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Sharing Zero Waste Eco-Friendly Tips, Inspiration and Success.



I’ve been wondering for years what happens to the tube of toothpaste after I’ve squeezed the very last drop from it. I know a glass bottle can be recycled, but that thing? What is it even made of? I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it lately, as I scan my bathroom for opportunities to reduce waste. When I looked up Recycling Mysteries on Earth911 I found a long my-eyes-glaze-over article about how to prepare (!) the tubes for potential recycling IF there is a recycling facility near you which you will need to research and find…


Nuh-uh. I have neither the time nor the patience for it. But of all the packaging absurdities that drive me nuts, for some reason toothpaste tubes are the worst. I think it’s because I’ve never seen a good alternative from even the ‘good’ companies. So what’s going to be the best option on my slow creep towards a zero-waste lifestyle again? Make My Own!


That way, I know exactly what ingredients go in, I can reuse and reuse the container, and I am free of cumbersome and time-wasting recycling efforts!


It took a little doing, I admit, to find something that I would enjoy putting in my mouth. Because if you must know, you could very simply dip your brush in hydrogen peroxide, then baking soda, and voila, brush your teeth and nothing more to be said.


Yet...I mean...brushing teeth happens quite often in my life. So I would prefer to have something a little more pleasant. I tried a pure coconut oil and baking soda recipe, with a few drops of peppermint. That wasn’t too bad and lasted a while. But it didn’t mix very well and felt a bit gritty.


Oh, did I mention your family could probably brush teeth for an entire year for the cost of a couple commercial toothpaste tubes?


Meanwhile after a little more exploring, I came across this Instructables Homemade Toothpaste recipe. The *secret* ingredient here that made a big difference is the vegetable based glycerin. This is what gives the nice consistency and adds a little sweetness.


Finally, you can add any flavoring! Get the food grade flavor oil you like - some odd taste buds might choose cinnamon; kids might like strawberry or bubble-gum (is that a natural flavor?!) I’m a traditionalist and stick to peppermint, and I’m liberal with it.


Now for the recipe and method:

  • using a measuring spoon or cup, just apply the following ratio:

  • 6 parts baking soda : 1 part vegetable based glycerin : 1 part hydrogen peroxide solution

  • flavor to taste

  • Mix into a paste. (Play with the soda amount to get to a smoother mix you like)

  • Instructables suggested using a pastry bag to store, but I object to it due to the plastic single use nature of those. Better to opt for a jar.

That’s it! I’m done adding toothpaste tubes to landfills!


For some reason, that makes me happy--I feel like I’ve won some kind of battle. It’s the little things...


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Updated: Sep 20, 2020


Mother (Nature) knows best: Waste is Food.

Or at least, it should be.


What have we created, that so much of the stuff we produce as humans ends up...doing absolutely nothing but taking up space and polluting?


It was never ok, and now it has become impossible not to see the result of this completely unsustainable way of life. So step by step, let’s make a change, and go back to the natural law of zero-waste.


It’s a hard thing to go against the mainstream current, but if we are kind and patient with ourselves, we can break free of the buy-and-discard cycle. Get 25% off the AICO-Zero Waste Bamboo Cotton Face Pad set today & replace disposable cotton pads forever!


I believe in little steps.

And fun.


So I’ll share my top hacks that are so easy I can’t believe I didn’t always do it...and the fact that there are so many cheap ways to make my own stuff makes me giggle. I hope you’ll enjoy trying them:

  1. Repurpose glass jars: always choose the pretty jar when you buy jam (or pickles, or whatever). I’m obsessed with Bonne-Maman jams as much as their jars. The label comes off so easily and I collect them for all kinds of storage, display, flowers...

  2. Reusable bags: seems crazy to me now to be handed a plastic bag at a grocery store. With COVID it’s been trickier because the supermarket would no longer allow customers to bring their own bags...but we figured out to put things back in the cart after paying, then transferring to our own reusable bags in the parking lot. I toss bags regularly in the washing machine. You could make your own, or...permission to buy super cute ones! Get a few and keep them in different places - purse, car, backpack, by the door…

  3. I love lemons! It’s not just that I make lemonade when given lemons...I use them for all sorts of cleaning around the house. The acid in lemon juice is antibacterial and antiseptic - my surface cleaner is a glass spray bottle filled with a mix of vinegar and lemon juice. (click here for a recipe and a bunch of other uses)

  4. Another favorite multi-use product is Tea-Tree Oil. This one costs a little more to buy but is very potent (and I mean it can be toxic, so no ingesting it or letting kids play with it!) A couple drops in a glass of water to soak and disinfect toothbrushes once a week; add a teaspoon or two to specially smelling laundry like pet beds (or gym clothes!); make your own hand-sanitizer.

  5. Do you use a natural loofah? And don’t like throwing it out? Don’t! You can still use it to make your own exfoliating soap. Simply slice rounds of your old loofah, place them in soap molds. Melt soap by cutting it into cubes and microwaving for about 30 seconds. Mix well and pour directly over the cut up rounds of loofah. Let stand until set. You could even take this a step further and make your own soap! (More uses for loofah/luffa here)

  6. Now for clothing. Getting rid of beloved jeans has got to be the most frustrating. Good jeans that feel and fit well are so hard to find, right? So...once, when I just couldn’t let go, I...yeah, turned them into shorts. Am I the only one who still does that? Now for more ambitious ladies, they could be turned into a skirt, and it is indeed a beginner thing. So go for it, make a hip denim skirt out of your fave old jeans! (Thank you Spruce Crafts!)

  7. Get a weekly box from a local farm! I love that one. It is so easy and a delicious part of the win-win paradigm. Farmers win because they receive a direct and steady stream of income (without losing to a middle man). Earth wins because most of the produce is organic and local. And we win because we save ourselves a boring trip to the store!

See Country Living article here and The Independent article here to find the right veggie box for you.


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You can get dizzy just looking at the ingredient list in personal care products. Not only is it confusing, but why, we start asking, are so many unpronounceable chemicals necessary?


Turns out...they’re not. Thanks to the work of amazing organizations like EWG (Environmental Working Group) and the Skin Deep project, you can evaluate the safety of your favorite brands.


Just a few examples:

  • Parabens contain endocrine disruptors and cause reproductive and hormonal problems,

  • Benzyl alcohol is an allergen classified as potentially toxic and harmful by the EU and Canada

  • Mineral Oil, made from petroleum clogs pores

  • Triethanolamine is a human immune and respiratory toxicant or allergen...


If you’re not so happy with your ingredient list, why not try your hand at DIY?


When you make your own stuff, you reduce your chemical exposure, you know exactly what goes in, you save money, and you reduce the use of packaging and transportation. It’s incontestably greener AND safer, and it’s so easy, I had no idea!


Here is a super simple homemade moisturizer recipes. It’s a fun project, and your skin will thank you for the home cooked nourishment.


Creamy-Dreamy Moisturizer from Root & Revel:


Ingredients for about 6-months worth of twice-daily moisturizing

  • 1/2 cup shea-butter

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin organic coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

  • Optional: 20 drops of your favorite essential oil

Instructions

  1. Set up a bain-marie to melt your ingredients: bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a saucepan, then add the heat-proof glass bowl containing all your ingredients, being careful no water gets into the bowl. Stir while the butter and oils melt.

  2. Once the mixture is combined, remove the glass bowl from the water and pour the mixture in a glass jar. Allow to cool.

  3. Place in the refrigerator until it solidifies completely. You can then store at room temperature.

To use, apply a pea-sized amount of moisturizer to clean skin.


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