This summer I started my zero waste journey. I am always desiring to live more environmentally, and being the change I want to see in the world is the best way to begin. This is definitely a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and thought to slowly transition into making new choices everyday. The two largest areas of waste in any household are with personal care products and in the kitchen. Although I have been transitioning both areas over to zero waste, my personal care products have been the easiest so far. I’m not 100% there though.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses
I’ve been doing water only hair washing for my curly hair since January 2014. Lately I’ve been using apple cider vinegar rinses more frequently. It removes excess oils from my hair, keeps my scalp healthy and free of debris, and makes my hair even easier to detangle. I surprisingly stopped using butters/oils in my hair for now and instead use only flaxseed gel. This allows me to skip the monthly clarifying treatment.
This moisturizing hair styler is completely zero waste as the seeds can be purchased package free in bulk bins and later composted. Although this gel and I have a love/hate relationship, we are now in the love stage again.
I don’t use henna and coconut milk for strengthening my hair as often, yet when I do it’s always an amazing hair treat. The henna that I purchase doesn’t come in plastic free packaging, yet if I find something that does I will share it.
Wooden Brush & Seamless Rubber Comb
I mainly finger detangle, yet still wanted to show you my new wooden brush (similar here) since my other one broke, and my Magic Star Jumbo Rake by Hercules Sagemann is made from natural hard rubber. I do have a “wide” tooth horn comb (not pictured), yet I can only use it on straightened hair, which almost never happens.
Zero Waste Hair Ties
I use DIY Super Soft Seamless Hair Ties which do not snag or break my hair for styling, and are very easy to make.
No more nylon floss! This comes in a compostable and recyclable paper container, and silk is also compostable. The only major downfall is that the floss is still in a plastic container inside the paper box. In that case this may still be a better option.
Bulk Baking Soda
I just use baking soda to brush my teeth… simple, effective, and whitens naturally. Baking soda can be mixed with coconut oil and/or a bit stevia for a simple toothpaste recipe too.
The bristles of this toothbrush are not recyclable or compostable, yet can be released from the handle by soaking in hot water. Of course the bamboo handle can be composted. The packaging is also completely plastic free.
Feminine Care Products
If I knew how much easier it could be to use a menstral cup, I would have started earlier. Ok so it did take a few months to get accustomed to. I no longer buy disposable tampons, liners, or pads anymore that add to landfill waste. Yes it unfortunately comes in a plastic carry case, but the case is the size of a lip balm and is discrete when storing. I do have reusable cloth liners/pads by GladRags, yet I prefer my menstral cup.
High Linoleic Oil
In One Year Using High Linoleic Oils Exclusively I mentioned that I was washing my face with just water and moisturizing with a high linoleic oil. I am back to this simple skin care regimen now that my skin has calmed down. I had temporarily changed my regimen this past spring when my skin was freaking out from a detox I was doing. I am currently finishing up the rosehip seed oil that I have before repurchasing any other oil, and will use just one high linoleic oil for everything including lotion to keep it simple. This regimen explanation is in that article!
DIY Tinted Lip Balm
I make my own DIY tinted lip balm which I store in a metal tin. I now use just three ingredients and that recipe I will share soon.
DIY Gentle Exfoliant/Face Powder
I use colloidal oatmeal as a gentle exfoliant and also as a face powder when I have too much “glow”. If I am unable to find colloidal oatmeal free of packaging, I will probably switch to something else that I can find in bulk. Regardless I am again using up what I have first.
Read more about the benefits of dry body brushing here!
This soap always comes 100% package free in stores, yet did have plastic wrapping around the paper box when I purchased 12 in a box online. I’ve used this soap for years and still love it!
Using a safety razor eliminates more trash for landfills. I shave using my oatmeal soap. This also shaves closer than disposable razors. This safety razor comes with five razor blades which can last up to six months if dried after every use. That will last me approximately 2.5 years before purchasing new blades which are rather inexpensive.
This incredible herbal powder is an all natural deodorant containing sandalwood, my favorite scent aside from vanilla. This deodorant also works as a natural fragrance so is a two in one product. It holds up well in sweaty dance classes, and I even had a friend comment that I always smell good. It comes in a glass jar, yet unfortunately with a tiny plastic scoop. But it is packaged in a cloth pouch made from traditional South Indian sari material.
My Zero Waste Journey Continues
I have yet to fully “zero waste” my makeup, but I might as well use up what I have first in terms of supplies and products. I have a very simple everyday makeup routine anyway when I do wear it. My wardrobe is in essence zero waste since I shop consignment stores already. Keep a look out for my updated capsule wardrobe soon. My experience with composting and creating a zero waste kitchen is coming soon too.
In the meantime, I am continually making progress which I am so pleased with. Believe me if recycling was the answer to our planet’s environmental issues, then zero waste would not be needed. But sadly recycling is not. Minimalism and zero waste really do work well together, and I definitely feel that this was just the next step on my own simple living journey.
(Images by Dawn Michelle)