Plastic and steel bottles waste

8 Ways To Live A More Sustainable Life

From remembering to shop with your recyclable tote, to donating your old laptop to charity, here’s how to live a better, smarter and more sustainably-focused Dubai life

Here at The Gaggler, we’re all about making great choices in life – and when those choices help others whilst simultaneously saving the planet, we know we’re onto a winner. Living a more sustainably-focused existence was top of our to-do list on January 1, and as we battle through probably the toughest year on record (yes, we mean you, COVID-19) here are eight easy ways to give back to the world right now…and continue to do so when 2021 finally arrives…

Recycle plastic and paper
Recycle recycle recycle – PC: Shutterstock


If you’re not doing it already, start right now. Whether it’s paper, plastic, metal, glass or textiles, most household waste can be recycled – and there’s no excuse not to do it. Thoroughly wash out empty packaging when you’ve finished with your product, and separate it into type. If you’re lucky enough to have one, make sure you use the designated recycling bin outside your house to dispose of your recycling or use the special recycling shoot in the garbage room of your apartment block for recyclable materials. Not got either one of those? Make the effort to find out where your local recycling bank is, and make a weekly trip there. Millions of tonnes of what could have been recycled waste go to landfill every year, and it’s our responsibility not to add to it. 

how to recycle


If you have a garden or even a balcony, composting food scraps is a super-economical and ecologically friendly way to look after your plants. Invest in an indoor compost bin to dispose of biodegradable food matter, and add to your outdoor compost pile to provide nutrients to your garden. The odor-preventing filter and compostable liner bags make composting super-simple, you’re helping reduce the amount of waste you throw away while saving money and nurturing healthy plants. 

Bokashi Bin, PRP AED 294, available at mygreenchapter.com

shopping locally
Greenheart Organics


Stocking up on groceries from your local farmer’s markets or farm shop is a great way to support the local economy as well as reducing your carbon footprint by minimising waste and emissions from long-distance shipping. Dubai has come on leaps and bounds with regards to its organic food offering in recent years, so make the most of this burgeoning industry by buying as much local produce as you can.

Dubai favourite RIPE Market reopens for the winter season on October 1 at Dubai Police Academy Park, boasting a new farmer’s market area which will host up to eight farmers offering delicious, locally-grown produce at affordable prices. 

organic vegetables

Buying organic local produce ensures that you’re getting the most flavoursome, pesticide-free and vitamin-dense foods around, as well as supporting regional industry, so if you’ve never been before, Greenheart Organic’s farm shop in Arjan is a must-try. A haven of organically-grown goodness, vegetables and fruits on offer in this gem of a store are grown 100 percent chemical-free from Greenheart Organic’s own heirloom seeds and harvested daily from their farm in Sharjah.


re-useable containers

Despise the plastic containers that deli food comes in? We hear you. So why not take your own storage items to the supermarket when you shop? Make sure the counter assistant weighs the container before it’s filled so you don’t get charged for its weight as well as whatever you’re buying, and you’re set! 


recycled shopping bag

Reusable veggie bags are also brilliant to carry in your recycled shopping tote – not only do they look nice for storing your goods, they help produce to last longer. Combine all three options and you’ll reduce unnecessary plastic and paper bag use every time you shop for your groceries. 


second hand clothes

Whether its clothes, furniture, books, cars or electrical goods, buying second hand is the savviest way to shop if you want to become more sustainably-focused. Guaranteed to save you money as well as making zero impact upon the planet, if there’s an opportunity to buy something pre-loved that still makes your heart pound as if it were new, there’s no reason not to buy it. 

second hand furniture

The cyclical economy is central in fighting climate change, and being a part of it is easy – simply choosing not to buy new unless it’s absolutely essential makes you an active member of the initiative for change. Shaking off its negative connotations, buying second hand is one of the simplest steps to minimizing the global waste issue, whilst the market for pre-loved luxury items is the biggest news in the fashion industry right now,  generating millions of dollars each year.

Here in the UAE, the pre-loved market is growing daily. From flea markets and second-hand sales groups on Facebook to sustainable fashion boutiques like RETOLD and online pre-loved sites like The Luxury Closet, finding everything you need for a fraction of the price that makes a minimal impact on the planet is as easy as finding your nearest shopping mall.


Did you know that the average woman has around  450 periods in her lifetime, and disposes of around 137kg of sanitary waste? Or that a year’s worth of disposable pads and tampons leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kgCO2 per person? And that a tampon’s plastic applicator will take more than 500 years to decompose, if ever? All shocking statistics that are nothing but bad news for the environment. Since menstruation is a fact of life, sanitary protection is an essential – but there is an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to pads and tampons that also won’t harm your body.

eco friendly Menstrual cup
Lunette Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups have gained huge popularity in recent years, not only because they save the average woman thousands of dirhams on buying standard sanitary goods, but also because they have no negative impact upon the environment. Designed and made in Finland from soft, toxin-free medical-grade silicone, a Lunette menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours at a time, lasts at least two years with proper care and can be burned to ash when it’s ready to be replaced.  

A brilliant solution for both the body and the environment, just one menstrual cup eliminates the need for up to six hundred tampons – saving around two years-worth of waste sanitary product from damaging the environment. 

Lunette Menstrual Cup, PRP AED 157.50, available at sprii.ae

sustainable toothpaste and toothbrush


If you’re guilty of leaving the tap on when you brush your teeth, stick a post-it note to the mirror to remind yourself how much water (and money) you’re wasting by being forgetful. By simply turning the tap off every time you brush your teeth, you can cut your water bill by an average 13 per cent every year, and save thousands of litres of water while you’re at it.


donating old devices
Student Estella May Francez Manaloto

Help local children in need and save the planet by donating your old smartphones and laptops to charity. From now until the end of September, Stop & Help is asking UAE residents to recycle, reuse and repurpose their unwanted devices and donate them to families unable to afford the IT equipment required to continue their children’s education. Functioning secondhand laptops, smartphones and tablets to give away can be registered here, where they’ll be matched with the children who need them most. Items can be personally dropped off or couriered to a designated family from as little as AED30, allowing givers to play a significant role in supporting their access to education during these extremely challenging times.


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Earth Day 2022

Green Matters: 22 Ways to Give Back to Planet Earth

In celebration of Earth Day, today.

With the 2022 edition of Earth Day calling for everyone – businesses, governments, and citizens included – to take accountability towards a healthier planet, the time for action is now. Here, in honour of this global event marked annually on April 22, The Gaggler reveals 22 ways to give back. We’ve covered initiatives in all six GCC countries, so everyone’s invited.


