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Zero Waste

Zero Waste

A Thrifty Skincare Product You’ll Probably Wish You’d Known About Sooner

May 5, 2020
White counter with skincare products. An easy swap to boost your skincare routine.

It is time to reevaluate what your household and skincare essentials are. Doing this means you may find eco-friendly alternatives to the items in your home that you’ve taken for granted, such as the humble cotton ball many of us use every day. Spend less money and contribute less plastic waste to the environment by switching to reusable cotton rounds. Here are a few reasons to sway you.

This Cotton Swap Is Better for the Environment

Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop because of the number of pesticides used in growing it. Even worse, a lot of cotton balls are not made of cotton, but with polyester. This material is absolutely terrible for the environment because it is the source of microfibers (much like microbeads) found in the oceans. Whether cotton balls are made of cotton or polyester, or you’re using wipes, they aren’t helping in the fight against climate change. But let’s say you switch to an organic cotton balls brand. You are still creating demand for the labor and resources required to produce them and package them in plastic bags.

Reusable cotton rounds are not single-use products like cotton balls are. Typically they are not packaged with plastics. One single cotton round can be used a thousand times. In order to shift how we treat the environment, we have to shift our mindset with the things we use. We must get away from single-use items and invest in quality products built to last.

 

Reusable Cotton Rounds Save You Money.

Thrifty women know that even saving three to five dollars a month can add up to big savings in the long run. Even if you don’t save that five dollars, you can use that towards something better. And if you’re making other household switches to save money, such as with paper towels, you’ll realize that all of these zero-waste investments really start to cut the grocery bills down. I personally found this to be the case once I made some changes in my home.

So instead of buying $4 plastic bags of cotton rounds or makeup remover wipes every month, buy one set of cotton rounds to last you a year. Those are savings you don’t want to miss out on!

 

Pink and white striped cotton rounds

So Satisfying, You’ll Realize This Isn’t A Compromise

Like mentioned before, cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world. We take so much care to find pure, safe makeup products for our skincare routines. Why would we put carcinogenic pesticides on our faces?

Well-maintained cotton rounds are clean and durable. You won’t need to wonder about what chemicals it’s soaked in like you would with wipes or if you’re rubbing traces of pesticides on your bare skin. It’s transparent, safe material to rely on for a long time.

So for three good reasons, consider trying out a set of reusable cotton rounds. It’s a safer, cheaper, and eco-friendly option.

And if you need help finding a cute set that fits your personality, check out my Summer Collection here.

Reusable Paper Towels Zero Waste

Caring for Unpaper Towels and Reusable Cotton Rounds

May 3, 2020
Caring for unpaper towels isn't hard. Pictured is a beautiful white kitchen.

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Many people worry caring for unpaper towels or reusable cotton rounds is complicated or easy to mess up. I found that it’s a little hard to find reliable, straightforward information on how to do it. So I’m here to give you the easiest to follow instructions that you’ll probably only need to read once before you feel confident!

And to let new readers know, I’ve also written other posts about unpaper towels. Such as why you’d ditch paper towels in the first place and how many towels you may want to buy. Check them out!

Caring for Reusable Paper Towels Are Worth It

Unpaper Towels and cotton rounds will shock you with how much more absorbent and softer they get with every wash. The increased quality with use is one of the neat things about them. So if you are less than impressed when you first get them, you may want to withhold judgment until one or two washes.

Do This Before First Wash

I suggest you give them a quick wash once you get your unpaper towels or cotton rounds. If they are dark colors, you may need to wash them alone the first time- just in case of any colorfast issues. However, you could check with the shop you bought them. They may have already pre-washed them for you.

Before Washing Your Washable Cotton Rounds and Towels

If you were wiping up particularly gross, sticky, or oily messes, you might want to rinse with hot water before putting them in the washing machine.

How to Wash

If your towels have any snaps, be sure to unsnap them. The best advice is to wash them with like colors- whether clothes or other towels. Wash on average or gentle with any mild soaps or detergents. I’d suggest cold to warm water temperature.

