With most of the products in our homes, we don’t spend much time thinking about what’s in them, but that’s beginning to change. It’s never been easier to learn about what our current bathroom products are doing to the environment, ourselves and our families. One of the best ways you can avoid toxic chemicals and cut down on the number of products you have is to shop for all natural zero waste products.
If you want to avoid clutter and chemicals, switch up your shower routine. The main chemical you want to avoid in soaps, face washes and shaving gels is triclosan an
antibacterial ingredient originally meant for hospitals, but now it’s in most of the products in your home. According to Slow Death by Rubber Duck, triclosan builds up in human (and animal) bodies and on top of that has made its way into our waterways. Although there haven’t been enough studies on its effects on our bodies, it is helping create antibacterial resistant bacteria from overuse. Even though we may not know precisely what triclosan does to our (and our pets) bodies, we do know we don’t need to to make perfectly good soap. Try and find triclosan-free bathroom products from a local business. It’s easier to ask questions and find out what’s really in a product when you can talk to the person making them face to face. Try visiting small businesses, farmers markets or online business to find the perfect product for you.
To avoid clutter and toxins try a four-in-one bar. Growing Green has four-in-one bars in unscented, lavender and orange. These bars replace your shampoo, conditioner, soap and shaving cream in one plastic free bar. All of Growing Green’s products are triclosan, paraben, and sulphate free. By minimizing to one product, you are saving money, creating less waste, and makes your morning routine easier. The main ingredient of these bars is organic fair trade coconut oil, and they are gentle enough for your face and perfect for children* since these bars eliminate four products at once, they are the perfect first step to a more eco-friendly bathroom.
*, Of course, all soaps should be tested on a small portion of the skin (such as your wrist) before use
One of my favourite things in the world to eat is almond butter. I love it on toast, in oatmeal, on its own, or turned into almond milk. But it is expensive to buy. Even at bulk stores, the price is a bit much for me. The only way to fix this is to make my own.
You can use regular old almonds or roasted. The roasted almonds add more flavour (you can roast them yourself or buy them that way), but sometimes I’m just too lazy to bake them.
What you Need:
-a food processor (or high-speed blender)
-a glass jar
-Add your chosen ingredients to the food processor
-I added almonds and a pinch of pink salt
-At this point, you can add a splash of oil to speed up the blending process
-blend starting on a low speed and moving to medium/high once started
-Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the processor
-it will look like it’s never going to blend, but I promise you it will
-If you want to add any additional ingredients nows the time you can add a spoonful of honey or a dash of cinnamon now
-Add to your jar and enjoy!
-I store mine in the fridge for freshness, and it prevents the oils from separating
A lot of people see the perfect pictures on Instagram and think they can’t be zero waste or low waste. The stainless steel containers, the perfectly matching glass jars, it all seems to good to be true. So I came up with a list of zero waste swaps that don’t cost a thing.
1. Save your jars
This is the best tip because saved jars can be used for so many things. When you buy tomato sauce, peanut butter or anything in a glass jar keep it. Just wash it out, take the label off and you have a great zero waste tool. You can use them to freeze soups/veggies/fruit in, pack your lunches in, as a reusable water bottle, as a reusable coffee cup, it’s endless what you can do with it.
2. Save your veggie scraps
You might have seen my post a couple weeks ago on making your own vegetable scraps, but if you haven’t and you want to try check it out. It is a great way to reduce food waste. Instead of tossing your scraps out right away you get to use them.
3. Bring Your Own
Bring your own jar and cutlery with you to festivals, markets, whatever to avoid disposables. Just use the cutlery you already have in your home and bam you have a zero waste kit. It’s better to use what you have than buy a fancy set online.
4. Make your own
Making your own lunches for work, or your own dinners saves a lot of trash (and money). Take out at its best involves cardboard, and worst Styrofoam. You produce less waste by making your own and it’s probably better for you too.
When you’re offered free samples of food or drinks in plastic cups or paper plates try and refuse it (I know it’s hard to say no to free food). When you go to an event with free things you wont use refuse them. Don’t take the free pen, pencil, magnet if you don’t need them.
Making broth out of veggie scraps is an easy way to give your veggies one last job before composting (or throwing them out if you don’t have access to a compost). It helps prevent food waste! Food waste is a massive problem and using up scraps that would normally not be used is a great step in helping.
I keep the skins of onions and garlic, the peels of potatoes and carrots, the stems of kale, really anything in a container in the freezer until I have enough. It changes depending on what I’ve been eating that week/month. Sometimes I add herbs in as well which adds to the flavour. I only add a touch of salt to my broth because I never know what I’ll end up using it for and you can always add more salt when your cooking. I like adding the onion and garlic skins because it gives the broth a nice dark colour. If I’m making a specific recipe with the broth I’ll add more than just scraps. For pho I’ll add ginger.
