Repurposed dental floss container

Behold! Here is my ugly old wind chime! Ok you have to give it a break, it’s so old I can’t remember when I bought it. The top wood piece is snapped in half but holding in there from the strings. I noticed recently that the little wood piece attached to the middle string (I have no idea what this would be called) had broken off at some point. I took my beloved wind chime down and have been thinking for quite awhile now about how to get it back up and chiming again.

I have a BUNCH of dental floss containers from trips to the dentist. In staring at the guts of one and wondering what I could reuse it for, I noticed the little middle piece with two holes where a string could easily fit.

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Hmmm I thought, couldn’t I just tie this to the bottom of my wind chime? But the container is so ugly I thought. I racked my brain trying to think of ways to make it cute. I don’t have any Sharpies, I figured I’d waste tape if I tried to cover it with paper and the weather would likely just damage it. I thought of foil but then there goes wasting some foil. I don’t have any glue so that’s out. And honestly crafting kind of makes me mad sometimes. I have no idea why lol. Soooooo here is my poor unattractive wind chime, hanging up again and chiming away! I’m hoping I’ll get a new one as a birthday present but I’ll leave this one up until it dies 😀

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Materials needed:

  • One ugly wind chime
  • Dental floss container
  • Needle nose pliers or something to grab the string while threading it through hole

Hmmmm I wonder if you could make a wind chime out of the containers alone and what it would sound like?

Plastic free nail polish?

So I was lounging around the other night and could feel spring in the air. I started thinking about things that come with the weather change; sundresses, shorts, cute tank tops, sandals….Sandals, ohhhhh time to paint my toenails! Wait…..there’s a plastic cap on nail polish……And I think there’s even plastic in some types of nail polish, and in the glitter versions. I tried reading this article to get a picture of what exactly is in some polishes but find myself a bit overwhelmed by all the chemical names. I’m not a huge nail polish fan like I used to be, but I’ve always been pretty devout about having my toenails painted. I do my own (I’m weird about my feet being touched) and my pedicures last me about 2-3 weeks with a pinch of in between maintenance.

I have used henna on my toenails before. Not for any cause, but just because I’m a henna head, I was bored and had henna left over. I slapped it on my toes numerous times, one time I even slept with henna applied to toenails, covered with cotton balls and taped to each individual toe (did I mention I was bored?). The color came out underwhelmingly bad no matter what I seemed to do. My mother and boyfriend kept casting my toenails the equivalent of the evil eye. I didn’t keep them up however, some henna heads freshen their hennaed nails often with new henna saying it keeps the stain going. Seems most people end up with a brownish hue at the darkest, orangey or nicotine yellow at the lightest.

But anyways, yeah, nail polish. I have quite a bit left. I don’t know if I’m going to get rid of what I have or not. I do have a few reds that could float me thru for awhile. I decided to scour the Google planet and see what I could find in the way of plastic free nail polish. I didn’t find plastic free (sorry if you got excited), but I found two companies that use a wooden lid, both still have the inner plastic wand and bristles however.

I’m excited about a new business I found on Etsy. L’Essentiel nail polish, shop name OfficialEssentiel on Etsy. Here’s one of their pretty polishes.

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I contacted the seller to ask specifically about the cap and the owner responded quickly with: “Thanks for reaching out to us. Our caps do not contain any plastic besides the little wand portion and bristles. The actual cap is made out of 100 percent bamboo and yes, we ship in 100 percent recycled cardboard boxes!” I also asked if they could use a plastic free way to seal the package and owner was more than willing to find a plastic free solution as long as it worked with the post office’s shipping method and requirements. I like the bamboo cap, the customer service, and I like to see a new business with great earth ethics and aspirations.

I also found Sheswai Lacquer.

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Their cap is wood as well; I assume the wand and bristles are plastic though. They also wanted to reduce the use of plastic in their packaging in the interest of sustainability. They state that they donate a portion of their profits to different organizations like the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Foundation. I contacted them rather late today to inquire about their packaging for shipping and other product details and didn’t hear anything back yet. I’ll edit the post when they get back to me.

So there you go, some less plastic nail polish options. Alas not plastic free though. But seeing companies that are trying to minimize their use of plastic in their product containers is definitely a good thing. Now if only other companies would catch on and follow suit.

Please comment if you know of any other less waste companies or alternative ways to color your nails! Found this in Wikipedia about the history of nail polish “During the Ming dynasty, nail polish was often made from a mixture that included beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum Arabic.[1][2]” Where are the people from the Ming Dynasty when you need them?

Documentaries and such

Hey there everyone! I thought it be a good idea to add any documentaries we may have seen. This can include Ted talks and other types of discussions also. Anything pertaining to plastic-less, zero waste, and any other green living stuff.

1.) Plastic Paradise: the great Pacific garbage patch. The title says it all. Goes through learning about what plastic is made of and various aspects of it. Gets down to the nitty-gritty of the direct effect of plastic on us, and animals. Available on Netflix and I found it on YouTube.

2.) Addicted to Plastic- Discusses the beginnings of plastics, and goes over new bioplastics. Available on Netflix and YouTube.

