Zerowaste Checklist

Zerowaste Household Checklist

The following are some things to look for in your household and their zero waste alternatives.

Suggestions with the asterisk (*) are ones I’d try to find secondhand.

Kitchen:

  • paper towels – kitchen towels*
  • water in disposable bottles – a reusable travel cup or water bottle (highly recommend glass)*
  • solo cups/plastic cups – reusable cups made of metal
  • disposable cutlery- metal or wooden cutlery*
  • plastic Tupperware – glass Tupperware in the exact size and shape for what you need it for*
  • Teflon pots and pans – pots and pans without that mess lol Cast iron will last you a lifetime if you take care of it.*
  • Plastic cooking utensils – wooden and/or metal*
  • sponge/plastic dish brush – Full circle dish brush/ sponge made with walnut shell scrubber and recycled materials
  • disposable coffee filters – reusable coffee filters
  • coffee packaged in plastic – coffee not packaged in plastic
  • Ziploc bags – Stasher bags
  • trash bags – Bagito reusable trashcan liners
  • plastic produce bags- cotton reusable produce bags*
  • plastic wrap – beeswax wraps (extra credit if you make them yourself)
  • plastic bags – reusable bags (chico bags and bagito bags are cool if you don’t have a lot of space)
  • harsh cleaners packaged in plastic spray bottles – diy cleaners in reusable glass spray bottles
  • disposable straws – metal or glass straw and cleaning brush set (go with glass if you can)
  • dish soap packaged in plastic – Dr. Bronners DIY, recipe in the video description

Bathroom:

  • toilet paper – bidet/cloth wipe combo
  • body wash – Dr. Bronners recipe, recipe in video
  • Shampoo/conditioner – Lush shampoo and conditioner bars are an option if you’re into that. I’m not because allergic but if you can swing it, it’s so worth it. Other companies also have bar shampoos and conditioners. Check for bulk stores in your area that let you bring your own container. Also, Plaine Products offers shampoo and conditioner and the ability to send the bottles back to have refilled.
  • hand soap – Dr. Bronner’s
  • plastic loofahs – the OG loofah that comes from the loofah plant, washcloths
  • lotion – coconut oil (my jam), Plaine Products, lotion bars
  • cleaning products – make your own cleaning vinegar and put it in a glass spray bottle, recipe in video description

Laundry Room:

  • Laundry Detergent- Soap Nuts or DIY laundry detergent (recipe linked in description)
  • dryer sheets – Dryer balls or nothing at allergic
  • Fabric Softener – I don’t use anything for this purpose. It is unnecessary

Holidays: Through the lense of Low-Impact Minimalism

So Easter came and went and after my experience, I felt compelled to talk about what I observed and how I think we can do better, because we do need to do better.

Let’s start with the mindset behind holidays. I’m twenty-six years old and there was never a time in my life where a holiday was approaching and I didn’t hear someone vocalize the need to buy something plastic for said holiday.

Easter, “We need baskets and plastic straw and plastic eggs and candy wrapped in plastic and dye for real eggs and stuffed animals and plastic decorations..” Christmas, “We need plastic trees and plastic decorations and candy wrapped in plastic and plastic toys and gifts people don’t really want or need but it’s the thought that counts right, more food than we’ll ever eat, extra plastic tupperware to store it in until it rots and we throw it away.” … You get my point. This is getting out of hand. This post would be too long if I did every holiday. What I’ve come to understand is that “celebrate” means “buy a bunch of shit and then throw it away. I can hear the resounding “Let people enjoy things!” already. It’s not that I don’t believe in enjoying things or having celebrations. It’s that I want to see “celebrate” imply something that doesn’t wreck the planet, that doesn’t always require plastic or money.

How do we get around this?

My daughter will be six months old on the 27th. I’m working to establish traditions with her and other members of our family that don’t revolve around hyper-consumption. Take gifts for example. Let’s say I want to get her something for her birthday. She’s just a baby. She doesn’t know what a birthday is, much less what we’ve come to know birthdays to be. I can use that. I subscribe to the child rearing philosophy called Montessori which encourages exclusively the exact toys that fall in line with zerowaste. Wood, metal, cotton cloth. So something in that department will be what I get her. As for wrapping, I don’t buy wrapping paper. I use newspaper I find or recycle a bag from previous holidays. This ensures that I don’t create a demand for new things to be made and that my gift isn’t contributing to the great waste problem we have as a society. That zeros out the transaction.

