Tag Archives: zero waste

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.

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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!

10 questions you always wanted to ask Zero Waste Bloggers

I was tagged to answer these questions by by Inge of http://gruenish.com/
The rules for the game put forth by Inge are: Answer 10 questions about your Zero Waste experiences and then tag 3 other Zero Waste Bloggers who will then answer and tag 3 ZWBloggers as well.

Ok I’m tagging:

Mailyne – https://adreamlivedgreener.wordpress.com
Katja – https://wenigerabfall.wordpress.com
Ashley – http://www.whistlepighollow.com

How / Why did you first start switching to a Zero Waste lifestyle?

My dad passed away from cancer in July 2014. As did his brother, and his father, and his Uncle. I started becoming much more health conscious. I don’t even remember what I ran across on the Internet first, plastic-free living or zero waste. They seem to be siblings or close cousins at the furthest. A culmination of health concerns and a love of nature spawned my revolution.

Since when are you pursuing a zero waste lifestyle?

I started out with more of a using less plastic mindset and it’s wandered into a less waste overall goal. I started eliminating certain things in December 2014. I still have a LONG way to go on getting waste under control. Seems the minute I think I have something cleaned up, 20 more things pop up!

What are some of your favorite ways to avoid trash?

I gave up the water bottles, uggghh what a mess they were! Gave up plastic bags (including produce bags), another mess. I think another huge one for me was restaurant to-go containers. My boyfriend and I eat out quite a bit and all those stupid Styrofoam and plastic containers really stacked up. I take my own containers now. I’ve learned you have to be fast though or else the wait staff will plop a container on your table before you can protest, and once it touches the table I think they usually just throw it away. I also used those stupid plastic flossers, I hate imagining how many of those I’m responsible for in landfills.
I’m really into strategic challenges. I love casting an eye into the future and calculating how certain actions will propel other events and actions. I get a kick out of something as small as my boyfriend skipping plastic bags and not because I’ve pressured or guilted him. Think of the change if we all took on small challenges!

Why do you have so much time to make all that stuff from scratch?

I skip a few Netflix episodes of something. Spend an hour less surfing or playing a stupid game on my phone. You wouldn’t think it but some of the things you don’t spend time doing anymore, aimless shopping, extra cleaning of your 500 unneeded items, taking out trash or separating it to recycle, leads to a balance in time. And certain things really don’t take super long to make. If you make a batch of something there’s generally enough left over to freeze for future meals, especially if you’re single. Making deodorant takes less time than it takes to walk 20 aisles in a store to find it, not to mention maneuvering around the shopping cart traffic lol.

How much garbage do you / does your family produce per week?

It varies. I’m still throwing out about a ¾ of a small can a week. Most of it is food scraps that I can’t throw in my green bin or reuse somehow. Unfortunately I’m not able to compost. I’m still eliminating things. I also have medical condition(s) that generates some trash.

Must be expensive to cook from scratch. Are you rich?

Ahahhahahaha, I live very close to the poverty line speaking honestly. The farmer’s market isn’t too much more pricey than the grocery store produce. Those small bags of premixed salad greens are more expensive than what I spend on getting a head of romaine, arugula, kale, and celery. And that usually costs me about $4, and it gives me a ton of salads. I can get a pound of walnuts for $2, I can rarely afford them in grocery stores. Being mindful of what I’m wasting has led to savings on my grocery budget. I wasted a ton of food before. I’m not able to afford most organic foods.

What were the hardest things to give up?

Uhhh I’m still working on some things I’m having a REALLY hard time letting go, but that’s another blog post.
I miss convenience foods as I’ve never been a big cooker. I also miss underarm deodorant. And tampons!! (Read previous post for details). I can’t really think of anything else that’s been a huge tragedy to lose.

What are your compromise items (not zero waste but you still buy them)?

Milk, cheese, bread, and one package of about 8 chicken breasts that lasts me a month. Gum (a whole other blog post lol). Sometimes I buy bulk items that may have plastic on them to cut out 10 other plastic items in the future. As one blogger put it, using plastic to cut plastic.

What are your favorite Zero Waste Blogs?

Oh gosh there’s really too many good blogs out there! Each person has some unique advice or experiences I find either helpful or amusing.
When I kicked off my quest I spent a lot of time on Beth Terry’s blog, http://myplasticfreelife.com/
The http://zerowastechef.com/ has a ton of advice on combating food waste that’s helped me.

What’s one random fun fact about you?

I lived in a bit of a bad area in 1994. I had a beat up 1980 Toyota Corolla that people kept trying to steal for some unknown reason. My neighbor caught thieves in the car after they had pulled my whole ignition out which led to me having to start my car with a flathead screwdriver. I also pulled the coil wire off the distributor cap to act as a crude car alarm. So my purse often contained a screwdriver and coil wire. The goofy thing is that the thieves continued to try to steal my car; I’d find it pushed into the alleyway every now and then. Guess they were trying to pop the clutch?

I don’t love my menstrual cup



I feel like a betrayer of all womanhood.  A letdown to women everywhere who are trying to free themselves from the tyranny of the man’s tampons and pads.

I have a Lunette cup size 2. The website instructed me to get this size even if I hadn’t had children since I’m over 30 and apparently everything goes slack or something the day after the big 3-0? I was considering a Diva Cup and I’m so glad I didn’t get that one as it seems to be the longest one out there. I’ve discovered rather belatedly that I have a low cervix, so the Diva would’ve been a killer.

I’m on round three of using this…thing. And I’m reaaalllly not fond of it. I’ve been assured over and over that I would grow to love the cup. I’ve even read through a ton of Amazon reviews trying to get a good range of opinions.  I’ve read articles where women sound like they might possibly have pictures of their cup adoringly placed next to their bedsides. So I wonder, why don’t I feel the love?

I’m not a squeamish person.  Investigating my body doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I’m not scared I’ll lose anything up there.  Nothing like that is going on. I’ve tried a couple of different folds. All of them kind of make me feel a little ummmmm…. abused down there, even with using lubrication.  Some folds don’t work with the lube as the cup just pops out of the fold from being too slippy. Taking the thing out is even more painful. Omg. Though I found some excellent tips on insertion and removal here . I’m 90% sure that I have the cup in a correct position. And to give myself and the cup credit I’ve only had it leak once from incorrectly placing it. I think I didn’t make sure it had opened all the way. Sometimes it won’t unfold without much maneuvering.  Some women say they can’t feel the cup. I can. Some say the cup is cleaner to deal with. Well not for me. Despite my efforts to shear off long swaths of toilet paper to lay aside before removal the whole thing gets messy. I’m so jealous of the women who are like oh if you’re in a public bathroom just empty it, pat it dry and reinsert. Uhh I’d have to carry lube in my purse, and not to mention I would have to get in a squatting position that would likely alarm fellow bathroom goers.

But, the good news is, that I can wear it for 12 hours with no problem, which is very cool. So it’s not like I have to deal with all these woes very often.  But that’s about the only highlight for me. I really do wish I loved the cup though.

I started this as a draft two days ago and since then I’ve decided I’m just going to try a different cup. I really don’t want to go back to tampons that are an environmental mess and not to mention the chemicals. So trying a different cup seems like a solution to all my whining.  I’ve decided to go with a Meluna medium classic for my next go round and I’m hoping I’ll have a picture of that cup beside my bed soon lol. “Ohhh cup, how I love thee…” I really wanna join the I-love-my-cup-can’t-believe-I-ever-lived-without-it club!

If you’re a hopeful cup user or just looking for info on cups, this video is helpful. She has a TON of videos on a range of period related stuff too.

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!


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 😀

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!