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I Failed at The Trash Jar (+ Why That's Okay)


I Failed at The Trash Jar (+ Why That's Okay)

A lot of zero wasters are familiar with the term "trash jar." When you go zero waste, one of the goals is to be able to fit all your trash into a tiny little mason jar. Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer can do it, and that's where the trash jar aesthetic started. But...is it really attainable? And even if it is, is it worth it? I tried to have my own trash jar in the beginning of my journey, but...I'm not afraid to admit this: I failed at the trash jar (and that's okay). Here's why.

11 Zero Waste Skincare Products + DIYs

 
11 Zero Waste Skincare Products + DIYs


What does your skincare regimen look like? For many people, it involves commercially advertised products that are filled with chemicals harmful for not only your body, but the environment as well. Being zero waste doesn’t only have to involve metal straws and reusable grocery bags, it also means using products that are made up of completely sustainable and organic ingredients. Using zero waste skincare products is a surefire way to do that. This post is dedicated to the top 11 zero waste skincare products and DIYs that will enhance your everyday skincare routine. Some items are pricey, while others are cheaper, but one thing I can promise you is that each and every one of these products is zero waste, natural, and none of them are packaged in plastic. 

Zero Waste Deodorant Without Baking Soda



Zero Waste Deodorant Without Baking Soda

It's really not hard to make your own zero waste deodorant, but lots of recipes call for baking soda. While I'm personally not sensitive to baking soda, there are many who are. Because of that, I thought it would be great to whip up a recipe that doesn't require any baking soda at all. It's baking soda free, but just as effective. Honestly, I love it just as much, if not more, than my original zero waste deodorant (with baking soda). It glides on so smoothly and leaves absolutely no smelly odors behind - only the pleasant orange scent I chose to make it with. With it being summer now, it's a much welcome DIY. It won't stop you from sweating (it's not an anti-perspirant), but it will stop you from smelling. Here's how to whip up some for yourself and stop wasting money on store bought brands.

What is Food Justice + Why Is It Important?


What is Food Justice + Why Is It Important?

What is food justice and why is it important? How does it connect to environmental racism and race in general? I feel within the zero waste community, this isn't a topic that's often talked about enough. We're often encouraged to shop for our groceries plastic-free, which while a nice ideal, isn't possible for everyone for varying reasons. So many people do not have access to bulk food stores, farmers markets, or fresh produce in general, let alone plastic-free produce. How can we expect to make the zero waste movement more inclusive if we cannot see and address these problems? We can start by examining food justice, and how it correlates to race and the environment. 

How to Have a Paperless Kitchen


How to Have a Paperless Kitchen

Looking to create a paperless kitchen? I don't blame you: The cost of napkins and paper towels truly add up. Plus, think about how much waste you're creating! There's the obvious waste (the actual paper towel or napkin itself), but also the not so obvious waste to take into account. For example, the resources needed to make a paper towel or napkin, including energy, water, and trees (which need water to grow). And, to make matters worse, paper items always tend to come wrapped in plastic. As if it weren't bad enough on its own, right? But it doesn't have to be this way - you can save money and help the environment at the same time by switching to reusable cloth towels and napkins. We have to re-train our brains to realize we don't need to waste a piece of paper to wipe a spill or our faces. I know it may seem daunting to stop using paper towels, but it's really quite easy once you get the hang of it. Going paperless doesn't have to be scary. In fact, our grandparents and great grandparents didn't have access to disposable options like we do, and they were masters at pinching pennies and saving resources! They never used paper towels - rather dish cloths, hand towels and kitchen cloths. Lets talk about why it's important to have a paperless kitchen, and ways we can achieve it hassle free.  

