Condo Blues: Zero waste




Showing posts with label Zero waste. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zero waste. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2021

DIY Plastic Free Pot Scrubber

Disposable kitchen pot scrubber sponges are one thing I was happy to kick to the curb after trying washable and reusable Paperless Kitchen sponge scour pads (you can learn about them here.) Finally I had a plastic free dish scrubbie that I could pop in the top rack of the dishwasher to clean on the regular! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) 

Until the garbage disposable tried to eat one. 

RIP pot scrubber. 

So much for zero waste :( 

Fortunately More than one reusable dish scouring pads came in the package so it wasn’t a total loss. I also used it as the motivation I needed to try an idea I have been mulling around for awhile: crochet a plastic free pot scrubber from jute twine. 

Well, that and Cabin Fever.

But you know what? It  worked!

how to crochet a plastic free pot scrubber sponge
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How to Crochet a Jute Dish Scrubber Sponge for Absolute Beginners

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

12 Real World Ways I Went Zero Waste This Week

Some of the things they don’t tell you about trying to reduce your household trash with zero waste living is that it depends a lot on where and how you want to live. Most of the year’s worth of garbage in jar folks have access to big fill your own container stores, year round farm markets, or huge gardens where they can grow almost everything  they need. Not all of us are that lucky,  would rather not drive all over the place, or crunched the numbers and found some the prices in those shops sky high. *raises hand*


But’s not to say that zero waste is impossible!  Instead try the more realistic goal of concentrating on reducing your household waste than making it absolute zero. By focusing on reusing, the Rule of Half, recycling, reducing, and composting (when the bin isn’t frozen shut) my family has reduced our weekly household waste to approximately one grocery store size shopping bag (ish. We reuse any packaging, dog food, etc.  bags for garbage which means the size varies) a week. We average a 3/4 full recycling bin every two weeks. We also give ourselves a break if our output is more than that because we have seasons and that can determine what we can do and how we do it.


To give you some realistic ways to reduce your household waste (and possibly save some money doing it) I made a list of the zero waste practices, tips, and tricks I do in a normal week to give you some ideas and jump start your thinking machines to find a zero waste solution that works for you!

 

12 real world zero waste tips
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Sunday, December 6, 2020

How to Make Lavender and Eucalyptus Shea Butter Lotion

I absolutely love handmade soaps and bath items. Unfortunately handcrafted lotion bars didn’t work out for me. My annoying pollen allergies make my skin picky about the beeswax in them since you don’t know exactly what the bees ate before they created the wax –  because you know, bee life.

I experimented making body butters and learned that the greasy feeling I didn’t care for was due to the coconut oil I added to the mix. I also learned that you can turn any homemade body butter recipe into a lotion if you add water (which needs a preservative.) OK good to know.

quick and easy Shea butter lotion recipe
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A few more  experiments later I came up with a homemade non greasy, moisturizing lotion entirely made from plant based ingredients – including the preservatives. Yeah, yeah, I know. In green living circles many folks claim they don’t want to use chemicals. That is impossible because everything – even if it is organic  – is made of chemicals, including yourself.

What I believe they mean is that they do not want to use toxic chemicals, which I totally agree with. The same goes for preservatives. This lotion recipe contains water which is the perfect breeding ground for growing mold and bacteria, which then can be dangerous to use (that’s why bath and beauty items including handmade at the farmer’s market are required to have expiration dates.)  But not all preservatives are created awful! There are several natural and non toxic preservatives we can use such as Phenonip and that’s what we will be using today.

 Many homemade health and beauty remedies include Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that will keep the oils in the product from going rancid (and do fantastic things for your skin) but Vitamin E will not stop mold or bacteria from growing in the mixture from, for example, being introduced to the moisturizer from dipping your hand in the jar. I like to include Vitamin E in my handmade moisturizer recipes more for its beauty properties but if it helps keep the oils from going rancid while the Phenonip keeps the entire thing mold and bacteria free I think they are two co workers that work well together. Besides Vitamin E oil is cheap and available at most grocery stores. 

