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Zero Waste

How to Rot (Composting at Home) | Complete 7 R’s Series

October 28, 2020
Holding soil in my hands: how to rot at home

How to Rot in your Backyard! The First Installment of the 7 R’s Guide

Welcome to the first part of our series on the 7 Rs (Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose/Repair, Reduce, Rot, Rethink). To kick off this series of posts, we’ll discuss the “R” that sounds the least appealing to most folks: Rot! So let’s learn how to rot! Truthfully, this is just a cute way to fit in the activity of composting our organic waste.

Composting is one of those old stereotypes people like to use to make fun of hippies and the like. Despite this, more and more people are learning how to rot and sharing how easy it is. People would be shocked at how much benefit it provides us and our environment. You can click here for some zero waste swaps you can make in your kitchen.

Composting in the dirt

How does it happen?

Whether we like to admit it or not, the microorganisms that cause rot are everywhere. Composting relies on using two types: the mesophilic, which thrives in temperatures between 68-113 degrees Fahrenheit (20-45 Celsius), and the thermophilic, which take the stage when temperatures exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius). Careful management of your compost heap’s temperature will keep these helpful critters from dying off, so be sure to aerate and turn the pile over every week. As long as the temperature stays below 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 Celsius), and you continue to add oxygen and new materials for the thermophilic to use up, the pile will eventually cool down enough for the mesophilic to return and finish breaking everything down into humus.

What should I use?

  • Fruit/vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells (can take a while)
  • Yard trimmings and leaves
  • Shredded tree branches
  • Wood/bark chips
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Straw
  • Sawdust (from untreated wood)
  • Manure (i.e. farm animal waste)

What should I not use?

As this site recommends:

  • “Anything containing meat, oil, fat, or grease”
  • Diseased plant detritus
  • Sawdust/chips from pressure-treated wood
  • Pet feces
  • “Weeds that go to seed”
  • Dairy products

How to rot and make it happen!

Better Homes & Gardens suggests you wait until you have enough material to create a pile that’s at least three feet deep. 

  1. Three parts brown material (dried plant matter) and one part green material (everything else listed) should be used starting out. If it looks too wet or smells (yes, “smells”!) add more brown materials and/or aerate more often.
  2. Water the pile regularly so that it “has the consistency of a wet sponge,” but not more than that. Check the temperature of your pile regularly with a thermometer or…your hand! It should be nice and worm…I mean, warm.
  3. (Keep in mind that this part should be done during the growing season) Turn your pile with a garden fork at least once a week. The ideal time to do this would be when your pile is between 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit (~54-65 Celsius). The process will go faster if you chop or shred the raw stuff. Soon enough, you’ll have fertilizer.

Composting bin in a backyard

What do I do with the rot?

Grow something, or treat your garden! Better Homes & Gardens suggests adding 4 to 6 inches of your new fertilizer to your flower beds or pots at the beginning of a planting season.
If you’ve managed to create your fertilizer, you can be satisfied knowing that you’ve redirected a significant portion of your garbage away from a landfill! The process can seem daunting, but learning how to rot is an excellent way to do your small part in helping the environment.

Zero Waste

The Complete Guide to a Zero Waste Halloween (Plus an Infographic)

September 27, 2020
How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween: Decorate with pumpkins and autumn natural elements

Eco-friendly Halloween Tips, Tricks, and Treats for a Zero Waste Halloween

During the holidays, it can be very easy to forget about waste and the environment. We get swept up in celebration and then too tired to clean up the mess. I’m guilty as charged. To avoid this repeated pattern, we have to plan to have an eco-friendly celebration. Here are my tips for a zero-waste Halloween! No tricks here!

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links to Etsy. This means that if you click on my link to make a purchase, I will get a small commission at no extra expense to you. You can read my Disclaimer and Privacy Policy for details.

Halloween Treat Ideas for Green Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween can be as traditional as you want it to be. The main goal is to delight trick-or-treaters! Most expect candies, but we all remember the houses that did something different in our childhoods. 

Be sure to find a reusable bag for your trick-or-treater’s treasures! You can make one yourself, find a preowned one, or find them on Etsy.

How to find ecofriendly wrapped candy for your zero waste halloween

Zero Waste Candies and Sweets

To offer zero-waste sweets, you must prioritize recyclable or compostable packaging! Finding eco-friendly packaged candies may mean you have to skip the usual plastic bagged options at the grocery store. However, you may be surprised by what is accessible to you!

Look for candies packaged in foil, cardboard boxes, aluminum tins, and waxed paper. The only issue that may come up with this is concerned parents and non-sealable packaging- a reasonable concern that may limit this list to you. Consider Hershey’s kisses, gum packets, Alter Eco chocolates, Junior Mints, Glee gum, foil-wrapped chocolate candies, Coconut Long Boys, and Nerds were among the eco-friendly packaged sweets I’ve found.