8 No-Cost Plastic Free July Hacks


8 No-Cost Plastic Free July Hacks

Are you planning on participating in Plastic Free July this year? I've been participating in it for a few years now and really love it, but I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about the challenge. Some people find it a bit 'meh', but I do think it's a good stepping stone to introduce people to the zero waste movement. You can choose to go all out or just make a few swaps (even one is fine!) - it adds up and helps the movement as a whole in the long run. You can also choose the duration you want to take the challenge for - a day, a week, all of July, or from here on out. I love the accessibility of that! But I also know that not everyone can afford to buy a bunch of new plastic-free items. Zero waste products can get pretty pricey, and it's not okay to make people believe they can participate only if they buy products. The truth is, you can participate in this challenge without spending a dime. Sometimes, zero waste swaps are as simple as using what you have on hand! In the spirit of being more inclusive and making this movement even more accessible, here's 8 no-cost Plastic Free July hacks.

Zero Waste Cleaning Guide: Tools, DIYS + Products


Zero Waste Cleaning Guide: Tools, DIYS + Products

Looking to dive into zero waste cleaning? I don't blame you. Conventional cleaning relies on harsh chemicals, plastic bottles, paper towels, plastic sponges, and disposable wipes. That adds up to a lot of waste, and a lot of money. You have to keep spending to replace the disposable items, like sponges and wipes, and you're forced to replenish your cleaning products that come in plastic bottles. Plus, cleaning supplies that utilizes harsh chemicals also trigger allergies, among other health problems. Prolonged exposure can even make you sick (just ask my friend who was exposed to the smell of bleach for too long and came down with a terrible sore throat for a little over a week). Who needs that? Zero waste cleaning on the other hand, relies on natural cleaning solutions that don't come in plastic bottles destined for landfill. The tools you'll use can easily be reused over and over again because of their durability - saving you money. You can DIY so many cleaning solutions without breaking the bank, or sacrificing efficiency. And, best of all, there are so many amazing hacks that will keep costs down even more, while still being kind to the planet (and your own health). Without further ado, here's my zero waste cleaning guide full of tools, DIYs and products.

Environmental Racism is a Zero Waste Issue Too


Environmental Racism is a Zero Waste Issue Too

Before I was born, Staten Island, New York was the home of the largest landfill in the world. It closed in 2001, but it was open for almost 70 years. It opened in 1947 as a temporary dump on a salt marsh and agricultural land - obviously, it became more than temporary, functioning as New York's main dumping grounds. Thyroid cancer rates on Staten Island are 67% higher than the other four NYC boroughs and 69% higher than New York State excluding NYC. Coincidence? Unlikely. The landfill has long since contributed to Staten Islander's sense of being the forgotten borough. This was only further confirmed by the slow official response to the devastation brought on by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Not to mention Eric Garner, strangled by a cop on Staten Island in 2014 for selling loose cigarettes. While the South Shore is where the landfill was located, the media has largely ignored Staten Island's other toxic sites - largely located on the North Shore. North Shore residents have the boroughs lowest household income, and 48 percent of its population are black or Hispanic. According to Beryl Thurman, president of the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy, "[the North Shore is] a low-income community of color...if Staten Island is the 'forgotten borough' then on the food chain, we're way down low." This is Staten Island, my home, and it is far from being free of environmental racism - or racism in general. And, as much as it pains me to say, the zero waste movement and environmental racism are definitely interlinked.

Zero Waste Baby Tips from Actual Moms


Zero Waste Baby Tips from Actual Moms

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to raise a zero waste baby? If you're expecting, you might feel overwhelmed with the resources out there. Or, if you already have a baby, you may wonder how to even start reducing your baby's waste. Being a parent isn’t always easy. With it comes commitment, patience, innovation, and open-mindedness. I’m sure some of the first things that come to your mind when you hear the term 'zero waste baby' are reusable cloth diapers and hand-me-down clothes. While that’s certainly something to touch on, there’s definitely more to it than that. That’s why I’ll be sharing some zero waste baby tips from actual moms. While I don’t have any kids of my own, I figured it would be best to let you hear from a couple of zero waste mamas themselves. 