All Natural Zero Waste Homemade Shea Butter Moisturizer Recipe 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

DIY Cotton Bath Puff and Friday Favorites Linky Party 554

While everyone else was baking sourdough bread during quarantine, I was making hot process soap. I took notes on what I did right and wrong and while I can't quite get it as thick as commercial liquid soap like I want, it cleans and lathers beautifully especially when I use a plastic bath puff. While a loofah is zero waste because I can compost it, it doesn't perform as well as a mesh bath poof that has to be tossed after awhile due to bacteria buildup. I tried washing one once and it fell apart.

I hadn't crocheted since I was a kid and recently picked up a hook to make a dishcloth. I looked for more quick beginner crocket projects on Pinterest (follow me @condoblues on Pinterest pretty please?) and found the answer to my zero waste bath puff problem - crochet a bath puff from cotton yarn!

how to crochet a bath puff

I followed this crochet shower puff pattern from Hooked on Patterns and it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it. My shower puff isn't perfect but still not too shabby for the third thing I crocheted as an adult. Best of all, I can wash it in a mesh lingerie bag in the washing machine when I need to - no more bath puffs in my trash can ever again!

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Super Silky Oh So Fluffy Coco Butter Body Butter Recipe

My latest batch of liquid soap came together beautifully. That gave me the courage to retry making the coco butter soap recipe from this soap making book that I messed up so horribly it came out like Flubber. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I learned from my mistakes and had e a perfect batch of coco butter soap cooking in the slow cooker. I also had a wee bit of melted coco butter and coconut oil leftover – too little to use it for soap, too much to throw away. I am just about out of moisturizer and coco butter is one of my favorite types of lotion and body butter. Hey, let’s make some!

Except.

I don’t like how my previous homemade body butters made coconut oil eventually lose their fluffy texture, the oils started to separate,  and coconut oil turn grainy in the jar.

So much so that I told myself the next time I make it, it will not include coconut oil as an ingredient and that I’d make a lotion instead of a body butter. (Lotion= moisturizing oils/butters+emulsifier+ distilled water. Body butter= moisturizing oils/butters only.)

Which I remembered after I had measured and combined the melted coconut oil, coco butter, and vitamin E oil in the measuring cup I use for water. D’oh!

Can these homemade moisturizer ingredients be saved? Yes! Keep reading to find out how!

All is not lost! First up, using a high speed stick blender or mixer (like a like this KitchenAid Stand Mixer) over a hand mixer will help loads but to really keep the ingredients fluffy and from separating you need to use an emulsifier because well, that’s what emulsifiers were born to do. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

How to Make an Insulated Growler Caddy

My husband and I have a couple of glass growlers for those times we want to bring home a local craft beer from a brewpub that doesn’t put it in cans or bottles. We only tend to use them when there is a BBQ or party where a group of friends will be there to help us drink a little under 2 liters of beer (an open growler goes flat more quickly than a 2 liter of pop) over the course of a long afternoon into the evening with a bonfire. In other words, not very often.

No to mention in Ohio to go growlers have to be made of glass, which are hard to keep cold and carry if you are also juggling pot luck food as you walk from your car to the party spot. There are a lot of wood growler caddies out there but I really want something insulated. That way I can also use the growler as a water jug to refill our sports bottles  from the car when we are out and about.

When I can’t buy, I DIY! I dove into my fabric stash, grabbed some leftover corsetry fabric,  and sewed an insulated growler caddy. If you are looking for a handmade gift idea for men, based on my husband's reaction, this is a good one.  He liked the idea so much that he encouraged me to make a second insulated tote bag for the other growler.

Let’s sew!

how to make a craft beer growler caddy


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How to Make an Insulated Beer Growler Tote

Sunday, March 8, 2020

How to Install a Bidet Attachment

Disclosure: Tushy supplied product to facilitate this tutorial and review. It had no influence on my opinion because all opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate links for your convenience.

