Environment: Starting the Zero-Waste Lifestyle

Introduction

Heartfelt greetings to you all! This month, I have been able to draw inspiration from so many people, places, & things. A special thank you goes out to all of the people who set out each day with the goal of leadership in mind. Whether you are conscious of your role or not, people like you are serving as tremendous examples for our generation and for so many others. It is evident that new beginnings are on the horizon for so many! A new wave of young people are currently in the process of realizing their dreams; witnessing the arrival of their self-actualization brings me joy beyond compare. Soon, we will be in the presence of new leaders, and they will be the ones to set the expectations for progress in the new decade. My hope is that this post will inspire future leaders to keep environmental protection at the top of their priority list. We have to set an example for them, so that they will be an example to us in the years to come. Cheers to future progress!

Bathroom Products

  • DIY Toothpaste Recipe: Coconut Oil, Charcoal Powder, Baking Soda, Peppermint Essential Oil
  • DIY Body Scrub Recipe: Coconut Oil, Fresh Organic Coffee Grounds, Organic Granulated Sugar, Organic Dark Brown Sugar
  • DIY Facial Scrub Recipe: Coconut Oil, Organic Granulated Sugar, Organic Light Brown Sugar, Green Tea Leaves, Ginger, Aloe Vera, Honey
  • DIY Facial Toner Recipe: Filtered Water, Green Tea & Green Tea Leaves, Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel, Vitamin E Oil

Reasons why you should make the switch…

  • Simply stated, there will be less plastic that needs to be recycled if consumers make more products at home! Recycling companies are actually overwhelmed with the amount of plastic that exists in the world today. As a result, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled properly! The rest is discarded as trash where it eventually ends up in the ocean.
  • News flash! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the ingredients that companies put into skin-care and make-up products. Over eighty years have passed since Congress voted on the original Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act in 1938. Nothing has changed since then! It is incredibly disconcerting to know that most consumers are completely in the dark in terms of the safety of their products. So, I turned my frustration into motivation and began to make my own products from scratch with wholesome household ingredients! Finally, products that support my health and the environment!

“The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market…”

U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  • Perhaps, what I love most about making my own products is knowing with absolute certainty that the ingredients are completely safe to wash down the drain. A significant amount of products, including skin exfoliates and toothpastes, contain tiny plastic beads known as microbeads. Most microbeads escape capture during the water treatment process due to their size. Consequently, these tiny beads wash straight into the ocean where they harm marine life. Consumers can protest the use of microbeads and help the watershed by making products with natural ingredients!
  • Last but not least, you can use these simple recipes to make gifts for your family and friends! It is so fun to sit comfortably at a table while decorating mason jars with glitter, flowers, or bows! Giving gifts mindfully is a beautiful way to express your love and appreciation for another person.

Bathroom Essentials

  • Metal Safety Razor
  • Glass Floss Container
  • Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrushes
  • Organic Bamboo Wash Cloths

Reasons why you should make the switch…

  • I was shocked to learn that disposable razors cannot be recycled in the United States. What’s worse is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that two billion razors are thrown away every year! Fortunately, I was was relieved to find out that metal razor blades are recyclable. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a metal safety razor for approximately $20 to reduce waste their waste. It’s a one time purchase that people can feel good about because it will last a lifetime!
  • Does the phrase “you need to floss more” elicit feelings of guilt? Well, you will no longer have to feel guilty about throwing away plastic floss containers if you switch to a refillable glass floss container! The bamboo charcoal floss in the picture above is wrapped around a cardboard spool which is 100% biodegradable. When this spool eventually runs out, I will simply purchase another spool to place in the glass container. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a glass floss container with a spool of floss for approximately $10.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring (1962)
  • Did you know that it only takes bamboo products approximately 5-10 years to break down? That’s amazing! Especially considering the fact that plastic toothbrushes never break down. At the rate the world is currently going, marine biologists predict that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. You can make a difference by purchasing a pack of four plant-based bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon for approximately $7 which is about $1.75 per toothbrush. Not bad at all!
  • One day, I was cleaning out my bathroom vanity when I thought about the exorbitant amount of disposable make-up wipes that women use throughout their lifetime. As far as sustainability goes, I really experienced an “AHA!” moment as a consumer. Disposable make-up wipes had been a staple in my beauty routine since I started wearing make-up at the age of fourteen. So, I decided to make the bold switch to eco-friendly washable cloths and cotton rounds. Turns out, the cloth material takes off make-up more effectively than the disposable products ever did. As a college student, saving money on this monthly expense was definitely an added bonus. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a pack of washable cloths and cotton rounds for approximately $25.

