April 16, 2015

DIY Organic Whipped Body Lotion - Bye, Bye Store Bought Stuff!

I have been making my own lotion for over three years. I'd melt down the ingredients, put them in a a jar and call it a day. But then... I whipped... and my mind was blown. It took a regular hard moisturizer and turned it into a fluffy amazing mound of goodness. You have to try it. Your skin will feel amazing, you can feel good because you are using only natural organic ingredients to moisturize as opposed to toxic chemicals, it is package free, and it smells SO DAMN GOOD! Check out this video to learn how to make it!

Additional Information:
This lotion will last for months (but it won't, because you will use it up before then). Also, just combine equal parts of the ingredients, in this video I used 1/4 cup of each, but you can use more or less depending on how much you need.

April 9, 2015

How to be Zero Waste at Music Festivals!

It’s festival season and from my experience, music festivals and trash go hand in hand. Don’t get me wrong, the people that organize music festivals are definitely working towards making them more sustainable (there are now water refill stations, compostable dishware and flatware for food, composting to name a few innovations)… but whenever you gather thousands of people somewhere, there will probably be trash. The good news, you don’t need to contribute to that. You have a choice.  

Here are a few simple supplies you can bring along to enjoy a music festival without producing waste. 

Mason Jar: This is great for those new water refill stations as well as for putting your alcoholic beverages in. The other added benefit of having a mason jar is that if you want to move around, you can put the lid on your mason jar and put it in your bag to enjoy your drink later. 

Organic cotton drawstring bag: I always have one of these when I am traveling because I like to fill it with snacks for when I am on the go. When I am at a music festival I usually take one with me full of nuts and dried fruit because festival food is expensive, lines are long, and I get hungry! 

Bandana or reusable napkin: This is great to bring along for multiple reasons. You can wear it during a dust storm, use it to blow your nose, wipe yo sweat, or I suppose you could just use it as a napkin... boorrrinngggg

Foldable stainless steel spork: Even if the flatware is compostable, it still takes energy to grow and extract the materials that make it, actually make the product, and ship it to wherever it’s going. I like to avoid that completely by just bringing my own stainless steel foldable spork like this one.

On top of having adequate provisions, there is the issue of what you pack. As a friend of mine said, "I’ve been packing for Coachella all year.” This is serious. 

My two cents on how to have a sustainable and Zero Waste festival experience when it comes to your wardrobe... 

1) The best option, wear what you already own. Sure, it is a scene, but chances are you probably have something that you can wear. I know I do. 

2) I know it might seem tempting to go to some fast fashion store and get some trendy festival garb on the cheap, but there’s a better option that is equally as cost effective: secondhand. Not only will you be saving money on the clothing that you are wearing, you will not be adding new items into the waste stream. Also, it is much more unlikely that you will have someone with the same outfit as you and you'll be unique and fashion fotog ready. Win, win, win. 

The one source of trash that is tricky... a plastic wristband. However, if your wristband is paper, recycle or compost it. If it is made of cotton or fabric, put it into textile recycling!  

April 8, 2015

A Giveaway: GladRags!

I have posted about using menstrual cups before here. They are amazing since the average menstruating person will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, tampons, and pantyliners in their lifetime. That is A LOT of trash.

While menstrual cups are awesome (I'm a devoted fan), what happens if you are a person who wants a waste free alternative to disposable tampons and pads but don't want to, you know... stick somethin' up there?

I have a solution. Reusable organic cotton pads.
They are amazing and super comfortable. Unlike conventional disposable pads that contain various unfavorable ingredients and toxic chemicals like wood pulp, adhesives, artificial fragrances, and chemical gels, they are made from Organic cotton and are totally washable and reusable.

Besides being great for the environment, you can also save a lot of money by making the switch from disposable pads to reusable ones.

Disposable Pads: $10/month x 12 months = $120/year or $600 for 5 years
Reusable Pads:    $150/ one time cost or $150 for 5 years

Savings: $450.00 

That alone makes the switch worth it, but then you have the added benefits of not making trash, not exposing your body to toxic chemicals, and less wasted energy from the manufacturing, packaging, and transportation waste of producing and shipping these products.

I'm teaming up with GladRags to give a lucky winner a starter kit containing an organic day pad and night pad! You'll love them! a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 1, 2015

Why I Make My Own Toothpaste

I haven’t purchased toothpaste in years, and yes–I brush my teeth!How is this possible? I make it myself! (original post with links and pictures found at EcoWatch)

When I transitioned to a Zero Waste lifestyle over two years ago, toothpaste was the first product I stopped buying and started making. The ingredients are simple and easy to find at almost any store: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils. It takes no more than 2 minutes to combine these three ingredients, and the toothpaste leaves my mouth feeling so incredibly fresh— way fresher than store­bought toothpaste. In fact, when I used my friend’s store bought toothpaste a week ago, I couldn’t believe the difference!

But let’s take a step back... why did I make the switch from “conventional” packaged toothpaste to one that I make myself?

The Packaging:

For starters, I live a Zero Waste lifestyle and toothpaste tubes are totally wasteful. They are typically sold with not just the tube, but a box as well. While the box is recyclable, the tube is very difficult or impossible to recycle and will most likely end up in a landfill. The benefit of making my own toothpaste is that I can put it in a glass jar that I can wash and reuse infinitely. No plastic tubes, no trash, no landfill.

The Ingredients:

I like to have control of what I am putting on and in my body. There has been a lot of controversy around the ingredients that are in conventional toothpaste. Two that I will focus on are triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, but conventional toothpaste also contains fluoride, propylene glycol, and sodium hydroxide, all of which are controversial because they are linked to cancer and a long list of other ailments.

Triclosan:​ A chemical added to many products to reduce bacterial contamination which is also used in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis,according to the FDA and toothpaste manufacturers.In addition, it has been said to be potentially carcinogenic and have negative effects on the endocrine system in animals. It is banned in certain applications in Europe and in 2011, some of Colgate’s soap products were reformulated without the chemical, but not their toothpaste. The ecotoxicology of the ingredient is still under heavy scrutiny and EWG rates it to have a moderate/high health hazard. That’s all I needed to hear to make the decision to stay clear of it for good.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):is a surfactant (a foaming agent that lowers the tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid) used in toothpaste to evenly disperse the ingredients and help with effective rinsing and removal of mouth debris. It also promotes foaming. Many studies on SLS show that it is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, which is also a possible carcinogen. SLS is also said to aggravate gums. No, thank you.

If something has a supposed risk, I will avoid it until I have concrete evidence that it is safe. This is why I choose to make my own toothpaste with just three ingredients that I trust and buy package­free: baking soda, organic coconut oil, and organic essential oils.

The Savings:

Toothpaste can cost anywhere between $1­$8 for a 6oz tube depending on the brand you are buying and where you are purchasing it from. In my experience (purchasing ingredients in NYC), I have spent at most $.60 for 6oz of toothpaste. All aside, the cost savings alone are worth it!

With so much to gain and not much to lose, making your own toothpaste makes sense! It’s cheaper to make, tastes better, feels better in your mouth, and is better for you. See for yourself, to learn how to make my zero waste toothpaste by checking out this video.