Alrighty y’all, for far too long I’ve been ignoring much of the “Eco” in my blog title, and for far too long I’ve had it in the back of my mind to get back to more of the hands-on stuff I used to do on my blog, sharing what I do to live a bit more green, sustainable, simple, eco, minimal, whatever your favorite word for this may be that reduces your overall footprint on the environment.
So with that, I am creating a new “TGP” column for Tuesdays. Back in the day, it was “Tuesday Guilty Pleasure”, sharing music and other clips I secretly adored. Then I updated it to the more philosophical with “Tuesday Go Ponder”. But now it’s time to amp up my conversation about the day-to-day life that we lead and what we do (and what we want to do)…and here we have Tuesday Get an Eco- Peek!
So with that, how about let’s get personal right away and start in our one and only bathroom in the house, sound good?
Note: I’m only talking about the products we are using at home – not the actual “big” items like plumbing, paint, flooring, furniture, etc. To get the full visual as well as the green inventory of those items in our bathroom (we remodeled it last summer into a tiny little dream sanctuary), please check it out at https://theecofeminist.com/2015/07/15/before-during-after-ripiping-and-remodeling/).
So here’s what we’ve got…
- In The Shower:
- Eco-friendly Giovanni shampoo & conditioner for myself, bought in the bulk aisle at New Seasons, hence the reusable bottles. Not my favorite to be honest as I know I can get way greener, so when these are finished up, I’m going with several recent suggestions to try rye flour as n0-poo (Note: I tried shampoo bars and cornstarch-based no-poo recipes and hated how I turned into a greasy haired monster with them (they say it takes a couple weeks for it to go away…well, for me, it didn’t), and also return to using ACV for my conditioner.
- Every Man Jack shave cream for my husband which has taken him literally almost 2 years to use up. He prefers the shaving soap bar that I got him recently as well, which is great as there’s zero packaging to worry about.
- Medicated shampoo for my husband who has special skin issues that natural tea tree oil brands could never fix. He has very little hair as it is (smile) so he only goes through 2 bottles a year of this stuff, and doesn’t bother with conditioner.
- Razors with refillable blades. Duh. (And none of that girlie plastic pink shit for me.) I use shampoo lather or soap to shave my legs and pits with once or twice a week, and the Gilette Sensor which has always worked like a charm. This also allows my husband and I to buy the same razor refills. Side note: I tried the Preserve ones made from recycled plastic and they were really awful for shaving, to be honest. Might as well not shave.
- Oregon Soap Company bar soap – certified organic, locally made, zero packaging, and lasts for eons. I don’t use “facial cleansers”, liquid soap, or anything else – just a natural scrubber (not pictured) and this soap on my body. I don’t use soap on my face – just splash cold water on it in the morning.
- On Our Teeth:
- We both use the EcoDenT TerraDent Toothbrushes with heads that are replaceable, and when we go to the dentist, politely decline their ‘goodie bag’ with disposable toothbrushes, etc.
- We brush with Jason PowerSmile Toothpaste. And yes, it does have fluoride in it. In Portland our water is (happily) not fluoridated and when I stopped using fluoridated toothpaste? I got cavities. I would love to make homemade toothpaste but this was a non-negotiable. I’ve recently signed up for TerraCycle’s Colgate Oral Care Recycling Program as a way to – finally – do something with the tubes.
- We floss (it’s in the medicine cabinet photo) with vegan, biodegradable EcoDenT floss. Yes, we toss our floss in the compost!
- How We Stay Dry…
- After my ancient college bath towels fell apart, a few years ago I found that just ONE company still makes towels in our entire COUNTRY (1888 Mills) and bought a couple of them, then they fell apart almost instantly (plus the towels were made from imported cotton! Ugh, NAFTA!). So last year we invested in organic cotton towels from Coyuchi. They are manna from heaven, let me tell you.
- The Medicine Cabinet – I Don’t Care if You Peek!
- Prescriptions: I think it sucks how many prescription bottles are tossed each year. Not only are they not recyclable curbside, but few pharmacies will take them back nor does the industry seem to have any interest in creating more sustainable packaging. When allowed by our insurance company, we’ll order as many months’ worth as we can get so that more pills go into one bottle, but for the most part, we’re just recycling them with the rigid plastics a couple miles away at Far West Recycling (where all of our non-curbside plastics go such as lids, clamshells, contacts lens cases, etc. – although we try to keep these purchases to a bare minimum in the first place.
