Life without garbage: "I don't even need toilet paper"

She makes toothpaste herself, she buys cheese with a Tupper tin, oatmeal comes out of the squeeze: Olga Kroll and her family live a life without garbage. In the reader column "Voices", the 31-year-old tells how her "Zero Waste" day-to-day life looks like - and why she doesn't even need (more) toilet paper.
Zero waste: Olga Kroll, 31, lives in Cologne with her partner Gregor and his three children.  Out of the ban of garbage in their own household, they are founding the company “Zero Waste Lifestyle”, which will soon expand the existing blog with a new homepage, online shop and educational offers.
Olga Kroll, 31, lives in Cologne with her partner Gregor and his three children. Out of the ban of garbage in their own household, they are founding the company "Zero Waste Lifestyle", which will soon expand the existing blog with a new homepage, online shop and educational offers.
It is 6.45 a.m. and the alarm clock rings. I tap into the bathroom and go to the bathroom. Then I rinse myself clean with our "popo shower" and dry myself with one of the personal washcloths hanging next to it. Still half asleep I trot on to the sink. I fill my toothbrush with water, dip the natural fiber bristles of my wooden toothbrush into the water, then into the tooth powder, and finally into my mouth. The mint-sweet taste of this new creation refreshes me and my teeth feel sparkling clean again.

In the meantime, Gregor has already thrown the three children out of bed and we meet again in the kitchen. He is currently filling the coffee grinder with beans from the fabric bag that we always use in the coffee roaster. I squeeze fresh breakfast cereal with the flake squeezer. The oat from the large Ruhr glass slowly empties. In the storage room, I reach for one of the 25 kg grain sacks that are stored there, fill up the glass and squeeze on. There are also cut apples, a pinch of cinnamon, and boiling water that makes the oats swell really nicely. If desired, everyone can add nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate beans to their mix. For the children, it may also be a little milk or yogurt from the deposit bottle, sometimes in the cereal bowl, sometimes next to it.

The waiver hurt

After the muesli, the school bread are smeared. I brush the slices with, as the children would say, delicious butter from a wire-bow jar. This moment regularly delights me because we haven't had any butter for a long time. While all other milk products are available in deposit glasses or bottles, the butter is still in an aluminum paper in the refrigerated counter. The decision to buy throw-away aluminum hurt, but even more.

One afternoon, with the children in the cinema, the best friend of our twins told me the secret of making butter and that there is actually no secret. Back at home I immediately took the bottle of cream out of the fridge and started beating. Seven minutes later I had homemade butter. Since then, there are no more hanging faces when it comes to choosing the topping. The homemade jam from the last harvest season tastes really good with butter.

When all the children are out of the house, we swing ourselves in the shower. The shelf with the personal care products has recently been adorned with the inscriptions "hair soap" and "body soap", so that the children don't confuse anything. In wet hair, I rub the hair soap over the scalp until a stable foam form and spread it out just like the shampoo from the plastic bottle. I soap the hairy areas with body soap. I reach for the heavy safety razor and make short work of it. The razor blade has been in there for a month - maybe I should change it soon. After showering, I dry the fittings, because I don’t have a lot of fun scrubbing away annoying lime stains. A little coconut oil is used for dry winter skin and everything is supple again.
Suddenly I remember: Wasn't there the freshly ground coffee in the coffee grinder ?! In the kitchen, I see that the small espresso machine is already on the stove. Gregor is sitting in the study and is busy and I also start up my computer. It's time for a new blog article. How about the recipe for homemade butter? The article is finished, but we urgently need new cream for the butter - and the photos on my blog.

I pack the backpack with an empty egg carton, a handful of fabric bags, and a large, resealable can and get on my bike. Arrived in our favorite health food store, I fill fruit and vegetables in the fabric bags or put them loosely in the basket. At the cheese counter, I have a piece of Gouda put in the Tupper tin. In the refrigerated counter, I grab milk and cream in the deposit bottle and fill the egg carton with loose eggs.

There is still toilet paper for guests

The children will soon come home from school and the apartment will fill with life. Neighboring children go in and out, doors are opened and slammed, children here and there. I put the concentration work aside and watch how four teenagers disappear into the bathroom and only come out giggling after a long time. It looks like a new experience with the popo shower. We have not had it very long and it always causes excitement. There is still toilet paper for guests and the children to whom we want to give them free choice. But the attraction of the unusual shower is too big for the little ones.

For dinner, there is a vegetable pan made from loosely bought vegetables, rice from the 25-kilogram benefit paper bag, and fried tofu from our own production. Then calm slowly returns, the children go to bed and at some point, as always, too late, we do too.

Before going to bed I brush my teeth again with the tooth powder and some dental floss. I go into the kitchen and open the cupboard door under the sink where our trash cans are for the first time today. I throw the used dental floss into the toilet paper packaging that has been converted into a garbage bag and smile internally because I haven't brought the garbage down for weeks.
Follow our website at