Zero Waste Toothbrushes / DIY Bathroom Remodel

Zero Waste Toothbrushes / DIY Bathroom Remodel

About a month ago, Brett and I [but mostly Brett] finished remodeling our upstairs bathroom.

Before reno:

After demo:

All done [hallelujah!]:

Since then, I’ve been anxious to replace the final eyesore – our toothbrushes.

I’ve been slowly replacing other bathroom items with zero waste, sustainable alternatives. I swapped our plastic shower curtain liner for a cloth one that can be washed and reused. [Since plastic shower curtain liners can’t be recycled, we are “upcycling” it as a tarp over our firewood. Other great ideas for old plastic liners can be found here.]

I’ve also traded the typical containers for cotton balls and q-tips for glass jars that I already had around the house.

I still have some plastic stuff waiting to be used up or worn out before being replaced – brush, comb, lotion and detangler bottles…

But the toothbrushes really bothered me. I finally got to replace them with compostable bamboo brushes. The bristles are nylon and though the biodegradability of some types of nylon are being debated, these bristles can be pulled and recycled.

I chose this company because it is based in the US and [from everything I can tell] committed to ethical and sustainable practices. Also they come in 100% cardboard packaging [double boxed]. It is hard to find toothbrushes that don’t have ANY PLASTIC in the packaging.

And it doesn’t hurt that making the bathroom more eco-friendly also makes it look better.

There are lots of great sustainable toothbrush options available now. Just search for bamboo toothbrushes. Also Preserve is a company that partners with Whole Foods to gather and recycle plastics into new toothbrushes which is the best choice if you want stick with plastic. They make it super easy to recycle the brushes when your done by selling you the brush in a prepaid return pouch!

As for your old plastic toothbrushes, read more about recycling them in this article by Recycle Nation [spoiler alert: it ain’t easy].

And more about sustainable toothbrush options in this post by My Plastic Free Life.

AND order your own sustainable toothbrushes from The Green Root here.

Happy Brushing!

Karis

DIY Birthday Cards / Decluttering my craft supplies

DIY Birthday Cards / Decluttering my craft supplies

Turns out, I am a paper hoarder.

😱

I have been saving craft paper, scrapbooking paper, card stock, envelopes, even two HUGE rolls of brown paper, for the better part of my life. Seriously. I’ve had a lot of this stuff since grade school when I first picked up a scrapbooking hobby. Since then, I have collected SO MUCH PAPER.

I’ve been avoiding going through my craft stuff because I knew it was going to be tough. BUT I have learned an important thing about myself: scrapbooking is no longer a hobby of mine. Truthfully, it hasn’t been for years now, but I still kind of always felt that it was. I think it was Marie Kondo who said in her well-known book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that decluttering often means letting go of who you once were so you can fully live as the person you have become. [I’m very loosely paraphrasing here because I don’t have the book in front of me.] When I heard that, [I listened to the audiobook while training for my marathon], it was like a lightbulb went off. It’s okay if I don’t scrapbook anymore. I don’t have to feel like all that time and money was wasted because I enjoyed it for the time that I did it and now I need to let it go and move on.

So I donated a lot of paper and my cricut machine and twelve or so cricut cartridges and pretty much all my other scrapping materials. I only kept paper and tools for making cards – a useful hobby that I still enjoy.

And now I’ve initiated a “use it up” challenge. No buying cards or notebooks or ANY PAPER [other than maybe coloring books for the kids] until I’ve used up the rest of my stash, which I reduced to fit into this one case.

[This is down from six filing drawers and three shelves in my craft cabinet.]

So, I’ve started making birthday cards for family and friends.

As you can tell, I’m not a perfectionist.

I made these three while painting with my kids. I even used the kids’ painting sets. Super simple and easy. I do have a set of birthday stamps which come in super handy for making cards. And since I send a card to everyone in our immediate families each year – I figure I have enough paper to last me…about the next 10 years. 👍🏻

Karis

Why I decided not to DIY laundry detergent

Why I decided not to DIY laundry detergent

Since we began reducing our waste, I’ve been changing the products that we purchase, but I’ve also been changing the way that we make purchases and even the reasons that we make purchases. So, when our laundry detergent ran out, I didn’t just head to Walmart to replace the bottle as I may have done in the past. I also didn’t scour the couponing world to see if I could find some for super cheap.

Instead, I thought about how to find [or make] an effective and no waste alternative. I read recipes. I read reviews. I read tips and tricks. I read pros and cons. [Geez, trying to be a responsible consumer is time-consuming!] But, in the end, I realized there is no purely waste-free option available to me [outside of growing and harvesting my own soap nuts]. Even if I make my own detergent, I will have to buy washing soda and borax and citric acid or whatever else – and it will all come in packaging. So, I would be making my own detergent [yay, me! I’m so crunchy and thrifty] but still creating waste from the packaging of several different ingredients that I need to make the detergent in the first place.

So instead of making my own, I decided to purchase my detergent from an eco-friendly, responsible company who cares about our planet and also about getting my clothes clean.

Turns out, this brought to light an even greater need than just my own waste reduction: the need to support businesses that are reducing waste.

Environmentally-friendly, ethical companies NEED our consumer dollars. We need to support businesses that protect and preserve natural resources, that value quality and sustainability, and that treat their employees right. And we should EXPECT to pay more for these products because it costs more money to produce a product ethically and responsibly. If we do not support these businesses then they will not be able to stay in business. And I won’t be able to buy ethically sourced, environmentally-friendly laundry detergent.

So then the choice becomes what organization do I want to support with my business?

I decided to go with the company that I am already using for my cloth diaper laundering. I’m not sure why I had a separate detergent for diapers, as if the “natural” detergent was not good enough for my regular clothes. But, regardless, I’m consolidating down to one brand, one detergent, purchased in as big a box as I can find and paying whatever they want me to pay, because my priority is the earth, not money. Which feels great, by the way. It is an honor to support companies that share my values – even if they cost more.

I love that Biokleen is family owned and operated, that their products are made in the USA [guaranteeing a fair wage for their employees and supporting the American economy], and that they are producing “natural and effective cleaners…with a passion for innovation, dedication to performance and a guiding commitment to our planet.”

These folks are right up my alley.

I also chose them because I have already been using their products and think they are great.

[No, I’m not making money off this advertising – you’re welcome, Biokleen!]

In fact, the only thing that would make them better would be if they were local to me [rather than in Vancouver, WA] because I really like supporting local businesses.

Of course, there are plenty of other eco-friendly companies out there to support. I also really like Charlie’s Soap and will probably purchase their detergent in the future too.

I’m not ONLY trying to reduce my personal waste. I want to reduce ALL waste. So by supporting the businesses that are being responsible with our natural resources, I am doing a much greater thing than just buying a product without packaging. While I think both are important, the former will change the way products are made and the latter is only going to change how the product is packaged.

Anyway, time to do some laundry!

Karis