Towards Zero Waste Living Year 3

Hello dear readers,

This is my annual reflection on working towards zero waste living, an effort I began writing about in 2018.

This past year was most about learning to make my own things at home to replace needing to buy them at the store in plastic packaging.

Here are a few things I learned –

I also tried a few new plastic-free toothpastes/powders. I tried this one – Georganics Tooth Powder with Charcoal– it was black. In terms of taste experience, I would recommend it because it tasted fine and worked, BUT, it stained my clothes since its a powder and can fall from the trip from jar to mouth, so next time I would go for one of the white flavors.

Next I tried Georganics Natural Toothpaste in Spearmint. I was not expecting it to be a paste when I bought it (packaging is similar to powder option). The paste tastes fine and works well, but it kindof gunks up on the toothbrush head where the bristles attach, and I’m not a fan of that. I like the powder better and next will try a different flavor of toothpaste powder from Georganics. Also on my radar as something to try are toothpaste tablets.

Since I finally ran out of shampoo, I’m now trying out shampoo bars. I went with Ethique brand for my first bar since they have a bar that suits my hair needs, the Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar. It has been working great for me; I find it lathers well and does not leave a residue in my hair, something I’ve heard some shampoo bars do. I did some research on shampoo bars since I’ve heard they can be hit or miss. This is an article I found helpful:

I also got a sample conditioner bar but haven’t tried it yet since I’m still working through the last conditioner I bought, which came in a cardboard container with a plastic pump.

I like this conditioner a lot. Its by Seed Phytonutrients which offers free recycling of the plastic pumps once you’re through with the product ( Apparently there is a packet of seeds inside the cardboard packaging, but I haven’t finished my bottle yet so I cannot vouch.

I also transitioned away from dish soaps which usually come in plastic containers to solid dish soap bars. The first one I bought was from the Package Free Shop, and the 2nd one I purchased from a different Zero Waste Shop called Fountain House & Body which makes its own soaps. Here is a link: I’m going to make my next batch because it seem easy enough despite the creepy lye aspect.

I’ve also begun to experiment with zero-waste cosmetics. So far I’ve tried a cake mascara by Nudi Goods which I don’t really like (but might not be using correctly) and a liquid eyeliner from Clean Faced Cosmetics, which I also don’t really like. There is a learning curve with these products and I’m still fresh to the bandwagon, so much experimentation is still needed. I do really like this daily moisturizer with SPF that comes in a glass jar with a metal lid. Here is an article with links to zero-waste cosmetic brands – There are also some DIY recipes out there I’m curious to try: lipstick and mascara. In case you’re interested, here is a zero-waste mascara comparison/review video –

I also transitioned zero-waste q-tips. I got these ones because they come in a cardboard box and some of the other brands come in plastic. They work as ear cleaners and make-up correctors (works best if you wrap the end in tissue). Another alternative to q-tips is an ear pick, but since I already got the reusable and multi-purpose q-tips, I’ll probably just stick with those as long as they last me.

Other things to note, one point which I learned from Youtuber Gittemary Johansen, is to take extra napkins home when we go out to eat so they can be used later or composted. Its a good practice to do this since they’ll be thrown out at the restaurant anyway, even if they were untouched. Also composting smaller paper scraps rather than recycling them is a good habit to get into since its less energy intensive to compost these than to recycle them, and it adds a good carbon component to the compost pile.

GOALS for 2021

My goals for the coming year are to reduce online video/music streaming since there is an environmental impact associated with memory storage, and to try out micro-plastic catching laundry bags.

Zero Waste Swap List, Year 3

Below is my running list of Zero Waste Products I have tried over the years (excluding some of the items described above).

