Tag Archives: green living

Discouraging discouragement

 
It has been a bad month for meeting my less waste goals. I have been a combination of busy and under the weather. This has resulted in not getting to the farmer’s market or the grocery store. And the lack of groceries has led to a lot of take out and eating out. Grabbing food on the go is almost always a trashy affair. My boyfriend grabbed a lot of it so trying to personally avoid some of the trash was unavoidable. While my boyfriend is supportive and even has been converted to skipping straws and most plastic bags, he is not open to trying to get food placed in my own container hehee. My biggest failure was quite a few trips to a Chinese food place I love. This happens mostly when I’m pmsing, it’s my Achilles heel of created waste so far in this journey. They use Styrofoam containers for their takeout entrees. They skip the Styrofoam for any shrimp or wontons and put them in a paper bag instead and I’m super grateful for that. The owner also has a large bag of bulk fortune cookies that I can actually enjoy, instead of those individually wrapped cookies. I also ordered a pizza. First time I’ve ordered one since my journey began, and I forgot about that little plastic thing in the middle. (I look at that thing every time and think, wow this would’ve made a great table for my Barbie’s hahah). I inspected it and discovered it actually has a recycle code on it. So be aware of that if you accidentally get one or forget to ask that it not be used for your order.

 

I did succeed in proving to myself that if you try hard enough you can find a way to create less plastic waste from junk food. I was pleased that my local quickie convenience store carries loose donuts. I had to find a way to avoid the dumb plastic bags they provide to put them in though. It was easy enough to ask the cashier if they had any paper bags and they produced the little ones they use for alcoholic beverages. Avoiding the plastic sheets you’re supposed to use to grab your donut was as easy as grabbing a napkin over by the hot dogs. So I have now successfully shown you that if there’s a will to eat crappy and still avoid plastic, it can be done. You will still have to log time at the gym, sorry.  

 

Yet again this series of failures reaffirmed that one of the largest waste creators is still surrounding the packaging of food. It can be tempting to fall into a mindset of feeling like, why bother, there’s still plastic and trash everywhere. However if all of us made small changes I still believe those would add up to something beneficial. Plus if more people protested the use of certain packaging and stopped purchasing those products companies would be given incentive to reach towards change. There just has to be enough of us. I also think that going forward in spite of whatever failures you feel you’ve made is crucial. 

 

Well instead of finishing this with a listing of all my failures thus far this month I’m going to close out with a list of my less waste achievements.

 

1.) Avoided at least 5 of those dumb plastic sleeves they put over sandwiches to go. I haven’t had a problem with a business refusing to do this yet.

2.) Didn’t accumulate any plastic cutlery.

3. ) Didn’t get any single use bags.

4.) 0 straws

5.) 0 disposable cups or plastic bottles

6.) 0 on the go junk food wrappers

 

I have more victories regarding waste in other areas but those are the ones related to this period of failures. Well I’m off to the grocery store, so all this waste can end!

 

 

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Getting started with Zero Waste–Giveaway

Hey there! Looking to add a few items to your waste-free arsenal? Tired of crummy plastic cling wrap? And those nasty plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfills? Well you can be one of 7 lucky winners of Bamboo Toothbrushes or Bee’s Sandwich and Kitchen Wraps, two products we LOVE!

We’re a group of Zero Waste Bloggers and thrilled to host this giveaway. You can enter to win between 5/11 and 5/22 and give your own zero waste lifestyle a kickstart.

My fellow Zero Waste Bloggers are:

Ashley with Whistle Pig Hollow
Kara with Kara goes green
Stephanie with Waste-Free PhD
Andrea with Near-O-Waste
Inge with Grunish

What is there to win?

One of four BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH 4-PACKs (Value $19.99 each, Product details)

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Or one of 3 Bee’s Sandwich Wraps (Value $10.00 each, Product details)

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How to enter?

  • Click the logo below
  • Tweet about the give away
  • Follow up to 5 Zero Waste Blogs

The more blogs you follow, the higher the chance to win.

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Terms & Conditions

Open to Residents of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that the blog you won a prize from is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.

Each sponsor is represented here with the expectation that they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly.

We will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary.