3.) Plasticized- The 5 gyres institute goes on a scientific expedition through the gyres. Available on YouTube.

4) Beth Terry on TEDx Great Pacific garbage patch

5) And I just have to add this one:

The Majestic Plastic Bag

Don’t forget to add anything good that you’ve watched (or read) and want to share with others!


I miss shopping

Sure I’ve had some online shopping moments but those were purchases that I considered necessities.  Like my new reusable produce bags and such. I also bought a new pair of jeans.  I figured those a necessary purchase as the one pair that I own had holes in the upper thighs (I bring new meaning to the saying Thunder Thighs lol). I tried to patch them but even my patches fled from my thighs and started curling off. After my new jeans purchase I ended up sewing the patches in place but I’m glad to have two pairs now.  When I went and bought the deodorant from Lush I walked through the mall and ohhh my what a place!  Filled with tons of brand new sparkly stuff that mostly no one really needs. But so sparkly, so new! Argghhh I miss it. And the days of wandering into a Target and randomly buying things. I was never a huge shopper but I did my fair share of buying things I really didn’t need. I had an addiction to lotions, and face creams mostly. Those days are gone for sure. I did do some thrift shopping today though. Bought a gorgeous hippy-ish skirt that I really need to lose 5 lbs to truly wear shame free, a cute button up blouse, and a casual knit work shirt. Wait, I did buy two vials of scented oils from the Renaissance Faire I went to over the weekend. I also came home with a bottle that my sarsaparilla came in. Even though I didn’t buy the root beer I still came home with it so I guess I should claim it. Oh yeah, then there’s the two used books I bought on jarring as I plan on learning as soon as we get some spring crops at the Farmers Market.  Hmmmmmmm something sounds funny. Sounds like I’ve actually done quite a bit of shopping actually.  But because my shopping is of this variety:

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But not of this type

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I’m somehow left feeling unfulfilled. I find myself a bit alarmed by my thoughts of feeling like I need to buy goods that are fancied up in a certain way to feel a sense of satisfaction. I didn’t think I was one fall into the endless consumer quest of new shiny things. Wrong!

Deodorant questions and other stuff

Ok, I’ve still been experimenting with the homemade deodorant.  My current formula is coconut oil,  neem powder,  and baking soda.  It is green,  but doesn’t show up green on my skin once it’s rubbed in. And neem powder doesn’t smell bad to me unless a kind of grass like smell is bad to others? Maybe I have tame neem powder or something? Anyways, it works alright for about 5 hours and then I get breakthrough odor. How often per day do most of you reapply? Do you rewash your underarms before applying again, to wash away the bacteria?  I have always been excessively paranoid about smelling bad so this is a bit of a trial for me. I went to Lush yesterday and bought their T’eo. It smells super tasty, and it would be a double great thing if it works well. But I’d really like a homemade formula that’s inexpensive and effective. And I could save the Lush one for special dates.

It’s time for me to buy blades for my saftey razor. Which brand do you use? Or is any old blade ok?

Ok here’s a shameless advertising plug for a place I love dearly. Chagrin Valley Soap I’ve been shopping here for a couple of years. At one point I was doing the all natural thing with my hair and I love their shampoo bars! Ok, and a bunch of their other stuff too. And they’re all natural, have vegan friendly products and the packaging is plastic free.
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I’ve been using my Nettle shampoo bar since the beginning of February and still have close to half left, so even though they cost a bit, they last quite awhile. I don’t wash my hair every day, and have to wash it less using the shampoo bars. I think commercial shampoos strip my scalp of all oils and then makes it go into overdrive to replace natural oils. I wish I’d had the patience and fortitude, or a bad sense of smell to wait and order Chagrin’s deodorant. At least it’s an option in the future.

Please let me know if you have any advice on the deodorants or razor blades 😀

What Can You Do With Produce Stickers?

Makes me feel a bit better about those little stickers I get at the grocery store when I don’t get to the Farmer’s Market. I’ll start a sheet today.

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As I continue to look for ways to reduce plastic in my life, one that comes up are those little stickers on our produce.  I avoid stickers when possible by shopping farmers’ markets, but during fall to spring, I still get lots of produce (often with stickers) from the store or food co-op.  When one composts, you need to remove the sticker.

IMG_9564 Produce stickers tell us the country and often the state of origin of the food, which is important if you want to reduce your food miles.  And a 5-digit code that starts with a “9” informs us it is organic.

Last year I began to save my produce stickers as I heard in the book, “Plastic Free” by Beth Terry, that you can send them to a guy named Barry Snyder at Stickerman Produce Art.  Barry uses the produce stickers to make art.  He’s a guy from Erie, Colorado, who…

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Victory!