  • Dental Floss
    • Dr. Mercola – favorite thus far, works better than silk dental floss and comes in a cardboard container, the floss itself may be made of plastic though
    • Silk dental floss in glass container – a bust, the silk floss breaks easily between teeth as does the container if you drop it, which is likely since its round and can roll off counters…will continue experimenting with different brands.
  • Toothpaste
    • DIY toothpaste eliminates toothpaste associated garbage which tends to be difficult to recycle.
    • Toothpaste in a Jar –
      • Georganics Natural Toothpowder – comes in glass jar with metal lid, I tried the black charcoal one, its weird but it works, would buy again (in different flavor) due to plastic free packaging
      • Georganics Toothpaste – similar to Uncle Harry’s but completely plastic free packaging
  • Deodorant
    • Meow Meow Tweet – can be bought in bulk and comes in a glass jar
    • Lush – Aromaco – no packaging, smells nice-n-hippylike
  • Sunscreen
    • Meow Meow tweet everyday sunscreen – without pump=no plastic, hard to rub in, works well, smells nice, makes you look like a ghost if you don’t rub it in, would 100% buy again
    • Raw elements – I tried the tinted one, feels thick and oily, works well, once you work it in you cant see it, comes in a metal tin
    • Daily Moisturizer w/SPF –By Robin Creations
  • Razor
    • Leaf Shave – an investment, but rewarding since it is zero-waste and also has lifetime guarantee so if it breaks, you can send it in and get a new one free of charge
  • Menstruation
    • Diva Cup, a reusable menstrual cup enables pad and tampon free living. The cup prevents garbage and exposure to chemicals, and saves time and money since you never have to buy pads or tampons after the initial purchase.
    • Period Panties – Thinx
  • Cloth hankies
  • Reusable q-tips
  • Glass spray bottles (with plastic spray nozzles, unfortunately) for home-made home surface cleaner (vinegar + water) to replace store-bought ones in plastic bottles.
  • Food Wrap
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Food and Beverages on the Go
    • To-Go Ware (bamboo utensil set, but you can also make your own set with any silverware you’d like)
    • metal straws – small, smoothie, and bubble tea sized
    • Sea-To-Summit “Seal and Go Set” – didn’t particularly like this but its worth mentioning because it is a compact food container, pretty heavy, which is what I didn’t like. I wanted something I could carry around at all times. Ask me about my invention.
    • reusable water bottle
  • Shopping/bags
    • shopping bags and produce bags (either cloth or bring my own plastic bags to reuse)
    • cloth velcro bags instead of zip-locks


The areas of garbage accumulation I wanted to work on reducing from last year were to-go cups (for coffee and smoothies/juices), to-go food containers (for take-out and nuts), and bread bags. I still find coffee cups to be an issue in 2021. I find it cumbersome to always travel with a drink cup just in case, but maybe that is the solution. The nut problem I have solved by buying in bulk. As for bread, I have pretty much stopped buying bread at store and instead go for bakeries and farmers markets where I can use my own bag, or I buy baguettes at the grocery store that come in paper sleeves. Twistie ties and rubber bands are the next area to tackle…

Notes on Buying Less and noticing packaging options:

Whenever possible and within reason, I first look to purchase items second-hand, usually resorting to Craigslist, having found this to be the easiest way to locate specific items, locally. I like doing this because it reduces packaging and production waste and is usually cheaper. For example, I purchased a blender ($20) and cast iron pan ($5) through Craigslist last year instead of purchasing these items new somewhere else. Saved me beaucoup bucks with the added benefit that there was no packaging or shipping involved. That’s not to say I don’t buy anything online or anything new, because I certainly do. But whenever possible and reasonable, I do look for local options first. to keep in mind.

In addition, I have become very choosy about the products I buy and my thought process around purchasing has shifted. When I am food shopping, I look at all the options and prioritize options packaged in glass, cardboard, and metal. That can be tricky, because sometimes things come in a glass bottle but have a plastic lid. Sometimes we strike gold and find a glass jar with a metal lid. Sometimes not. As an example, if I know I can get a cooking oil that comes in a completely plastic free container from one store and notice its not available at another, I’ll hold off on restocking until I can make a trip to the store that has the product I want. I do this so I don’t have to buy the oil with the plastic lid. Its not always practical to do this, but its something to keep in mind. I also buy veggies at the farmers market whenever possible and bring my own bags to put things in because that can eliminate a lot of packaging waste as well.

Finally, here are a few videos you might find interesting for zero-waste transition ideas:

And a vid about the environmental impacts of streaming, which is a bit ironic, but definitely food for thought.

And Finally Finally, since winter is over, an homage to snow beaches, my winter enchantment:

That’s all folks, many thanks for reading!


New Fad Diets- “Eating for your A-hole” and The Zero Waste Diet

Not to be confused with any other combination of those words, eating for one’s a-hole is a diet idea inspired by a Subway Ad declaring colon cancer the #2 cause of cancer in New York City. No pun intended. No disrespect either. Colon cancer is no joke, which is why I am sharing this idea.

The diet concept is simple, every food that enters the mouth is considered in terms of its way out of the body– whether or not the food will nourish the colon.