Fight food waste and advocate for misshapen produce by signing up for EroeGo, the first ugly fruits and vegetables delivery service in the UAE. Bonus: for every box delivered, the company provides meals for two people facing hunger to help fight inequality.


Save the planet and your skin by switching to Upfill products, which are not only waterless and all-natural, but also devoid of plastic packaging. The beauty brand has partnered with Azraq to reintroduce coral reefs in Dibba, which means your purchase will help support UAE marine life.


Support Goumbook’s Give a Ghaf Tree planting program to help the planet breathe better with the help of the UAE’s national tree. Now, not only can you plant a seed through the social enterprise, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself. 


Headed to Riyadh? Be sure to unwind at Respire Lounge, where sustainability awaits at every turn – solar panels, Tesla charging stations, a compost machine, and a reverse vending machine are just some of the onsite features.

Earth Day


Reduce your consumption of single-use plastic water bottles by joining the Dubai Can movement, accessing drinking water at the many water stations installed across Dubai – Kite Beach, Zabeel Park, and Madinat Jumeirah included. Up to 50 new refill stations are expected.


Fight plastic pollution by volunteering with the Doha Environmental Actions Project, which frequently organises school presentations and environmental awareness sessions across Qatar. Recent events have included beach, desert, and mangrove clean-ups.


Inspire the next generation to make positive choices by gifting Save Our World’s The Eco-heroes series of children’s books about five fictional friends who are helping save the planet by reducing food waste, minimising plastic, and more. Funny and engaging, they encourage readers to make positive choices from a young age.


Based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Download the RECAPP app to have recyclables collected from your home for free. All you have to do is segregate them from general waste and schedule a pick-up day and time.


If you live in Kuwait, book a pick-up by Enviroserve, which recycles everything from plastic and paper to hazardous electronic waste such as cell phones and home appliances. Incidentally, Kuwait generates 1.5kg of trash per person per day – twice the global average – making this company a vital component of the country’s green initiatives.


Organise a fundraiser in support of Emirates Nature–WWF through fundraising platform Yalla Give, where you can share your campaign idea and collect donations online. The non-profit organisation partners with individuals and institutions to achieve science-based solutions towards combating climate change and safeguarding local biodiversity.

Celebrating Earth Day


Considering most fast fashion purchases end up in landfills, shop pre-loved clothing at the likes of Retold, The Luxury Closet, and La Suite in Dubai. Alternatively, turn to Wild Fabrik, an ethical online marketplace rooted in providing independent sustainable brands with a platform to sell their goods and ensuring that they’re paid fairly.


Muscat residents can support marine conservation efforts by diving with Aura Divers – it facilitates the collection of everyday trash from the ocean during each dive. We also love that it was founded by Ehdaa Al Barwani, the first and only female dive instructor from Oman, who’s all about encouraging women to explore the underwater world.


Sign up for one of Emirates Environmental Group’s many campaigns that entail picking up trash, planting trees, collecting aluminum cans for recycling, and more. Devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, involvement, and action programmes, the group encourages both corporate and community engagement.


Consume more sensibly and sustainably in Qatar with the help of Souqti, a platform where you can not only buy, sell, and rent pre-owned fashion, but also have items cleaned, repaired, and customised. Anchored in helping people reduce their footprint while saving money, it lists the designer likes of Gucci, Givenchy, and Céline.


Turn to The Giving Movement for athleisure as the eco-conscious clothing brand uses fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles. And, as its name suggests, the brand donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold.


Live in Bahrain and looking to give back? Volunteers are always needed for the beach and dive clean-ups organised by the aptly named CleanUp Bahrain, which is dedicated to influencing the youth of this island nation to make a difference.

Ways to Give Back to Planet Earth


Single-use menstrual products wreak havoc on marine environments. The solution? A reusable menstrual cup that, with proper care, can last up to six years. Other options include period pants (which can be put in the washing machine after use) and reusable tampon applicators by brands like Dame and Thinx.


Calling everyone with a scuba diving certification! Over 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make their way into our ocean by 2025, so join the Dive Against Debris sessions hosted by Divers Down, which entail collecting everyday trash from the seas of Dubai and Fujairah. Both morning and afternoon slots are available.


Based in Jeddah, the Hejaz Ploggers are involved in planting, upcycling, and clean-up activities – all while promoting picking up trash while jogging (a.k.a. plogging). Any community organisaton that promotes a healthier lifestyle while challenging our current environmental habits wins our vote.


Help Freestyle Divers preserve and protect the UAE’s coral reefs by exploring its full curriculum that features courses, workshops, and internships. And if you want to learn to dive, the community scuba diving centre can construct a personalised programme for you to simultaneously gain experience in both scuba diving and marine conservation.


Calling all frequent flyers! Through Qatar Airways’ Carbon Offset Programme, you can offset the carbon emissions from your flight at the time of booking. All contributions received will be directed to the Fatanpur Wind Farm, an India-based project that avoids 210,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


Tackle ocean pollution and protect endangered marine life by volunteering with one of Azraq’s many environmental campaigns in the country. To date, the marine conservation organisation has reduced the use of plastic in the hospitality industry at over 55 outlets, removed millions of plastic straws from circulation, and recovered 60,000 plastic utensils from circulation across the UAE.


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Global Recycling Day and electronic waste

Let’s Address Our Greatest Threat: Electronic Waste

Why bin when you can recycle?

Today is Global Recycling Day, a day for the world to come together and put the planet first as we face a climate emergency of unparalleled proportions. Now’s the time to think about what we throw away – and how we do it – considering that the last decade has been the hottest on record.

If significant and rapid changes are not made, rising global temperatures, the melting of ice caps, continents on fire, and devastating deforestation will continue at an accelerating rate. Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year, the ‘Seventh Resource’ – the recyclables – saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, and this is projected to increase to one billion tonnes by 2030.

Global Recycling Day & E wastage

According to the Global Recycling Foundation, electronic waste should now be regarded as the greatest threat to our planet, with the United Nations warning that the current 53 million tonnes of e-waste generated every year will more than double by 2050, making it the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

“It may already be too late to stem the tide of the millions of discarded smartphones and other electronic waste, from fridges and TVs to microwaves and PC monitors,” says Ranjit Baxi, Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation. “But it’s not just the items themselves – it’s the irreplaceable precious metals and dangerous components like lithium-ion batteries, cadmium, lead and mercury, flame-retardant chemicals, and corrosive acid that are used in their manufacture. These amount to so much toxic waste, which, if not professionally recycled, ends up on waste dumps.”

recycle electronic waste

Recognising the people, places, and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future that will benefit all, the theme of Global Recycling Day 2022 is ‘recycling fraternity’, celebrating those who have been on the frontline to collect waste and recycle in recent years.

