A great place to start being an eco warrior is in the bathroom, where most of us start our day!
We buy recycled toilet paper that comes wrapped in more recycled paper which you can use as wrapping paper before recycling again (woooah, are you dizzy yet?) If you are really HARD-CORE(yeeah!) you can cut out toilet paper altogether. Check out this site, which explains that cloths or rags work just as well as toilet paper. http://radicalfrugality.info/paper-products.html .
Another TP alternative is a little squeeze bottles with a spout to wash “down there” instead of wiping.
Also, we reuse our bath water to flush the toilet with. This doesn’t actually have to do with being garbage free, but it’s something extra we do for the environment. Our system is kind of complicated, but that’s because I’m a bit of a clean freak. The basic idea, which Kyle got from his German boss, is to save the bath water then use a big bucket to scoop in into the bowl of the toilet. Here’s my system:
1. Get a large Tupperware container ( large enough to sit in, scruched up) and keep it in the bathroom. Also get a big bucket (about mop sized) and a smaller one (yogurt container) to scoop the water with.
2. Put the plug in when you are having a shower
3. When you finish use the big bucket to scoop the water into the Tupperware
4. After using the toilet, use the big bucket to “water bomb” the bowl of the toilet and everything will flush down.
5. Put a small bucket full of water in the toilet so that there is water sitting for the next time.
6. Use a towel to wipe up the water you have inevitably spilt on the floor
4. Use the small bucket to scoop from the Tupperware and fill the big bucket to “water bomb” the toilet. This way you won’t splash water on the floor. Follow step five, but skip six.
*** If the Tupperware is already full, and it is nearing time to clean the tub anyway, you can leave the water in the tub, however; if the tub is sparkly clean and the Tupperware is full, just fill the buckets and then pull the plug
*****If you shave a large beard, or your head, or excessive body hair while in the shower, just pull the plug and then wipe the tub down with a rag and some vinegar.
But how do you brush your teeth?
I use Fuchs “V” tooth brushes. They also have one’s with detachable heads, but those one’s come in a throw away package. Mine comes in a hard plastic carrying case you can use to keep things in, including your toothbrush if you want! The toothbrush is plastic made from corn so it eventually biodegrades. I do find they don’t last as long as a regular toothbrush, but I think I tend to keep them longer than I should so that may be a good thing!
Preserve looks good too, but I’m afraid of them because they are so big. Contrary to popular belief, I have a very small mouth.http://www.recycline.com/products/preserve.html
As for what goes on the toothbrush….
I used to use Tom’s of Main Toothpaste, because it came in a recyclable aluminum tube,
but it seems that they are not making those anymore. Instead they have plastic tubes with a throw away plastic seal. ARGGG ! (OOOPs, my bad. They are still making those. I just accidentally bought Nature’s Gate instead of Tom’s. Tom’s is still a pretty good option because at least you can recycle the container.) So I’m going to make my own tooth paste. I haven’t tried yet, but here’s a recipe. It’s from this site.
MAKE YOUR OWN TOOTH POWDER. Thoroughly mix 3 parts baking soda (the cleanser and sweetener) with part salt (the abrasive) and funnel the compound into a short small-mouthed container such as a pop or beer bottle. You’ll find that the creation has a satisfying, different taste and leaves your mouth feeling very fresh and soothed. If you’d like, add a few drops of peppermint or wintergreen oil to the concoction – or mix the home “brew” half-and-half with a commercial tooth powder – to give the dentifrice a more pleasant flavor. I’m going to flavour mine with fennel because it’s my favorite!
***January 28, 2007 – I made this for a TV crew and tried it after they left. It’s really yucky. I don’t know if I can do it. The texture is nice, but it’s salty!!! I will need to find something to sweeten it with.
Cleaning your ears and other orifices
Many people just use facecloths. I have lots of piercings to clean and I just really like having clean ears, so we do use Q-tips of sorts. We buy organic Essentials biodegradable cotton swabs. They are expensive. I think $11.99 for 180 at Grassroots. Sometimes they are wrapped in plastic, when they are not, I buy them- I should really write the company about that.
Primping and Pruning (Razors)
Right now, we both have our old (non-disposable of course) razors with the changeable blades, and we just go as long as possible without changing the blades. Ideal bite did a tip on hair removal and suggested straight razors (very cool, but I’m too accident prone for that), electric razors, or recycled razors by Preserve. I would like to switch to the recycled one, but then the one I currently use would be garbage. Catch 22! Anyhow you can look for yourself at ideal bite (they are great). I’ve also included a tip they did about sugaring and will let you know when I try it.
Soap Works has amazing soap you can use for washing all your parts (body, face, hair) and for shaving too! You can get them at a lot of health food stores and they have no packaging at all, not even a sticker! I get mine at Etherea, or Tutti Frutti. We use Lush cinnamon Solid shampoo, which you can also use to wash your body. It lasts for a really long time and you can get a handy stainless steel carry case for traveling. If you use conditioner, Lush has solid conditioner as well. It doesn’t work well for me, and I’m still looking for a good conditioner with refillable containers. Grass Roots has some but none of it works well in my hair! I’ve tried olive oil and coconut oil both both turn my hair into a greasy mess! The body shop no longer refills containers and neither do a lot of the hairdressers (in fact all that I have asked so far). Every one stopped with refills after the SARS scare. Anyhow the hunt is still on.
We use aromaco solid deoderant from LUSH Cosmetics.
It smells like patchouli but works very well. Also we bring our own bag and ask them not to wrap it. Don’t get the Aromacreme instead, even if they are sold out of Aromaco! Aromacreme has witch hazel in it and it burns and causes rashes. Ouch!
When it comes to menstrual supplies, there are many alternatives to mainstream pads and tampons, which are as bad for our bodies as they are for the earth. I use cotton cloth pads, which I wash out and use over and over. If I need to be more discreet I use natural sea sponges. ***** Anna just alerted me that sea sponges are animals! That means this method is not vegetarian, and also no longer my method of choice. I think I will shell out the $50 for a keeper.*****Many of my friends like the keeper or the diva cup, which is a little cup you insert. The awesome part is that it lasts 10 years!Check out these sites for more info: http://www.grassrootsstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=187http://www.oxyboost.com/cleaning_pages/cloth_menstrual_pads.html (http://www.grassrootsstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=187)