If you want to be extra careful in caring for unpaper towels and cotton rounds, you could wash them in mesh bags. Mesh bags are incredibly helpful for towel sets with velcro and cotton rounds!

How to dry

You are OK to dry in the dryer. Medium heat or tumble dry is probably best. Quality towels and rounds can withstand some wear and heat. You can leave out to air dry as well.

Is There Anything Else I Need To Know?

Allot for slight shrinking in your first washes. You can also iron them on medium heat to smooth out wrinkles.

I hope this helps everyone needing care advice with these great zero-waste products. Take care of them, and they will last a long time! Think of all the plastic and paper you’re not throwing away now!

And to buy luxury cotton rounds and washable towels, check out my Summer Collection here. If you’re wondering if they’re right for you, hop over to my favorite jam-packed knowledge base on reusable paper towels here.

Zero Waste Natural Home

6 Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste for your Green Home

May 1, 2020
Reduce kitchen waste. Beautiful white kitchen

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More and more households are starting to find ways to reduce kitchen waste. Global climate change is an enormous concern for all of us. It’s more important than ever to start making changes in our own lives to help minimize our carbon footprint. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, or be expensive or difficult. Slowly transitioning into one swap or adopting one practice at a time can go a long way. Here are 6 ideas to get you started.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link to Blueland, a cleaning products brand. 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 and Blueland’s FAQ for more details.

1. Compost Food Waste

Composting sounds scary and complicated. But just think, your grandparents may have done it. Mine did. It’s a long-time practice that is hugely beneficial to the earth. In fact, the EPA found we could save 20%-30% of food waste from the landfill by composting. There are kits on Amazon for as cheap as $20 that can get you started. If you have no idea what you’re doing, don’t worry. There are composting communities on Reddit and Facebook ready to help.

2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle to Reduce Kitchen Waste

This is a wildly important and yet only about 34.7% of Americans recycle, despite the vast majority support recycling. We need to start making it more of a part of our lives. Purchase two garbage bins for every room: one for recycling and the other for garbage. You’d be surprised how many recyclables you may be missing in rooms outside the kitchen where people most often do separate garbage from recyclables.

There tends to be a lot of confusion what your city may and may not recycle so it’s best to ask them directly. Call, email or visit your county’s recycling or utility authority’s website. They should be able to give you a complete list of recyclables and non-recyclables.

3. Buy in Bulk and Switch to Products with Less Packaging

Pantry staples such as canned food, rice, and beans can all be purchased in bulk. This reduces the amount of packaging required. Other things to try to buy in bulk: soap, white vinegar, trash bags, dishwashing detergent, coffee, butter, nuts/seeds, and dry pasta.

There are more and more products in the market or online with subscription services that use less packaging. I like Blueland’s cleaning products since you buy your spray bottles and soap dispenser once. Then you only need to buy refill tablets.

4. Eat Less Meat

This bears mentioning as an indirect way to reduce kitchen waste. I can write a book about the impact our meat consumption has on the planet. It is the number one cause of rainforest deforestation and the endangerment of certain wildlife, notably the orangutan. This is to house and grow feed for the cattle. Think of the sheer amount of grains and water it takes to feed billions of livestock meant for slaughter. It’s a huge waste of resources since we could feed more people if we ate less burgers. As Cornell put it: US could feed 800 million people with grains livestock eat.

It pollutes more than all of our methods of travel combined- that’s cars, trains, and planes. Factory farms are breeding grounds for the next superbugs, and these plants particularly affect marginalized communities. I don’t need to mention the egregious animal abuse practices of factory farms and slaughterhouses. The cruelty alone should urge us to eat less meat. Not to mention, you’ll probably save money and reduce your risk for heart disease.

Glass containers to reduce kitchen waste

5. Use Up Your Plastic Containers then Switch to Glass

Don’t throw away your plastic food containers yet! Once they are worn out it’s time to invest in glass containers. They will last you much longer and make better storage for food. Plastic is a terrible vessel for food. It can make your food taste funny and has a risk of containing BPA and other toxins.