With a mission to highlight the UAE’s very own recycling fraternity, The Gaggler visited Ecyclex, a Dubai-based company that works with individual businesses as well as Dubai Municipality to recycle electronics, domestic appliances, and batteries – with fascinating results. Find out all about Ecyclex and what you can do to be a more environmentally conscious consumer here.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Recycling with Ecyclex

Ecyclex has operations across the country. Find out more at www.ecyclex.com


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Red hands holding together with heart shape

No, This Is Not Your Typical Advent Calendar

Let the 24 days of giving back begin!

‘Tis the season of overindulgence, late nights, and way too many social events, but at The Gaggler, we’re doing things a little differently, taking this holiday season to give back instead. Enter our 2021 advent calendar that will help you mark the 24 days until Christmas by conserving our oceans, educating a child, empowering underprivileged women, and more.

Click on each image to get started.

December 1: Plant a Seed

With its ability to stay green in harsh desert environments, Ghaf is the country's national tree because of its cultural significance. Now, not only can you plant a seed with the help of social enterprise Goumbook, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself. Learn more at www.goumbook.com

December 2: Repair Local Reefs

Are you a diver, an underwater photographer, a marine biology student, or a marine biologist? Support the marine conservation efforts of Freestyle Divers by joining its environmental monitoring programmes to get involved with protecting local reefs. Learn more at www.freestyledivers.me

December 3: Enrich a Life

While there are no statistics available on the number of people diagnosed with autism in the UAE, we know that it's on the rise, so volunteer with Dubai Autism Center if helping those with special needs is something close to your heart and you have time to spare. Learn more at www.dubaiautismcenter.ae.

December 4: Educate a Child

Operating 1,687 schools across Pakistan, The Citizens Foundation has been educating children from underprivileged families since 1995, and you can support the cause by sponsoring a child's education or an entire classroom. Learn more at www.tcf.org.pk.

December 5: Caffeinate Differently

The Bee Café in Abu Dhabi is the first in the country to be operated entirely by people of determination, so supporting it with a visit is a must-do. The café is part of the Bee the Change campaign, which aims to increase the employment of people of determination. Learn more at @beethe_change on Instagram.

December 6: Save a Preemie

The world loses a newborn every 10 seconds, so let's live in a world where all premature babies – including those from vulnerable populations – have access to an incubator by donating to the founders of the portable and life-saving Embrace incubator. Learn more at www.embraceglobal.org.

December 7: Offer a Safe Space

Skateistan has been empowering Afghan girls through skateboarding and education programmes since 2009 and, now, it's expanding to 20 locations – starting with Jordan. Help the award-winning international NGO write its next chapter by making a donation. Learn more at www.skateistan.org.

December 8: Scour the Seas

Whether you sign up as a temporary or permanent volunteer, you can make a difference for the local dolphin population by volunteering with UAE Dolphin Project. As for why your help is needed? Not only are dolphins “ecological indicators” of the status of the sea, but sightings have also declined drastically in the past few years. Learn more at www.uaedolphinproject.org.

December 9: Empower Underprivileged Women

Empowering underprivileged women through sustainable crafts, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts deserves your patronage. Looking for unique Christmas gifts? Head to its e-store and opt for something that features Sadu, a traditional weaving technique that plays a central role in the social lives of Bedouin women. Learn more at www.alghadeeruaecrafts.ae.

December 10: Gift a Meal

Partnering with UAE Food Bank to guarantee responsible distribution, the Gift a Meal initiative is on a mission to ensure that no one ever misses a lunch. Join the movement to help feed an individual in need – gifting a meal will only cost you AED 10. Learn more at www.makemymeal.ae.

December 11: Help a Sister

The first licensed non-profit shelter in the UAE that runs specifically for the care of women and children, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children is always seeking volunteers who are professionals and highly skilled in educational, vocational, and recreational training, so lend a hand if you fit the bill. Learn more at www.dfwac.ae.

December 12: Remember the Forgotten

SmartLife is an NPO/NGO that reciprocates the immense hard work of blue collar workers by educating them to walk towards a better tomorrow and unleashing their hidden potential. As for how you can chip in? Anything from donating your time and passion to help to sharing creative ideas and marketing skills. Learn more at www.smartlifefoundation.org.

December 13: Buy a Doll

For each personalised doll sold that you purchase from Dumyé, a doll is gifted to a child in need. Not only can you choose your ethically handcrafted doll’s body colour, eye colour, hair colour, and hairstyle – that’s over 140 unique combinations at your fingertips – but it also makes for a present suited to a budding philanthropist. Learn more at www.dumye.com.

December 14: Grant a Wish

Make-A-Wish exists for only one reason – to grant wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. You can make a difference to a child's life by volunteering as a wish granter, an office worker, a translator, a fundraiser, a speaker, or event staff member. Learn more at www.makeawish.ae.

December 15: Raise Awareness

Pink Caravan is a UAE-based breast cancer initiative that falls under Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) for early detection of cancer, and you can play your part in raising awareness about this disease by donating money, registering as a volunteer, or even joining the medical team. Learn more at www.linktr.ee/pinkcaravan.

December 16: Serve the Sick

Equip a struggling hospital or clinic by making a financial donation to Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe – it has been serving the sick and dying in over 135 countries since 1987. Learn more at www.projectcure.org.

December 17: Support Health Equity

Another global non-profit rooted in improving public health, PATH comprises a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity by advising and partnering with public institutions, businesses, grassroots groups, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. Donate now and your contribution will be matched – win-win. Learn more at www.path.org.

December 18: Protect the Planet

Shop with purpose by turning to Azraq's e-store for essentials like soap, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable face masks, and more. The Dubai-based organisation is on a mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem and species. Learn more at www.azraqme.org.

December 19: Start Fundraising

The first licensed online donation and crowdfunding platform in the Middle East, YallaGive is all about fundraising with a smile. Campaigning for a charity or a personal cause? Start fundraising through the platform or donate to one of its many active campaigns to make a difference. Learn more at www.yallagive.com.

December 20: Join the Movement

Like the idea of simultaneously looking cool and giving back? Not only is the activewear and streetwear clothing by The Giving Movement entirely sustainable and made in the UAE, but the brand also donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold. This is conscious consumerism at its best. Learn more at www.thegivingmovement.com.

December 21: Break the Cycle

A locally based philanthropic organisation with a global outlook, Dubai Cares has been on a mission to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring all children have access to quality education since its inception in 2007. Here in the UAE, you can participate in initiatives that are linked to its global mandate – Walk for Education, Volunteer Emirates. and Volunteer Globally included. Learn more at www.dubaicares.ae.

