Categories for Do it yourself

Not yet zero waste

The past couple of months i’ve been watching youtube video’s about zero waste.

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators.

Over the past years i have worked slowly towards making more myself. My body butter, handcream, cleaning stuff, laundry detergent, toothpaste, all these i’m making myself. I love to search for recipes, search for the proper basic materials to make these from.

Watching these video’s makes me more aware of all the unthinking i do in my life. I do buy things wrapped in plastic. Only one or two months ago i changed my catty litter grit to wood, so i can throw it in the compost in the garden. Only six months ago i started a special bag for the plastic waste container near the Jumbo. I have been throwing away my paper and glass in the proper containers for years, OK. But other things were simply passing me by.

Zero Waste Home is the website from Bea Johnson.

Since adopting the Zero Waste lifestyle in 2008, my life and that of my family have changed for the better. We not only feel happier, but we also lead more meaningful lives based on experiences instead of stuff.

This blog and my bestselling book, Zero Waste Home, have launched a global movement, inspiring thousands of people throughout the world to live simply and take a stance against needless waste.

I propose a simple guideline, my 5R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (and only in that order).

Another website, which i discovered through its youtube video’s, is Trash is for Tossers.

How do I define ZERO WASTE? To me, Zero Waste means that I do not produce any garbage. No sending anything to landfill, no throwing anything in a trash can, nothing. However, I do recycle and I do compost.

Gittemary is a Danish girl who makes video’s about food, make-up in a zero waste manner.

Hello everyone! My name is Gittemary and I am 22 years old. Two years ago I switched out impulse buys, fashion week and must-haves for a zero waste and plastic-free lifestyle! Now, I create inspiration, recipes and guides on how to get started reducing trash and finding non-materialistic values.

So yes, plans on my own internal list of things to research and do:

  • do research for a shower bar, at the Gimsel or Lush
  • look for a metal container for these bars, Lush has them, but maybe there are some second hand ones
  • go through all my trash each day and look for alternatives
  • start buying things in the bulk section in the Gimsel, save cotton bags for it, have a talk in the shop first though!

I do see so many things thrown away on the streets. Plastic wraps, plastic spoons, bottles. Yes, a small part of that will be gathered by the people working on the streets, of course. But it is all such a waste.

I am starting this trip of mine. Looking at myself and all the things in my life and in my house with a critical eye and determine if i want to keep something in or not. It will be a slow process, and i will make mistakes, but this is something worth fighting for.

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For my body and hand butter i simply use the same amounts of shea butter and coconut oil.
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Cleaning the old pots for my body butter and toothpaste in boiling water
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Warming the coconut oil and shea butter au-bain-marie
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Mixing the body butter with an old electrical whisk i took with me from home, thirty years ago. It must be from the 60s!
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Whipped body and hand butter and toothpaste
Published on October 18, 2016 at 6:00 by

DIY: Fermenting your own sauerkraut

Today i started making sauerkraut. I have read about this process, fermenting, for years. Last year on the Rotterdamse Oogst Markt i talked with the girls from Ferme Kolen. I bought some kimchi then.

Fermentation is used in many different foods and drinks. Beer, wine and cider converse sugar into ethanol. Bread uses the yeast to produce CO2. Sauerkraut, sausages, kimchi, yogurt, miso, soya all use fermentation to alter the taste and make the end product more usable.

The pot will need to stand in room temperature for around two to three weeks. A white mould can appear on the surface, i do need to remove that as fast as possible.

I used the following recipe.

  • 1 kilo white cabbage
  • 5 gr mustard seeds
  • 4 gr juniper
  • 3 gr caraway
  • ± 22,5 gr salt
  • a few peppercorns

Sauerkraut is the easiest fermented product to make. I used some spices to add a bit of flavour, but you can make it with only the white cabbage and salt. I will see how this will evolve and report back here.