6. Switch to Unpaper Towels

I’ve written before about how paper towels are detrimental to the environment. To create paper towels we have to cut down trees, transport those trees in large trucks, manufacture them in large polluting factories, wrap them in plastic and transport them to stores for us to buy them. It’s a lot of resources to use for convenience! Compared to washable kitchen towels, it’s barely a convenience. The level of care for reusable paperless towels is minimal. You’ll be saving money making the switch since you’re buying them once rather than buying paper towels again and again. If you want to learn more about them, check out my best guide to reusable towels here.

Unpaper Towels in black and white print

Where can you buy unpaper towels? Glad you asked! Check out our All Things Grow Collection to find the best unpaper towels on the market. These designer unpaper towels are hand-crafted and complement any kitchen decor, since they are designed with trends in mind. Don’t just tolerate the eyesore that is paper towels. Decorate your kitchen with soft, durable fabrics that serve you and your family.

Zero Waste

Why You Should Stop Buying Paper Towels

March 30, 2020
Beautiful Kitchen with A Roll of Paper Towels

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It’s probably obvious I’m not a fan of paper towels. So much so that my collections always have a line of washable paper towels. Unpaper towels are sustainable towels made with absorbent fabrics  I have an ultimate deep-dive into these towels right over here by the way.

Like you, I wondered why I would ever make this switch. It was two things. First, learning the terrible environmental impact we make by buying paper towels. The second reason is more selfish: saving money. This is much like when I stopped buying plastic water bottles as a college student.

Much like plastic water bottles, they are an expensive convenience that does a lot of harm.

I had limited funds and did not want to spend it on water bottles. Ever since, I’ve been glad I made that switch even if it was for my own benefit.

So here are 3 reasons you too should ditch paper towels.

Paper Towels are an Environmental Scourge

You only need to look at these statistics to realize what detriment paper towels are to the environment. The most common statistic you can find online claims “17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted to make one ton”.

If every household bought one less roll, we’d save 423,900 trees.

It’s not just trees being used to produce paper towels. Machinery has to cut down the trees and put them on a truck. That truck has to drive it to the manufacturer. Once produced and packaged, they’re off to the stores. It’s a lot of fuel to power this production.

The Green Team organization says that 40% of our landfills is made up of paper products. They are hardly recyclable and, let’s be real, no one is composting them.

It doesn’t end there: to think about the amount of plastic it takes to package these endless rolls of paper towels!

Less Chemical In Your Home

Paper towels aren’t naturally white or absorbent. They are bleached and treated with other chemicals. These companies do not have to tell us what chemicals are used in this process. We do know they use formaldehyde and BPA. These are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors. 

You could purchase unbleached paper towels that is still probably chemically treated. But then you’re back to supporting a polluting, fuel-dependent industry with a lot of wasteful packaging.

Costly Convenience of Napkins and Paper Products

America spends A LOT on paper towels- more than any other country. Before you argue that must be due to our large population, know that we spend almost as much if you combined those countries’ spending on paper towels.  

The average family spends almost 200 dollars a year for our kitchen paper. Another blog calculated you could save up to a thousand dollars in 5 years. Everyone could save trees and money by making the switch. You could even start by reducing your use of paper towels.

A small pile of spare change with a plant growing out of it

What would you buy with an additional 200 dollars?

Beautiful Alternatives for Your Kitchen

As a designer, I love any opportunity to bring color and personality to my home. I love quirky tea towels and cutesy napkins. Unpaper towels are another opportunity to style your kitchen. With a growing variety of colors and prints, you’re sure to find something that will go perfectly with your kitchen! It’s no longer an eyesore but an accent piece!

Reusable Paper Towel Being Used to Wipe Counter

And a fun hint, you’ll be able to put away the ugly towel stand and replace it with a beautiful basket we offer. It will look great on your countertop and makes unpaper towels a lot easier to manage!

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