December 22: Donate Your Locks

This holiday season, chop your locks in the name of making a cancer survivor more beautiful and confident – and what could be more beautiful than that? Enter: Locks of Hope, a campaign that provides wigs to individuals who have undergone chemotherapy with the help of both DHL and Friends of Cancer Patients. Learn more at www.focp.ae.

December 23: Get Social

With the need for improved animal welfare more urgent than ever, you can help the dedicated staff at Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre. Unable to adopt or foster a pet? Volunteer! You can head there to socialise with its adorable animals, taking the dogs for walks or spending time with the cats. Learn more at www.rakawc.com.

December 24: Save a Life

Founded in 1986, the Dubai Health Authority's Blood Donation Center is the city's main blood donation center and committed to providing a safe supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai. You can also donate platelets, a type of blood cell that is essential for blood clotting and helps the likes of leukemia patients and premature babies. Learn more at www.dha.gov.ae.

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A woman showing her new dress

7 Takeaways from Our Conversation with Wild Fabrik

The ethical marketplace is on a mission.

In a city where fast fashion (unfortunately) reigns supreme, it’s time to acquaint with Wild Fabrik, a new online marketplace with purpose at its core. Created by a trio of passionate nature lovers who want to make sustainable style a lot more accessible, its curated selection of fashion, home, luxury, and self-care products hails from the likes of Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Poland, and Ecuador. Not only is Wild Fabrik on a mission to provide small, independent sustainable brands with a platform to sell their goods and create a living for themselves, but also ensure that they are paid fairly. A conversation with co-founder Gergana Abdulrahman brought with it plenty of takeaways about the realm of sustainable fashion. Here are our favourites.

1. Sustainable fashion is an ambiguous term.

“There are different ways that something can be sustainable, and it’s very difficult for it to be truly 100% sustainable. For example, when we select our brands and evaluate the materials being used, there’s a deeper element even then. Let’s talk about cotton: there’s a big movement around organic cotton, but that doesn’t reveal who picks it and how fairly they’re paid. That’s an element of sustainability. It doesn’t reveal that organic cotton takes more water to produce than regular cotton. Then again, there’s no chemical in the process, so in that sense, it is sustainable. 

There really are so many components in sustainability, and that’s where the confusion sets in. You almost have to choose what is more important – is the fair trade element more important or the fabric that something is made of? Is it the process? Further down the line, the production process is another element – dye is one of the world’s major pollutants because leftover dye water usually ends up in landfills or even river water – so it’s very complex. What we hope to do at Wild Fabrik is educate shoppers by using little icons that describe exactly how each brand or each product is sustainable. At the end of the day, you just have to try your best to make more conscious decisions.”

2. Education is key when it comes to lasting change.

“As a region, we’re definitely behind in terms of knowledge when it comes to sustainability. We found out that people like the idea of purchasing ethically, but if you dig deeper and analyse their habits, you find that they’re just saying it because it feels good maybe? They’re not really practising it and they don’t realise it. It’s going to take time. There are some surprising things, though. For example, my husband and one of the co-founders is Emirati and his younger cousins, who are in their early 20s, are very much in tune with the sustainability side. That was a very interesting find for us. There’s a growing community of young people who are concerned and will steer the sustainability movement here. 

Apart from that, we’re not at the point where everyone’s on the sustainability bandwagon, and actually that’s why we structured Wild Fabrik the way we did. We decided to find pieces that people will want to buy anyway, and then that’s giving them a step into the sustainability sphere. And once they’re in, you take the opportunity to educate them – which is usually the hardest part – through social media and other channels. And they learn. That’s how we all started – it can be a platform, a Netflix documentary, or some other trigger. Everyone will get on the right journey, it just takes time.”

3. Sustainable fashion can be affordable.

“Sustainable fashion is expensive, but I’ll tell you why I think it’s true and what we’re doing to combat it. When you look at what’s available, sustainable fashion is very expensive because we, as a society, are pushed to do a business a certain way. Everywhere you go, it’s always profit, profit, profit. Everyone wants to be a millionaire – and the idea is flawed in this sense. You have to take a lesser cut if you want sustainability to work. You have to do things for moral reasons, not just for profit. And as long as the business is seen as just for profit, then sustainability doesn’t work, so what we’re doing is taking a smaller percentage than anyone else within our business. We’re trying to do it for the right reasons and, if we make enough money to be okay in our lives, that’s enough. Whenever you have a lot of gap between the rich and the poor, someone is not getting paid fairly in the process.”

4. Not all fabrics are created equal.

“There’s this recycled fabric called Tencel that I like because it’s soft, so you’d actually want to buy it. I would gravitate away from anything polyester because there’s a lot of microplastics that come out when you’re washing it and end up in the ocean. Cotton is good, linen is the best – linen is actually the most waste-free fabric when it is produced. Something I would also say is stay away from the major brands like H&M and Zara if you can. Yes, they sell these fabrics, but they’re part of the bigger problem in terms of how much clothing they burn and how little they pay the people who make the clothes – this is the real problem. Even if they have a sustainable collection, how are their employees being treated? We need to start acknowledging that as part of the sustainability cycle.”

5. Mindset and purchasing habits go hand in hand.

“Personally, I haven’t felt the urge to shop lately – maybe because the need to buy faded after learning about everything? Not to say that I don’t want to shop anymore, but yes, there was a mindset shift. At some point, what matters in your life and how content you are with what you have is more about your state of mind, your state of being. If you’re going to change your shopping habits, you have to have the right mindset. You have to realise why you’re shopping because some people shop to fulfill themselves or fix a bad day. I was one of those people! It was a lot of mind work that led to this moment, but I’m not perfect. None of us are, and that’s why we wanted to create a place where sustainability doesn’t feel intimidating.”

6. Think quality, not quantity.

“Rewear your clothes. One of the biggest problems is that, on average, each piece is worn only seven times before getting tossed, so a lot of waste comes simply from buying new things and throwing out the old stuff. Invest in quality. There’s fast fashion and then there are expensive brands, and both contribute negatively, but if something is high in quality, you’re unlikely to throw it out – that’s not as bad! And if not, we’re partnering with Thrift for Good, which resells clothes at very reasonable rates and donates 100% of its profits to charity. My tip is that if you want to give away something that you don’t love anymore, give it to someone like them so that your clothing can find a second home.”

7. Ask why.

“Think about your purchases – why do you need another black T-shirt ? Make better choices – choices that will make you happy – and try to buy sustainably if you can. There are black T-shirts on our marketplace and there are black T-shirts in H&M. Yes, H&M might be a little less expensive, but you know that it will change shape once you’ve washed it a few times and won’t fit you anymore. You’re going to have to buy another one anyway, so buy something sustainable that will last you and try to consider who makes your product.”