I’m working on the details of the guest bathroom renovation while looking forward to the master bathroom renovation. Well planning actually. I’m not looking forward to this even more involved project where are water leak began.

Anyway.

I would have liked to add a bidet in the bathroom to save on toilet paper because according to Tushy it takes 37 gallons of water to make a roll of toilet paper and most people use 1.5 toilet rolls a week! That is a lot of water to flush down the drain, which doesn't include the amount of water it takes to flush it all down the drain.

But more importantly, with a bidet, even if you run out of toilet paper at the time you need it most, you have an option.

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Unfortunately all of our condo bathrooms are too small to add a free standing bidet. I didn’t think much more of it until friends raved about just installing a bidet toilet seat. I was  intrigued. A bidet toilet seat attachment I can do. Then I promptly forgot about it because I'm awesome like that.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Zero Waste on a Budget: How to Grocery Shop without a Bulk Bin Store

After seeing the explosion of zero waste ideas online (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing,) I get a little worried that people may not try or quit because they aren’t meeting the strict one year’s full of trash in a jar “standard” they see shown on social media.

Which is a bummer because Zero Waste living isn’t black and white or should be so restrictive it is a struggle.

Or at least it shouldn’t’ be.

In reality, shifting your mindset to a lower waste living is much more sustainable because it takes into consideration what you have available locally, what you can’t, or don’t want to give up. Are you seriously going to deny grandma life saving medication because it comes in a plastic bottle?!

zero waste living on a budget at a conventional grocery store
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Often how zero waste you can go depends upon what is available where you live. Fill your own container bulk bin sections and stores are fairly anemic around here because local code enforcement strongly reminded everyone that shoppers have to use store provided containers. Winter means nothing grows here for 6 months out of the year.  Sadly zero waste utopia doesn’t mention that. So what do you do?

You do it by concentrate on reducing and stop focusing on the zero - without guilt.

Guilt is not productive. Trying is.

How to Live Zero Waste When You Shop a Regular Grocery Store

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

DIY Poo Pourri Air Freshener Spray

I’m sure you are aware of those times when the air in a bathroom needs a little immediate help to clear the room of…uh…um…odor.

Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the synthetic ingredients (although now Scent Fill  makes natural essential oil refills for Glade and other brand plug ins, ) I had scented oil plug thingies in each bathroom for that purpose. Once they became available, I upgraded to pluggable wax melt warmers similar to these and use a locally made vegetable wax and essential oil wax melts for my bathrooms. They work just as well, and I like that I easily scrap the last bit of wax from a dead candle into the smaller wax warmers to keep enjoying the scent. I am the only one who buys a candle and can never seem to find the same scent when I need to replace it? (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

Unfortunately, there are still times when your bathroom needs a little more immediate or preventative air quality attention.  Does a room freshener exist without the synthetic ingredients? 

Yep, it sure does and it is the perfect thing for zero waste, natural living, and budget minded folks.

Or you just want something prettier than a can in your bathroom, that’s cool too. *raises hand* 

how to make zero waste non toxic air freshener bathroom spray
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DIY Natural  Air Freshener

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

12 Knit and Crochet Dishcloth, Washcloth, and Scrubby Patterns

I’m  attempting to phase out disposable kitchen sponges and scrubbers because you’re supposed to throw them out after a week or so and most hacks to clean them actually cause more bacteria to grow on them – ew!

That adds up to a lot of kitchen sponges in the trash and if I'm lucky, compost bin.*sad face*

When I hand wash dishes I’m trying to with reusables over disposables. I’m currently washing dishes with reusable  Skoy cloths (learn how you can wash them in the dishwasher here)  and reusable Paperless kitchen pot scrubbers you can also wash in the dishwasher (learn more here.) We also use this cast iron chainmail cast iron scrubber to clean sticky stuff from our cast iron pans. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


And most recently, I’m washing up with a set of handmade dish wash clothes my mother in law made and gave me for Christmas. The cotton dishcloths are quickly becoming my favorite (if there is such a thing about having a favorite pot scrubber. Oh, the joys of adulthood!) because I can easily pop them in the washing machine a couple of uses and pull out a clean one lickety split.