If I buy all the decorations secondhand or make them out of secondhand items, it also zeroes out because I didn’t create a demand for new things to be made by a company. I don’t really do too much of that because of minimalism but that is an option if I ever had the desire. Secondhand/ thrifting is part of the circular economy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the circular economy is an alternative economic model in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

Food during celebrations should be kept seasonal and locally grown if possible. I also don’t need enough to feed more than who’s attending. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attended holidays not planned by me where there is so much food left over that no one knows what to do with it all. What little we may have left over will be saved for our next meal or used in the making of our next meal. My next post will be guide on how to zerowaste grocery shop, so that you have something to refer to at the store.

I hope this serves as a prompt for you to think about the waste you generate during your own holiday celebrations and that it gets you thinking about how to change it. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me or tag me on any of my social media platforms. Have a great night!

Facebook.com/veggienugget twitter.com/TENerdAnarchist Instagram.com/theearthnerdanarchist Youtube.com/ericapain

Zero’d Out

You might have heard me use this phrase somewhere or other so I thought I’d take the time to explain what that means.

Zero’d out pertains to when a zerowaste problem has completely been solved by a zerowaste solution. For example, lets say you look in your shower and you realize that your body wash is in a plastic bottle. You still need to shower but you don’t want to keep buying and throwing away the plastic. A problem has presented itself. In order to zero out this problem, you have to ensure that you solution to this problem is A. Soap you can shower with, B. Ethically manufactured, C. Package free or compostable packaging, D. Does no harm to you or anything else once it goes down the drain.

So you go on your search to find the perfect solution. You encounter products with packaging made from recycled material. Not acceptable. You pass up the packaging that claims to be recyclable because you know only 9% of materials sent to recycling centers actually get recycled. And finally, at the end of your journey, you find a package free, locally made, clean ingredient, soap. You take THAT option home with you and gone are the days of bodywash packaged in plastic.

Obviously, this is just one way and one example of how to zero out an equation. If you look at it like a problem solving exercise or a game, it’s actually pretty fun. Anyway, I hope that helped you understand what I mean and gets you on board to place this badass sustainability game with me! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask me on any of my social media accts which will be posted below.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful evening ❤

Facebook.com/veggiennugget

twitter.com/TENerdAnarchist

instagram.com/theearthnerdanarchist

Interview with Jeremiah Harding

So today, I was interviewed by Jeremiah Harding or @Insanityisfree if you’re on Twitter. I feel like we had a really good talk and I’m genuinely hoping I did the cause justice. That said I want to list out the resources I mentioned and a few extras so that you have a starting place for more info.

Obviously, my blog is a good place to get started so I’ll get that out of the way. I’m working on creating a youtube channel to tie this blog to so that you have something to watch and something to read.

So let’s start with documentaries: –

Books:

And last but not least, Youtubers:

So these are my sources and I want to put the disclaimer out there that I do NOT support or advocate for any legislation that these sources may endorse. I am an Anarchist. I believe very strongly that the state in unnecessary in the effort to be more Earth-friendly.

I hope you guys enjoyed the video and enjoy looking into the sourced I’ve cited here. Have a great day!

DIY ZeroWaste Cornstarch

There are many reasons you might need Cornstarch. It’s great for thickening sauces, making gesso, powdering your baby’s butt. Whatever your reason, I’m here to present you with a Zerowaste way to make it yourself instead of buying it in plastic.

What you need: White hominy corn (extra credit if you grow it yourself), water, blender, cheese cloth, a large bowl, and a tray.

Directions: If you purchase your corn dry, you’ll need to rehydrate it by soaking it in water overnight on the counter. Make sure the corn is covered with water and let it sit. Then rinse the rehydrated corn with fresh water the next day. If corn is not dehydrated, skip all that and place your corn into the blender.