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Starting out with white cabbage, salt, juniper, mustard seeds and caraway. I did add some black peppercorns at the end.
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Slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible. Next time i use my mandolin and grate them really fine.
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Adding the salt, 22,5 grams for 1 kilo of cabbage. After a couple of minutes of crunching and munching and stamping with clean bare hands the cabbage gets moistened. Here you see the spices put on top of the cabbage after the first kneading. After this the spices gets kneaded in the cabbage for a few more minutes.
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The pot i wanted to put the cabbage into broke. I had this other pot, not ideal, i hope it will work fine. On top i put a big leaf from the outside of the cabbage. The core of the cabbage is used as a weight with which to crunch all the cabbage down. I did add some salted water to get the cabbage completely covered with it.
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I use a dish cloth to close up the pot.
Published on March 30, 2016 at 6:00 by

Homemade toothpaste and deodorant

The most important part of my new homemade toothpaste and deodorant is sodium bicarbonate. The following applications are listed on the wikipedia page:

  • pest control
  • paint and corrosion removal
  • pH balancer
  • mild disinfectant
  • fire extinguisher
  • cooking
    • with acids
    • by heating
  • neutralisation of acids and bases
  • medical uses
  • personal hygiene
  • sports
  • cleaning
  • biopesticide

Toothpaste
The past week my toothpaste ran out. I am using Parodontax for like, 25 years. It is a bit salty and its main ingredient is – yep! – sodium bicarbonate. I’ve been using it for so long i don’t notice the salty taste. So last week i decided to bite the bullet and make my own toothpaste. Most recipes i found had a mix of the following ingredients:

  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • peppermint essential oil
  • stevia
  • vegetable glycerin
  • sea salt
  • hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • water
  • bentonite clay

I decided to try the following recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil

I slightly warmed the coconut oil au bain marie and put in the baking soda and the salt and peppermint. I let it cool for a night. The next day i went through it with a teaspoon. I use a wooden icicle stick to get some paste out and put it on my toothbrush. Yes, it is salty, but the smell of peppermint makes up for it – a bit.

I might get some stevia to make it a bit more sweeter. I have never bought stevia before, i will have a look around. I did do a search for it this evening and i do need to look at the composition. I would like to get some pure stevia. Not the products with 97% maltodextrine and 3% stevia (yes you Albert Heijn!). So i might need to go to the nature shop Gimsel.

So far i do like the toothpaste. It is not the same as my old Parodontax, i will need to give it some more time to get used to it. But, it does really clean remarkably well. Happy with that!

Deodorant
To be honest, i haven’t made this one yet. But last week a video came by from Trash is for Tossers and today i bought the arrowroot powder.

The ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter
  • around 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil

I do have a confession to make here though. I hardly use deodorant. I don’t find myself smelling weird. Truthfully, i like my smell. But yeah, i’m a lot by myself, so it is not a big deal anyway. When i go out more, for work or anything else, i have used deodorant. So it’s not a completely strange product. Right now i have a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil in my bathroom – how do you call that?? – closet? little tiny cabinet? – sorry, i have no idea! Anyway, this mixture sounds good. So i will let you know once i made this and tried it a couple of times.

Published on November 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

Skincare: face and body

Over the years i’ve used many different types of skincare.

I did use mostly Clinique things. It was high end, but not too expensive. I used the Superdefense moisturizer SPF 20. As a night cream i used the Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. I did try the Clinique 3 step system with soap and moisturizer, but it never stuck. I still have a small Super Rescue tube, which i will use up in the coming months.

A few years ago i started to read about skincare on blogs and watch more make-up and skincare youtube clips. Some recommended Dr. Jetske Ultee, a research physician in cosmetic dermatology. She has a list of recommended products (in dutch) on her site, which i now use as a starting point. It is hard though not to be tempted by all the beautiful selling talk which is thrown at you on the street, in the shops and online.

Skincare: face
For cleaning i mostly use warm water. Since i do not use make-up daily, water is enough for me. I do have a Body Shop Aloe calming facial cleanser and Aloe calming toner for when i do need to remove make-up, but i only use it once every two or three weeks.

