Experiencing red week without any waste at all

I learned to ignore my fears and try something new. I used a moon cup and experienced red week without any waste at all. I got to understand my body and listen to my cycle. I learned that disposables are not essential, in fact, they’re a little gross.


Try something new

Compromising current norms and suppressing anxiety may be required to try something new. It’s out of the comfort zone, but worth it if you feel motivated about reducing landfill.

I was mortified by the thought of leaving the cotton pony behind. Switching to a reusable product did not sound appealing at all. I had a good thing going on with tampons. The system worked. It was simple, clean and easy. It was socially acceptable. It’s a lovely gesture to give someone a tampon when they’re in need. We have a stash of pads and tampons at work that anyone can freely take. That’s girl power, right?

Given that this system worked perfectly well for me, there was only one motivation for trying something new: Reducing my landfill waste. I pictured all the used tampons and pads sitting at waste disposal centres around the world. I pictured rats and other scavengers mistaking them for food. I pictured someone sorting through that rubbish and casually uncovering one, like it’s no big deal because they see them ALL the time. I no longer wanted to contribute to this picture.


Switch to a moon cup

Moon cups are available at pharmacies, natural alternative stores and online. They take a bit of getting used too. Expect an adjustment period (ha, get it?), as well as a new sense of empowerment and independence.

The Diva Cup. I was terrified and confused when I took this photo.

When I first experienced one whole red week 100% landfill free, it was life changing. Using a moon cup felt like a huge milestone. The moon cup I have is a Diva Cup, but there are plenty of similar brands making these small and mighty solutions to landfill free periods. The only waste was the recyclable box that it came in – and that’s potentially it for one whole year. Mind blowing!

 

Something about this gave me a sense of empowerment. I learnt a lot about myself. Achieving the same level of comfort and ease took a couple of days of practise but once I got to that stage, I was really impressed by this product. Had I experienced leaks, I would also invest in period-proof underwear like SheThinx. This was not necessary. The cup alone is all I need.


How to bleed for one whole week without using disposables

Take a deep breath and try something new. Familiarise yourself with your body and your cycle. Consider using a moon cup and/or period proof underwear. Practice makes perfect.

Next: Go deeper with Zero Waste Sex


Minimalism and zero waste travel

This is face wash, make up remover, facial scrub, body scrub, shampoo, shaving cream & body wash in a teeny tiny little tobacco tin. The minimalism that comes from a zero waste mentality makes travel easy.


Summer solstice bug repellent

It’s Summer solstice in Australia! Time for beautifully warm nights under pink skies with a symphony of insects.

To avoid getting bitten: Old roll on deodorant container + a few drops of tea tree oil + water = a gentle antiseptic and mosquito repellent. Perfect for my husband when he changes his insulin cannula too. When we’re camping, we just take the essential oil without the convenience of a dispenser.

Note that this is not a hospital-grade sterile approach and should not be used if there is risk of infection. Keep upright to avoid leaking. Clean packaging thoroughly before refilling.


All in one liquid soap

Living zero waste is so easy now that we know what we’re doing. This is hand wash, face wash and make up remover at the bathroom sink.

The next image is dish detergent and hand wash at the kitchen sink. It’s the same Castile soap mix. It just has different purposes depending on the context. This basic mix cleans us, our stuff, our house and our dog. Glass bottles were found in the community donation bin at @ceresbrunswick. Pumps were saved from @thankyouaus dispensers at the start of our transition.

What can 1 part castile soap : 7 parts water clean?

  • Us
    • Hands
    • Face
    • Body
    • Hair
  • Our stuff
    • Dishes
    • Clothes
    • Shoes
  • Our house
    • Carpet
    • Floorboards
    • Leather
    • Surfaces
  • Our dog
    • And all the mud he walks into the house…

By popular demand: Is Dr Bronner an evil Palm Oil supporting company?

I’ve reached out to Dr. Bronner directly and was satisfied with their answer on this topic – but I haven’t researched Palm Oil in detail, so my knowledge of this topic is largely based on gut feel, tv documentaries and here-say. In the interest of diversity, I’ll be trying different brands after our giant gallon of soap is used up. I’m always keen to learn more.

Dr bronners liquid castile soap


Comparison of shaving soap

Quick comparison of soap bars that we’ve used for shaving. @ethiquenz ‘Suave’ shave and shampoo soap: Better for face, not too oily or dry. Fine for body. @beautyandthebeestasmania beer shampoo: Better for hair and fine for body. A bit too harsh for face. Smells sensational.
I like that these are both shaving options that don’t require a brush to create a foam.

@ethiquenz ‘suave’ is the right balance of soapy suds and not too drying or oily for my husband’s chinny chin chin. I’ve found it easy on the legs too.