My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to the blog authors only. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Less waste hair

Ignore cat sniffing my shoes

Ignore cat sniffing my shoes

This post is partly to commemorate my soon to be cut long hair, and also to show that having healthy hair doesn’t have to mean a large box of hair products. I lived with two female roommates a long time ago and we had a small coffin like shower. The floor of which was almost half filled with shampoos and conditioners. We had male friends marvel at the amount of our products, and lack of standing room. Our bathroom was small so we kept the rest of our hair products in our bedrooms, and that took up a whole other chunk of space.

I’ve always been a bit of a hippie regarding my hair and hairstyles. I’m lazy and hate hairstyles that consist of blow drying, straightening, or curling my hair. That includes the endless sticky hair products that go along with those methods. This hatred could have something to do with my mother’s obsession with doing my hair every morning before school. My hair was curled and hair sprayed to the hilt, I often remember choking in the haze of hairspray and heat. She even curled my hair with an undiagnosed collapsed lung one time. My mother points out that I’m lucky to have had a mother who cared about my hair and I’ll go ahead and agree with her. Although I will maintain that she was still a bit too fanatical.

I’ve been bouncing between using shampoo bars and commercial shampoos for many years now. I also have about 5 or 6 applications of henna on my hair. After my dad died of cancer in July of last year, piles of my hair fell out like dried pine needles. I decided to switch back to shampoo bars as I could at least pronounce what was in those, and I needed my hair to quit shedding! Due to my bad experiences with hair products like hairspray and such I’ve had no trouble giving my one bottle of hairspray up. I have been somewhat into shampoos and conditioners most of my life. I still have a bunch in my shower that I haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet. I’ve been re-purposing some of the shampoo into hand soap haha. Have no clue about what to do with the conditioner yet.

My new less waste and natural hair regimen consists of: Shampoo bars, apple cider vinegar, and coconut or jojoba oil for frizz. I’ve been too worried about the dryness I’ve heard about to try baking soda alone for shampoo. I’ve used it to clarify my hair on an occasion but that’s it.

I get my shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley Soap. They come plastic free and in little paper bags. My favorite is the nettle, and herb garden. I only lather my roots up once and give my ends a swipe or two while soaping up with the bars. I get too much buildup with soaping the ends so I just let the lather clean the ends most times. I use about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted with water in an old 32oz yogurt container. Pour over hair, and gently separate hair while doing this to get to hair underneath. I let mine sit on my hair for a few minutes, then rinse well. I sometimes use a bit of oil to cut down any frizzies. Be very cautious when using oils as you could end up having to wash your hair again if you go heavy. I put a tiny amount on my palm and rub together and get in between your fingers. Then run your fingers and palm very lightly through the ends of your hair. As the oil gets absorbed you can head up to your roots if you need to smooth those.

So that’s about it. No more endless bottles of shampoo and 100 different conditioners. I’m going to try making my own vinegar soon, so that should eliminate a bottle from the apple cider vinegar. It will be weird to see my shower so bare!

Please share any of your natural hair care recipes or tips with me. I’m also in the market for a good natural brush soon so I need advice on those as well.

Tips on eating out with less waste

I’ve encountered some perils and failures eating out since my lifestyle change.  While my boyfriend has (mostly) quietly accepted most of my madness, I think he would draw the line if I said no to eating out. I like eating out too, so I’m not partial to giving up on our restaurant date nights.

I never thought there would be a learning curve to eating out, but living less waste takes a bit of work. Here are my tips to help you avoid the challenges and failures I’ve encountered so far.

1.) Carry your own napkin if you’re opposed to paper waste.  Some restaurants have cloth napkins, others not. I found a set of 4 napkins for $1 at a thrift store.

2.) Get some cutlery, and chopsticks.  I went out for sushi with my sister and before I knew it, I had cracked open a pair of the single use chopsticks out of habit. At least they aren’t plastic and now I have a pair in my purse! If you’re broke you can almost always find silverware at a thrift store.  They’re also often sold at discount stores in singles. If you have some extra cash you can find portable sets on Amazon.

 3.) Ask for the dressing either on your salad when served, or specifically state you’d like the dressing in a small dish. Or this will happen to you

Hello Dixie! Plastic cup that is.

