Today’s culture has made it really easy to buy, use, and throw away at a pace that our planet can’t keep up with. Most of the things we buy are made to be used for a short period of time, and tossed out when they aren’t needed anymore. Going zero waste involves a shift in thinking, but once you start thinking about how much waste you produce, it’s easy to start reducing it!
At EarthHero, our aim is to provide everyone with the opportunity to be a conscious consumer and live a zero waste lifestyle. In this week’s post for Zero Waste March, we’re sharing our favorite zero waste home hacks and “Do It Yourself” projects to lessen the amount of waste coming in and out of your home.
Time to Clean House
It’s no secret that traditional cleaning products are packed full of harmful chemicals–not to mention the disposable plastic bottles they come in! Your cleaning arsenal is a great place to start thinking eco. From shopping selectively to making your own, there are plenty of ways to make a change!
The DIY breakdown
Citrus + Vinegar
Citrus vinegar is an excellent way to clean even the dirtiest of kitchens, bathrooms, and tile floors. On top of that, it’s super simple to make; all you have to do is soak your citrus peels (lemons, oranges, limes) in white vinegar for two weeks, strain your concoction, and slap on a spray topper. Now you’re in business! You can even add some mood-lifting essential oils to bring some energy to your cleaning.
Vodka always helps!
Calling all party animals: put that bottle of vodka to good use and use it as a natural disinfectant. While it may be known for starting a good time, it can clean up after one too. Vodka can be used to kill sickness causing germs and even disinfect wounds. (We recommend using the cheap stuff for cleaning, and save the expensive stuff for later.) Add ½ cup vodka to ½ cup water, then sweeten it up with some essential oils for a refreshing scent and added antimicrobial benefits. Try adding a few drops of lavender during flu season, and tea tree oil to give your ceramic surfaces special treatment!
When Life Gives You Lemons… Clean With Them!
Did you know that lemons are a great natural disinfectant that can be used in a variety of ways? We love bamboo cooking utensils for their durability (and they’re beautiful!), but they need special care–which is where lemons come in. Not only is bamboo a sustainable resource, but it will last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Hand wash your utensils in warm water and use lemon juice straight from the source to disinfect. Make sure the utensils are nice and dry after washing to prevent molding. Rub them down with oil to prevent cracks and breaking if they begin to look a little dried out, and they’ll stand by you for a long time!
It doesn’t stop there; lemons can also be used to remove stains from countertops and ceramic surfaces, clean out the gunk in your microwave, and freshen your garbage disposal. The best part is, you can toss them right in your compost bin afterwards!
Not into DIY? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite swaps for your sustainable cleaning supply…
Declutter that Bathroom
It’s time to breakup with your tube of toothpaste. Sorry toothpaste–it’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it’s the tube. If taking a look at the ingredient label doesn’t already scare you away, think how many toothpaste tubes people toss over their lifetime. Typically made with plastic or aluminum, around one billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills every year.
Now, we aren’t telling you to not brush your teeth, but we are suggesting you to try out tooth powder! It’s available to buy here, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous you can give this DIY recipe a try!
The three main ingredients are 4 tablespoons bentonite clay, 2 tablespoons baking soda, and 1½ teaspoons unrefined sea salt. Once you mix that together as a base, you can add whatever you like! Cinnamon is antibacterial and adds great flavor, activated charcoal will make those pearly whites even brighter, and peppermint essential oils will leave your mouth minty fresh.
Now, switch that plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one, and you’re all set!
Simplify your hair routine
Once you find that perfect shampoo + conditioner set, you won’t find yourself with half-empty bottles cluttering your shower. Opt for a refillable option, like Plaine Products, and you’ll suddenly find simplicity in your routine! Once you’re low, just order your replacement bottles, and they’ll cover shipping your old ones back. No more empty bottles, no more waste!
DIY Dry Shampoo
We’ve all been there: you wake up a little late, and wonder if you can get away without washing your hair for the third day in a row. Dry shampoo is perfect when you need that extra 30 minutes of sleep and you’re not feeling a hat day. Not only will you save time and money with this homemade version of dry shampoo, but you’ll also keep toxic chemicals away from your scalp.
For light hair, use ¼ cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch as a base. For dark hair, add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to 2 tablespoons of the arrowroot/cornstarch mixture. Add 5 drops of essential oil to leave your hair smelling lovely. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone how long it’s been since your hair’s been washed (oops!).
DIY Lip Balm
With so many lip balm options out there, it’s hard to pick the right one. You want something silky, smooth, and full of moisture, but not greasy. Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Make it yourself! It’s that simple.
All you need are three basic ingredients: beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil. In just ten minutes, you’ll have all-natural, kissable lips! Melt 3 tablespoons beeswax, 2 tablespoons shea butter, and 4 tablespoons coconut oil in a pan. Once your mixture is consistent, pour it into a container and let harden. You can use any old lip balm container, or even an Altoid tin. Add some essential oils for a fun flavor, and for a natural tint, try adding a dash of Kool-Aid powder. Voila, homemade lip balm!
The Many Uses of Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is one of those items that is super inexpensive to buy in bulk. To fill a 4 ounce jar, it typically costs less than a dollar! Cocoa powder is a natural superstar when it comes to beauty. Its rich, chocolatey color is perfect for filling in eyebrows, swiped across cheekbones as bronzer, and even used as eyeshadow for a bold, smokey look! For all you beauty virtuosos, give yourself a warm cocoa glow by using cocoa as a body bronzer. If you’re a real expert, use it to contour your face. This multifunctional gem will save you from creating excess waste and eliminate toxic chemicals that are ever so prominent in beauty products.
Natural Makeup Remover and Moisturizer
Look no further than jojoba oil as your new skincare superhero. Packed full of vitamin E and other healthy fatty acids, jojoba oil can be used to remove makeup while also moisturizing your skin. This non-toxic oil will give your skin the natural boost it needs! It’s great for soothing acne, nourishing dry skin and hair, and keeping skin youthful and wrinkle-free. It’s non-greasy, all natural, and non-irritating. No wonder it’s referred to as “liquid gold”!
Bringing it Home
Zero waste is becoming more and more popular as individuals aim to lessen their impact on the planet. At first, going completely zero waste may be a new way of thinking, but in reality, it can actually make your life simpler. Many people who work towards a zero waste home are amazed how much time and money they end up saving!
Your journey is your own, and everybody approaches zero waste differently. We’re here to help though! Check back on our blog for more tips and tricks on how you can easily reduce your impact. The planet will be sure to thank you!