I've been working on this zero waste thing for just over a month now, and the thing I'm finding most challenging is that it seems very big and overwhelming. I feel like I could roam the internet for days finding new and interesting ways to reduce my waste footprint on the planet. My latest obsession with Pinterst hasn't helped at all, there are all kinds of cool ideas there.
So here's where I'm at with what I think are my two biggest waste contributors: Food and Beauty Products.
I started out by making my own applesauce. It was straightforward, easy, and I could make as much or little as I wanted to. I made my cousin's hummus. Also very easy and scale-able. Finally I roasted a local grain fed chicken and then made my own chicken stock. I keep it, and a lot of my other meals in individual meal sized jars in the freezer. But the freezer is running out of room. Quickly.
My next experiment will be rice crackers. I've got rice boiling right now! I bought some a few weeks ago to go with the hummus I made and I couldn't get over how much packaging there was!
I also want to try to make yogurt and butter, but I'll need to find a local dairy that sells milk in re-useable/returnable glass bottles first. I have my eye on a potential at the St. Lawrence Market, but I haven't made it there on a weekend morning yet.
On a somewhat related note, I still have trouble getting to the South Market on my way home from work. It's only open to 6pm Tuesdays to Thursdays. I really wish it would stay open until 7pm every day. That way I have a chance to go home to get my re-useable bags, rather than having to carry them with me all day.
When I first evaluated my waste production, it was very clear that by reducing/eliminating beauty product waste would make a big difference. I first identified solid shampoo from Lush as a potential. Now I find myself reading lots of blogs about using no-shampoo and the myriad of options like baking soda and water, apple cider vinegar, green tea, and conditioner only. The list goes on, and there are as many opinions about what works as there are people in the world.
My inherited Scottish frugalism means that I don't want to throw out any of the things I am currently using. Plus, that's kind of counter to the whole waste reduction thing. I still have 3/4 full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and 'miracle leave-in product' which I now use every other day. I am in the first week of trialing washing my hair every other weekday, rather than every day. I still shower on the other days, and wet my hair, but don't add shampoo or conditioner. I invested in a boar bristle brush, and brushing my hair thoroughly every night before bed seems to have helped. According to my research, the boar bristles help to move the sebum (healthy scalp oil) from your roots to the ends of your hair. Eventually, hopefully, my scalp with stop producing excess sebum and be less oily. The next step will be to replace the shampoo and conditioner with baking soda and a vinegar and/or green tea rinse.
I am thankfully nearly done my body was, there might be 3 more washes in it. That means I get to try the olive oil soap that I bought this summer, and I've been dying to try out! It's still a soap, but if it works well, I will to make a (cheaper) version of my own.
My face wash is still quite full, and it's a foaming soap, which means it'll be around for a while. I have been reading about using Rhassoul Clay rather than soap on my face, but since the I'll have to make the change so far in the future, I haven't done much research.
I changed to Witch Hazel as a toner about 8 months ago, and it has been great! I found a place in Mississauga that sells it in bulk, but I have been waiting for the alcohol free stuff to come in for about 4 weeks now, and I'm down to the last few drops. I'm not sure if it'll make it through the weekend, so I'm left with a decision - buy a smaller bottle at the drug store or wait until the last week in November and hope that my skin stays calm until then.