I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has struggled to find proper disinfectant materials with the current pandemic. Sometimes we go over a month without finding any in stock at Walmart. And in a global pandemic the one thing you don't want to skimp on is disinfecting your surfaces.
I tried to find a good solution that will help disinfect, save waste, and allow me to make my Clorox wipes last a little bit longer.
The "recipe" I followed is here and they used a jar to pour all of this into that fit their roll of paper towels. I didn't have something quite like that on hand so instead I gathered up all of our smaller rags and towels and decided to make these more "reusable" wipes. What I do is when I grab a cloth I ring out as much excess liquid as possible (this honestly made way too much liquid for my towels to absorb), and then I wipe down any surfaces. One rag goes a longgggg way in cleaning I've found. After cleaning I put it in the wash and after being washed it goes back in the container! I've basically got a never ending supply of disinfecting wipes.
Please note that I do still use Clorox wipes to wipe down my phone and other surfaces after I have been in public, but I like these for general house surfaces.
To distill the water I just boiled it for 10 minutes and then let cool before mixing everything up together.
Let me know what you use to disinfect your home, and if it's zero waste or not!
Yes it's January and yes I am eating pumpkin muffins. Why? Because they're zero waste and we still had a can of pumpkin puree leftover from fall. And they're good so I'm not going to limit myself to eating them only in the month of October.
If you know me, you know that muffins are a breakfast staple of mine. So it makes sense that this was my next "zero waste challenge" to tackle. Plus, I enjoy baking and muffins seemed like an easy way to start transitioning to a low waste breakfast.
Recipe I used was by Cookie and Kate and can be found here. I'll give the breakdown below here:
They were really that simple! And they were delicious. I'm definitely going to be repeating this recipe again soon. Also, since I had all of these ingredients on hand they were basically free :). Let me know if you have any low-waste muffin recipes in the comments below!
The idea of going zero waste can be really overwhelming at first, and it can seem really expensive too if you focus solely on swapping out products for more sustainable ones. But did you know that there are a lot of things you can do to benefit the planet that are either cheaper than what you're doing now, completely free, or actually save you money? Most of these are small habit changes you can make to live a little more sustainably and be more intentional with your actions. Here is my list of practices you can start as soon as today.
1. Unplug Your Appliances:
This one is minor but it can make a difference. When you aren't using your coffee pot, toaster, etc. just go ahead and unplug it. When devices are plugged into an outlet they can draw energy out, even if you aren't using them. This will help conserve energy and lower your energy bill.
2. Wash Your Clothes on Cold:
Here's a fact: 80-90% of the energy used in a washing machine cycle is just heating up the water. So if we skip the hot water and wash our clothes on cold we can save 80% of the energy used in our washing machine! And once again, this will reduce your energy bill too.
3. Skip the Dryer:
Another great way to save energy is skipping the dryer completely and air drying your clothes. Now I will admit I am not 100% sold on this myself, I feel like my clothes take 2 days to dry when I do this. But one thing I have committed to is not drying anything a second time if it's still slightly damp, and using my drying rack instead.
4. Do a "No-Buy":
I love this one because it involves you spending no money at all. A "no buy" is when you commit to not buying anything outside of necessities for as long as you decide. Could be a week or a month. Consuming less is massively helpful to the environment because every individual product we buy has its own carbon footprint. And this will help you in the end save a little bit of money and be more cognizant of your spending.
5. Turn off the Water:
Whether it be in between washing dishes or while you're brushing your teeth, keeping the water off when you aren't actively using it will save you money on your water bill. And even more importantly, it conserves water! Also, trying to shorten your shower time if you take long showers would make a big difference as well.
6. Lights out:
This one is pretty self-explanatory: if you aren't in the room, turn off the light!
7. Eat less meat:
Meat, especially red meat, is the primary source of methane emissions. Our global meat consumption needs to decrease by 50-90% by 2050 to remain in a good space for climate change, according to EAT-Lancet. I think people are intimidated to eat less meat because they think you can't eat plant-based meals without being a vegetarian or vegan. But that's simply not true. Anything you can do though to reduce your meat consumption will make a difference. Whether it be taking part in meatless Monday's or trying to aim for more plant based meals overall, you don't have to go vegetarian or vegan to reduce your carbon footprint. And yes, eating plant based will save you money and is better for your own health overall.
