DIY Zero Waste Car Kit

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The whole “zero waste” concept has been (finally) gaining popularity in 2018. Living zero waste means to live in a way that all things that are consumed or used by you on a daily basis can be reused, so that no trash is created & so the only end products are compostable or items that can be continually reused. Switching to a more zero waste lifestyle is crucial, as it is not only a more sustainable way to live but a more economical & efficient lifestyle. Some argue that living a more zero waste lifestyle is too difficult – so I made a “zero waste car kit” to show & encourage you all that living sustainably is not only quite doable but also easier than it seems. You can also take this idea and make a “zero waste bike kit” or a “zero waste purse kit”!

To create my zero waste car kit, I looked through all of the stuff that I had already and then made a list of what I still needed. Then I visited some local thrift shops to purchase anything else that I needed. Any specific item that I didn’t already have or couldn’t find while thrifting, I then researched companies that pride themselves in making sustainable products & ordered away!
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Almost every outing involves picking up food or drink – and with this we are usually given the item in single-use options (plastic straws, plastic cups, plastic lids, paper cups, plastic utensils, plastic water bottles, styrofoam takeaway containers… the list goes on and on). Most of these single-use items are not recyclable and the ones that are recyclable usually are thrown away or cannot be recycled due to other variables. We need to ditch this throw-away culture that we have come to accept as normal and realize that these single-use items go on to pollute the environment for centuries. When these single-use items are used then disposed of, the toxins from the plastic and other garbage continually leach into the environment. This creates a devastating effect which impacts the entire food chain (plants and animals alike).

So, how can we reduce our dependence and usage of single-use items? Bring reusables that replace them everywhere you go! Using reusables is a lot easier than it may seem, just use them and wash them then return them back into your car kit! When it comes to creating your kit, focus on creating a plastic-free kit that involves stainless steel items, glass items, or products made from natural sources (cotton, bamboo, etc).

Items to include in your kit: 

  • reusable straws (like this or this or this)
    • make sure that the straws you purchase come with a little brush to clean out your straws!
  • cotton/linen cloths (like this or this)
    • use to replace napkins or wrap your clean utensils & glass jars in)
  • large stainless steel water bottle (like this or this
    • use to avoid buying plastic water bottles out of convenience – so many places will fill up your water bottle for you if they don’t already have a water fountain!
  • stainless steel tea/coffee mug (like this or this or this)
    • can also be used for cold beverages
  • glass mason jar (like this)
    • to store left-over food or when purchasing items in bulk
  • stainless steel utensils (thrifted)
    • to replace all throw-away options
  • reusable cotton bags (like this and this)
    • plastic bags kill over 100 MILLION animals each year… it is time that we take responsibility for this and switch to reusable bags.

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Here is the easiest thing to switch to, reusable bags! Reusable bags need to be washed frequently. Since these bags need to be washed so often, choose bags composed of a natural material, so when they are washed they do not release harmful microfibres into our waterways.

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Now, here are some important items to keep in your car that might not be all that zero waste, but safety and health are arguably just as important, so do not deny yourself a first aid kit! Since I live in Saskatchewan and we experience incredibly cold winters, I have a survival candle and matches as well. I also have a multi-tool in case of emergencies.

I hope this posts helps to inspire you to live a cleaner & more sustainable lifestyle!

– Tiara

Working Towards a More Sustainable Mouth Care Regime

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This year, I am slowly transitioning to a more sustainable mouth care regime! First however, I am using up what I have already until it is all gone and I will replace those items with more sustainable options or DIY solutions! I made the switch to bamboo toothbrushes over a year ago, as well as a more natural toothpaste. I also incorporate other steps into my routine – read on to learn more!

Bamboo Toothbrush:

  • bamboo is easily sustainably harvested
  • bamboo is naturally antimicrobial
  • bamboo handles are completely biodegradable & you can recycle the bristles (you can compost the handle & it will decompose naturally)
  • bamboo grows quickly & is easy to renew
  • there is no recycling program for plastic toothbrushes
  • Plastic products end up devastating the environment, human & animal health (as seen here)

Natural Toothpaste:

  • there are so many DIY toothpaste recipes on Pinterest
    • for example: 1/2 cup coconut oil, 3 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp xylitol, 10 drops of food grade essential oil (usually peppermint, orange, etc).
  • regular toothpaste is usually full of harmful ingredients
  • natural toothpastes have natural sweeteners, while regular toothpastes have artificial sweeteners
  • natural toothpaste does not contain fluoride
  • regular toothpaste is tested on animals, natural toothpaste is not
  • natural toothpaste can clean your teeth just as well as regular toothpaste
  • the brand I have pictured is Nelson Naturals, a product that is made in Canada, not tested on animals and is in a glass jar with tin lid (purchased at Dad’s Organic Market)

Activated Charcoal:

Activated charcoal is usually found in natural mouth care products for numerous reasons:

  • activated charcoal whitens teeth naturally by removing stains
  • activated charcoal changes pH balance in the mouth & results in better oral health
  • activated charcoal helps to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath
  • however, activated charcoal is MESSY – usually requires clean up after use or some will only brush with activated charcoal in the shower

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There are multiple companies now that provide kits that include products with activated charcoal that is safe to use. I was sent a Carbon Coco kit – which is focused around the activated charcoal ingredient. Their products are 100% safe to use and provide a natural and healthy way to remove stains from your teeth – no harmful chemicals! I dip a wet toothbrush into the charcoal powder and brush for my teeth for 3 minutes – I am sure to be gentle & not scrub my teeth. I spit out the charcoal, which always requires cleanup afterward, then finish with brushing my teeth with the activated charcoal toothpaste for 3 minutes. My teeth feel so clean afterward! After oil pulling in the mornings and using these products at night, my teeth definitely are whiter after only 2 weeks! The Carbon Coco products are great, as they offer a natural whitening solution – however I would personally love to see them switch to more sustainable packaging and bamboo toothbrushes.