8 Black Environmentalists You Need to Follow on Instagram


8 Black Environmentalists You Need to Follow on Instagram
Source: TheGreenGirlLeah/Instagram

In the wake of the injustices the black community is facing right now, we should be doing all we can to support them. I can only imagine the heart ache they are feeling right now. It must be unbearable. To BIPOC, I'm sorry, I'm listening, and I'm learning. I'm far from perfect, and I'm not a social justice expert, but I hear you and see you and will continue to. To white people, even if you cannot protest or donate money, there are so many ways to be actively anti-racist and make a difference. As for me, I figured what better way to help than use my platform for good? I thought it would be amazing to highlight some inspirational black environmentalists on the blog. It's important to realize that communities of color will more likely be exposed to the ramifications of climate change the fastest. It's harder for black, brown and low-income communities to have access to clean water, air and natural spaces. What's worse is these communities are more likely to live in areas exposed to toxic waste, airports, industrial zones, landfills, and other environmental hazards. To become better environmentalists, we must acknowledge environmental justice and environmental racism are very much interlinked. 

5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste During Covid-19


5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste During Covid-19

Disposable gloves and masks liter the floor; People buying more hand sanitizer in tiny plastic bottles than they know what to do with; States banning reusable bags and reverting to using single use plastic bags. This is our new 'normal' and it's not okay. The amount of plastic waste is surging because of the coronavirus and it's not a good thing. While it's true air pollution has been reduced during lock down, plastic waste has gone up. That's largely because of the fact a lot of protective gear is made from plastic, and most of it is being discarded carelessly. But that's not the only problem: The plastic industry is taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty in the world to push suspensions and roll backs of environmental measures to reduce plastic pollution, like plastic bag bans. As zero wasters, this can feel like a nightmare. It can make us feel like all our efforts have gone to waste. But there is action we can take to help better the situation. Here are 5 ways to reduce plastic waste during the coronavirus pandemic.

9 Benefits of Shopping at Farmers Markets


9 Benefits of Shopping at Farmers Markets

Stands full of sunlight kissed fresh produce, each unique in their shapes and colors. The smell of spring strawberries fresh picked from the vine. An array of foods in colors as diverse as the rainbow. Endless bounty all around. This is the farmers market and my love for it has been unwavering since I started going religiously in 2017. Every Saturday I wake up looking forward to seeing what new goodies pop up at the market for that week. Spring time is especially exciting for me because that's when a whole lot of new stuff starts to really pile in. You might be wondering, "okay, she clearly loves the farmers market. But why? What's so great about it?" Well, for starters, the produce there tastes so much fresher (for good reason) than anything you get at the grocery store. Plus, it's more eco-friendly to support locally grown produce (more on that in a bit). If you're not completely sold on shopping at your local market yet, you're in luck. Here are 9 benefits of shopping at farmers markets and why you totally should.

4 Sustainable Shops Selling Reusable Cloth Masks


4 Sustainable Shops Selling Reusable Cloth Masks

Wondering where to get reusable cloth masks right about now? Thankfully, there are several sustainable brands pumping out masks during this difficult time. I'm sure you're aware by now that the CDC officially recommends we all wear cloth face masks while out in public. If you're not good at making your own mask, or simply can't stand the disposable ones, definitely look to these brands: They have eco-friendly production practices that you'll feel good supporting. While none of these brands sell cloth masks exclusively, they're switching gears to make it easier for people to get their hands on masks. 

I'm not good at sewing, so I personally bought myself a mask from one of the brands on this list. So happy I made that decision! It took the stress off me to make one, and also helps support a small, eco-friendly business. I just have to remember to wash it after I use it. Speaking of which, make sure to wash your reusable cloth masks after every use and dry it too. You can put it into the washing machine or wash by hand - I'm just going to hand wash mine using the sink and some castile soap. Then just let it hang dry (I plan to clip it onto my clothing hangers). Here's four sustainable shops selling reusable cloth masks right now.