Save this list of easy crochet and knitting patterns to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

Her thoughtful gift has me toying with picking up crochet again (something I haven’t done since I was a kid) or maybe actually finishing a project on that knitting loom (a knitting loom looks like this) I bought and gave up on. Which in that case, making dish cloths, wash cloth, and pot scrubber are the perfect project to practice knit and crochet patterns!

Monday, November 18, 2019

10 Quick, Easy, and Eco Friendly Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

I love a clean and tidy kitchen but I don’t love spending all of my time cleaning and organizing it.  That especially goes for the holiday season when I’d much rather be entertaining my guests than slipping out to the store because I ran out of some disposable cleaning doo dad or supply in the middle of cleaning up after dinner.

Because if I run out of something, it is always going to be when I need it use it immediately.

It. Never.Fails.

 
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Luckily I developed have several hacks that replace disposable kitchen cleaning tools with reusable and others that make those disposables last a little bit longer so you aren’t stuck with a Holiday Hostess Fail in the middle of your party fun!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

How to Dye Suede Shoes

I bought a pair of cream suede oxford shoes similar to these thinking they would look cute with jeans but didn’t wear them very often because of the color. Changing the color is easy as dying the shoe. Since these are basically an extra I have and don’t’ wear I decided to go with something fun and dye my suede shoes blue with this exact suede shoe dye. *Cue Elvis joke here* (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)

I was very nervous about messing up this project and put it aside for quite awhile after I bought the dye. Once I got up the nerve to do it I learned dying shoes a new color isn’t hard, just a little messy so make sure you protect your work surface and you’ll be fine.

how to redye suede shoes a new color
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How to Dye Shoes a New Color

Sunday, September 8, 2019

How to Clean Rusty Chrome the Non Toxic Way!

Taking my bathroom d├ęcor que from hotels I stayed in I hung a chrome towel rack shelf in the Master Bathroom shower. It is handy as a towel rack and even better when I need a place to hang some hand washing up to dry. I popped a little plastic tray on top so I can use it as a storage shelf for shampoo and such.



how to clean chrome the quick and easy way
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Unfortunately, the chrome is developing tiny rust spots.


Fortunately there is a quick, easy, cheap and non toxic way to remove rust from metal chrome.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

12 Ways to Reuse Old Pillows

When our bed pillows flatten I fluff them up after washing them by popping a couple of dryer balls like these into the dryer along with my pillows. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) That usually does the trick but after many years, there isn’t much left to fluff in our current set of bed pillows. It is time to replace them.

12 of the best ways to reuse old pillows
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Monday, January 21, 2019

10 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill When There is Nothing Left to Cut

Over 10 years ago, I took on a year long project to reduce my home’s electricity use and bill by 20% using my brand new non-Energy Star rated appliances, new habits, and under $100 worth of DIYs and cheap home improvements.

I didn’t meet my goal.

I beat it.

I reduced my yearly electric use by 32%.

Over 10 years later my home still uses less electricity than comparable homes and families in my area – including energy efficient rated homes, which mine is not.

How do I reduce my electrify use? There wasn’t one big expense or home upgrade that made my electric bill go down. I knew we used more electricity in the hot and humid summer running the central air conditioning and less during the winter because we have a gas furnace and water heater. The only constant is our all electric kitchen. Turns out the biggest money suckers are a thousand little intermittent habits that felt like picky anal retentive things at first, until the energy use and savings started falling as low as it can go and still allow my family to comfortably live in the modern world.

How I Reduced My Electricity Use Without Sitting in the Dark


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Make Reusable Cloth Gift Bags

I usually like wrapping Christmas gifts. I have all sorts of tips and tricks to upcycle just about anything into gift-wrap, ribbon, and bows to make Pinterest perfect gift-wrap. My gift wrap turned art projects reduce waste while the recipient  is none the wiser. All they see is a pretty package and that’s the way I like it.