Add around two to three cups of water and blend. You want this to be somewhat creamy. After you’ve reached peak creamy goodness, strain it through your cheesecloth into a bowl. SAVE WHAT STRAINS OUT IN THE BOWL. Get as much water out as you can. The pulp left in the cheese cloth is cornmeal. Spread that over your tray and let it dry. Set your bowl of strained water to the side to settle.

Once the corn meal is dry, you can jar it up in an airtight container for later use.

Then look at your bowl of water. There should be some white sediment at the bottom. THAT’S CORN STARCH. Pour off as much water as you can without spilling your starch. Then take a clean, dry kitchen towel and blot more excess water up. By this time, it would feel like a paste. Spread that paste on to your tray as thinly as you can and let it dry, preferably in the sun if you can. And BOOM! Cornstarch, my friends. Jar THAT up in an airtight container for whatever you need cornstarch for.🖤

Current Society Buries Creative Thinkers.

What do you mean we bury creative thinkers?
We smother them from age 5 with the work, pay bills, and die mentality we inherited from our ancestors that survived The Great Depression. We put our children in public school that prepares them for factory work…
Where art and philosophy programs are either subpar or they don’t exist to begin with. They’re to sit in their seat and look up at the white board for 8 hrs a day. “NO TALKING.” No time to think for themselves or exercise that brain power. We say “YOU MUST BE A GOOD FACTORY WORKER OTHERWISE YOU’RE GROUNDED TIL YOU’RE A BETTER FACTORY WORKER.”
I can elaborate on why I am so passionate about unschooling in another post. Point is, not a good start for us creatives.
Then when these same kids grow up to finally graduate from school, we pressure them to get a job. Doesn’t really matter what job. We let them know that they are useless and lazy unless they’re making money doing something they were not meant to do. You’re only worth the amount of money in your account.
Then, because creatives cannot fight their nature, they still manage to come up with cool ideas and things. This is where is get… blatant.
As if the way we set our children up for their future wasn’t bad enough, let’s dog pile it with shitting on any idea they have that goes outside tradition or the “norm”.
Anything from creating art to starting a business to working on a ground breaking philosophical position. Tons of pressure is applied on these people to spend ungodly hours of their day doing something they hate instead. “THAT’S A STUPID IDEA.” “YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME.” “YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LET THAT GO AND GET A REAL JOB.” “ART IS A WASTE OF MONEY”

Why do we (society) do this? We sacrifice beauty, innovation, creativity, and thus our creative thinkers in the name of a mindset we don’t have to hold on to. It’s sick. It stifles our creative people and society as a whole. Depression and anxiety are at an new high and while the content of this blog post may not be the exclusive cause, it certainly isn’t doing those numbers any favors.
What can be done?
Perspective is key here. Your purpose may be to work, pay bills, and die, but not everyone thinks that way. Instead of shitting on that person and their idea, put the same energy into supporting them. Recognize that we creatives have no ill intent in being the way that we are. We simply cannot be any other way. Our will to live is rooted deeply in our ability to create something from nothing. Speak life into children and other creative people and you will see them fly higher than they ever have.

Thank you for coming to my tedtalk lol🖤 If you like what you’re reading, please feel free to share with your friends. I also have Paypal for those feeling particularly generous https://www.paypal.me/SPOTLESSCO

🖤 You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. @TENerdAnarchist on Twitter. @theearthnerdanarchist on instagram and Erica Denise Payne on Facebook😘😘😘🖤

Food Preservation

Good morning, friends! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day! Today, I want to talk about food waste and how we can stop it with food preservation.

Food waste is a big issue. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, 10% of the U.S. energy budget, 50% of U.S. land, and 80% of fresh water goes toward getting food from farm to table. Despite that, only 60% of the food produced actually gets eaten.

“So what is the reason for this?”, you might wonder. Subsidized farming (Big Ag) and our behavior. This toxic combination has driven us into a hyper consumer culture, similar to what I talked about in my last post. Things most accessible to us don’t hold as much value as they would if we had to work for them ourselves. Big Ag hands up a big ol’ glass of convenience koolaid, and we drink it up without considering the consequences.

