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

Total Tea Addict

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I guess it is pretty obvious that I am a total tea addict when my first post on my blog is about tea! Lately, I have been obsessed with peppermint tea! Peppermint tea is delightful alone or with honey & it is also quite beneficial for your health. Peppermint is known to aid in relaxation, reduce inflammation, help with stomach digestion and works as an immune booster. I drink peppermint tea every day!

The ingredients in most peppermint tea mixes are also beneficial to your health:

  • Spearmint: aids in minimizing headaches and stress.
  • Tarragon: aids in regulating metabolism & digestion.
  • Lavender: relieves stress and inflammation & helps to minimize bloating.

In addition to all these natural health benefits you also get lots of antioxidants to improve your overall health! As a sufferer from IBS, chronic anxiety & depression, I can personally tell you that whenever my stomach or intestines are troubling me, I drink peppermint tea & it helps to calm them down! Peppermint tea is also a low FODMAP and great for other gastrointestinal disorders or diseases. One caution is that since peppermint tea is so relaxing, it may be too relaxing in some people and cause your sphincter to relax and allow stomach acid back up into the esophagus (so for people who have heartburn, avoid peppermint tea).

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Now, let’s talk about the most sustainable ways to enjoy tea! Purchasing your tea in loose-leaf form in a metal reusable tin is the most environmentally-friendly option. This is because you can keep reusing these items and there is no garbage for you to throw away! Also, most teabags have some percentage of plastic in them, immediately making them unsustainable. Next, you will need a reusable tea infuser. I would recommend a completely metal option as well, just because it is safer to use and will last longer (and can eventually be recycled). Lastly, you will definitely be needing a reusable mug. A reusable mug is needed when you are leaving the house or when you are out & about and purchase tea. I have a reusable mug at home and another one in my car. Some examples of what I am suggesting are: this reusable metal infuser, this loose leaf tea, this cute reusable tin, and this mug. This mug actually keeps tea hot for an insanely long time. All of these items are easy to wash, using reusables is not a hassle whatsoever!

I hope you enjoy tea as much as I do,
-Tiara