Zero waste living has become a large part of my life over the past few months and I've discovered some great life tips to implement for a more eco-conscious lifestyle. When we're in the comfort of our own homes it's easy to make zero waste choices, but when we travel we're having to forward-plan our daily actions and wondering what to bring with us that doesn't involve waste can seem tricky.
My routine, as a result of living more minimally and more eco-conscious, is simple and effective. So I would, firstly, suggest you take a look at all of the items you think you need and then choose only the items you will need. Go through your daily routine; brush teeth, wash face, get dressed... and so on. This'll make clear what you need to take with you and what you can leave behind.
For me, basic dental hygiene and sanitary items are all I need for a short trip. But instead of picking any old toothbrush or face wash, I opt for ones that are healthier for me and the planet. Here's what I packed:
Did you know it takes hundreds of years for a single plastic toothbrush to break down? How many toothbrushes do you go through per year? And how many people use these toothbrushes and toss them out, too? Our landfills and oceans are overflowing with these disposable items that are causing major damage to our planet and eco system.
An easy way to make a more eco-conscious choice is to use a compostable toothbrush. They're easy to find (here is where I get mine) and just as effective for cleaning your teeth. When you're done, just toss it into your compost or recycle it. It's such a simple and easy solution to one of the most common contributors to plastic waste!
WARNING: Some bamboo toothbrushes are made using pig hair for the bristles. Make sure you check the details and opt for one with cruelty-free bristles if you're vegan.
Generally I make my own toothpaste (recipe coming soon), but these toothy tabs are also great for travelling as you can count out exactly how many you will need for your travels so you don't have to worry about bringing too little or too much with you. Just pop one in your mouth, chew a little and get brushing!
I always use a tongue scraper as it cleans my tongue and gets rid of bacteria that brushing alone can't do. It always makes my mouth feel extra clean! They're really affordable and easy to find, just make sure you opt for a stainless steel one over plastic (like this).
I love oils for the skin, hair and body – they are a great natural way to add moisture without disrupting the delicate pH balance... let alone all of the wonderful healing benefits of different essential oils. So making my own concoction of oil blends for my skin means it's tailored to my needs and I can switch it up whenever I please. So, as you can probably tell, I've become addicted to using my own recipe (blogpost coming soon).
So when I travel I like to pump just enough into a smaller glass bottle to take with me so I'm not lugging around more than I need. These bottles are easy to find in most health and alternative living shops as well as online (here is a link).
I avoid plastic packaging as much as possible and so when it comes to face wash I will either make my own (recipe coming soon) or buy one without packaging or will recyclable packaging. Currently I am using a LUSH face wash that comes in a pot that, once I'm done using it, I take back into the store so that they can refill it and put back on the shelves. When I travel I wont need to bring the entire container with me so I decant what I need into this old spice jar to take up less room.
Now, I'm going to get straight to the point... if you have periods, you need to get yourself a menstrual cup. They are the bees knees. Finally something has been designed for women by women for periods. They have taken away all of the angst and worry around periods for me and completely revolutionised the menstrual cycle.
Not only are they comfortable (I can't feel it at all when it's in), durable, easy to use (if it's your first time using one you will go through learning curve, but trust me it's worth it and quickly becomes easy as pie), but it also means my cramps are far less painful, my periods aren't as long-lasting or as heavy, there is no odour (that smell is not your period, it's the chemicals in tampons and pads reacting with your body) and I now have no chance of suffering from toxic shock syndrome.
Okay, okay... I could go on but I'll leave the rambling there. They're also a brilliant solution for zero waste living. Instead of flushing or tossing out hundreds of tampons and pads every year, you make one purchase and you're set for at least 12 months (I've has mine longer and it's still going strong). Not only does this mean you're not playing a part in flushing those toxic chemicals (you know, those ones that make your foof smell funny) into the ocean, but it takes up a lot less room in your baggage and you're going to make a massive financial saving, too! What's not to love?