I save paper gift bags like these in our stash stored in an under bed gift wrapping storage box similar to this onefor Husband because he claims he’s not as good at wrapping gifts as I am. This may or may not be a spousal management issue on his part because it means I end up wrapping almost everything. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your continence.)

As our extended family has grown so large that it takes me days to wrap all of their gifts. After last year’s four night wrap a thon left me less than holiday cheerful (to put it mildly), I promised myself I was going to make wrapping gifts easier this Christmas.

With reusable cloth gift bags!


how to make quick and easy cloth gift wrap bags
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

14 Homemade Laundry Cleaning Supplies

I’m Spring Cleaning and Stash Busting. I found a stash of laundry detergent and whatnot. Some of these old items aren’t compatible as they are with my High Efficiency (HE) washing machine because HE washing machine use less water and can overflow if I use my old mega sudsing laundry cleaners in it.

I hate to throw anything usable away. I’m also kinda cheap in that way too. So I found a way to repurpose and save money by making my own  green laundry stain spray, static cling fighter, wrinkle releaser, wool wash and laundry detergent. You can too. Here’s how.


14 easy DIY zero waste laundry cleaning supply recipes
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7 DIY Laundry Stain Fighter Recipes


  • Mix 3 parts water and 1 part of your favorite laundry detergent in a spray bottle. Ta Da! Instant homemade laundry stain spray. This works with powdered laundry detergent too but you might have to shake the bottle to mix it up before each use.

    Photobucket
  • Soak stained items in a bucket with borax and water does wonders especially for whites. The cleaning power of borax impresses me with each new use I find for it.

  • Pour shampoo directly on the stain especially if it’s a perspiration or ring around the collar stain.

  • Wet and rub a bar of laundry soap like Zote (learn more about my favorite here) or Fels Naptha (you can buy it here) on the stain before popping in the water. Note: For those of you who don't like to use animal products both of these laundry soaps have animal tallow in it. This isn't an issue for me but it may be for you. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


  • Pour a bit of liquid laundry detergent (or add water to powdered laundry detergent to make a paste) directly on stain and scrub the stain with an old toothbrush is also effective and something I use all of the time with tough stains. Why buy more items than you have to, right?

  • Scrub the stain with an old toothbrush and your favorite stain fighter. I mark the handles of old toothbrushes with nail polish so there’s no mistaking that the toothbrush has been repurposed for cleaning.

3 DIY Static Cling Stoppers


  • Tennis balls in the dryer are the perfect homemade dryer ball. I've been using tennis ball dryer balls in my dryer for over 10 years and it hasn't damaged my dryer one bit. 

funny Culture Club inspired dryer balls



  • Pin metal safety pins to small fabric squares and toss them in the dryer. I use these with dryer ball tennis balls when the air is especially dry during the winter.


  • Cut dryer sheets in half and use the same sheet more than once. You might be able to get away with cutting them into fourths too.

2 Easy Homemade Wrinkle Releasers Recipes


I keep a small bottle of homemade wrinkle releaser in my clothes closet because I’m not a big fan of ironing but I do like wrinkle free clothing.

  • Spritz water from a spray bottle on the wrinkle and gently stretch it out. This is favorite. I always have more on hand and it doesn't compete with any scent I've used on my clothing or myself like Downey does. 
  • Mix ½ water and ½ fabric softener in a spray bottle

Homemade Wool Wash Hack


  • Shampoo or hair conditioner- works just as well or better than Woolite when hand washing wool sweaters and is much, much cheaper!

How to Make Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent



My homemade HE laundry detergent works on everything from delicate costumes to my husband's practically a bio hazard workout clothes. It is the ONLY laundry detergent that doesn't make my front loading washing machine stink!


If you'd rather buy than DIY, check out the following options - and more! - below!



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