Starting the Zero Waste Journey

starting-zero-waste.

Zero Waste Living One Person at a Time

When I first heard the phrase Zero Waste Living and started to research what that was, I was overjoyed. I had been doing some of these things already. And with a community of people out there willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Anything you do, no matter how small, will have a positive effect. You don’t have to be perfect, only mindful. And that will lead you towards a healthier life. Mind, body, spirit, and the community in which you live. One person does make a difference.

Think About Your Purchases

Ask yourself, do I need this? Is it something that I can borrow or buy second-hand? Is it something I already have and only needs to be repaired? Do I have something at home that can be reused or repurposed? When you start to ask yourself these questions, you are limiting your amount of waste and saving some money in the process.

Say No to Single-Use Plastics

Plastics can contain bioactive chemicals, like bisphenol A (BPA) and phosphates. Which can mess with our hormones. Not to mention piling up in our landfills and waterways. Straws, plastic bottles, food containers, shopping bags, cutlery. If you need to have a straw, there are bamboo or metal reusable ones that you can keep in your car. Purchase a water bottle. They even have them with filters.  Instead of using plastic food containers, save your glass bottles from other foods for storage. Invest in beeswax wraps to cover a bowl, wrap a sandwich. Keep tote bags in your car for shopping. Wrap a set of silverware in a cloth napkin or small cloth bag and keep it in your car and or at work. We found a great little local store in Liberty Hill, The Wildflower Republic that has all these wonderful products in stock.

Shop Bulk Foods

In doing so, you eliminate spending your money on plastic-wrapped dry foods. Bring your own cloth bags and store your bulk foods in glass containers at home. Many shops have bulk foods for sale. HEB, Sprouts, and Whole Foods to name a few. Sanctuary Holistic Kitchen in Georgetown has a bulk herb and apothecary section as well as a craft bar and DIY events.

Shop Local Farmers Markets

Your food will be fresh and free of plastic wrapping. Many vendors that sell eggs will also take or exchange egg cartons and some except glass jars for candle making.  Your Farmers Market is rich in healthy foods and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Get Creative and Have Some Fun

If you have some old t-shirts, turn them into tote bags or mini linen packs that work as a utensil holder and napkin. Tin cans can become lanterns. Glass jars, with a little paint and a small drawer pull can become a decorative container. The possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to get the family involved and have some fun together. Check out our little video by Fairyland Cottage.com on how to start up with sustainability and saving money one creative step at a time.

Remember, it’s not about perfection. Each small thing that we do makes a difference.

10 Ways to go Zero Waste in the Bathroom

bathroom zero waste swaps

How many products do you use in the morning while getting ready for the day?

Typically, there are around 12-14 products used. And each of those products has containers that need to make their way out of the home when finished. These products are typically put on in the most wasteful room in the house – the Bathroom. Products vary from moisturizer, make-up, toothpaste, hairspray, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner.

A few scary, plastic facts:

  • Plastic toothbrushes take 400 YEARS to decompose
  • America uses about 50 lbs annually of toilet paper a day
  • Conditioner bottles take 450 years to decompose
  • Disposable diapers accept 500 years to dispose

When you choose to conserve resources and minimalize pollution, you are contributing to the earth’s better good. If you do not, plastics and “goods” are dumped into the landfill for hundreds and thousands of years to come.

Plastic is convenient and familiar to modern-day. It takes around 1.6 million barrels of oil each year to produce plastic water bottles. Plastic takes way too long to decompose. We’re talking up to 1,000 years to break down! Can you imagine all those water bottles just sitting in the landfill right now? Pointless.

Encourage your family to start small – like with these easy bathroom swaps – to a better life:

  1. One-in-one-out Rule: Use this rule of thumb by not purchasing something unless you run out of a product entirely. Don’t fall into consumer traps by running straight to the store when you run out of one object. This means going through that lotion stash until it’s gone, Karen!
  2. Eco-friendly Menstrual Products: Your period, it’s always a drag – but it doesn’t have to drag down the environment, too. Why not go all-in with a swap to cloth pads, a menstrual cup, or thinx period panties during your monthly flow? Etsy.com for handmade and support to small businesses.
  3. Soap bar: Choose a soap bar to replace your shampoo, conditioner, hand soap by the sink, and body wash. Buy local: Check out natural soaps in our directory!
  4. Deodorant: Another item that you can purchase without the plastic or make your own. Buy local:
  5. Toilet Paper: Overseas, they have it figured out with the bidet attachment. It’s a great addition to getting clean, but it’s expensive. Try buying paper-free toilet paper in bulk or the kind that can be 100% recycled to get started. Who Gives a Crap will donate 50% of profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in developing countries, and they have fun doing it!
  6. Tooth Brush: You should not have a plastic toothbrush right now – it’s 2019. That plastic toothbrush you use to use is going to be sitting in the landfill for centuries. A compostable bamboo toothbrush is where it’s at! Natural Grocers will have these.

Toothpaste Bites: Spend some time this morning google-ing ‘toothpaste bites’, and you’ll be emailing us a box of thank you chocolates later today. These are little pockets

  1. you pop in your mouth to brush your teeth. Bite toothpaste bits ditches the plastic toothpaste tubes and cares about what ingredients are put go in the body.

Check out this Toothpaste & Mouthwash Tutorial Video!

Don’t forget to choose essential oils that are easy to digest- not all essential oils are created equal. You may find that coconut oil added will smooth some of the taste and make your tummy happier.

  1. Floss: Flossing is essential. However, skip the nylon spool found in the tiny plastic container. You can find silk dental floss on Amazon for relatively cheap. It’ll come in a recyclable, refillable glass container, and the floss itself is compostable (and totally safer for the turtles)!
  2. Paper towels: You don’t need to use paper towels to clean anymore, it’s such a waste. Grab some old t-shirts and cut them up or head to the Good Will to find material to create your own “cleaning rags.” Just wash and toss into the laundry when finished.
  3. Refill hand soap: Buy a glass dispenser and fill it up with your favorite hand soap if the bar soap isn’t your jam. You can buy liquid hand soap in larger containers to cut back on waste.

Did you know that you can actually make your own bathroom essentials? I’ve been learning from Zero Waste Cartel a few tips and tricks!

Going zero waste should not be costly or time-consuming, but an easy swap when things finally run out. It’s not a current trend, it’s a movement. Start making these small swaps in the home, and it will add to the global change amongst us for a safer and healthier world.

In the words of Bea Johnson, “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot (and only in that order) is my family’s secret to reducing our annual trash to a jar since 2008.”