8. Shop Secondhand:
This is a big one I've already talked about quite a bit so I won't elaborate much, but buying as much as you can second hand cuts down on packaging and helps save items from the landfill that you would be using anyways. Plus it can save you so much money at the end of the day. (Check out my previous blog posts on shopping secondhand here).
9. Find a new home for your belongings:
If you are getting rid of something, before you just simply donate it, try to find someone who will use it and hand it off to them. This is where Facebook Marketplace comes in handy! While donating to a store is great, there is no guarantee that they will be able to sell what you donated, and at the end of the day it may end up in a landfill. However, if you try to find someone who wants what you have and will use it, there's a far greater chance that it will go to use. When this doesn't work, Goodwill donation bins are a great backup!
10. Get outside:
Spending time outside and turning off your heat or AC for a few hours can help conserve energy. Plus getting fresh air is always good for the soul.
These are just a few habits that we can try to get into that will have an impact on the environment, and our wallets for the better. And who doesn't love a win-win? What small things do you do that help the environment and save you money?
Capsule wardrobes have become a recent trend in minimalism. What does this mean? A capsule wardrobe is where you downsize your entire wardrobe down to anywhere from 20-40 pieces. This can look different for everyone but the overall goal is to have a wardrobe full of staple pieces that are versatile and clothes you want to wear all the time. Check out this article on how to create a capsule wardrobe.
I honestly never thought I would be able to pair down my wardrobe that much, because who doesn't love some variety in their clothing? But since COVID hit and we have locked in our home for the greater part of the last year I realize how few of my clothes I was actually wearing day to day.
Part of this was due to the fact that I did have a whole "work wardrobe" that I just wasn't touching, and part of it was because I gravitate towards the same several pieces in my closet. This really piqued my interest in trying to start a capsule wardrobe. That and the fact that where I work doesn't have a dress code, so jeans and a top are perfectly acceptable work-wear when we do head back into the office.
Here's where the problem lies for me: I live in Philadelphia where we experience all four seasons, I also don't want to be buying a whole new set of clothes every season of the year and then getting rid of all the clothes I just bought. This also just doesn't mesh well with being zero-waste, since we're supposed to be limiting how much we are consuming. So I decided I would come up with a compromise where I could still emulate the capsule wardrobe but without being wasteful.
This is what I came up with: every season I will donate/sell any clothing that I do not wear/reach for regularly. Also, anything that doesn't fit or is uncomfortable will immediately go. I also won't run to replace anything and see if I am fine with the amount of clothes I have after getting rid of what I am not wearing. Hopefully this will leave me with my most loved and worn pieces and then as needed I can always add a few more staples in if I find I don't have enough.
One huge piece of this too is to not buy anything on impulse. Rather, if I decide I need a few more items to round out my wardrobe I'll have to sit and think through exactly what I'm looking for. That way when I go to the thrift store I'll have a specific list of wants that I won't stray from. I find most of the clothes that I own that I don't wear are clothes I bought on impulse because they looked cute, but I didn't think through where I would wear them or if they went with the other clothes I already owned -- hence leaving them untouched.
Even though it's still only January I decided to do my first "purge" of the winter with a bag of clothes I just haven't found myself wearing at all since it became cold a few months ago. Some pieces no longer fit me and therefore I didn't need anymore either.
Overall, my hope is that that I will end up with a minimalistic wardrobe of core pieces I wear regularly and only need to shop for clothing a few times a year. It's one small step towards being more eco-friendly and minimalistic but I do think it will make a difference.
If you read my recent blog post about How to Thrift Responsibly, then you would know that a huge focus of living a sustainable lifestyle is buying as many items as possible secondhand. Purchasing items used means you are giving it a second life and preventing it from ending up in a landfill. After swearing off fast fashion in 2019, I decided in 2020 I would start trying to find secondhand items before buying anything new, including furniture (with some exceptions). This slideshow below features all of the items I found secondhand this year and where I found them!
Second hand furniture
This year was the year I discovered Facebook Marketplace! It's an online selling feature as part of Facebook, similar to Craigslist. After we made the shift to working from home and moved into an apartment with more space, I needed a desk for myself. I was able to find one for free on Facebook Marketplace! It was originally white with lots of pen stains on it, so I bought some contact paper to give it a more fun and updated look!