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A girl reading book in bookstore

Calling All Bibliophiles on a Budget!

Fall back in love with reading.

Reading has always been touted as an essential habit to cultivate, but for some, factors such as environmental concerns,budgetary restrictions, and the allure of having a book that has been held by several hands make pre-loved bookstores the ultimate haunt. Here, we’ve curated a list of the best used bookstores in Dubai.

House of Prose

What kind of books do you sell? 

We specialise in all sorts of novels and children’s books. We also have separate sections for romance, cooking, self-help, art, comic books, health and fitness, diet, finance and business, classics, fantasy, and more. The only type we don’t deal with is academic textbooks due to the built-in expiry date, which renders them obsolete after a set time.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

Most of our used novels are priced between AED 20-30, with outliers slightly above and below that price. Children’s books are almost always priced lower to encourage reading at a young age. The vast majority of our books also come with a buyback guarantee, meaning they can be returned to us after being read for 50% of the purchase value. This also applies to our brand-new books, which are sold at market price and sometimes slightly below. There is no time limit in this offer as it is the cornerstone of our system.

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Absolutely! You just have to bring your books to our store and have them looked at by our employees. 

Visit House of Prose in Times Square Center or Jumeirah Lakes Towers, follow @houseofproseuae on Instagram, or visit www.houseofprose.ae to learn more.


What kind of books do you sell? 

We sell all kinds of books across all genres, including educational books in multiple languages such as Arabic, French, and Russian.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

Our books are priced between AED 10 and 20. Each book carries either a green or yellow sticker, indicating the price as AED 10 or AED 20 respectively. Some of our stores are unmanned and run on honesty – customers can simply deposit money in our trust box after buying the books. 

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

We have been holding book swaps for educational books for years. Readers can simply bring in their educational books at our store and swap them for others. Recently, we also hosted an educational books giveaway during which we gave away 4,000 educational books for free.

Follow @bookhero on Instagram and @BookHeroUAEon Facebook to learn more.

Archies & Book World

What kind of books do you sell?

We have a collection of more than 90,000 books for all age groups, and almost all categories except school books in both our outlets, Archies and Book World.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

The average price for fiction, including comics, starts from AED 10, but multiple copies aresometimes kept in our bargain baskets and sold at AED 2-9 as well. The Archies store in Karama also functions as a lending library. To borrow books, you need to take up a membership. The rates vary based on your needs and requires a refundabledeposit of AED 75. You can borrow four to six books at once for roughly two weeks, though this can be extended. Both our stores also offer buyback services, so people can return a purchased book for 50% credit. 

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Normally, we encourage buyback of books purchased from our outlets, but we’re also open to accepting other books from our customers. Please visit our bookstore to know more.  

Visit Archies in Karama and Book World in Satwa or follow @DubaiBooks on Facebook to learn more. 


What kind of books do you sell?

We sell all kinds of books except textbooks and religious books. We now maintain an average of 10,000 books on our website in 11 different languages.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

We try to keep our prices below 50% of the original market price. The average price on our site is AED 15, with some books going on sale for as low as AED 5.

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Yes, you can! We operate as an online marketplace where people can buy and sell pre-loved books. After an initial conversation with us, a seller can send us their books with their suggested prices. We will add a service fee to each book and post it on our website. Once the book is sold, the seller is paid accordingly in cash or as credit to be used in our store. We also take extra care to review the condition of each book before listing it on our platform.

Visit bookends.ae and follow @bookendsae on Instagram to learn more.


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A woman holding bathing soaps

The Future of Skincare Is Here

Waterless is where it’s at.

Aqua. Four little letters, one major implication: the formula of your average skincare product is mostly water. In fact, read through the ingredients and you’ll notice that it’s listed upfront. But that’s about to change, if K-Beauty is to be believed. South Korea has long set the bar in the world of skincare and, now, it’s turning towards waterless skincare. Not only is it better for the environment for obvious reasons, but it’s also a lot more effective as water is replaced with ingredients that actually serve a purpose, like oils or botanical extracts.

Now, it may take a minute until waterless skincare products go mainstream, but there are more options than you realise. In fact, you don’t have to look far to find them – Upfill, a waterless personal care and cosmetics brand, was founded right here in the UAE! “Consumers in the Middle East are shifting to responsible beauty brands like Upfill because they want to take care of themselves and the planet. They are increasingly aware of the amounts of synthetic chemicals in their beauty routines and no longer wish to buy products full of water and plastics,” says co-founder Mariam Khafagy. 

“For decades, big beauty companies have been selling billions of products each year containing more than 70% of ‘aqua’, which is another name for water! Of course, water is relatively cheap when compared to other active ingredients. This is why adding it in cosmetics is more profitable for the bottled cosmetics brands.” As for what the industry does not account for? “The huge carbon footprint that results from moving millions of tons of water contained in cosmetics between continents, especially when we already have tap water at home,” she says.

Interestingly, Mariam says that the concept of waterless cosmetics is not new, contrary to popular belief. “Oil-based traditional cosmetics and waterless skincare have been around for thousands of years in the Arab world. Our ancestors knew better! Most of our clients permanently shifted to waterless beauty for their daily routines once they realised that our products work as well as their plastic bottle counterparts – and often much better. Change takes time, but the movement has definitely started and we’re proud to be pioneering it in the region.” She goes on to reveal that many active ingredients, such as vitamins or essential minerals, react when mixed with water. 

“Over time, these ongoing reactions result in a loss of effectiveness. The ingredients in solid beauty products do not experience these reactions and therefore maintain their benefits over time.” And then there’s the matter of preservatives. “Water from bottled skincare products constitutes a perfect environment for bacteria to grow – this is why industrial companies tend to add preservatives to stop germs from developing. These unnecessary preservatives can result in skin reactions caused by irritating chemicals and allergens,” explains Mariam, citing yet another reason to make the transition. Here, we’ve put together a handful of skincare essentials, all of which are waterless. Bonus: each of these products can be shipped to the UAE.

Clean Slate, ALLEYOOP

Vitamin C Probiotic Polish, OSEA

Botanical E Eye Balm, ONE LOVE ORGANICS

Jeju Lotus Leaf Essence Lotion, THE PURE LOTUS

#NOFILTER Makeup Remover Bar, UPFILL

Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, GLOW RECIPE


Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, CHARLOTTE TILBURY



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Undergarments with periods stains

I Tried Period Pants (and Here’s the Bloody Truth)

Tales from a brief encounter…

Over the decades, feminine products have constantly changed for the better. From sheep’s wool to rags to pads to pads with belts (oh how fashionable… NOT) to pads with wings to tampons to tampons with applicators to moon cups – and now period pants! With the pros outweighing the cons, we knew we had to give them a try in order to give you lowdown on the good, the bad, and the ugly of periodunderwear. Read on for a firsthand account by our resident period preacher Clare Geeves. We can’t promise that she won’t get a little TMI, but hey – we’re all ladies here!