Kitchen Tools

  • Metal Straws
  • Sustainable Produce Bags
  • Metal Loose Leaf Tea Infuser

Reasons why you should make the switch…

  • The metal straws shown above are probably one of my favorite purchases that I have made this past year. In addition to the super nifty straw holder, the package also came with a conveniently sized cleaning tool which has turned out to be incredibly useful and efficient. Plastic straws are a nonessential item that negatively impact the environment, research estimates that Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws per day. If you personally don’t like the taste of metal straws, then paper straws are another good option to switch to. However, it is pertinent that paper straw users are mindful that they are still creating waste by throwing away paper straws after one use. In essence, if you do choose buy paper straws, it would be most advantageous to use them in moderation. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a pack of metal straws at a local retailer for about $5, score!
  • For those of you who don’t know, I’ve struggled with digestive issues for more than half of my life. The pain and distress has progressed as I have gotten older, but my issues definitely peaked when I entered college nearly four years ago. Researching how certain foods affect the digestive track in terms of overall health and wellness has turned into a part of my lifestyle. Not by choice, but out of necessity. Two years ago, I started a food diary to track the types of foods that I was consuming so that I could evaluate how they made me feel. At the end of that initial tracking period, I determined that I needed to eliminate fried foods, refined sugars, gluten, and dairy products from my diet in order to function at my highest level. Almost four months ago, I made the decision to take things up a notch, so I completely cut out meat and adopted a vegetarian diet. It’s actually amazing how well my body has responded to all of these changes, I honestly can’t imagine living any other way. Nevertheless, I still found changes that needed to made in other areas of my life. For instance, I began to think about the number of plastic produce bags that would accumulate in my living space overtime. Something had to be done…eco-friendly produce bags were the solution! Environmentally conscious consumers can find theirs for $15.

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day (1970)
  • Tea has become such a significant part of my daily routine that I can say with confidence that I consume this beverage religiously. With that being said, I was not surprised to learn that, next to water, tea is the second most popular drink in the world! After visiting England this past winter, I made a conscious decision to refrain from purchasing boxes of single use tea bags. Instead, I switched to making herbal tea with loose tea leaves and a tea infuser! This simple switch has allowed me to decrease the amount of waste that I was producing as a consumer, now the tea leaves are the only item that need discarding. The process of making tea with an infuser is also really fun! I was able to find a pack of two tea infusers for $10, what a perfect pair!

Kitchenware

  • Glass Microwave-Safe Tupperware
  • Glass Drinking Cups & Bottles
  • Ceramic Dinner Plates

Reasons why you should make the switch…

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, BPA stands for “Bisphenol A” which is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960’s. Most often, BPA’s are found in plastic containers that are used to store foods and beverages. In recent years, BPA’s have been a major cause for concern as research shows that chemicals in plastic containers can seep into our foods or beverages. One would think that switching to BPA-Free plastic would be a safe bet, however, some BPA-free products have replaced BPA with bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF). Therefore, switching your plastic kitchen Tupperware to glass Tupperware is the the best way to combat impending health problems such as infertility and weakened immune systems that are linked to BPA’s . Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase glass Tupperware for around $5-8.
  • Since plastic takes 1,000 years to break down in the landfill, consumers should consider purchasing glassware because broken cups will eventually break down after they are tossed. In addition, the quality of plastic cups and water bottles degenerates over time but products made with glass are much more durable. If you choose to buy glassware, I can assure you that you will see a greater return on your investment in the long run. Glass products are truly are the optimal choice for your home and the environment. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a four piece set of glasses for an estimated $15-20 and a pack of drinking mason jars for about $10.

