Zero Waste Toothpaste


I once told my boyfriend that I would never brush my teeth with baking soda like he did, and went so far as to scoff at his “unhygienic” ways. I guess the alien idea of being clean without using a packaged product with miscellaneous ingredients was too farfetched and implausable for me at the time.

But here I am. Less than two years later, making my own toothpaste out of baking soda and writing about how much I love it.

My teeth have never felt so clean.

Sure, you have to get over the saltiness of the baking soda, get into using a spoon instead of a tube, and you might miss the frothing and bubbling of commercial toothpaste, but I think of it this way: There was a time when we were trained to tolerate the stinging minty paste that we all grew up with, the one that burned because it was “working.” That burning became normal – I was taught to believe that it was what clean felt like. Not because it was super clean, but because that is what my family and my authority figures said. I later realized that my aversion to brushing with baking soda wasn’t because it doesn’t work, it was because it didn’t align with how I was raised to view cleanliness.

Transitioning to a Zero Waste lifestyle has really been as simple as understanding why I believe the things I do and retraining myself to form new habits and make simple changes to my daily ritual. It has not added hardship or strife or inconvenience at all. It’s just different. Different has been great. By challenging my preconceptions about what clean means, how I should clean, and what I need to achieve “cleanliness”, I feel more immaculate than I ever did before.


Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
25-30 drops Organic food grade peppermint essential oil

Mix all three ingredients in a glass dish (I use a mason jar).

To use, scoop out a little bit with a spoon and put it onto your toothbrush. Add more or less peppermint or coconut oil depending on your textural preference.

I suggest using it for a few days. Give yourself some time to adjust, I had to. It’s pretty different, but that’s OK.

Here is a great resource on why baking soda is awesome. It addressees effectiveness pertaining to using baking soda as a toothpaste.

Also, if you would like to watch me make Zero Waste toothpaste, check out this video!

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Zero Waste Dental Hygiene

I recently saw an advertisement that said there are 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes produced annually with each brush lasting about 1000 years. I saw a second piece, which said that over 80 million pounds of toothbrushes are thrown into North American landfills each year. Please note, while I could not track down the reviewed sources of these statements and can not vouch for their accuracy, it definitely makes me think about waste and what we consider it to be.

I have always used a toothbrush, one of those things that you are told to keep for a couple of months and then throw out and replace with a new one, and I most likely always will. I am 22 years old, have used about 6 toothbrushes per year, and started my Zero Waste journey at 21 (I stopped using plastic toothbrushes), which means I have contributed almost 130 pieces of seemingly never degrading plastic waste JUST to brush my teeth. This number is probably much higher if I consider any time I forgot a toothbrush and had to buy a new one, or bought a brush that was travel sized and used it for about a week. This is not even mentioning the toothpaste tubes!! The fact of it is, brushing your teeth produces a LOT of non-recyclable waste.

So we are doomed and have to use plastic toothbrushes forever. Right? Nope! I said above that I stopped using plastic toothbrushes. YES! About one year ago I invested in my first compostable toothbrush (there are many different brands). Not only are many of them biodegradable, sustainable, and renewable, their packaging is too! (I haven’t been able to find a solution to the nylon bristles). Wishing for totally compostable boar hair toothbrush bristles. Sigh. Well, here are some brands I have tested out…

They look sooooo much nicer than plastic toothbrushes! When you are done you can use them for a multitude of things! Here is one of mine being used to keep my avocado tree standing tall!

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Zero Waste Shaving


I have been waiting months to use up my very last disposable razor head cartridge so that I could invest in a safety razor. Not only to eliminate plastic waste from the disposable heads but also to save money. I was really interested in getting a stainless steel razor because I thought that they would be the most durable but after some research I found that the most inexpensive option was $70.00. I decided to check out my go-to site for anything and everything, Craigslist. I was in luck. My first search yielded a lot of options and I decided to check out a listing that was offering a variety of safety razors. After emailing the seller, I found that he was a wealth of information on all things razor. He told me that a vintage stainless steel razor is a very scarce thing and would run me about $500-$1000. For a first time safety razor user, a 1961 brass plated in nickel flare tip superspeed Gillette would be my best bet. I was worried about the durability of nickel but he said that this particular razor did not have any springs and works on pure gravity and friction. In fact, he recommended investing in an older safety razor as opposed to a new one because things were built to last back then.

I asked him about getting a new Merkur razor, and while he loved the older models, he said that the new ones have terrible quality control issues with the chrome plating and that the heads of them are made from zamak which is a zinc alloy that is horribly prone to corrosion. Once it is exposed, the heads get zinc pest and corrode from the inside out. He said that Germany always seemed to use zinc for razors probably because of the need for brass in wartime, but they did a better job of plating back then so it could cope. Additionally, he told me that Edwin Jagger razors are zamak but have a very thick plating. The only problem is if you drop it the screw holding the cap on tends to snap off because the metal is brittle. Parkers are brass, but are poor quality according to him.

So I decided that I would go with the Gillette. He gave me a great deal, $15.00, which is about the same price as four refill heads of the Venus Gillette that I was using before, and even recommended some plastic free boxed razor blades that I could get at Pasteur Pharmacy in NYC.  For a women using this razor for legs, underarms etc. he recommended the Personna red blades which can be recycled. I am going to make sure to dry the blades and the razor after each use to prolong its lifespan. Plus, it is gorgeous, I mean look at it! I will feel cool each time I shave, that’s a first! I can’t wait to try it out!

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Unclogging Your Drain Naturally

It is never fun to have your drains clogged with hair in the shower or food in the kitchen. I put off cleaning out my drain because I thought it would be difficult and take forever. Luckily my boyfriend showed me this easy and effective method to help remove the buildup from clogged drains! It was actually kind of fun and reminiscent of elementary school volcanoes!

DIY Natural Drain Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of boiling or extremely hot water
  • bathtub stopper or thick washcloth

Steps:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into your drain. Be sure that it all goes down. You can use your fingers or a long tool such as a chopstick to help.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup white vinegar into the drain and cover immediately with a stopper or a rag in order to keep bubbles in the drain instead of them releasing into your sink or tub
  3. Wait 2 minutes
  4. Pour the second 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain and, like in step 2, cover
  5. Once covered, wait 15-30 minutes
  6. Uncover and dump one gallon of boiling or very hot water down the drain

Note: Depending on how clogged your drain is you might have to repeat.

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