I like it as a shampoo but I prefer the rich beery goodness of @beautyandthebeestasmania. For legs and hair, the beer soap gets a great lather and smells sensational. My husband prefers @ethiquenz because it’s less greasy and much better for preventing acne and shaving spots. I have used the beer soap as a face wash and found it quite harsh so, maybe the time has finally come to not share all our things? Either way, they are both amazing products and 100% plastic free, with compostable paper packaging. Neither of these products made it into our travel kit which is a sign that they are not considered essentials to us, but still something we would use regularly at home.

 


Plain old bulk.

If liquid package-free bulk isn’t available to you, consider buying plain old bulk instead. This Castile soap can be watered down (1 part soap: 8-10 parts water) to clean dishes, hair, make up remover, dog wash, carpet, surface, toilet, grease, leather, and loads more. Yes, it’s plastic, but it’s a huge improvement on buying multiple bottles.

We got this giant half gallon of @drbronners_australia from @terramadreorganics but it might also be available to buy online depending on where you’re located.

Anyone in remote areas with limited access to bulk? I’d love to hear how you reduce your packaging.


Hair-brushing to reduce shampoo use

Thought I’d give this whole “hair brushing” thing a whirl. Apparently, if I brush my hair before a shower, I can use less shampoo and product overall. No poo? I’ll take it slow and see how we go. Sincerely, your curly, boofy, frizz-head Zoe.


Ginger Snap face scrub

Next up on my @ethiquenz odyssey is Ginger Snap face scrub. Great product! A little tricky to use. This is one of the best smelling scrubs I’ve ever tried (also up there is @lushcosmetics “Let the good times roll” popcorn face scrub). This one smells like ginger, spice and everything nice. It’s been great for my skin and I’m pleased to find that a little goes a long way. One mini block lasted us a week, shared between two people.

As someone who slices up soap into smaller blocks before use, this soap mould blows my mind. Breaking off pieces allows you to have one piece in the shower, and the rest in the cupboard, fresh and ready for travel or next use. I would love to see this chocolate block mould applied to more products.

Both me and my partner struggled a little with the application of this scrub. I started by rubbing the block directly onto my face: Not a particularly pleasant sensation as it doesn’t lather or soften against your cheeks. Then I broke off some large crumbs and rubbed into my palm until I had a creamy spreadable paste: This was better but increased shower time a little. Being such a unique product, a little demonstration video would go a long way. I’d love to see how the legends at @ethiquenz apply this delicious scrub.


Re-purposing old cologne

When we first cleared out our toiletries, we found a dormant cologne bottle that was given to us as a Christmas present. As lovely as it is, the perfume didn’t seem to get much use. Instead of donating a partially used perfume to charity (where it will also sit dormant on a shelf), we use it as a room spray in the bathroom and cupboards. It’s absolutely perfect for this. And it’s even made a comeback for the body as well.

Aside from gifts, I now avoid spray perfume because I’ve discovered that essential oils are far more versatile. I dab a little oil on my wrists and mix it into my homemade deodorant. I also use essential oils to perfume our clothes with our homemade fabric softener (white vinegar + a drop of essential oil).

All of these little luxuries help us to feel pampered as we minimise everything and form new habits. This kind of positive reinforcement is a key part of successful habit-forming.


Zero waste boy stuff

Zero waste boy stuff! My partner loves how minimal everything is now. The adjustment period was tricky because it required a level of organisation that we previously took for granted. Rather than going to a convenience store to get more razors on the day that he needs them, he’s got to buy a set of blades in advance. Now, after the transition, it’s simple and easy to manage. The cupboard is decluttered and the system works really well for his daily routine as well as travel.
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What’s he got? L-R top-bottom:

1) Gentle post-shave moisturiser. Great for bald heads plus I want to see if I can refill the tube with bulk moisturiser. While I’d love if @burlyfellow sold this in a glass, I reckon this tube has huge potential for long-term use
2) @uppercutdeluxe toothbrush is our all-time favourite wooden toothbrush
3) Beeswax deodorant in an old jam jar (recipe in bio). He adjusted to natural deodorant fairly quickly over Winter
4) @beautyandthebeestasmania beer shampoo which we also use as shaving soap. Keen to try @ethiquenz shaving soap as well
5) Nail clippers
6) @themisterbrand razor for face
7) Second-hand electric razor for a bald head. He was initially looking for this brand new. A little bit of patience paid off and we found this second-hand for only $6. Works perfectly. Electric razor saves water and prevents any chance of nicks and cuts on the back of the head.

I say “boy stuff” but many of these items are shared to reduce our toiletries even further. I love the traditionally ‘masculine’ aesthetic and perfumes of many products that are marketed at men. Getting lots of ideas for myself in the lead up to Father’s Day