10 Zero Waste Documentaries to Motivate You


10 Zero Waste Documentaries to Motivate You

Looking for a good zero waste documentary? We're visual creatures, so it makes sense: Sometimes we just need to watch something in order to grasp it. Documentaries have the ability to not only educate, but also motivate and inspire. One time I watched a documentary about dolphins being slaughtered and sold in supermarkets for their meat in Japan (The Cove) and I started to literally bawl. Sometimes, these films deliver hard truths we aren't prepared to hear, but need to know about. Now, I don't necessarily want you crying over these films, that's not the end goal. What I do want you to do is to use it to motivate you to make a change, to spread awareness to others, to continue bettering yourself as a person. Not only is it something to watch: It's something to act on. Here are 10 zero waste documentaries to motivate you.

10 Ways to Cope With Eco-Anxiety



Are you constantly worried about the state of the planet? Does thinking about all the plastic in the ocean keep you up at night? Do you worry you're not doing enough to live a low impact life? You're not alone! This is something called eco-anxiety and lots of people have it. I am no exception to this - there are plenty of times I feel anxious over the planet's welfare. That said, I do have some coping mechanisms that help me deal with eco-anxiety. I figured I'd share them with you, so we can both take a collective deep breath in and out. Here are 10 ways to cope with eco-anxiety. 

15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month at Home


15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month at Home

You're probably aware Earth Day is April 22nd. This year marks the 50th year of the holiday! But did you know April is considered Earth Month in general? It's an entire month dedicated to helping the planet - which is such a beautiful idea. Unfortunately, a lot of Earth Day events are cancelled right now, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways you can celebrate Earth Month at home. Living a zero waste life is a great start, but there are certainly ways to go the extra mile, even while sitting on your couch. Here are 15 ways to celebrate Earth Month at home this year.

How to Make Reusable Cloth Masks


How to Make Reusable Cloth Masks

Right now, if you step outside, you'll likely see people walking around in face masks. And it's not a new fashion statement - it's for protection. The CDC is officially recommending Americans wear cloth face masks any time they go out in public, especially in states with high transmission rates (aka NY, where I live). Now, wearing a mask isn't the only thing you should be doing - you should also be washing your hands diligently and practicing social distancing. But having a face mask will certainly add an extra layer of protection. With this in mind, I decided to reach out to Totally Taylored, a sustainable online shop that's selling cloth face masks right now. I asked Taylor, the owner, for her advice on sewing DIY face masks. Graciously, she sent me the tutorial she uses to make her face masks so I can share it with you guys. If you don't feel like making your own mask, or just don't have the supplies to, Totally Taylored's masks are the way to go, hands down. Plus, Taylor was nice enough to create a coupon code for my followers - just enter GREENIFYME10 at checkout to get 10% off your order! Now without further ado, here's how to make your own reusable cloth masks.

Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray


Zero Waste Disinfectant Spray

During this time, we're all disinfecting our homes like mad. Lysol is flying off the shelves - people are literally hoarding the stuff. But did you know you can make your own disinfectant spray at home? You don't have to panic buy tons of Lysol to keep your home clean, trust me. This homemade disinfectant spray will work just as well, if not better. There's also an additional benefit: You know exactly what's going in it! No questionable ingredients here. Just the necessary ones. Here's how to make zero waste disinfectant spray.

How to Stay Zero Waste During The Coronavirus Outbreak


How to Stay Zero Waste During The Coronavirus Outbreak

I'm sure you've been staying up to date with the news - coronavirus is pretty much all anyone's talking about. It's on our televisions, phones, laptops and tablets. It's the main topic on our Facebook feeds and memes we share. Our entire way of living has been adjusted due to coronavirus: Staying indoors, washing our hands, and social distancing has become the new normal. So what of zero waste? Where does that leave the zero waste movement, and does it even matter anymore? I'm here to tell you it does. 