“The packaging for a microwavable “microwave” dinner is programmed for a shelf life of maybe six months, a cook time of two minutes and a landfill dead-time of centuries.”

David Wann, Author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001)
  • Although consumers are often tempted to buy a bunch of cheap plastic plates for their kitchen, it is better to spend more money on a quality product that will last. Ceramic plates are the superior choice because they are durable, micro-wave safe, and dishwasher safe. Ceramic cookware is also incredibly versatile and low maintenance, they can serve a dual purpose as cutting boards and are very easy to clean. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a four piece set of ceramic plates for approximately $25.

Home Tools

  • Wooden Matches
  • Re-chargeable Batteries
  • Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tools
  • Re-Washable Paper Towels

Reasons why you should make the switch…

  • Did you know that Americans on average throw away 350 million disposable lighters every year? One would think that most lighters are recyclable, however, properly recycling disposable lighters is nearly impossible because manufacturers rarely list the materials that they use to assemble this product. Consequently, disposable lighters end up wasting away in landfills with other commonly discarded household items where they are frequently ingested by birds and other small animals. Although matches and lighters both contain chemicals, I feel as though matches are the lesser of the two evils given the fact that they are biodegradable because they are made of wood. According to this list, substituting a box of wooden matches for a single use plastic lighter is the cheapest and simplest switch that you can make this summer. Environmentally conscious consumers can purchase a large box of matches at a range of $2-5 depending on nearby stores.
  • About three billion batteries are sold in the U.S. every year, you can replace single-use batteries with recyclable rechargeable batteries to bolster the environment and your wallet. Batteries seem to be in almost every device that we use in our households today; flashlights, television remotes, portable speakers, smoke detectors, security cameras ect. Environmentally conscious consumers can participate in the green movement by dropping off old batteries at electronic stores like Best Buy for proper recycling. When you get home, you can feel good about replacing the old batteries with rechargeable ones that will last for years to come. A set of rechargeable batteries costs approximately $15-20 and they are worth every cent!

Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge; it’s common sense.

President Ronald Reagan, State of the Union Address (1984)
  • Let’s face it, no one enjoys having to come home after a long day to do the dishes. When you’re tired it is so tempting to clean just a few dishes by running the dishwasher, but the average dishwasher uses six gallons of water per cycle. At best, energy efficient dishwashers use four gallons of water per cycle. We all need good quality tools to help us get the job done, so why not buy sponges and scrubs that help the environment? The company Twist made the first plant-based sponges that are 100% biodegradable. Twist sponges have a plant-based scrubby side and a natural cellulose porous side that are hand sewn together. If you’re not a big fan of sponges, wooden scrubs are another excellent cleaning tool to have in your kitchen. Both tools can break down fairly easily, a pack of Twist sponges cost $4 and wooden scrubs typically cost $5.
  • This last point is for the math lovers…here is a simple cost break down for total money spent on paper towels! (A) If the average four person household uses 2 rolls of paper towels per week (B) a pack of 12 paper towel rolls costs about $15 (C) there are 52 weeks in a year…how much money will be spent on paper towels in a five year period? Well, 2 rolls x 52 weeks = 104 rolls per year. Then, 104 rolls / 12 rolls per pack = 8.5 packs of paper towels. Finally, 8.5 packs x $15 = $130 spent on paper towels per year. So, $130 x 5 years = $650 spent over a five year period. That is crazy! Wouldn’t you rather buy a plane ticket to the west coast than have to spend money on paper towels every month? I know what my answer would be! Last month I finally made the switch to re-washable paper towels…west coast here I come!!

Household || Bathroom || Kitchen

One thought on “Environment: Starting the Zero-Waste Lifestyle

  1. Excellent information! Super excited about all of the eco friendly swaps I can make to help the environment & save money!

    Like

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