Ok well maybe I’m getting carried away as I didn’t really fight a war. But instead a small war towards a lifestyle change.  I went to an event tonight with a friend and afterwards we went to a local cafe. I decided on a chai tea, and after I ordered I remembered to ask to skip the lid. I was told no, that they legally couldn’t give my drink to me without a lid, and that it’s a liability issue.  I don’t think this is a law, maybe the cashier was told that at some point? So at this point I’m struggling and that useless plastic lid is looming large in my mind. I was also trying not to make a huge stink in front of my friend. Other than the times I’ve had to use my jars, and only had other shoppers hate me for it once, I’m not totally used to creating a ruckus yet. Or rather making myself inconvenient to others. So I ask if I can use my own container, and was told yes. Yay! I’m a bit confused as to what the difference is in being handed my own container minus a lid versus their container, but whatever. Now I’m just marveling at how long it took me to even process enough to ask if I could use my own water bottle I had. I’ve gotten so used to disposables it’s like I was mindless for a minute. 

I’ve been really good at avoiding plastic bags. It’s so funny to me that I’ve been met with close to astonishment by cashiers the few times I’ve forgotten my bag and I’ve had to smash items in my purse and carry quite a few things out in my hands. I had a bag almost forced on me just to carry out one small sealed container I brought myself to take home leftovers.  It’s as if people have forgotten we have hands!

The supplies are in

I ordered some things awhile ago to get this plastic-less party on the road.  I decided to get some reusable produce bags to use for the bulk bins as bringing in outside containers isn’t allowed, I’ve just been flying under the radar. I worry that having so many jars will call that much more attention to me, so I’m going to be using these. They did come in plastic sleeves though. But it’s using plastic to cut plastic.  I also got my new safety razor. Pretty good I must say. I was worried while shaving my legs but no, it actually works great.

I’ve been using my deodorant concoction of coconut oil, neem powder, and baking soda and it’s going well.  It’s still strange feeling moisture under my arms though.

This is month two of dealing with the menstrual cup and yeah wow I kinda wish I could light it on fire and perform a jubilant dance in honor of its passing. I’ll keep at it though as there isn’t a suitable alternative really.

Unfortunately I had to order jeans online. I have one pair of jeans and I have a hole on the inner thigh, I have fat thighs ok! I tried patching it and it wouldn’t stay. I didn’t find anything at our thrift store, so caved and ordered them. The first pair has already arrived and was wrapped in a plastic bag and in another bag arrrghhh. At least I keep most of my jeans until they die so I’m trying not to feel to guilty about the purchase.

Challenging

I haven’t been doing so well on reducing the plastic this last week. Yesterday it was Chinese food in Styrofoam, I did manage to refuse all the soy  sauce packets, fork, and napkin.  The cashier lady did sneak a fortune cookie past me though.  Today it was makeup products. My foundation had run dry, and my eyeliner. And I bought the remaining two Bonne Bell Lip Smackers Dr.Pepper chapstick the store had left in stock (they’re discontinued). No bag though, yay! My boyfriend left some plastic wrapped snacks here that I ended up eating, even though I didn’t buy them I feel responsible for them as I snarfed them down.

Does anyone know of any affordable environmentally friendly makeup options? The foundation would have to be under $15. I have rosacea and am older so I don’t feel it’s something I want to do without. I’ve heard of letting a candle burn under a spoon, scraping that off and mixing with a little coconut oil for eyeliner, so I’ll begin experimenting with that. I’ve been experimenting with the homemade deodorant again. I was just using coconut oil with a bit of baking soda dashed over it, but developed irritation. I found some neem powder that I’m going to mix into my next experiment with making deodorant. It is green powder so I’m a bit concerned haha.

Onto my achievement now! After shopping around and reading reviews I decided on this bamboo toothbrush.

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So far so good, works great! I really hope that plastic-free items become more affordable in the future. I think it would be a large challenge to convince the average plastic consuming consumer to pay $10 for 2 toothbrushes when you can get a 6 pack of plastic Colgate toothbrushes for $6.  If anyone has any budget friendly alternatives for plastic-free commonly used items, please post!

Timesaver?

I’ve been lounging around and trying to determine whether a plastic-free and zero waste lifestyle saves time. I know that it definitely doesn’t save me time in the kitchen.  I am one who rarely used to cook. I grabbed a frozen meal and popped it in the microwave most times. Now I actually have to cook. :GASP:  So, yes, I’m spending much more time in the kitchen. I have to say that it’s not as bad as I feared it might be. I’ve actually had to do something else foreign to me, get creative. I’ve got some stale heels of bread left that will probably become bread crumbs soon. I’m making an effort to use the food I have on hand which has led to some interesting meals. I’m guessing I’m doing what our plastic-free ancestors did, making do with what I have. Novel concept with the way we live today.

I made my own granola!  I realized I had some oats floating around and a bunch of other doo dads I’d gotten from the store. A quick Google trip sent me here, and I was on my way to hippy granola land! And it turned out great. I think I’ll reconsider the use of flax seeds next batch as I really didn’t enjoy the few times I’ve choked on one. Tiny little devils! Here is a picture of my fancy granola.

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Pretty nice, eh? Tonight I made a burrito bowl, and made rice pudding with the leftover rice. These are cooking adventures I never would have done before my new lifestyle.  So, how have you guys gotten creative (doesn’t have to be the kitchen)? Do you think you’re saving more time now than before? Let me know!