The Good

Every woman’s cycle is different, but usually, the first couple of days are the heaviest. As for me? I’m cramping and bloated, and my flow is so heavy that I usually have to change my moon cup every two hours during those first two days. With the period pants (I used the heavy flow ones during these days), I weirdly felt super protected and only changed them twice a day – once when I got up and once before bed. I didn’t have to worry about waking up early (I usually wear a moon cup to bed) and running at warped speed to the bathroom, knowing I was about to leak.

The period pants are waterproof around the outer layer and leakproof, so my sheets were saved this period! Also, during the first couple of days when you are cramping (which feels like hot knives stabbing you in the ovaries and lower back), using a tampon or moon cup can make the cramping worse. My cramps were a whole lot milder while using the period pants. It also means no accidental blood stains on any of your underwear (I have a whole section of my underwear drawer dedicated to 10-year-old undies just for when I have my period).

The Bad

Admittedly, the initial investment for enough period pants for a whole cycle (mine only lasts three days, so it was cheaper than a cycle that lasts for five days) can be pricey. You will need at least two or three for each day during your heavy cycle, but if you calculate how much tampons or pads will cost you monthly, this adds up (so the initial upfront investment is definitely worth it). Before this trial run, I boughtthree pairs every month forthree months to ensure I had enough. I only wear my period pants at home and to bed. Thankfully, I am currently WFH so the period pants were dreamy. I would NEVER wear them out (way too much VPL).

The Ugly

Okay ladies, there is a smellunfortunately. I only noticed the smell after wearing them for over 10 hours (usually overnight) and it was only when I took them off (to pee after sleeping a full night) that I could then smell the period pants. Of course, I put them straight into the washing machine and never thought about the smell again (until the next morning).

The Verdict

I am officially converted to period pants, but in no hurry to throw away my moon cup. When I’m out for dinner or heading to the gym, it’s all about the moon cup. And when I am lounging around at home or my home office? Period underwear FTW!


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A woman shopping on street shop

Hidden Treasures: 5 Thrifting Veterans Share Their Secrets

Ready to thrift like a pro?

Want to be sustainable, stick to a budget, and have fun shopping? If so, then thrifting is your calling. If you’re new to the concept of pre-loved fashion, it can be a bit daunting as thrift stores don’t always come with the assurances of regular clothing stores. Here, we tap five Dubai residents who love to thrift for their tips on how to thrift like a pro.

Aprilyn Velasco 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

A few years back, I started thrifting whenever I would travel to the Philippines for vacation, but I was only doing so casually at that point. I started to get seriously into it shortly before the pandemic, and my drive to thrift got stronger as I researched more about the impact of fast fashion. Altogether, I’ve roughly been thrifting for two to three years now.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the ideacome about

When I go thrifting at a physical store, I always bring a measuring tape with me. My mom likes to sew, so she once advised me to take a measuring tape while thrifting – and it’s been a life-changer. Some thrift shops,such as pop-ups, don’t let you try on certain clothes due to hygiene reasons or simply because they may lack changing facilities. Bringing a measuring tape makes it easier to estimate whether the clothes will fit you, especially since clothing in thrift shops have different sizing as they come from different countries.  

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

For online stores, I recommend @rewyndapparel because not only does it offer really good clothing for a great deal, but the quality of its products is also incredible. I would also recommend Thrift For Good as 100% of its profit is used to help children. 

Learn more about Aprilyn Velasco at @apziiiss

Pari Bhave 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

Initially, I got started because of my brother, who would go thrifting with his friends to buy denim jackets and jeans. I also used to watch a lot of YouTubers who thrift, such as Emma Chamberlain and Bestdressed. They’re what really inspired me and, now, I’ve been thrifting for three years.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about?

I never walk into a thrift store without a plan of attack. I got the idea from watching Youtubers like Haley’s Corner – who posts videos on themed thrift hauls – and by observing their approach to thrifting. Even though these clothes are cheap, I don’t want to just hoard stuff as it’s not sustainable. That’s why you need to decide beforehand if there’s anything specific that you’re looking for, say a white shirt, and stick to it. If not a specific item, at least a rough theme such as formal wear or party wear works, too. This tip also prevents me from overspending.

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

I like to go to Satwa where there are a lot of small, underrated thrift stores lined by the streets. I also recommend Instagram stores like @bearly.used and @apple.bottomjeans.thrift.

Learn more about Pari Bhave at @pari_bhave

Anne Libranda 

How did you get started thrifting with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

I started last year when I saw a friend of mine post her haul from an Instagram thrift store and, out of curiosity, decided to check it out. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on thrifting. I mainly bought jewellery from online stores in the beginning as they were easier to trust, and I didn’t have to worry about sizing. As I got more comfortable, I started trying out different tops, jackets, button-ups etc. I also started buying most of the clothes I wear to work from thrift stores. Nobody can tell the difference! 

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about?

Not all thrift stores will have an item in your size or one that perfectly matches your requirements, so I started to either DIY or upcycle the clothes that I bought in a way that would fit me. For instance, if I liked a pair of pants but it was too long, I’d just put hair ties or rubber bands on the bottom and then fold up the pants in a way that covers the tie, giving it a more jogger/cuffed look that won’t unfold later during the day. My mom and I have been doing this since forever! Sometimes, I used to get clothes that didn’t fit me as gifts from relatives and friends, but my mom and I would always adjust it later instead of tossing it away.

If you want a more permanent fix, I recommend getting your clothes tailored to fit your size. There are several places in Karama, for instance, that have decent prices. But of course, in terms of affordability, it’s much easier – not to mention all the creative opportunities it opens up – if you can alter it by yourself. For upcycling clothes, the sky is the limit. You can cut them, redecorate them, bleach them, paint them, or even print them with your own designs. There are so many ways of upcycling clothing, and you can easily find inspiration on TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

I mostly buy from online thrift stores, and some of my favourites include @prinsell.styd, @th.ri.ft, and @erishcloset.

Learn more about Anne Libranda at @renboyepicklebottom

Dianne Francisco

How did you get started thrifting with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

As a Filipino, my native language has a term called ukay-ukay, which is equivalent to ‘thrift’. Us Filipinos have always found ways to live a sustainable life and, as a kid, I was taught to make the most of what we have. I was trained to be mindful about purchases and even the carbon footprint that I leave. Because of such an upbringing, I learned about thrifting at a young age. I started thrifting by myself when I was 17, and it has been two years now. Thrifting has allowed me to budget well as a college student – clothes from regular stores would cost a lot more.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the ideacome about?

