Has the pandemic helped you become more sustainable??

The events of 2020 put the world into total and unprecedented turmoil.

However, amongst all the fear, isolation and health scares, we really have shown ourselves that a huge change can be made on our planet in tiny individual isolating ways. These have been incredibly impactful and made some great positive changes for our planet.

Time to slow down. 

We live in a fast-paced environment (yes even here on Gili Trawangan!). Technology enables us to be engaged and addicted to instantaneous decisions, news, purchases, status’s etc and yearns to keep us there. With a huge change in human behaviour, being made to stay at home, lessen commutes and social atmospheres, we’ve been given a chance to slow down and start appreciating things in a very different way, which the majority of the time, ends up being in a more sustainable way too.

We’ve been asking some of our supporters and fellow environmental activists if they have adopted any new sustainability hacks throughout the global pandemic. 

Drinking tap water is eco-friendly!!

There is still a phenomenal amount of our daily water intake coming from unnecessary bottled water, rather than filtered tap water. However, there has been a huge decrease in bottled water sales, especially in countries where tap water is drinkable, with more people staying at home and working from home (WFM) throughout the lockdowns. [Bloomberg 2020] 

Working from home? Hopefully, you can drink from the tap, or have a handy filter like this Nazava one to limit the immense plastic pollution pressure from water bottles.

Photo cred: @theseastainablelife

Declutter, donate, thrift!

We connected with Jillian @theseastainablelife about reducing consumption of clothes and how to sort out what you already have/don’t wear.

Were we really the only ones that had a HUGE Marie Kondo style clear out at the beginning of the pandemic… a little lost of what to do? 

Jillian highlights how donating your old clothes IS a great way to reuse clothing, but be sure to only donate clean and re-wearable items. If you don’t want it because its scraggy, stained or torn, high chances are no one else will want to wear it either! 

Her strong and simple fashion and consumption motto (and now ours too!):

1. REDUCE 💚- the amount of clothing we purchase and clothing waste we produce (especially fast fashion & poor quality short-lived clothing)

2. UPCYCLE 💚- all fabric and clothing items we possibly can and avoid putting clothes into the waste management and donation system.


3. DONATE ♻️- only clothes in GOOD CONDITION that are likely to be bought and worn by another person.

Using cars less – The new working from home movement has taken literally thousands of cars off the road (only a problem with our international supporters, as we don’t have cars here!). Daily commutes are sometimes inevitable, but Eco Trust supporter Nigel Williams has spent his January 2021 lockdown driving less and walking more! Taking the car out for only 25miles and walking the neighbourhood and local parks for more than 100 miles! Wish we had dogs to walk here on Gili!

More time for meal prep – less processed (and packaged foods) After getting home from a long day of work (or stuck in commuter traffic) many people don’t have the energy to cook a whole meal from scratch and turn to processed or ready meals for convenience. Along with the world slowing down, we have a better chance to eat proper (unprocessed) food, that came from a shop looking like food, rather than wrapped in a box or plastic! Better for your health and the planet!

Photo cred: Pituqco

Teach yourself! Educate, binge, get inspired

Iana @Iyana_ek said that she spent much of the beginning of lockdown binge-watching documentaries on Netflix and enjoying a plant-based diet. Educating yourself from the comfort of your own home couldn’t be easier these days with Netflix! Spending more time at home also meant they could watch water and electricity usage more closely to reduce our use and to save on bills.

Iana’s top documentaries of 2020 were:

Our Planet


Kiss the Ground

Brave Blue World

A Plastic Ocean

Chasing Coral

Chasing Ice


The Milk System

Do It Plastic Free, Do It Yourself

Chelsey Hunts @interchelactic shared her DIY toothpaste recipe which she has spent the lockdown perfecting. Mix it all in a tin or washed out old glass jar and add a drop of paste to your bamboo toothbrush for a fresh, sparkly smile!

1tbsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

2tsp xylitol

5 drops peppermint essential oil

1 drop cinnamon essential oil

2tsp coconut oil 

Home made snacks!

Gili T’s favourite yoga instructor Denise @denisetehyoga told us how she got sick of continuing to buy plastic tubs of yoghurt. Even though the tubs are recyclable here on Gili, why not try to make your own! She invested in one live, unsweetened yoghurt to start off with, which acts as the mother [bacteria].

With 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt, you add whatever milk you wish (even coconut milk + yoghurt if you are making plant-based yoghurt!) and leave in a warm place for 8 hours without moving it. Here on Gili, a countertop is (more than!) warm enough, if you aren’t in the tropics, try making it in a thermos flask and warming the milk before adding it to the yoghurt.

Along with having new time to make her own granola as the packaged stuff is unrecyclable and full of sugar, she adds all her favourite nuts and seeds so it’s perfectly catered to exactly what she likes. Makes us hungry thinking about it!


Sadly the lockdown has also brought a rise in waste and plastics. Particularly with disposable masks and takeaway plastic waste.

Investing in 2 or 3 washable masks will save you heaps of money, make you look way cooler and eliminate the problem with single-use waste as well!

Whilst all the restaurants and bars have been shut down to varying degrees, there has been an increase in takeaways and all that plastic that comes with it. 

Say no before!

Even if you are ordering take-out food, you can request for no plastic cutlery (assuming you already have some at home!) all sauce salt and condiment sachets are unrecyclable so stocking up on that glass bottle of ketchup solves that problem too.

Praise when they get it right

If you do receive a particularly plastic-free delivery, don’t forget to write a comment, message or review! Positive praise works wonders for business sustainability and improvement, and maybe it will encourage others to do the same. 

Save a template in your phone for all easy, hassle-free, plastic-free deliveries  

We are lucky enough on Gili to get takeaways wrapped in banana leaves (from the right places) whats the best wrapped, non-plastic delivery you have had?


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