Striving to be plastic free: Interview with Linda Kemppainen

We interviewed Linda Kemppainen about plastic free alternatives and sustainable lifestyle. Linda is a student in Jyväskylä, Finland and strives to follow the Zero Waste principles and ideas of responsible consumption. At times, she also shares ideas on Instagram under the nickname @plastic_issues.


Linda makes her own deodorant.

How did you become interested in a sustainable way of life?


In the year 2018 I traveled to Bali and it was a big wake-up call to see the amount of trash on the beaches there. There was so much rubbish that you couldn't swim or almost walk on the beach. Seeing the amount of trash in the beautiful nature really made me want to take action. I think in Finland the problem isn't as visible. After the trip, I found out more about the waste issue and started thinking about how I could reduce plastic waste in my own daily life. Quickly I came across the Zero Waste idea online and started applying its principles to my own life. I started carrying canvas bags with me and as I finished consumables, I replaced them with more durable alternatives. I think I have always been interested in a more ecological lifestyle and I believe that the sustainable way of thinking has gradually developed for example with information I have received from school.


What motivates you to make circular choices?


Stopping climate change is, of course, the biggest motivator. I also want to show through my own actions to the people around me that making small changes in everyday life isn't so hard. I want to show that making more sustainable choices is not as difficult or tedious as some might think. I may think that an individual's influence is quite limited, but as an individual I can influence the people around me and when they influence people around them, then there are already many of us.


I may think that an individual's influence is quite limited, but as an individual I can influence the people around me and when they influence people around them, then there are already many of us.

What sort of ecological practices do you perform?


I use things as long as I can, for example, my cell phone is several years old and I don't feel the need to replace it with a newer one as long as it works. I have switched a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one and I use organic toothpaste. I rarely wear makeup, so I don't buy many cosmetic jars and I mainly use soap bars. I make my own deodorant with coconut oil and soda. For cleaning I use mainly vinegar and Marseille soap. My kitchen table I have made myself and dining chairs as well as most dishes are my grandmother's old ones. The sofa is almost the only piece of furniture purchased as new. I also use public transport and eat plant based.


Witnessing trash on the beaches of Bali was a huge wake-up call.

Has something been challenging?


A couple of years ago it was difficult to find plastic free alternatives, but luckily now there are a lot more of them, also in smaller shops. At times it seems that finding information about products and materials, as well as the countries of manufacture, is like detective work. Assessing the ethicality and sustainability of products is sometimes really tricky. It's hard to find products without packaging, so I try to prefer paper or cardboard packaging that is easier to recycle. It's almost impossible to buy food that goes in the fridge without plastic, and that's how I also produce some plastic waste. I try to buy second hand clothes but sometimes it's difficult to find the right size and style. I would like to start making more of my own clothes from second hand fabrics.