I always ask myself two questions before buying something: Do I see myself pairing this with most of what’s in my wardrobe? Do I see myself still wearing this three years from now? It’s important to buy according to our needs more than wants in my opinion, and asking these questions helps in self-control. As someone who is approaching adult life, I set rules for myself while shopping. It’s important to consider where your money goes and be sure that what you’re getting is worth it. It’s easy to find pretty garments or accessories that are trendy, but I believe that buying items that fit your own style and make you happy is much more satisfying. 

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

The best brick-and-mortar thrift shop I can recommend is D&J as it has everything you need in every style for a reasonable price. For online stores, I always buy at @timeless_wardrobe_et and @bywesaved.

Learn more about Dianne Francisco at @frncs.co

Lily Loulijia 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

I was recommended thrifting by a friend back in Bahrain. I was talking to her about how I wish there were thrift stores in the country and my friend, being from the Philippines, was well-versed with the ukay-ukay community within the country. An ukay-ukay is a Filipino store where secondhand items such as clothes, bags, shoes, and other accessories are sold at a lower price.She opened my eyes to a whole new world of shopping, and I’ve been thrifting since March 2020.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently?

Look. Through. The. Pile. Thoroughly. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve often found cute pieces that are hidden in a corner, have fallen off the rack, or are wrapped within another shirt. I was originally inspired to do this by a YouTube video on thrifting. If you look through everything thoroughly, you’re bound to find a hidden gem. 

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

As mentioned earlier,ukay-ukays are a must-visit. Simply look up “ukay-ukays near me” and you’ll realise that they’re scattered around almost every part of Dubai, leaving you with a fashion treasure map across the city. The Urban Market also features great pop-up thrift stores. It usually hosts an event every Friday with vendors, fitness classes, food, and drinks in addition to displaying beautiful pre-loved pieces.

Learn more about Lily Loulijia at @lillyloulijia


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A girl shopping cloths

So You’re Fed Up of Fast Fashion

Start at these UAE-based thrift stores.

An alternative to the traditional fashion shopping experience of factory-fresh items is making itself known in the UAE: thrifting. Not only is it a great way to create a unique look, but it’s also the definitive way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank. Thrift stores usually sell lightly used items while promoting sustainability by extending the life cycle of a product that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Sound appealing? Here are three UAE-based thrift stores that belong on your radar.

Fashion Rerun

What kind of pre-loved items do you sell?

We sell a wide selection of thrift, retro, and vintage clothing for men, women, youth, and children. Our collection includes activewear, jerseys, running shoes, caps, and so much more!

How long have you been in business?

Fashion Rerun has been in the market for just over four years now.

What makes you different from other thrift stores?

We offer a unique range in quality, price, and choice. Additionally, we are probably the only store that offers a full range of thrift, retro, and vintage.

How do you differentiate between thrift, retro, and vintage?

Thrift clothing is gently used items at a discounted price. They include current styles and trends. Retro clothing is newer clothing that imitates styles of the past (vintage). Vintage refers to items aged 15+ years that are rare and difficult to find, and therefore have higher value compared to retro and thrift clothing. 

Can I sell items to the store? 

Fashion Rerun does not buy from individuals.

Follow Fashion Rerun at @fashion_rerun.


What kind of pre-loved items do you sell? 

FlairOnThrift sells pre-loved clothing that was lightly used and is in good condition to be worn. Our collection includes shirts, jumpsuits, jackets, and dresses. We also sell accessories, so you can find bags, jewellery, and even phone covers on our page.

How long have you been in business? 

FlairOnThrift was started on September 9, 2020 and has been around for almost a year now!

How is your concept different compared to other thrift stores?

FlairOnThrift is an Instagram-born store that, like a lot of similar stores, only sell products online through Instagram. The store was created out of passion for sustainability and a desire to cater to people on a budget. We work on a limited product drop basis instead of continuously having items for sale, as we believe this helps us to specially curate items for our customers. Unlike a lot of other stores, we also make sure that all our posts of sold items are archived so that everything you see on our page is up for sale, and not just marketing. We believe that this makes it much easier for customers to shop. 

Can I sell items to the store?

Yes! We accept clothing, shoes, and accessories such as bags, hats, or jewellery to be sold on our platform in exchange for store credit.

How does the process work? What items do you not take?

You can DM or contact us using the contact information provided on our Instagram page, and we will schedule a pick-up. After receiving the items, we will provide you with store credit. The items should not be overly damaged nor for kids.

Follow FlairOnThrift at @flaironthrift_dxb.

Rewynd Apparel

What kind of pre-loved items do you sell? 

We specialise in thrifted apparel that caters to both men and women such as jeans, outerwear, tees, blouses, accessories, and more. Our most sought-after products are from our Premium + Vintage line, where customers can find rare pieces dating back to the 80s and 90s, official merch, and even dead stock. 

How long have you been in business? 

We launched our online store along with our first collection in August of 2020, so we’re just about to celebrate our first anniversary!

How is your concept different compared to other thrift stores? 

Rewynd Apparel was founded by three sisters with a passion for fashion, styling, and marketing, and we aim to create a memorable thrifting experience for all our customers. Every piece on our website has been handpicked by us, every letter that we send out has been handwritten by us, and our packaging is zero-waste as well. We also enjoy showcasing a variety of styling options to reflect the ease and versatility of incorporating thrifted clothes into our customers’ personal styles.

Can I sell items to the store? 

Rewynd Apparel is a specially curated thrift store, and our business model and brand values are not tailored to suit the concept of consignments. Therefore, we currently do not accept consignments.

Follow Rewynd Apparel at @rewyndapparel.


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A woman checking vegetables

5 Women on Sustainable Living in the UAE

Their everyday tips are surprisingly easy.

As climate change rapidly accelerates and our planet pays the price, the onus is on us to breathe life back into our environment. Several governments, companies, and other organisations have pledged to work towards building a greener future. But what can the average person do? Here, we tap five UAE-based women for their everyday tips when it comes to living sustainably.

Charlene Nawar

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainable living meant so much to me that I gave up my job as a lawyer to pursue a new career in sustainability in order to make a difference. Our current consumption habits are depleting the planet’s finite resources, and we are constantly living in ecological overshoot. But it is also about my family and the future generations – they will be the ones who really have to deal with the impact of climate change. That’s why, even though I know that I cannot make enough of a difference alone, I hope to inspire and encourage more people to make a few positive changes in order to have a big impact!