There are also less conventional sweets you could give out, such as mini raisins, fruits like clementines and apples, nutritional bars, rice Krispie treats, and sparkling canned drinks.

If you really want to become the go-to favorite house on the block, you could go all out with a popcorn machine with paper bags. 

zero waste alternatives to candies

Sweets and Candy Treats Alternatives

We all know of the houses that gave out toothbrushes instead of candy. You could carry on that tradition with bamboo toothbrushes. If that is too pricey, consider giving out reusable straws, loose change, mini puzzles, temporary tattoos, mini pumpkins, origami, nontoxic crayon sets, or even cool rocks and gemstones.

You could give away Halloween themed school supplies like erasers, pencils, mini notepads, and bookmarks. There’s even a movement to give out secondhand books called Books for Treats.

You can buy seed balls, seed bombs, or seed packets to encourage environmentalism. There are seed papers you can buy too that you can easily cut into the shape of bats. 

How to Create a Scary Good Costume

Costumes don’t have to be cheaply made outfits with plastic accessories you buy and throw away every year. 

Get Thrifty and Find Preowned Costumes

There are plenty of options for finding a preowned costume. A few places to check out are garage sales, thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, and eBay (select the “preowned” filter). 

You can even ask friends and family if they have leftover costumes you can borrow. 

Crafted Your Own DIY Zero Waste Halloween Costume

If you check out Pinterest, you will find a seemingly endless library of do-it-yourself costume ideas. These tutorials can quickly help you create a zero-waste Halloween costume. I made a Halloween Craft Ideas Pinterest board you can check out here to jump-start your search!

Support Small Business Artisans

Instead of making it yourself, you can support an artist on websites like Etsy. You will be supporting a solopreneurs’ business instead of a big nameless business and likely get something very unique. Here are a few highlights I found in a brief search. Small tip, search “cosplay” if you want to see some cool geekier costumes.

Porcupine costume
Glow in the dark skeleton costume

Become the most haunted house on the block

Some people have the most fun decorating their house in the spooky aesthetic. It was my favorite holiday to decorate the office space since you can go all out in creativity. Here’s how to make your haunted space more ecofriendly.

Use Natural, Autumn Elements

Besides pumpkins that you can make into jack-o-lanterns, you can make gourds as well. Utilizing autumn leaves, dried flowers, and hay bales are surprisingly effective in creating that Halloween mood.

Spooky candles for haunted houses

Craft Your Way to a Zero Waste Haunted House

I’m not the most craft-savvy person, but even these are doable. You can look at my Halloween Pinterest board for ideas too.

Play some music. I can’t exaggerate how cool having dark music and sound effects play int the background while giving away candy. It was a trick-or-treater favorite int he past.

For lighting, you can find vintage aesthetic candles and candlesticks. Battery-powered tea lights can be fun and manipulative lighting you can use.

Recycle jars and bottles to create apothecary-esque potions. There are plenty of potion labels you can print off Etsy too.
Printable potion bottle labels

You can print and cut bat shapes (or purchase off Etsy) to create your own bat colony. You can make them stick on walls or create them as garlands. You can also use cotton yarn to create spiderwebs.

Spooky Eyeball Markers
Spooky Eyeball Markers

Don’t forget signs and gravestones you can purchase or make. Nothing says Halloween like a sarcastic fake gravestone by your mailbox.

Your Thrift Store Probably Has Plenty of Options

It should be reasonably easy to find preowned Halloween decorate to use for decoration. When I was a student, it was my go-to spot to decorate for holidays cheaply. You can also check garage sales, eBay using the preowned filter, and Facebook Marketplace.

One Last Tip: Offer A Recycling Bin. Consider Getting a TerraCycle Box

Having a readily available recycling bin to trick-or-treaters can remind them to make smart decisions with their leftovers. After all, if we want an eco-friendly community, we have to make it easy for people!

TerraCycle is a box you toss your snack wrappers, and the company will recycle them! You can order on their website here. It’s an excellent zero-waste solution to have around during the season.

I hope these tips help you all in having a fun Halloween! I wish every a safe, spooky, and zero waste Halloween! For more awesome guides, check out this guide on reusable paper towels.

The Zero Waste Halloween Infographic

Zero Waste Halloween Tips, Tricks, and Treats!


Zero Waste

Free 2020 Zero Waste Shopping Guide For The Holidays

September 26, 2020
2020 Zero Waste Shopping Guide

Totally Free and Perfect for Holiday Gift Ideas. Don’t Miss Out On These Coupons!

We collaborated with various artisan shops to create the perfect 2020 zero waste shopping guide.

