In September 2018, I started exploring the practice of low waste. After watching documentaries like The True Cost and listening to podcasts on sustainable living, I slowly integrated some low waste solutions. All these changes did not happen overnight. If you want to adopt some environmental change in your life, start small and slowly do what you can! Sustainability isn’t another concept to apply perfectionism to or another set of “Jones” to keep up with!
Low Waste Bathroom Swaps
1. DIY Deodorant
- Ingredients – Melt one-part coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, and as much essential oil as you’d like over a double boiler. Place in the fridge for a few hours and enjoy!
- Tips – I often end up putting more arrowroot or cornstarch in to thicken the consistency to more of a paste!
2. DIY Face + Body Wash
- Ingredients – One-part of castile soap, olive oil (you can use any carrier oil) honey, and as much essential oil as you want! I love lemongrass or lavender!
- Tips – Be sure to shake up the mixture and run the base under hot water as the honey likes to collect at the bottom! I often end up putting a lot more honey in to make the consistency more like a textured soap!
3. DIY Whipped Lotion
- Ingredients – Melt one-part shea butter, coconut oil, a little bit of jojoba oil (you can use any carrier oil) and essential oil over a double boiler. Set in the fridge for a few hours then whip up with an electric mixer!
4. DIY Dry Shampoo
- Ingredients – You can dust either cornstarch or arrowroot powder into your roots then brush out! This works better than any can of dry shampoo ever did for me!
- Tips – If you have dark hair like me, I suggest doing this practice at night so that the powder has time to absorb oils without leaving a white cast in your hair!
5. Menstrual Cup
- Still taking my time with this one! I had no idea what a menstrual cup was until I started exploring low waste living! Right now, I use the Lilly Cup. To be honest, it doesn’t work that well for me, but I’d like to give it a few more months. If it still doesn’t work, I’m going to give the Luna Cup a try.
Goal Bathroom Swaps
I haven’t made these swaps yet, but they’re definitely on my list to slowly integrate!
- Safety Razor
- Tooth Powder
- Shampoo Bar
Low Waste Kitchen Swaps
6. Shop In Bulk
- Do you have a bulk store in your neighborhood? I’m fortunate to have Bulk Nation near me, but most grocery stores have at least a small bulk section! I save pasta sauce jars and salsa containers to fill up with peanut butter or grains! I also wash old purse dust bags and fill those up with nuts and dried fruit. Bonus! Since you’re not paying for packaging, you’re saving! Packaging accounts for 10% of the cost!
7. Reusable Bags
- Sounds super simple, but try to keep a reusable bag in your car to bring inside grocery stores!
8. Reduce Plastic
- Did you know you don’t need to use those little plastic bags to place your fruit in? Yep, I just let all my produce mingle around now and wash well at home!
9. Kitchen Cleaner
- Ingredients – Mix filtered water with a few table spoons of apple cider vinegar and add an essential oil with disinfectant properties. I like tea tree oil or rosemary!
Goal Kitchen Swaps
- Food Composting
- Embracing Vegetarianism
Daily Low Waste Swaps
Reusable Water/Coffee Cup
- 58 billion disposable paper cups are thrown away every year. Anything that holds a hot liquid is lined with petroleum-based poly and therefore unable to biodegrade. Try to bring your own reusable cup to the shop or make your own at home to save extra money!
- Another single use plastic item easily swapped for a sustainable option like stainless steel straws.
Zero Waste Resources
If you’re looking to grow your understanding of low waste living, below are a few resources that helped me along my journey.
- Zero Waste Home, book by Bea Johnson, pioneer of the zero waste movement. Her Ted Talk is also very thought provoking! Watch it here!
- Trash is for Tossers, blog by Lauren Singer and owner of The Package Free Shop. Her Ted Talk is also very inspiring! Watch it here!
- Sustainably Vegan – Excellent YouTube channel filled with very useful sustainability tips.
With any major lifestyle shift, take this at your own pace! It’s simply an opportunity to notice areas with room for some environmental consciousness.