It deeply disturbs me that such a massive amount of food goes to waste and we have people struggling to put food on the table or even starving.

So how can we do our part? That answer is twofold. The first thing we can do is reduce our dependence on the grocery store. Growing/ raising as much food as we can, cooking from scratch, canning, meal planning, making freezer meals, making ingredients at home instead of buying them. There are a lot of food preservation methods out there. I encourage you to look into what you can make yourself. It’s been a shock to me to see just how little is necessary to buy from somewhere else, even as someone who doesn’t have a homestead yet.

The second thing we can do is stop contributing to Big Ag through taxes. We pay for their existence involuntarily and they feed us shitty food and destroy our land. Not cool.

I’ll do separate posts on things like canning and freezing. For now, I just want to encourage you to exercise your resourcefulness. Anyone can preserve food. Everyone can prevent food waste. Let’s all do what we can.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’re having an awesome Thursday! Make sure to look out for my future post where I go in depth about the methods I mentioned in today’s post. 🖤

If you like what you see, please feel free to share my blog with your friends! You can contribute to my paypal and also sponsor a post if you’re particularly passionate about a related project or topic. Just email me at ericapayne2@gmail.com. My Paypal link is https://www.paypal.me/SPOTLESSCO

Convenience Culture

Fast fashion, Fast food, cheap goods from China. Quick. Cheap. Fast. Easy. Disposable. What’s the harm in a little convenience? Let’s dive in.

First, let’s look at how it impacts us as individuals. Convenience, while it may seem pleasant at the time, robs us of connection. It robs us of connection to our belongings, the food we eat, and the people around us. Why seek out a local potter when you can buy cheap bowls from the box store? Why cook a wholesome meal from scratch when you can go to Wendy’s? Why invest in a great quality sweater from a local designer when you can go to the mall and spend $10? Because you miss out on quality, durability, and most importantly, connection to the items and other people. This is why our landfills are full. I believe that this is a huge contributor to depression and anxiety. We no longer have to put in time, money, effort into our lives. It’s all handed to us for the low low price of our sanity and overall health.

It’s also worth noting that our dependence on that cheap price point, gives corporations room to do whatever they want and treat us however they want.

Next, let’s focus on how it impacts other people. Fast fashion, fat food, and cheap goods from China all have a one thing in common. They require cheap labor to get a cheap product. Someone is doing that cheap labor. Someone is slaving night and day for PENNIES so that you can have that H&M sweater for $10. And for what? For it to last three whole months because it’s made with cheap materials, only to then end up in the landfill.

Don’t forget our struggling artists. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people look at a beautiful piece of art, scoff at it because of the price, and then go to a box store and spend the same amount of money on some cheap mass produced shit from China. Why is it the norm now to rob ourselves of quality product and connection to our artists? I don’t understand.

I’m willing to stand alone here, but I’d rather have a quality product that will last me a lifetime, that I have to take care of, than have some cheap disposable crap I purchased with zero intention. I’d rather know who makes the goods I can’t make myself but still need. I’d rather invest in quality food and cook a good meal for myself, my friends, and my family.

I want to encourage you to slow down this week. Think about the decisions you make out of convenience. Pick one of them and forgo the convenience. Go all out. Set the intention and really connect with what you’re trying to accomplish. Maybe it’s cooking a healthy meal or investing in a local soap maker instead of buying from a box store, or (my personal fav) hand washing your clothes. It can be anything!

Let me know what you come up with. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my post! I hope you’re having a wonderful day🖤

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Minimalism: visual clutter

Humor me. Which one is more pleasant to look at, top or bottom?

How about these two images?

If you preferred the bottom and right images, this post is for you. Grab a cup of tea and let’s talk about visual clutter and it’s unforeseen impact on us.

Minimalism, as a concept, has largely grown from a small part of what it is. We think of owning less physical possessions, but what about the appearance of the possession we do choose to keep around? Could bright, flashy packaging, mix matched colors/textures, and a lack of intentionality be just as guilty of our overstimulation as the number of items we possess?

