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: https://www.byrdie.com/best-shampoo-bars-4707191.

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 (https://seedphytonutrients.com/our-standards/sustainability/). 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: https://www.fountain.nyc/shop/coconut-dish-soap. 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 – https://www.sustainablejungle.com/zero-waste/zero-waste-mascara/. 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 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PHaW0sZTqQ.

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). https://www.etsy.com/listing/865261920/reusable-buds-pack-of-4-bamboo-and?ref=yr_purchases. 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

Reflections

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!

~Kelly

EWAP Update: Part IV

Hello All,

As my year of collecting E-waste off the streets and shuttling them to whatever facility will accept them for recycling comes to a close, I wanted to commemorate the experience with a spreadsheet, ah, sweet spreadsheets. In total, I collected 34 items which collectively was probably hundreds of pounds of waste. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to weigh the items, but did take down all their specs in case I needed actual weights for reporting someday.

In summary, I learned that it is inconvenient to recycle electronics, which is why many people opt to throw them out with regular garbage. The good news is, there are many free recycling drop-off options still available, you just have to look for them. Staples and Best Buy are reliable drop off locations that accept most electronics in any condition. Goodwill is a good place to bring working electronics, but note that you must have all associated chords, cables, and remotes for them to accept your donation. Also, they actually throw out, in the garbage, electronics that are found to be broken, so keep that in mind. Other than Staples, Best Buy, and Goodwill, there are also scrap metal/other drop off facilities that may be available to you in your area, you just have to do a little research. Feel free to contact me if you need help investigating.

Without further ado, my life’s work in 2020–

ComputersMonitorsTVsPrintersLaptopsOther
Dell  Vostro PC – Windows 7 home prem OA – mailed to Dell for recyclingLG computer screen Flatron E2211PU-BNSony LCD color tv model no: klv-s19A10 (HEAVY) serial no 7016499HP printer – photosmart C4600 SeriesLenovo laptop – Thinkpad T430s and chargerPanasonic dvd player, DVD-S27
Dell Optiplex Sx270, model no: DCT (~15lbs), mailed to dell for recyclingDell monitor and keyboard – model no. 1504 fp (~30lbs) – mailed to dell for recyclingInsignia LCD tv model no NS-L 19Q-10A – mailed to Dell for recyclingEpson Printer Stylus NX300 model C362ASony DVD player/Video Casette Recorder Model No – SLV-D300P
Dell monitor- model no 1702fp Rev A01 17”RCA 32” HD LED TV Model No – RT3205-CPrinter – Canon- TS6020Emerson DVD Player – Model # EWD7004 (1800-256-2487 for help with operating) – mailed to dell for reycling
LG Monitor, 38″ x 23″ 43UF6430 Model No: 43UF6430-4BIntertek – LE (brand?) Super4 X43 Pro – LED Tv – 38” X 23” HEAVY probably 40lbs
     Maybe the brand is called – Le Shi Zhi Xin Electronic Technology (Tianjin) Limited
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DWCooler Master haf 392
Samsung – Standard Telvision Receiving Apparatus Model Code UN32J5003AFXZA Version No LS03HP Deskjet 2540 All-in-one series Serial No. CN37U1FGVX FPU No. A9U22-64001 Regulatory Model No. SNPRB-1204-02, appears to work, turns on, out of inkSamson – servo-170 studio amplifier 85 watt stereo – heavy ~30 lbs
Panasonic High Definition Plasma Television, model TH-42PX600U (70 lbs)Kenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converter
Haier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television ReceiverUbee Interactive Corp. TWC Model: DVW32CB – Wireless Modem
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587Speaker Intertek Listed 3044275 CA3554
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
Hisense LED LCD TV Model No 65R6E3 4.75 ft by 2.75 ft.
RCA Model No. L26HD32D**26″ x18″ Serial No. 196EH29Y May 2008
722565A063SH…works, has remote
Samsung Model No. LN40B550K1F Model Code LN40B550K1FXZA S/N AUD03CLSA00365M*** 39″ x 2ft, works, no remote Version AA04
Hisense Model No. 32D12 Item:D12-WX01A WLCH032D1201446 Manufacture Date 6/03 Works, no note about disposal on TV 18″x 30″
E-waste Collected from Streets Casually March-June 2020

*Sticker (in TINY text) on back of this item states: “THIS LCD TV Contains a lamp with Mercury, please dispose of according to all local, state, and federal laws.” It was not treated as such.

**Also had sticker that said “This product contains Mercury and must be recycled or disposed of according to applicable local, state, or federal laws. Visit rca.com/tv for more information. Note: This link lead to a webpage providing ZERO information about recycling as far as I could see. Emailed customer service, waiting to hear back, email bounced back..shadyyyyy. 1800968-9853 will have to call

***Had in fine print on back sticker, Contains Mercury, dispose according to local, state, or federal laws

In summary, electronics are meant to be recycled. They usually have tiny stickers or text somewhere on the body of the electronic item indicating that the item contains toxic chemicals that must be disposed of properly in order to preserve human and environmental health. Why that is in fine print, I don’t know. In addition to protecting human and environmental health, recycling electronics is important because it promotes reuse of materials. With a reliable supply of recycled parts, the recycling industry is strengthened, and companies can be encouraged to use recycled materials in place of raw materials. Finally, recycling electronics also prevents environmental and species destruction in places where electronic components are taken from the earth, for example chimpanzee habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is interesting to note that the majority of items I found set out with regular garbage were large flatscreen televisions and printers. It appears education needs to be put into place to educate consumers on the appropriate way to dispose of their items once they reach the end of their useful life.