The longer you cook it the better. I bring the pot to a boil, then bring it down to a low simmer for hours. I’ll leave it on all day if I can. The longer it cooks the more flavour you get out of your veggies. Just leave it until it tastes and looks good to you.
As it cooks down it will get nice and dark. After that you can strain it and jar it. If you’re going to freeze it make sure you leave lots of room for it to expand in the freezer.
I strain it through a metal sieve to catch all the little bits but you can use a normal colander as well. I like to strain it into a measuring cup so it’s easier to poor into the jars.
Let me know if you try it and how it goes. For the longest time I thought stock/broth you made at home wouldn’t taste as good as a grocery store one but I really like it. Now that I know how easy is it I make it allll the time.
If you follow me on Instagram you know I made some oat milk a couple weeks ago and absolutely loved it! It’s probably as easy to make as my easy nut milk. Oat milk can be made without a high speed blender. As someone who doesn’t have a couple hundred dollars to spend on a blender (I assume most of you are in the same boat) that’s important to me.
In addition to being tasty oat milk also has a low environment impact. According to an ESU services study oat milk is the winner of environmental impact. The chart is based on making the milks in Switzerland. In Canada we can grow oats, soy and hemp easily which means they have less travelling to do. Almonds can be grown in Niagara but most almonds (80% of the worlds) are grown in California, and need more water. Coconuts and rice have to be imported.
When you make your own milk you can lower the impact more by going plastic free and keeping the “pulp” that’s left over. I always use it in overnight oats but there’s lots you can do.
•1 cup of soaked and rinsed oats
•3-4 cups of water •You can flavour it with: one date, vanilla , cinnamon, or coco powder
•soak your oats in water for 10ish minutes
•if using dates pit and soak one overnight (or use boiling water to cut the time)
•add all ingredients to a blender
•blend on low until smooth
•strain once using a mesh filter
•strain twice using a mesh filter lined with a nut milk bag, a mesh produce bag, or a cheese cloth
I love dry shampoos for early mornings. If I have to wake up at 5:00am for work I am not waking up any earlier to shower. My hair is thin and can get greasy so I need dry shampoo. My only problem is that most dry shampoos are in arousal cans, and this is my solution. This recipe can be customized for your hair colour and preference. Any powder will do for a dry shampoo but this combo looks good and smells great. I used baking soda and cornstarch for the base and coco powder for the colour. You can remove the coco powder entirely and add essential oils or cinnamon for scent. For darker or lighter hair adjust the amount of coco powder. I used an empty pill container but you can use what ever you have handy.
Of course this is not the only option. I’ve also used baking soda or baby powder on its own and it worked great. This version is better because it blends into my hair nicely, but if I don’t have time to make it I go simple.
What You Need:
Corn Starch/Arrowroot Powder
Coco Powder (optional)
Essential oils (optional)
Mix 1/2 a tablespoon of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 1/2 a teaspoon of coco powder together and seal in an air tight container
Sprinkle some powder right onto your hair or into your hand first (or use a make up brush to apply). Apply to the roots of your hair, the ends of your hair won’t need it. Let sit for a minute, and then brush your hair.
Let me know if you like it! You might need to customize it for your hair type.
Where I live, nut/seed milk (vegan milk) comes in plastic lined cardboard packaging. This packaging is recyclable but only through a specialized process where the plastic and cardboard are separated. Unlike glass and metal milk cartons cannot be recycled indefinitely. Since this is the case, I’ve tried to make my own nut/seed milks.
Making nut/seed milk typically involves a high speed (very expensive) blender, but this recipe is so easy, and any blender/food processor can handle it. Traditionally you would soak whole raw nuts or seeds (almonds, cashews and sunflower are most common) overnight and throw them in a Vitamix (or another expensive blender) then strain with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
For my milks, I choose to make hemp milk because the seeds are soft and therefore easy to blend. For my other milk, I choose cashews because that’s what I had. The cashew recipe can easily use any nut butter you want.
What You’ll Need
-a blender or food processor
-nut butter and/or hemp seeds
-a metal sieve, cheese cloth, or filter
-a jar or container
Add one to two tablespoons of nut butter OR add two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds to a blender or food processor
Add one cup (see notes) of cold/room temperature water
Blend until creamy
Pour through a metal sieve (you can use a nut milk bag or cheese cloth)
Store in an airtight jar or container for up to a week in the fridge
If you try this let me know how you like it!
Note: you’ll want to taste adjust the water to nut/seed ratio. The more nuts/seeds to water the creamer it will taste so think about what you want this for. If you want a coffee creamer try lowering the water content, and if you’re trying to replicate skim milk add more water.