How to live more sustainably in the city? Guide for busy bees : Part 1

by Rada Boneva
 How to live more sustainably in the city? Guide for busy bees : Part 1

A noisy boulevard. Symphony of honking, loud traffic lights, old trams, cursing, crying, buzzing phone conversations and more. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And to all of that we add the people who are always in a rush for somewhere with folders, bags, coffee and cell phones in their hands.

Can we actually sync in with nature in this city jungle? Let’s try to slow down a little and get back to simplicity without falling in the trap of common excuses such as “I’m running out of time”, “Some other time” and so on.

We’ll answer this question in three consecutive articles taking a closer look at food, cosmetics and transportation. 

We’re starting with food.

Can we grow our own food in the city?

ABSOLUTELY! If you don’t have a community garden and you travel often, you can plant herbs or microgreens in the office. When you’re away, you can ask a colleague to help with the watering and that might just be enough to get them to try growing plants of their own.

If you’re wondering which plant to start with, you can try with rosemary, parsley, basil, mint. All of these require minimum care and thrive well in closed spaces.

Green plants tend to make spaces look cosier and they do a marvelous job when it comes to purifying the air we breathe. Such an ambiance helps us to be more concentrated and productive according to a study from 2010 conducted by the Norwegian scientists Raanaas, R.K., Patil, G.G и Hartig, T. They explain that greens help us to get closer to nature even when we are indoors. That effect is fortified by the fact that greens reduce the amount of toxins such as formaldehyde and acetone in the air we breathe. Moreover, growing plants makes us more responsible and open to dialogs about environmental conservation and resource management which are quantities beneficial for every employee.

The feeling of having a salad with the fresh basil you’ve grown yourself is completely different from having a salad from a restaurant or with products from the shop.

If you work in an international company, one way to make plant cultivation in the office more exciting is if you combine it with gastronomy weeks, for example Bulgarian week, Italian week, Mexican week, Japanese week and more. During these weeks you can choose a day when you cook together with your colleagues using the herbs you’ve grown. If you need some help with organising such a culinary workshop with Zero Waste, you can always get in touch with us : )

If you enjoy admiring beautiful views in the lunch break and you have some space around the office building, you can organise a planting session with your colleagues. This will not only improve the bond that you have with your colleagues but it will also have a long lasting effect on turning your office space into a more sustainable and cleaner place. If your office garden hasn’t been maintained for a while and it’s littered with cigarette butts, food and drinks packaging and more, then now is a great time to take part in our #чистолято challenge on Instagram. All you have to do is roll up your sleeves, collect some trash, take a picture with it, upload it on Instagram with the #чистолято, tag @radah.b and you can win some great sustainable prizes from us, Libyana Lave, Eco Switch, Tierra Verde, Valdera Life and Designitsa.

If you have the good intention of growing some plants in the office, organise a cleanup or nurture the soil around the office space but you don’t know where to start from, you can always get in touch with us. We’d love to organise a memorable teambuilding activity for you and your colleagues : )

For the braver of you with more space around the office building, we can also add a company composter to your garden and organise a lecture about the benefits of composting and tips on how to do it. Composting will not only reduce your food waste but it will also generate “food” for the soil and new soil that one can use for growing plants.And if you happen to be in Bulgaria, here is a link to a map with all of the community composters in the country. 

What if growing your own food isn’t quite your thing?

If you get a takeaway often, then we’d recommend keeping a reusable lunch container in the office together with a reusable cup and cutlery. That way you’ll always have them within an arm’s reach to use when ordering food. If you’re worried about asking for food in your own container, you can check’s map which lists all places in Bulgaria where you can get food and drinks in your own container/cup. And yes, we know that the situation at the moment is delicate but we hope that this will pass quickly and we’ll be able to shop with less waste again soon.

We’d also advise you to cook with seasonal fruits, veggies and spices. This is not only great when it comes to supporting the local farmers but it also saves CO2 emissions and unnecessary plastic packaging which often comes with importing fruit and veg from abroad.

And, of course, we are all humans and we have cravings for food which might not be in season. This problem also has a solution which is freezing goodies such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries so that you can enjoy them even in colder weather.

Another food preservation trick for keeping your food fresh is using beeswax wraps. You can make your own or if you prefer group activities, we can organise a workshop for you and your friends/colleagues. 

That was all from us for now, lovelies, Part 2 of the sequence is coming very soon!

P.S. We would love to find out about your opinion on the recommended activities so do not hesitate to let us know what do you think with a comment below ; )