Oil Pulling:

  • use 1-2tbs of organic extra virgin coconut oil in the morning and swish it around for 20 minutes (I do this while in the shower or while doing my makeup)
  • Make sure not to swallow the oil, also make sure to spit the oil out in the garbage afterward as coconut oil will clog drains
  • oil pulling removes bad bacteria, prevents plaque, gum disease, cavities & gingivitis
  • oil pulling whitens teeth naturally and detoxifies your mouth
  • oil pulling is actually a holistic treatment for TMJ
  • follow by brushing your teeth with a natural toothpaste & you can follow up with a warm salt water rinse

Bentonite Clay:

  • this clay is able to absorb toxins & is full of strengthening minerals
  • bentonite clay neutralizes bad bacteria
  • is usually found in natural DIY solutions, such as tooth powder (a great recipe can be found here)
  • it is important not to use metal around bentonite clay – use a wooden spoon instead

Zero-Waste Dental Floss:

  • regular dental floss is made from nylon and is in a plastic container (nylon and plastic are derived from crude oil)
  • nylon dental floss is tear-proof so animals get stuck and killed by dental floss regularly
  • an alternative is silk floss with beeswax or candellila wax (one example is Dental Lace) OR a water pik.

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I hope this inspires you to make more sustainable choices when it comes to your mouth care routine!

– Tiara

Sustainable Gift Guide

Christmas is right around the corner, which means you are probably in the process of purchasing gifts. Finding the right gift can be stressful, however supporting local businesses and purchasing sustainably-made products has never been easier. Since what you spend your money on is essentially the type of world that you support, let’s start supporting a healthier planet. It sounds difficult, however it is really simple! Some key points are to avoid plastic items, resist fads and fast fashion and invest in products that are high quality and will have a long lifespan. Remember to bring reusable bags and avoid plastic bags while shopping!

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Shopping sustainably can be done easily, even here in Saskatoon. There are multiple stores and local businesses that provide many opportunities to shop smart, buy local and minimize your negative impact on the environment. Buying for a beauty lover? Green Tree Beauty offers sustainably made and natural cosmetics! The Farmer’s Market is a gathering of many local businesses which can help you to invest your money back into the province, rather than into large corporations. Locally owned stores like Hazlewood Vintage, Better Off Duds or 33rd Street Vintage Market, for example, are stores that offer high-quality vintage items for sale. These vintage items are very well made and still have many more years of life left in them – not to mention they are uniquely crafted! Second hand does not mean poorer quality. Most vintage items are made from natural fibres, real wood, glass, or metal, meaning that they will all naturally decompose when thrown away or that they can be safely recycled. Also, by purchasing an item second hand, you are saving a perfectly good item from the landfill, and promoting less wasteful manufacturing of new products.

 

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Another great idea is to purchase your friends or family natural products that will replace every day items that are usually made of plastic. This will not only be healthier for them, but for the planet as well.

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Some Christmas gifts do not need to be expensive at all! You can hand make your gifts! If you have some glass jars or little tin containers lying around (and if you don’t, Value Village is a great place to look) and simple ingredients found from the kitchen, DIY body scrubs, lip scrubs, lotions and other natural products are easy to make and give – Pinterest is full of recipes! Another great idea is to sew or knit something! Below, I have a picture of the reusable cotton makeup remover pads that I sewed! A handmade gift shows that the giver put some thoughtful effort into making the gift for the recipient. A promise of spending time with a friend or making special treats for someone is another way to make the season happy and memorable.

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Another important aspect about Christmas is the gift packaging. Most wrapping paper and gift bags cannot be recycled. This ends up with an unnecessarily large input going into the landfill. This can be easily avoided by switching to these following methods. Have extra pillowcases, sheets, scarves or tablecloths lying around your home? Wrap your gifts using the “furoshiki” practice. You can knot the fabric, or secure it with a broach! Fabric can be continually reused to wrap presents over and over! Another way to wrap gifts is with newspapers, paper bags, or old road maps – just insure that they are recycled afterward!

Need a stocking stuffer idea? I keep my hands looking holiday ready using natural lotions from Dad’s Organic Market and the Seche Vive Topcoat from Nail Polish Canada! I apply this topcoat initially and then 2-3 days after as well and it is the only top coat I’ve found that keeps the polish on for a week (and on my hands, that is saying something… usually I chip my nail polish in 2 days). This top coat also keeps my nails very shiny and strong! This polish offers a gel nail look without the need of a lamp. Nail Polish Canada also offers nail polishes that are toxin free, found here!

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I hope that this article helps you to make this Christmas season more sustainable and inspires you to bring that level of sustainability into all the other aspects of your life. After all, we only have one planet.

– Tiara