- Pain Relievers: While neither of us are constantly popping pills for every ache and pain, we do have a supply of generic naproxen, ibuprofen, and bismuth tablets for the occasional pains that acupuncture, yoga, heating pads, etc. don’t always eliminate – but always buy in the biggest quantity we can for how much we use, to save on packaging (Costco size bottles aren’t actually sensible as we would never get through a thousand pills or whatever by the expiration!).
- Aura Cacia Eucalyptus Oil: One of my favorite things in our medicine cabinet are the essential oils by this super sustainable company, with eucalyptus being at the top of the list. When our heads are clogged with the annual cold, putting a towel over our heads and a bowl of hot water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil? Perfect for de-clogging! My favorite is to add a few drops to my scrub in the shower and let the steam do its work to make the shower smell lovely! That being said, now that we have a few varieties of eucalyptus growing, including the snow gum that’s going nuts, I’m keen to try making our own oil next!
- Fat and The Moon Deodorant Cream: Love this stuff that I found on Etsy last year and it lasts forever, is totally natural, and comes in a little glass jar. That being said, this is my last container of it and next up I’ll finally be converting to homemade with this recipe!
- All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen: With the warm weather promised this week, I brought out the sunscreen for those sensitive shoulders, back of the neck, decolletage, etc. I love this stuff as it’s not only effective but it’s so eco it’s rated a “1” on the Environmental Working Group database, nice!
- Andalou Naturals Facial Moisturizer with SPF 18: The best moisturizer ever, from it’s effectiveness to how good it smells to it’s earth-friendly ingredients. I’ve been wearing moisturizer religiously since I was 20 years old, thanks to the sage advice of an older woman I used to work with who said I’ll never regret it and that it’s the only thing I need. Too true – it’s the only thing I put on my face every morning, and my face loves it. And it’s so good in fact that my husband now uses it after he shaves. YUM! It’s no more than the average shitty quality moisturizer at Safeway, by the way – and once or twice a year Whole Foods and New Seasons have a great sale on it, when I stock up 🙂
- Acuvue Oasys 2-week Contacts: While there’s not a lot to gush about with contacts, Acuvue has made a few improvements. First, as I always purchase a year’s supply at once, they have consolidated and simplified their packaging considerably which means less paperboard used. Second, it’s all recyclable – the foil tops in the curbside, the rigid plastic in the FarWest bag we keep for all the non-curbside plastics.
- Country Life L-Lysine: My top cure for cold sores when I get sick or so stressed out that I can feel one coming on. With vitamins, I always buy in glass rather than plastic and I get the absolute biggest bottle they sell. I also like this brand because they are vegan (not all vitamins are believe it or not) and their commitments to sustainable business practices.
- Alba Botanica deoderant: My husband uses this natural deo I think twice a year, hahaha. The man very very rarely is steenky! So if this stuff ever runs out, he too will be converted to my new homemade brand 🙂
- ClearCare and Opti-Free contacts solutions: Not much can be done in this area but again, I buy the hugest bottle available and it’s all recycled at the end. One thing I did learn when flying is that these items, although bigger than the usually allowed size, CAN go through security for carry-ons if you tell them, they just pull it aside and test a little bit. Saves me from buying multiple ‘travel sizes’. NOTE: I learned last year that you can deduct the cost of contacts solution as medical expenses on your taxes!!!
- Eco-Optics eyeglasses: Love my glasses! Made from 95% recycled plastic AND Modo, who makes them, also BOTH plants a tree AND donates a pair of glasses!
- Not pictured…but still VIP!
- We use Seventh Generation’s 100% recycled unbleached toilet paper. TP does NOT need to be white!! Nope, we’re not yet to the point of using reusable cloth wipes, but I’ve contemplated it (anyone out there reach that point?). We had contemplated a duvet attachment as well but with our tiny tiny bathroom there was just no way it could be easily installed.
So there ya have it. Our bathroom! What’s under the sink, you might ask? Just a 20 year old curling iron that I use maybe twice a year (if I remember it’s there – I got rid of my hair dryer a couple years ago as it was literally dusty), back-stock of contact lens solutions and moisturizer, a nose/ear hair clipper of my husband’s, and a pumice stone for my occasional dry feet.
And nope – no makeup. No foundation, no blush, no eyeliner, no mascara. Also no hair products. This is my simplicity 🙂 The less, the simpler, the better.
Stay tuned…next week I will reveal another room!! And please share your comments, thoughts, questions, products you love, alternatives you’ve discovered and loved, etc., on this topic – I love hearing ’em!
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and to a hundred or a thousand. We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.”
~ Henry David Thoreau