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I compost all my food scraps and use this compost for my garden. I started with the Bokashi composting method, which seemed quite easy to begin with. You put all your food scraps in an airtight bucket under your sink and all you must later do is dig a hole and bury the compost.

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been composting my food waste for approximately three years now. It all started when I looked at my trash bin and realised that food waste was a large part of it – and I don’t mean actual wasted food, but food scraps from fruit, vegetable peels etc. I had heard a lot about composting, but was afraid to try it as it sounded quite overwhelming. I also wasn’t ready for bugs or mice. But after learning about the Bokashi method, I decided to give it a try. I ended up making quite a few mistakes along the way, but I’ve never looked back since then!

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

Yes! There are so many small changes that I have managed to incorporate into my lifestyle. In fact, they now come naturally and don’t feel like big changes anymore. This includes taking my own reusable bags for shopping and fresh produce bags when grocery shopping, and always carrying a reusable bottle with water from my water filter at home to avoid buying plastic bottles when I am out.

Learn more about Charlene Nawar at @theunwrappedco.

Jude Al Qubaisi

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainability is not a choice. If anything, I believe that all humans are naturally sustainable. The issue is the disconnect that many people experience when it comes to sustainability in the UAE – consumerism along with a convenience culture that is extremely wasteful has taken over. As an Arab, I believe that we are naturally collectivists, and we had to be sustainable once upon a time. But today, we can afford to not live sustainably because of the nature of the existing framework. I live a three-minute walk from a mall and, to this day, my friends are shocked when I suggest walking because they can afford gas. Sustainability is the natural way of things, and it’s us who can make a choice to live sustainably or take a more convenient approach.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I collect candle wax to use from old candles whose wick has died out. All you need to do is take an old candle, put it into a glass bowl over hot water on a stove, and wait for the wax to melt. Once it’s melted, you can scoop it out and store it in recycled empty bottles – I usually use an old cheese spread or ketchup glass container – and add in a wick. They cost about AED 0.50 each. 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I have a lot of candles at home, and I mostly use scented ones to keep my room smelling nice. But scented candles are expensive and, at some point, the wick would just give out and you’d have a lot of wax left. Eventually, I started collecting it, and then, one day, I noticed my mother’s empty glass jar collection. So, a few months ago I went to a craft store, bought some wick rope, and started experimenting. I was influenced by watching soap-making and candle-making videos. I mean, if you can melt wax pellets, why not leftover wax?

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

I recently started a thrift store that aims to recycle and repurpose items to counteract consumerism in the UAE. I sell the candles that I make to fund the store, and I keep costs low by painting on select thrifted clothes and pricing them a bit higher.

Learn more about Jude Al Qubaisi at @jude.queue.

Haani Abdul Qayoom

Why is being sustainable important to you?

With every lifestyle change that I make to be more sustainable comes a little effort, to begin with, but it has the best long-term effects. It saves money, it’s healthier, and it’s rewarding. From a wider perspective, it saves resources. These are a few benefits among others. Trying to live sustainably is the onlylogical way of life, according to me.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I collect all the wastewater from the kitchen and the air conditioning to water my plants after filtration.

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

The idea actually came from my dad! I got inspired by watching him do it, and I’ve now been doing it for as long as I can remember. 

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

One way in which I’m trying to be more sustainable includes raising my cats more sustainably. I have three cats and I’m trying to switch their cat products to more sustainable options, such as switching to home food instead of wet food. One of my cats loves home-cooked food, so all the protein that’s leftover on my plate goes to him! I’m also trying to switch to sustainable tofu litter for all three of them.

Learn more about Haani Abdul Qayoom at @wasteduae.

Beenish Khan

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainability is important to me because we are now approaching a dead end while accelerating at full speed. If we were hypothetically sitting in a speeding car like that, would it be possible to ignore it? Our future is going to be deadly, and that’s why I believe we must act now to slow down.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

Water conservation is very important to me – that’s why I don’t wash all my clothes very frequently. You do not need to put your clothes in the washing machine after wearing them just once. You can re-wear them three to four times unless there’s a stain or you were sweating. Denim is one type of clothing that I believe can be worn the most without washing regularly, depending on your usage. I have even been able to make it last a whole month! 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I learned about water conservation in my childhood from my parents who taught me that wasting water was a sin. My mom used to tell me which clothes needed to be washed and which could be worn again, depending on various factors when doing her laundry. I’ve been using this hack most of my life, initially for ethical reasons such as how wasting resources can deprive someone else and now also keeping sustainability in mind.

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

Yes! I have installed water-efficient taps to save water and painted my home in light tones so that the sunlight reflects off it and brightens the room – that way, I don’t need to turn on the lights during the day. I also try not to follow fashion trends and stick to my own aesthetic.

Learn more about Beenish Khan at @thesustainablefemme.

Samira V. Banat

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Most of us are familiar with the brooding effects of climate change and may have personally experienced them. When I was younger, I knew that I had to start making a difference in my lifestyle. When you’re learning about who you are and figuring out how to become a better person, you may start to understand that sustainability, kindness, and an overall better standard of life are intertwined. This was the case for me. I spent most of my teenage years following a vegetarian diet, implementing vegan practices, and even founded an environmental club at my high school. As someone who strongly wishes to become a mother one day, I feel obliged to educate others, spread awareness, and improve the environmental and ethical conditions in which we live. Otherwise, verdant jungles, golden dunes, and azure waters filled with the most extraordinary life will just be tales of the past.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

A tip that’s simple yet effective is opting out of printing everything, whether it be documents, your bills, or receipts. If you’re using an ATM, choose the ‘Green’ or ‘Eco’ option and don’t print a receipt. If you need to keep a record of something – even a receipt – take a picture. It may require more time and effort, but writing things down works as well. And if you find yourself with a collection of receipts and other printed documents that you don’t necessarily need, give them away for recycling. 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been choosing the ‘Eco’ option at ATMs for two years since I got my bank account at 18. However, I would always encourage my parents and friends to do it even before that, especially considering bank statements are sent via text to your phone anyway. I don’t recall exactly when this started, but the idea stemmed from simply seeing the eco-friendly, no-print option on the UAE’s ATM machines when I was younger. As for all the other printing-related habits I picked up, it was just a part of the natural process. I became more conscious of my paper usage and learned to acknowledge that certain areas of my actions required some work – and so I put in the work.

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

I always make sure to choose my mode of transport wisely. Of course, this depends on where you live, access to sidewalks and public transport, as well as how well it suits your lifestyle. However, I believe walking to wherever you need to go is the best thing you can do to lessen your carbon footprint. Plus, it’s highly beneficial for your physical and mental health. 

Learn more about Samira V. Banat at @samiraavb.


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