Hello Dixie! Plastic cup that is.

This particular restaurant and the one across the street side swiped me with these stupid single use cups. I don’t know if the owner’s talked together and decided these cups would be a great idea and save on dishes or what. By the end of this meal our cup tally due to my boyfriends extra sides of butter and such was four non recyclable single use Dixie cups.

4.) Skip the sandwich toothpicks. Even if your sandwich can’t hold itself together you’ll probably still manage to eat it. This picture is from the same restaurant with the Dixie cups. I thought I was clever and had diverted disaster by making sure the blue cheese for my sweet potato fries came in a bowl.

Floofy plastic tipped toothpicks are your enemy

Floofy plastic tipped toothpicks are your enemy

5.) Load up your leftovers fast! Bring your own container for any leftovers.  But more importantly get them off your plate before an especially attentive waitperson can set the customary Styrofoam container with accompanying plastic bag down. I’m not positive but I think once the container touches the table even if unused they have to throw it away. Or it gets left and the bus person dumps it.

6.) Request no straw. I’ve done this and have still ended up with a wrapped straw on my table. If you get one hand it back as I suspect if left on the table it gets thrown away when the bus person cleans up.

Please clue me in if you have any other tips I’m forgetting or haven’t encountered yet. I hate being surprised!

The Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat

When I was roaming the internet for documentaries and movies about the garbage patch I ran across Boyan Slat and his ocean clean up project. I love seeing someone passionately tackling such a gigantic problem without seeming daunted by naysayers. Here’s a short video on his work. I was amazed at how he’s taken such a huge task at hand and came up with a simple idea. Why waste time trying to trawl the ocean with nets when you can let the ocean do what it already does, move. He states there’s still a ton of work to do on the project of course. And they actually have the full report of the proposal available for download. You can follow the project at The Ocean Cleanup
Here’s the original Ted talk:   
  More recent talk:   How We Showed the Oceans Could Clean Themselves

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?

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!


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.

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!

Shopping around

Had a fairly good, less-plastic shopping trip. I committed some plastic sins though.

1). Underarm deodorant.  Ok, I tried baking soda on its own,  it went great for about 3 days. Then things got stinky. I have to travel to (downstairs and upstairs also) the laundromat so needless to say I was concerned about making multiple trips in a week. I will work further on this however. I was hoping that my underarm deodorant would last me long enough until I performed more experiments. But I’ll start working on it. Especially before summer hits as it gets up to 100 plus degrees where I live.

2). Cheese. I love cheese! We all know the trials for finding plastic-less cheese. I got the biggest chunk I could get though.

3). Wrapped chicken breasts. I rarely eat meat so this will be my only meat purchased for the month. I can make myself feel better knowing this. Lol.

4.) The packaging for my cat’s litter (I don’t think it’s recyclable). I use Fresh Results corn cob litter. I love it as I’m able to flush it and that eliminates my plastic bag dilemma for disposal. I live upstairs so its not a quick hop to the trash bin.

My trip went really well though and I was able to use my glass jars for the bulk bins. I was able to use them the time before but it turned into a huge ordeal as the cashier was actually a floor person and was really thrown by the whole process. There was a long line behind me filled with angry people glaring at me and my jars with hatred. I bought some reusable bags so I’m thinking that will make my trips much more pleasant.

Spotted some awful plastic excess examples while out. 20150218_175031

Ok I used these, I confess! I used them because truthfully I was too lazy to pick off one strand of dental floss. Uggghh. Imagine how many of these are stacking up! And there’s these guys too.

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The refill pack doesn’t even have 30 in it, but 28. I wonder how often most people discard the wands and buy a new fresh one? Now it’s not just toothbrushes being tossed.

I was happy to find a solution to the plastic wrapped toilet paper though, and it’s inexpensive.  There’s no way I have the money for Seventh Generation or any other stuff that’s $17. So here it is, a single roll for $1. 20150218_175258

This wouldn’t be known for being the uhhhhhh… comfiest toilet paper as I’m pretty sure it’s along the lines of public restroom toilet paper.  But hey, it not wrapped in plastic.

Alright I’m wrapping up for the night. I’ll get some pictures of my workplace posted soon. The sheer amount of junk will astound you!