I’m always trying to think outside of the box (even though using this phrase has become “in-box” thinking) when coming up with new methods to share zero waste living with the world!

Recently, I had the idea to put together a guide that would feature my shops and a handful of others with similar ethics. We’re calling it the Zero Waste Holiday Shopping Guide, and we’re really pleased with how it’s turned out!

In our guide, you’ll not only get suggestions for awesome eco-friendly, handcrafted items but discount codes as well.

Categories include natural skincare, men’s gifts, children & infants, makeup & cosmetics, pets, home goods, and fashion.

All made to be zero-waste and ecofriendly. Its guilt-free gift-giving to spread green living!

Check it out- it includes free coupon deals!

Act by the end of the year for the discount codes to work!

2020 Zero Waste Shopping Guide for the Holidays

Zero Waste

Adopting a Zero Waste Shaving Routine

August 16, 2020
Safety razor on a towel

How to have a Zero Waste Shaving Regimen

Picture your regular bathroom and grooming routines. There’s bottles of shampoo, aluminum cans of foaming shaving cream, and plastic containers of various lotions. Plus, countless other products with packaging that is non-recyclable, impossible to clean out, or easy to overlook. I’ve found that a zero waste shaving routine can be a great remedy to how we sometimes don’t “see” the waste we produce.

Zero waste is a movement aiming to reduce the waste that cannot be reused in our lives. It is never about achieving some ideal of purity or perfection but rather seeks to raise awareness and educate people about waste, consumption, and how unsustainable current practices are. Much like principles like veganism, it is about minimizing the harm done to the environment and our landfills’ accumulation of garbage.

Zero waste living ideally is a gradual lifestyle change where you make small swaps and changes. I’ve noticed that many people focus and even stop at the kitchen. It is the kitchen where, arguably, most of the household waste originates. However, the bathroom can be just as good a place to start with when starting to “go zero waste.” I myself was intimidated with the idea of switching to a safety razor but once making that switch, it has snowballed into other items in my bathroom.

So here’s an easy to follow how-to for getting started in zero waste shaving!

Also, check out another zero waste bathroom essential I wrote about here!

First, the safety razor

When I told a friend I had purchased a safety razor, they had made a face and said, “You mean the ones that cut people up? Didn’t you see those old shows where the teenage boys cut their faces?” I was immediately terrified. I felt as if I had wasted my money on an impulse that my hippie side fooled me into thinking was a good idea.  I decided to try it once and if it cut me, maybe I could be sneaky and return it. I even watched YouTube videos of women using their safety razor to build up my confidence!

To make the story shorter, it was fine and I loved the close, smooth shave. Turns out, it is just a razor, and like any sharp objects, you need to be careful.

What makes the razor nice for women is the single blade- hair is much less likely to get tangled in it. I also love saving money. No more plastic razors I have to buy regularly. I now buy blades that cost pennies.

Here are several razors to check out on Amazon.

Let’s stop throwing away those shaving gels and creams

Quick question, when was the last time you ever recycled a shaving lubricant? Whether they foam, or are gels or creams, they are wasteful. That is why I was very eager to find something else. I didn’t know shaving lubricants can come in the form of soap bars. I was hooked!

Shaving soaps with a safety razor

I even started making them myself and currently sell them in my shop.


Convenient Accessories for Traveling

Razor Covers

One thing I noticed early with my zero waste shaving tools was that they weren’t very travel-ready. A safety razor loose in my travel bag isn’t exactly ideal. I was afraid I’d cut myself reaching in, it would somehow damage something else, or it would dull the blades. I looked for a cover but found they were all made of leather. I’m vegan so it wasn’t an option.

So I made a cheaper, eco-friendly alternative with bamboo felt. They have been a hit! Like me, people love being more prepared for their trips and vacations.

Safety razor with cover

You can find these in different colors at my shop!

Travel-size Shaving Soap

Only one thing left in my travel-ready zero waste shaving toolbox. I used to love buying those mini-versions of bathroom essentials for my traveling: the tiny toothbrushes, toothpaste, and shampoos. They were so convenient. We don’t have to lose all that convenience in making more eco-friendly choices!

Zero waste shaving razor and travel soaps

I introduced travel-size versions of my loved shaving soaps in my shop too!

No excuses now!


Zero waste shaving isn’t hard to achieve! Or expensive!

It’s in fact a frugal option that cuts out the wasteful packaging of shaving gels and plastic razors! A safety razor should be used with care and isn’t anything to be afraid of. Shaving soap is just as moisturizing and satisfying as the shaving creams I used to buy. And you can be prepared for any travel arrangements with mini-shaving soaps and a protective razor cover.

Small steps can make a huge difference, and hopefully, this article helps you make another step in your own sustainable journey.