Zero Waste Hand Sanitizer


Zero Waste Hand Sanitizer

In need of some zero waste hand sanitizer? With panic ensuing over the coronavirus this March, I don't blame you. Unfortunately, finding hand sanitizer may be one of the hardest things to do right now. Thankfully, you can always make your own. However, I will say that hand sanitizer is NOT a replacement for good old soap and water - so make sure you're washing your hands! Hand sanitizer is a great thing to use in a pinch though, when you can't directly access a sink. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you've been in a public place. If you don't have access to that, then hand sanitizer will do - but you have to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Thankfully, this natural DIY recipe does, so you have nothing to worry about. Here's how to make your own zero waste hand sanitizer.

The Best Zero Waste Shampoo + Conditioner


The Best Zero Waste Shampoo + Conditioner

Are you looking for the best zero waste shampoo and conditioner? I'm happy to say I've found it - Plaine Products! I've been using this brand for years and I can happily and whole heartedly say their liquid shampoo and conditioner is amazing. Literally, it's the stuff my hair craves the most. If you know anything about Plaine Products, you know they're famous for their refill system - everything is very closed loop and zero waste friendly. Most conventional shampoo and conditioner come in plastic bottles - if you have long hair like me, you're likely to go through those bottles quite fast. But this zero waste shampoo and conditioner is different - it comes in aluminum bottles that you can return and get refills of when you run out. Not to mention the ingredients are all-natural and don't pollute waterways! You can't get much better than that. Lets take a closer look and see why I love this zero waste shampoo and conditioner so much.

8 Zero Waste Books That Will Inspire You


8 Zero Waste Books That Will Inspire You

If you're anything like me, you're a bookworm, which means you can always appreciate a good read. I'm happy to say there are some amazing zero waste books out there totally worth diving into! Whether you're a zero waste beginner or a veteran, there's something you're bound to learn from each of these books. 

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living


70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Looking for some easy zero waste swaps? I've got you covered. This huge list boasts a wide array of zero waste goodies for plastic-free living. However, that being said, please don't throw away your items just to buy sustainable alternatives. That's kind of counterproductive to the zero waste lifestyle, right? I know it's quite tempting to ditch all your plastic in the beginning stages, but resist that urge my friend. As long as the item is still functioning, use it until it wears down. Then, make the switch to something better - perhaps even something on this list. So go down the list and see which products you'd like to try after your own need replacing. Also, for those of us on a tighter budget, I've also included some thrifty options for these swaps as well. There are also several DIYs I link to - most of which you probably already have the ingredients for in your home. I know zero waste living can be perceived as expensive (and for some, it truly is!), but I assure you - if you look at it as an investment, it pays off in the end. Without further ado, here's 70 zero waste swaps for plastic-free living.

Zero Waste Remedies for Cold + Flu Season


Zero Waste Remedies for Cold + Flu Season

In dire need of zero waste remedies for cold and flu season? I hear you! With the cold weather here, everyone is starting to feel sick (sadly). Come winter, I usually get a cold at least once. Do I want it? No. Does it happen? Yes. Ugh, it's so annoying. And man, is it wasteful! I cannot tell you how many tissues I go through when I have a stuffy nose. Piles upon piles. Yuck. But thankfully, there are some zero waste alternatives to this. Also, along with cutting back on waste, these zero waste remedies are more natural, thus better for your overall health. They're honestly holistic remedies that I've come to love and enjoy thoroughly over the years (though some are a bit new to me and I'm just starting to incorporate them into my life). Regardless, everything I suggest here is something I've tried myself, or highly recommend after doing my research. Nature often knows exactly what we need to heal ourselves, so of course these remedies are all natural. Mama earth knows best, after all! Here are some zero waste remedies for cold and flu season.

10 Zero Waste Shops For a Plastic-Free Life


10 Zero Waste Shops For a Plastic-Free Life

Looking for the best zero waste shop to help you start your plastic-free life? I'm happy to say there are tons of online shops that will provide you with the zero waste essentials you need. While I do encourage you to use what you have, there are times you just need something new. If you can't find something at the thrift store first, or secondhand, I highly recommend products from one of these zero waste shops. These online stores are unique and amazing in their own way, but all of them offer items that are sustainably and ethically made. You can feel good about your purchase with them - and the best part? Everything will be shipped to you plastic-free! Lets take a look and see why these zero waste shops are the best of the best.

