So I boarded the train, and I’m never getting off.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Stephanie, do you REALLY care about the environment or are you just a product of your Brooklyn environment?”
I could definitely only be a product of my Brooklyn environment, and that’s fine with me, provided I’m a plastic-free product.
Now, let’s review the steps I’ve taken thus far:
Putting the un in unpaper towels, touted as 100% cotton.
This has been a difficult change for me, since I really hate cleaning up food messes. I don’t know, it just grosses me out. I can handle blood, but not food mush. All I want to do is wipe it up, throw away the towel, and be done with it. But if I want to be zero waste, sometimes you’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty. Like using the same unpaper towel to clean the sink, countertops, and table—just rinsing it between surface wipes. I’m getting used to it every day, but trust me when I say, it’s not an easy change. The lesson? Don’t expect the transition to zero waste to be as simple or as charming as some people make it sound. It’s not.
Remember, you’re doing this for the Earth, not for likes on social media.
Happy toilet, happy bum, happy Earth.
I gave a crap about the Earth when I purchased my first bulk order of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, made out of 100% recycled paper. First thing’s first, recycled toilet paper is not used toilet paper. Imagine. Recycled toilet paper means it’s made from recycled PAPER, like the kind you don’t wipe your butts with. Don’t believe me? Fine, they also offer TP made from bamboo, which is much less likely to have touched other people’s butts. What’s more, your order ships in packaging that’s completely recyclable…and kinda cute. You’ll see. And fun fact – they also sell forest friendly tissues and paper towels, made with bamboo and sugar cane.
Does making my own toothpaste make me a hippy?
Yeah, so I did that… and I’m not regretting it… yet. The thing is, toothpaste tubes are super hard to recycle because, well, they’re hard to clean. And for plastic to be recycled, it MUST be rinsed, and in some cases, scrubbed. In an effort to avoid using toothpaste tubes all together, I decided to make my own, following this recipe. The ingredients are pretty simple: coconut oil, bentonite clay, cacao, baking soda, peppermint oil, and xylitol (for added sweetness). I want to mention that I did look into toothpaste tablets (that dissolve in your mouth), but nothing out there really convinced me to invest, and besides, DIY is fun. What I’m still deciding is if cutting out fluoride is the right or wrong way to go. There’s a big debate going on about the health risks vs benefits of fluoride. Here’s where I stand as of now: The ratio of fluoride to other ingredients in toothpaste is actually very small, so how much of a hit are my teeth really going to take? Especially when there’s allegedly tiny doses of fluoride in our tap water? I’ve learned that you really have to know your teeth. If your teeth are janky, you might want to stick with fluoride for now, until there’s more data out there on more natural ingredients. Because here’s the thing, there’s not much out there to prove organic ingredients work as well, if not better, than ingredients we are used to seeing in our commercial toothpastes. But I really don’t have the authority to say much more on the subject. I just look forward to brushing my teeth with something I made myself. If you’re interested in diving deeper, though, visit this ex-dentist’s DIY blog. She knows things that I do not.
It’s the little things.
Honestly, this is so true when it comes to living sustainably. Always having my stainless steel straw in my bag in case I give in to my cold brew cravings. And in that case, my own personal, reusable to-go cup. Beeswax wrappers to store food. Using cotton hankies instead of tissues or napkins. Replacing the plastic floss container with a reusable glass one, and trading traditional floss for silk refills. A big step is to bring your own bags to the grocery store and to say no to the plastic ones (which, I might add, are being banned in certain areas around the world as I write this). This is such an easy step to take, so you really have no excuse. More often that not, grocery stores will sell you reusable bags anywhere between 10 cents to a dollar. Worth the investment. Or just order these.
Upcycling. Recycling. Reusing. Reducing. All that stuff works to help rid the world of unnecessary trash and reduce a global, carbon footprint that gets bigger and bigger every day. Think of it this way: Nobody wants to have big feet. At least in our sustainability scenario, we get to choose. Size zero sound alright?
Stephanie (a.k.a. a brain-washed Brooklynite)
P.S. Looking for inspiration?