And thats about all I have to say about that. I’ll leave you with a photo montage of this years’ collections:

  • EWAP

Zero Waste Cleaning

In other news, on the path towards Zero Waste living, I have a new development–plastic free cleaning supplies. The short story is that instead of buying windex and other cleaners in plastic spray-bottles, you can instead buy glass spray bottles and use either white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. CAUTION: USE SEPARATELY, when mixed, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide form an acid. Here is an article that provides recipes and in depth information about the applications of each as a house-hold cleaner –click here for article. While they are not as killer as other chemical cleaning products, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (separately, remember) are effective disinfectants for e-coli and salmonella bacteria, so thats good. They can also be used to kill mold. Also, vinegar is effective in cleaning windows and mirrors, so why bother with windex ever again?

Vote for a Plastic Free Amazon

My final thought for you all today is, lets show amazon that we want plastic free shipping options!

Here is a petition you can sign, created by a marketing lady who’s goal is to help businesses grow while adopting sustainable practices. The petition asks Amazon to provide a “Plastic-free” option during checkout to request no bubble wrap to be used in the delivery package, as well as a label on plastic-free products. The goal is to get 100,000 signatures and they’re already at 650,000. Take a moment to add your name and reduce the amount of plastic flowing into your home. Remember to uncheck the box that asks if you want to join the mailing list.

Here is that link: http://chng.it/ppJMHWYYfK

And finally, some recent packaging inspired creativity, a window covering:

Made from fused plastic food packaging sewn together

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)

Another Year towards Zero Waste Living and What the Hail is Going On

Hello again folks, I hope we are all doing well.

Today I would like to share some thoughts on zero waste living strategies and products. This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce waste at the individual level. Last year I wrote about this topic here and have a few new items to highlight. Amidst the pandemic flu crisis, garbage is sill an issue, so lets switch our focus towards that for a moment, shall we?

Cue dream sequence music…

 

Over the course of 2019, I introduced the following products to my zero waste repertoire: #1 a fancy reusable razor with a lifetime guarantee, #2 wooden dish-brush w/replaceable bristles (Redecker brand), #3 “period panties” (leave it to me to bring up the “gross” topics), and #4 sunscreen in a tin.

Whenever possible and within reason, ie, never for items in the realms mentioned above because that would seriously queeb me out, I do 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 this 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. Wunderbar!

I have also continued to monitor my personal waste production, finding that To-go containers, bread bags, and other packaged food to remain my main source of trash.

Moving forward, I am planning to experiment with plastic-package free dish soaps and laundry detergents. So far, I see that my local package free shop, “creatively” titled “The Package Free Shop,” offers a solid dish soap, so I will probably try that one when the time comes to restock. As for laundry detergent, the same shop also offers a laundry detergent made from simple, natural ingredients that comes in a glass jar, so I am planning to try that recipe as well.

Now, to plug the new products I love:

Period Panties~

Period panties replace the need for disposable pads, which to me, is awesome. Thus far, I have tried Thinx brand, and am very satisfied with their product. This is their website, check it out.

And finally, a comprehensive review of all the zero-waste lifestyle products I have tried in the past few years that I would recommend:

  1. Reusable utensils (To Go Ware, lemme know if you want some, I bought a bunch whole-sale last year and would be happy to send your way, they make great gifts)
  2. Metal straws
  3. Reusable food wrap (Bees wrap)
  4. Deodorant in a tin (Meow Meow Tweet)/Deodorant bar from Lush that has no packaging (Aromaco)
  5. Home-made toothpaste or toothpaste in a jar (I tried Uncle Harry’s this year and will try Georganics Tooth Powder next)
  6. Dental floss in cardboard box (Dr. Mercola)
  7. Leaf Re-usable razor (with lifetime guarantee)
  8. Raw Elements Sunscreen in a tin (will try this next because the one in the tin was real thick)
  9. Menstrual cup (Diva)
  10. Period underwear (Thinx).
  11. Non-plastic dish scrubber (Redecker)

If there’s anything you’ve tried that you’d like to give me a heads up about, please do let me know!

Now, back to matters at hand: cue dream sequence outro…

I will leave you with a fun hand-washing link to make washing your hands a zillion times a day a bit more bearable: https://washyourlyrics.com/

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 2.36.19 AM

Peace~

Kelly

 

 

 

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,

KB

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

Another resource with recipes –

https://earth911.com/health/how-to-make-toothpaste/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=%F0%9F%8C%8E+Why+Shop+Direct+Trade%3F+%7C+Recycling+Mystery%3A+Propane+Tanks+%7C+DIY+Natural+Toothpaste+%7C+Podcast%3A+Water-Saving+Smart+Device&utm_campaign=Earth911%3A+July+6%2C+2021

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