For me, the answer is yes.

I can’t tell you how to solve this issue in this post but what I can do is tell you what I did.

First, I established the aesthetic that brings me the most joy. My goal in life is to homestead so I want my home to reflect that cozy cabin, home-made feel. It makes me feel at peace and reminds me of my grandmother. I love handmade, sustainably sourced, and functional things. I store my herbs, spices, and baking materials in clear glass jars.

Please excuse the cups I just washed 🙃

The cleaning cloths I have are my favorite kind to use. Just basic terry wash cloths from Walmart. Nothing special unless you’re me lol

Glass, metal, wood, and cloth are my jam. Pretty much everything is second hand and I love it that way. I want to cook, grow, and create everything my family consumes and uses on the day to day. I love an environment that reflects that. My home is growing as I (and my list of skills to master) do.

I believe that this level of intentionality in what I choose to keep in my kitchen motivates me to use the kitchen and to take care of it. I look forward to cooking and cleaning because I love being in the space.

You can apply this to your whole home if you find that this is what you’re missing. Everything, even what may seem mundane on the surface, can bring you great comfort and joy.

I encourage you to look at the spaces in your home and just make sure that it’s bringing you peace. Make sure that things are there because they function and inspire you to use them. Make sure you’re not over stimulated by what you have. Do you LOVE your bath towels? Do you look at your kitchen and look forward to using it? Let me know! Tell me what about your home brings you peace and joy in the comments!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section or tag me on Facebook! I’m always happy to help and/or read what you have to say. Have a great night 🙂 🖤

If you like what you see and you’d like to support this blog, you can send a contribution through paypal at https://www.paypal.me/SPOTLESSCO

DIY Laundry Detergent

Good morning, friends! Happy Wednesday! I got a special request, from a friend of mine on Facebook, to write a post on alternatives to laundry detergent. Whether your concern is harsh chemicals, sustainability, or you just want to save a bit of cash, this post will have something for you.

Let’s start with those concerned about harsh chemicals. There’s a lot that goes into a bottle of conventional detergent. Unfortunately, we as the consumer are not privy to that information beyond an ingredients list that sounds like rocket science. You could stand in the aisle of your local grocery store, or you could try adding 1/3-1/2 cup of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap to your load and then add a half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

If you’d like to up the environmentally friendly factor, you can buy a product called soap nuts! It’s also referred to as soap berries, or eco-nuts. These little gems come in a cloth bag unless you grow them yourself, which is an option! Personally, I would buy some first to see if you like them and then make the commitment to growing them if you do.

Just pop 4-5 nuts into the little cloth wash bag they come with, tie the bag closed, and throw them in the washer with your clothes. Start the washer as usual. Once the load is finished washing, remove the bag and set it aside for the next wash. Pretty simple, huh?

Now, for those concerned about saving money, I have a solution for you! My first DIY laundry detergent ever was created back in highschool. I made more detergent than I bargained for, using Fels Naptha. You’ll need a bar of Fels Naptha, a pot, borax, washing soda, two five gallon buckets with lids, and water. Your favorite essential oil is optional. I personally choose not to use them in this recipe because I like the scent of fels naptha.

Grate the bar of soap first and set it aside. Take a large pot and add 4 cups of hot water to it. Then set it on the stove on medium heat. This is the time to add your soap flakes. Stir them until they’re completely melted. Turn off the heat and fill one of the five gallon buckets halfway with hot water. Pour in the soap mixture while stirring. Once that’s done, add a cup of borax and a cup of washing soda. Then add half an ounce of your essential oil, if that’s your jam. Stir until it’s all well dissolved. Fill the bucket with more warm water until the bucket is full and give it one last stir. Put the lid on and let it sit for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the lid. The mixture will be gelatinous. Pour half of that into the other 5 gallon bucket and fill both up with more warm water. Stir them and replace the lids and you have 10 gallons of ready to use laundry detergent, my friend!

Thanks for stopping by to check out my post! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. If you have any questions, please feel free to hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

You can find me on Facebook by searching Erica Denise Payne or Find me on Instagram @theearthnerdanarchist.