Another great Facebook Marketplace find was our TV stand. They were giving this away for free as well. It was a little old so to liven it up we gave it a fresh coat of white paint and it works perfectly in our living room.
The last piece I got from Facebook Marketplace was the white dresser, and yes it was also free. We got this because our bathroom didn't have any storage for towels and toilet paper, etc. We had to store everything in our basement or small bedroom closets. This fits perfectly in our office space, which is right off of the bathroom. We store our towels, bedding, and all bathroom supplies in here now.
The wooden dresser we bought we got at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $30. These stores sell secondhand furniture.
We also bought our rug here for around $30 too, although it was brand new still in the plastic. I am still including the rug in this because the rugs were given to the store from Target because they didn't sell, so we were still buying something and saving it from a landfill.
Second Hand Clothing
I also bought tons of clothing this year secondhand! I went to Goodwill and found a great turtleneck, pair of jeans and a staple black belt when shopping for new clothes to wear to work.
At Plato's Closet I found a flannel by Madewell, some cute tan sneakers, jeans, and two turtlenecks.
On Poshmark I found a retro style sweater and I got a pair of jeans from a secondhand boutique in Philly.
I'm not sure if "stealing winter boots from your mom because she lives in Florida now" totally counts as secondhand but regardless I included them in the list because otherwise I would have had to buy new boots for the winter!
And lastly is my winter coat from the REI garage sale. This is a sale where REI resells any items that were returned to them and have been worn. They're sold very discounted but you must be an REI member to buy!
I hope this post shows you that you can find what you are looking for and cute items secondhand, it may just take a little bit more effort than buying brand new.
My goal for 2021 is to continue to buy as many things as possible secondhand that I can, and to not buy any more shoes this year. What are your goals for 2021 towards sustainability?
Last Friday I went "zero waste" grocery shopping at Walmart. Soon I will start trying out some different grocery stores soon but it was a Friday morning before work so I just wanted to be in and out as quickly as possible!
Our list this week was rather short, we were feeling lazy and decided to make a favorite in our household for dinner: burrito bowls! This this is one of those meals where we already had most of the ingredients on hand so we also usually keep our grocery bill cheap on weeks where we do this. This week our bill was under $30!
In addition to burrito bowls I also wanted to try out a kale smoothie recipe and some of those ingredients are on here as well!
Here's what I bought and was able to get zero waste:
Second Breakfast = Kale Smoothies:
Lunch = Budda Bowls
While my bowl is heating up in the microwave I like to cook the spinach on the stove and poach an egg to top it all off!
Dinner = Burrito Bowls
I hope these Shop With Me's can help give you ideas on easy zero-waste meals to make! What were you eating this week?
I'm the type of person who needs to eat *a lot* throughout the day to stay feeling full. One thing I've found is that protein bars are the perfect snack, they do well on the go and they can keep me feeling full for hours. I've settled on the fact that I love Clif bars. I always keep them on hand and I would say I eat one most days of the week.
As mentioned, groceries right now are my biggest barrier to being zero waste. So the first thing I wanted to tackle was my daily snack by seeing if I could make my own protein bars at home. Not only would this reduce the amount of plastic packaging I am buying on a semi-weekly basis, but it would save me money too because those bars are not cheap!
I found This Recipe from Chew Out Loud for a 5 ingredient, no bake protein bar. This was perfect for me because I already had everything needed on hand at home. The only downside is that my protein powder is in a plastic container, meaning once I run out I will need to find a suitable replacement.
In a medium pot combine milk, peanut butter and honey over low heat. Stir until well combined.
Add protein powder and oats. Stir to combine well, add more milk if it looks too thick.
Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan and press mixture into the pan evenly. Allow the bars to cool completely.
These bars came out good and I will definitely eat my whole batch. I do find them to be quite filling also. However, mine came out looking nothing like the photo and are quite sticky, I don't think these are great for travel and I have to eat mine with a fork because it's not firm enough to hold on it's own.
Given that this recipe was rather simple I doubt I could have done anything incorrectly. I like them but I don't love them. I'm going to test out some new protein bar recipes over the next few weeks to find a true Clif bar replacement!
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.