Recently I have discovered a Zero-Waste community over on Instagram. It is inspiring to see people around the world striving to live without leaving a trail of trash behind them. Through this community I’ve learned a number of good tips and merchants where one can buy package-free goods (here is a good one). A blog post on this is coming soon… providing my boys nap at the same time at least couple times this coming week, so I get a chance to get to my computer. 🙂
One thing I noticed people have difficulty with even among the Zero-Waste community is finding a package-free (read trash-free) way to feed our four-legged buddies both canine and feline. So, I wanted to put this little blog post together, because this area is one where one can easily shift away from packaged goods. In fact, in Russia and Kazakhstan where I come from we never bought dog food and always fixed dog food at home, using the same produce we had for our family.
It’s been about 4 or 5 years since I last used a shampoo or conditioner on my hair. And it’s been about 2 years since I’ve been using soap nuts exclusively to wash hair.
The reason I started on the no-shampoo path was because my hair was getting dirty so fast that I had to wash it daily and still by the end of the day it was not a pretty sight. I went through many different brands of fancy and expensive shampoos, but the result was more or less the same… or worse. My first no-shampoo experience was with a dry mix of some herbs and clay my mom send me from Russia. It worked remarkably well, but we could never find that particular brand again. So the search for natural ways to care for hair ensued.
It’s been few years now since I’ve been using only natural products to wash my hair. I’ve also successfully replaced various other conventional body care products with clean natural ones (see my post here). And for the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring our household as close to zero-waste life-style as possible. I’m hoping you’ll find my experience and the information I share here helpful.
[ On the photo: Gnomes from Mama Owl; Ostheimer wooden animals from Wooden Wagon ]
How beloved is the beautiful tradition of decorating a tree, lighting the lights on it and waiting for the magical winter-y man to bring us some sweet gifts under the tree! This tradition has survived the rises and demises of kingdoms, cultures and religions. It has changed the name from Yuletide to Christmas and even became a New Year tradition in some countries. Yet, the tradition itself has barely changed in centuries and all of us big and small are excited every year to light up the tree and unwrap our gifts when the time comes. 🙂
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change… Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean. — The Guardian
Which is why I’m particularly excited to share with you these beautiful coats by Lea & Jojo that are not only non-toxic (no PHTALATES, nor PVC, nor PFOA’S / PFO’S, nor AZO DYES, nor NONYPHENOL ETHOXYLATES), but are also made form 100% recycled bottles!
Here is Part 2 of my Organic Clothing series (read Part 1 on why organic clothing matters here). In this post I’m sharing all our favorite brands that make organic children’s clothes and stores where you can buy them. While there are many other brands and stores out there, these are the ones we’ve used and had just great experience with! 🙂 (See also this post on our favorite shoe brand – Pololo)
While some of these brands sell directly from their websites, others sell through dealers. I’m providing a link where you can get each of the brands listed. But also at the bottom of the page there are few links to online stores where you can find all of these beautiful brands and much more!
On the photo: Organic wool fleece jacket from Engel, organic wool overalls from Disana
I started writing this blog post several times, but always ended up tossing the draft away. It is such an immense and important subject that I found it difficult to make the post informative and useful without turning it into a long and boring doctorate essay :). So here I’m trying again and I thought first just to give a short version:
Reasons to go organic (short version)
When we lived in California for 10 years I really yearned for seasons and snow. But now that we live in Colorado I wish summer never ended. I love everything about it – warm nights with candle lights and fruit tarts, picnics on the grass in our yard, flowers everywhere and of course all the fruit and berries!
Back in our dear Kazakhstan we used to have such abundance of fruit and berries that we always set some aside for varenje – Russian fruit and berry preserves. My grandma’s cellar was stacked with jars of preserves made from strawberry, cherry, currants, raspberry. And throughout the winter there were always little jars of various preserves at a table for a customary tea after a meal. What a life that was!
Paper junk mail..arrghhh.. Who doesn’t hate it? In addition to being a nuisance it is also a contributing force in deforestation and consequentially loss of animal habitats, increased greenhouse gasses and wasted water. And according to Rainforest Action Network, while United States has less than 5% of the world’s population it yet consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.
Stopping the junk mail
I’ve been on a mission to eradicate the annoying and wasteful junk mail delivery we receive and wanted to share the things that have worked.
I used to enjoy owning many beauty products — all the pretty bottles and tubes! But as you start learning what goes in your food, body care products, cleaning supplies, as you start reading those lengthy ingredient labels you discover that majority of the ingredients in commercial products (doesn’t matter cheap or expensive brands) are chemicals that are known carcinogens , hormone disrupters, affect reproductive system, nervous system and so on and so forth. You can see details on EWG.ORG website.
To be honest I don’t have much to write about in this particular post. I just wanted to share with you these handmade organic wool covers for cloth diapers I recently discovered. I mean, just look at how lovely they are! 🙂
I love plants and so does my mom! My husband enjoys our plant addition and our house is a bit of a jungle to be honest, with my work desk soon having no more room for any more plant pots. We even have a tomato plant in our bathroom (we got two giant windows right in the bathroom which I find rather inconvenient in general, but it worked out good for the tomato plant) that’s been yielding modest, but consistent crop of cherry tomatoes over the last couple months. 🙂
This is a small post, but I’m rather excited to share it. Here is why…you know how marine animals and birds (whales, Albatros, etc) scoop water in order to get fish? The thing is along with fish they scoop various plastic bits, which make it into their intestines, but never make it out. Eventually all the plastic bits leave no room for food, so…no food no life. Don’t believe me? Google ‘plastic pollution albatros’ as just one of the examples. This is also a great website on the topic of plastic pollution.
Looking at the cover photo you might be wondering where is the laundry soap the post title mentions? And what the heck are those shriveled looking things on a pretty dish 🙂
But this is it – those shriveled looking berries is the most chemical-free organic and sustainable laundry soap you can have!
Many people feel apprehensive about cloth diapering because of ‘all the cleaning!’ In reality there isn’t much more cleaning than with disposables and all my friends who switched to cloth diapers find it pretty easy.
What about the smelly poop?!
If you are new to motherhood you might not know yet that as long as baby is breastfed their poop actually has no bad smell and is a beautiful bright yellow color (although color variations are possible and normal) and is very similar to cottage cheese or ricotta :)) in texture. Sometimes it even smells a bit like honey-cakes :)… I hope I haven’t ruined honey-cakes, ricotta and cottage cheese for you 🙂
I knew I was going to do cloth diapers long before I became a mom ever since I read that disposable diapers take anywhere from 250-500 years to decompose. I considered the number of diapers changed daily and the fact that a baby wears them for the first 2-3 years of their life…wow! A paramount pile of stinky rotting diapers was not a legacy I wished me and my children to leave this planet with.
Best and most affordable cloth diapers:
Organic wool + organic cotton
As I was getting close to having my first baby I started researching the cloth diapering options. I soon felt rather confused with all the options, terms and couldn’t quite figure out what I really needed. But in the end it turned out I didn’t need most of things recommended and the whole ‘diaper system’ that has been working great for us for the past
18 months 2.5 years and two babies is very simple.