glasgow – the biggest city in Scotland and in my opinion one of the most interesting & vibrant. There are so many things to see and do, many of them free. From musesums, to shows and literally any kind of restaurant or café you can think of (including many vegan ones) it is the ideal place to base yourself in Scotland. There are even some zero-waste shops here (which I am going to write a post on shortly!) and there is usually always some sort of vegan festival or event happening here. But coming from a suburb in the outskirts of Aberdeen where it seems to be a lot easier to recycle things I’m going to go through some main points here on how we can do better to live zero-waste in bigger cities.

green trash bin on green grass field
Photo by on


Go out of your way to find zero-waste products

This is definitely easier said than done and I completely acknowledge that, however it’s kind of what comes with going zero-waste and trying to buy more responsibly. It’s just a fact that supermarkets don’t have a huge range of unpackaged food yet so it’s inevitable that going out of your way to do shopping is going to happen.

A quick Google search (or Ecosia if you want to plant trees each time you search!) can lead you to many interesting shops, farmers markets and events where you can buy zero-waste produce. In Glasgow there are loads of farmers markets, mostly on weekends, where you can go and buy in season fruit & veg plus loads of other things. I bet every big city has one so have a browse on the internet to see if you can find anything!

brown and green mountain view photo
Photo by Christian Heitz on

Going out of your way to recycle…

Yep, this is a sad but true fact! Who would of thought it would be sooo difficult to recycle when you live in a city centre? I have lived in 2 flats where recycle bins weren’t even available anywhere near us and would have required a car to take the recycling to the nearest bin. We spent over 2 years not really recycling and felt sooo guilty about it, we even got onto the council a few times but nothing was done. I can’t believe that in one of the busiest cities in the UK that recycling would be so hard. Although the flat I’m in now does accept recycling, they don’t accept glass bottles or jars and there’s no way for us to get those to a recycling bin without a car. So I’ve planned to buy as little glass as possible and reuse any glass I do have, it’ll be challenging but life is all about adapting to new situations!

Making others aware of the options that we have for zero-waste and eco-friendly shopping!

Because I’m really into the environmentally friendly/zero-waste lifestyle I sometimes forget that other people haven’t really been exposed to it. Remember to be kind when you’re reminding someone of how they can live in a way where they’re minimising their impact on the environment. Leading by example is definitely an effective way to do things, when people see you doing new things they often ask questions which can bring up the subject and allow you to educate others on important issues in a friendly way. There is no need to be condescending about things!

Ditch the car if you can!

photography of roadway during dusk
Photo by Jiarong Deng on

I decided not to take a car with me to Glasgow… the pollution is already prominent enough that I don’t think it needs another diesel car contributing to it. There’s really no need for a car unless you’re work is in an awkward location or you go away a lot (which I do, but I have friends who can usually take me). If you can’t entirely ditch your car at least try to car share when possible! It’s also fun to take the train and bus to new places as you often get to see a new landscape… aaaaand you don’t have to worry about having a drink when you’re out!

That’s all my tips done for just now, but I’ll probably think of more later! Check out my other sustainability posts such as reducing your carbon footprint & 5 affordable things to know before living a sustainable lifestyle! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for other ways to live more eco-friendly or zero waste in the city or if you can help me with my recycling problem!

Ailsa xxx


A Zero Waste Skincare Routine You Can Try Out!

Although I’ve established a zero-waste skincare routine recently, byy no means am I a skincare expert. I’ve never had more than 2 or 3 steps to my actual morning or evening skincare routine. However at the age of 24 now (still very young) I’m realising how important looking after your skin even from a young age is. I still don’t use any SPF however I do plan to start when I can find a natural or sustainable product (please hit me up in the comments or by email if you know of any!).

*I do use affiliate links in my posts, but ONLY for products I’ve purchased myself and I actually like!*

Step 1)

I wash my face in the morning with some cold water to wake myself up, I just run the tap for a little bit and literally just splash my face! Nothing fancy here but I believe doing so can improve the circulation in your face. So of course apart from using up a bit of water, this step is most definitely zero-waste!!

Step 2)

Now I cleanse my face with my homemade cleanser! The main component of this is tea tree oil – which I believe helps to reduce acne (if used in small amounts), can also reduce the oil levels in the skin and soothes dry skin! You can read more about the effects of tea tree oil on the skin in this 2016 article: Journal of Dermatology Research and Therapy.

I use my new reusable face pads, which I got from a company on Amazon. The link is below if you’d like to have a look! They are washable and come with a mini bag which you can wash them in (in the washing machine) and 2 free boxes of bamboo cotton buds! A brilliant zero waste option for taking off make up and cleaning your skin, since single use face wipes will most certainly end up in the sea or in a landfill :(.

So basically I put a few drops of my homemade cleanser onto the reusable make-up wipe, then I just gently rub my face all over to get my pores clean. It’s important not to be rough with your skin especially around the eye area which is really delicate.

Here is the recipe for my homemade skin cleanser, it’s very easy!!

  • 1 table spoon tea tree essential oils
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil/ any other oil really

This cleanser is so effective for removing all of your makeup, including your mascara and eyeliner. I’d really recommend trying it out to see if it works for you!

Step 3)

Last up for my skincare routine, I moisturise using my homemade moisturiser! It’s brilliant because it’s so easy to make and contains all natural ingredients, plus you can vary the fragrance of it/or make it fragrance free if you prefer that 🙂 I opt for germanium essentail oils to make it smell nice!

I also exfoliate my skin about once or twice a week with my homemade coffee scrub. This makes your skin soooo smooth and is literally so simple to make, with 3 ingredients from your kitchen cupboard. The fact that coffee contains antioxidants which are good for your skin is a plus.

I just put a little bit of the coffee scrub onto my hands and spread it out on my face, like you would a normal face mask. I leave it for about 10 minutes then wash off with warm water.

The brilliant thing about my skincare routine is that you can just fill up old jars or moisturiser pots with all of the homemade products that you make! So it vastly reduces your waste plus makes you a little more creative, even if you’re not a natural at making products from scratch (like me).

If you want to find out more about making homemade beauty products or living more sustainably, check out these posts which might help you with a couple of ideas:

Natural Deodorant

Eco-Friendly Period Products

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any help with getting started with your eco-friendly/zero waste journey!