How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day


How to Have a Zero Waste Valentine's Day

Want to have a zero waste Valentine's Day? It's certainly doable! I know there's a lot of commercialism involved with this holiday, but you certainly don't need to go out and buy a ton of cheap items for your lover. They don't need another plushie that'll gather dust on the shelf. Instead, focus on creating a better experience for your sweetheart that does the planet some good too. Quality time spent together is what I recommend focusing on most - not the items you get for each other. That said, the items you do get one another should be thoughtfully purchased. Here are some ways you can make your valentine (and the earth) happy this Valentine's Day.

How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars


How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

As a zero waster, I tend to collect a lot of glass jars, bottles and containers. I can't help myself really. Once a product empties, it would be a waste to just toss a perfectly good jar away. You can reuse glass jars to house so many great things - from DIYs to bulk goods. The problem lies in the annoying sticky labels that come with most jars. Not sure about you, but I like the aesthetic of a clear glass jar - not one with an annoying tomato sauce label on it. But when you try to peel it off, it just leaves behind sticky residue! Well, thankfully, I've got the cure for both of those problems. Here's how to remove labels from glass jars, hassle free (including the sticky glue residue left behind). 

How to Use Zero Waste Shampoo Bars


How to Use Zero Waste Shampoo Bars

Want to start using zero waste shampoo bars but don't know where to start? That's understandable: We've been so conditioned to use shampoo that comes in plastic bottles. Just one walk through the shampoo aisle in a store will have you convinced that's the only way to wash your hair. But is it really? No. You certainly don't need to purchase shampoo that comes in wasteful plastic bottles. Nor do you need to settle for the questionable ingredients in those plastic shampoo bottles. Instead, you can make the switch to zero waste shampoo bars - here's how to use them (and why you should).

The Best Zero Waste Hair Brush


The Best Zero Waste Hair Brush


Looking for the best zero waste hair brush? Look no further - I've found it! Brush with Bamboo has recently started selling hair brushes and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. If you know anything about this brand, you know they make the best bamboo toothbrushes around. So, naturally, their hair brush would be amazing too! They were kind enough to send me one and I don't think I've ever been so excited to brush my hair, to be frank. Most conventional hair brushes are made using plastic - lots of it for that matter. Everything from the handle to the bristles are made from cheap plastic that easily breaks off. I cannot tell you how many times I've broken plastic bristles before - my old brush is literally completely bristle-less. But this zero waste hair brush by Brush with Bamboo? So different. The quality is truly something to marvel at - not to mention the entire brush is compostable. How freaking cool is that!? Lets take a closer look and see why this is, without a doubt, the best zero waste hair brush ever.

Zero Waste Produce Bags Guide


Zero Waste Produce Bags Guide

Have you ever noticed there are so many different kinds of zero waste produce bags? When you look on Instagram, you're bound to see a wide array of reusable produce bags - some made from organic cotton, some made from synthetic mesh. But which ones are the best ones? And how do you know which are best for you? I decided it would be pretty helpful to create a whole zero waste produce bags guide. Because lets face it - navigating these things should be easy, not hard. We all want to live a more sustainable life (I'm assuming that's why you're here at least 😉 ) - so it's my job (and pleasure) to help you do so as easily as possible! Here's everything you wanted to know about zero waste produce bags, and how to choose the best ones for you (including what I use!). 

How to Have a Zero Waste Bathroom



How to Have a Zero Waste Bathroom

I think we could all agree: The bathroom is a super wasteful place. Between all the water waste and the amount of single use items in there, it's a nightmare. But does it have to be? The quick and sweet answer is no. You can totally have a zero waste bathroom. You just have to think outside the box a little, get creative and make a few zero waste swaps. Here are some of my favorite zero waste bathroom swaps. Some of them you can DIY, while others you'll have to buy. I'm going to tackle each part of the bathroom individually so you can break it down easier.