As day cream i now use the Olaz total effects day cream perfume free. It is a soft cream with hardly any smell which does get absorbed into the skin quickly. It leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh, just what i need. The Total Effects most important ingredient is Niacinamide (2).

This cream will cost you around 20 euros, but the Kruidvat shop does have regular 50% discounts on this brand, so keep an eye out for that. I also have a Olaz serum i irregularly use, the Olaz Total effects Instant smoothing serum.

I did use Ren for a short time in between the Clinique and Olaz products. I did enjoy the feel and packaging of this brand. Sadly it’s getting a bit too expensive for me right now. I still have a Bio Retinoid anti-ageing concentrate i sometimes use in the evening.

On the market i bought a pure argan oil for use on my face as well.

I did stop using a dedicated night cream all together. I use the oil now sometimes. I could use my day cream as a night cream, since it doesn’t have an SPF in it. This was also a conclusion i reached after reading about on the blog of Dr. Jestke Ultee.

Skincare: face, soon
There are two more product types i will start using soon. First it is an exfoliant. I should read more about the two different types – salicylic acid and glycolic acid – and make an informed choice. My skin seems fairly normal to me, not overly oily or dry. I do get a red face quickly though, so i think i have a sensitive skin. It seems that salicylic acid is the best for me, since it’s a bit milder and suitable for a sensitive skin.

The other product i want to start using is a sun protector. This does coincide with the exfoliant, which makes your skin more sensitive to sunshine, since your upper skin layer will be thinner. I will go through the list on the product advice page and will pick an affordable one out to start with.

Skincare: hands and body
I did find my favourite hand cream of all time, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream. I use a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening, rubbing it into the upper side of my hands. It’s a wonderful thick cream, with a faint honey and almond smell. I just bought my second tube of this stuff. I simply don’t wanna use anything else.

I was tempted and bought a Shea Butter Body Cream as well. It is wonderful stuff. Yes, the price is a bit high, 33 euros for 200 ml. I will go back to making a homemade body butter. I do like the idea of knowing all the ingredients in what i use. It’s also pretty easy to make it yourself, you only need a few ingredients.

Skincare: body butter recipe
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Shea Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup light oil like almond, olive or jojoba
  • Optional: 10-30 drops Essential Oils for scent

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except essential oils.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Move to fridge and let cool another 1 hour or until starting to harden but still somewhat soft.
  5. Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Return to fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept at the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than that.
  8. Enjoy!

A year and a half ago i went to drugstore de Lang in Rotterdam to buy the ingredients for this butter. Soon i will go back there and get more ingredients. Just a short trip with the tram is all i need. Or… i could go for a walk!

Skincare
I do feel the products i use are fairly basic. But i admit, i do love a bit of pampering. I do not use the body butter each day. I do use it around twice a week on my arms and legs. I try to show a bit of restraint in the products i use. But yeah, i do get tempted!

I am curious about using an exfoliator. I have never used it, so i will make my skin get used to it slowly. I’ll keep you informed about my experiences with it.

For Dutch people, the website of Dr. Jetske Ultee is a great resource. I’m afraid i do not know any similar site in english, or any other language. If you do know any such site, with clear and precise information about beauty products, please share that in the comments below.

Published on March 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

Homemade cleaners

A few years ago i started to read online about how to make my own cleaners cheaply and with as few ingredients as possible. A world opened up to me. At the moment i’m still in a transition phase. I still have some old products, there are still some cleaners i buy. On the whole i use less products and most of my cleaners are mild and multipurpose.

My current cleaner stuff

  • Driehoek soda – any supermarket
  • Sunlight soap – i bought this at a large AH
  • white vinegar – any supermarket
  • baking soda – any large toko or foreign supermarket
  • Castile soap – an ecological supermarket (like the Gimsel)
  • lemon toilet cleaner – supermarket
  • Froggy dish detergent – Marqt

Read more…

Published on February 18, 2015 at 6:00 by