This diet thus includes high fiber foods: lentils, chick peas, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, carrots, oatmeal. Basically, a healthy diet. Rabbit like. Nothing new. The only novel element here is training the mind to consider and reach primarily for foods that benefit the colon. Shoot for 30 grams of fiber per day. Just remember, when you are eating anything, eat for your a-hole. You’ll thank yourself later.

In addition to eating for your a-hole, I’d like to put in a good word in for the Zero Waste Diet. This diet idea is also simple and will impact shopping and purchasing habits more than anything. The concept, which is probably not new, is to buy food with limited packaging. Why? To benefit the macro-body, Mama Earth, as well as our individual bodies.

Like eating for one’s a-hole, the Zero Waste Diet is heavily focused on the way out. It considers waste generated by eating in terms of environmental impact. The diet is thus comprised of foods that come in their own natural packaging, ie fruits, veggies, nuts, etc with rinds, shells, husks, etc. These foods leave us with no garbage in the end, only compostable material. Bulk bins and farmers markets are critical elements to a zero waste diet, as is bringing re-usable shopping and produce bags along on shopping excursions.

When package free is not possible, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal are preferred packaging options. Plastic is the least preferred packaging option since it is very difficult if not impossible to dispose of and poses environmental and human health risks.

A final component of the Zero Waste Diet is being resourceful and creative. Observing our personal waste footprint can lead us to find new ways to reduce plastic consumption and little by little lead us down the path towards a zero waste diet and lifestyle. For example, recently I have learned how to make my own hummus and nut milks, so now I am free from having to buy packaged milks and hummus. Two steps closer to zero waste livin’. It feels good. Join me!

(This is an original sketch digitized and colored in by Enhance Graphic Design Team, hence watermark)

Toothpaste Recipe

In a small container, perhaps a glass jar or whatever you can find to re-purpose, combine:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon baking soda

a few splashes of an essential oil like peppermint…or possibly no essential oils since they are potentially a health hazard when ingested. Beware~

Voilà, you got yourself a simple toothpaste that’ll last you a couple months. When its hot, it will get liquidy, but its fine, still usable…Enjoy!

Thchau ciao for now,


Note: adapted from Package Free Shop Lauren Singer’s recipe

Another resource with recipes –

Zero Waste Strategies, Tap Dance, and Street Performing

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Palestine’s Fine Excerpt: Peace in the Middle East Tea

Sunrise in Palestine

I learned about this tea recipe while volunteering at a goat farm in Jerusalem. The farm was within a village called Moshav Zafririm, which was probably once occupied by Palestinians but invaded/apprehended by Israel in 1948 when the country was established. Out with the old, in with the new it would seem.

Unlike in Hebron, there was not trace or retelling of foul play in this village.

Propaganda in Hebron
Israeli Propaganda

It was quiet and rather empty, with no banners or propaganda to be found, just an unmanned military check-point at the base of the village to ward off intruders. Unfortunately I have no photos from the village to share.

The tea on the other hand….

Peace in the Middle East Tea Recipe

This tea was made on a daily basis at the farm and we enjoyed it throughout the day, hot and cold. All the ingredients were picked at the farm or gathered in the nearby hills.

Today I drink it as a reminder of the crazy experience I had in “the Holy Land,” encouragement to continue telling the story, and nourishment for the soul.



Pelargonium ‘Citronella’ : Large citrus-scented leaves on a robust plant. Lavender flowers.

Sage “Culinary Sage”

Sage. One of my favorite culinary herbs and one of the herbs people have easy access to no matter where they are. Salvia officinalis – even the Latin name gives us an idea of the respect this Mediterranean beauty has earned. Salvia in Latin derives from the word salvere which means, “to save.” Historically, it has been used in many ways from a facial toner to a plague remedy, as well as drying up breast milk and easing a cough. Sage is a well-loved and well-used herb throughout the ages.


Mint (any variety will work)

mint grown in pot


Steep a few leaves of geranium, a bunch of sage, and a cluster of mint in hot water for any amount of time, add sugar or honey to taste (or not), and serve hot or cold.

Enjoy the pleasant pink color and floral taste of a tea that will sooth the senses, calm the mind, and bring peace to the middle east in your heart, which reflects the world. Enjoy with friends for greatest therapeutic benefits.



Inspiration to give up plastic straws for good: Turtle Noses

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Organics – What to buy and what you can let slide

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