Part 8 – DIY
By Kait Spielmaker
What I have learned on this zero waste journey is that relying on the conventional stores for products around the house can be defeating – everything comes in plastic. There is always the option to buy these items from small boutique companies that have made a commitment to the environment by offering goods in zero waste, post-consumer recycled, or compostable packaging. While this may seem like the answer to all your plastic problems, the cost adds up quickly and, therefore, isn’t always a feasible option. While I have turned to eco-conscious shops like this for certain items, such as toothpaste or deodorant, I make my own products whenever possible thanks to the internet (primarily Pinterest). This brings me to the next chapter in my waste reducing journey: the DIY extravaganza.
An essential household item when trying to reduce waste is Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Dr. Bronner’s defines Sal Suds as a biodegradable, concentrated, all purpose cleaner. It works great all around the house and has quickly became a staple in my home over the last year. I found it useful for making DIY dish soap, it’s very effective at removing germs and bacteria. Previously, I had Mrs. Meyers biodegradable dish soap but once I found this recipe from Live Simply, I created my own. Find the recipe by following the Live Simply link. Visit Lisa Bronner’s website for more uses of Sal Suds and dilution cheat sheets.
Everyone needs that all-purpose household cleaner for the surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom and all over. Long before I began my reducing waste journey, I made my own cleaner using vinegar as the main ingredient (it’s a great disinfectant). I honestly couldn’t stand the smell of vinegar and essential oils on my countertop! Luckily, I found an alternative thanks to Earth Friendly Tips – 70 proof rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a disinfectant and the essential oil offers a pleasant scent. Everything needed for this recipe are ingredients I already had in my home – rubbing alcohol, dish soap, water, essential oil and a spray bottle.
¼ cup rubbing alcohol
3 drops of dish soap
Water & essential oil
Add rubbing alcohol and dish soap to a spray bottle, fill the rest with water and then add drops of your favorite essential oil.
At Home Cold Brew
This is my new favorite thing to make at home. Cold brew is less acidic than drip coffee and in my opinion, tastes better than regular coffee. Referring back to Part 3 of this series, my coffee beans are purchased in mason jars from the bulk section of the grocery store. In a glass container (I use a big french press) mix one part coffee grounds and four parts water and let it sit for 12-24 hours before straining. To strain, use a couple layers of cheesecloth to strain the cold brew into another glass container. Once strained, store in the fridge. Remember this is cold brew concentrate so when you’re ready for your morning caffeine, fill half the serving glass with the concentrate and half with water.
Bentonite clay face mask
What do we know about bentonite clay? It comes from volcanic ash and is known to be a natural remedy for skincare. According to Business Insider, it works as a vacuum on your pores and is known to have lasting effects that improve your skin (seriously, read the reviews sometime!) I used to be someone that tried a new skin product every week which were, inevitably, in single use containers. A whole jar of this clay will only set you back about ten dollars and will easily last you through the next millenia. Bentonite clay is the cheapest skin care product you can find and simplifies your routine by allowing essentially one container to satisfy your skincare needs.
Simply mix clay with water or apple cider vinegar and apply like a mask. Once it hardens, simply remove it with a warm damp cloth. This mask is best done weekly or monthly depending on your skin’s sensitivity.
Find previous articles from this series by following the links below.
Kait Spielmaker is a Michigan native who relocated to Phoenix, and is the digital content coordinator at Green Living Magazine. She is an avid hiker and is working on her master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism at Arizona State University.