Recycle Less: The Elastic Band Hack

The elastic band hack for twisty lids on jars you can’t open! 

Sometimes twisty lids are so tight on jars they won’t open with cloth or a towel over the lid for grip. I’ve no idea how this idea came to me. Maybe from ads years ago for silicone discs placed over lids for extra grip to open. Place a 5mm wide elastic band over the outside of the lid, twist, viola 9/10 the lid opens. 

Lids for beans, chickpeas etc I give the lid a tap/bang on the side of the counter. Lids like peanut butter, kombucha bottles that have more groove twists (is that the right terminology for those lids?!) an elastic band works better. It also works on under the sink plumping when you have to clean out all the gunk, shudder. The trap deposit thing can be on there tight.

Elastic bands can be free too. Save the ones that come on vegetable bundles. While I don’t eat asparagus anymore after reading how much of a water intensive crop it is, diverting water from the locals who need it (I chose avocados instead. I know just as bad for water. I decided I could only have one of the two. I don’t miss asparagus), most of the wider elastic bands I have stashed are from asparagus. I understand how elastic bands for farms to bundle lettuces, kale, more leafy vegetables together quickly and easily for sale, but I’d wish they’d find a more eco alternative. I have heaps of thin elastic bands from those kale bundles I don’t know what to do with. When you see how elastic bands are made, you think twice before throwing them out. You can’t put them in the recycling and while it’s made from a sustainable source, rubber, the plantations or new plantations contribute to tropical deforestation as it’s a quick cash crop due to the demand for rubber for tyres. For something so small and throwaway it has a huge environmental cost. Birds can mistake them for worms feeding them to their young, animals can choke on them, the bands can get wrapped around beaks, mouths, legs, paws and end up in the sea where they’re mistaken for food again.

Do you throw out elastic bands, reuse, repurpose them or just keep them in that kitchen drawer like me?

Beauty Finds: Bar Body Soaps

Welcome to another Beauty Finds! This edition is soap. More specifically body soap. One of the first things I switched out when I started wanting to use less plastic was shower gel. Its alternative being soap. An old fashioned bar of soap which I think now is having a huge comeback as people leave plastic bottles behind.

And not just any soap! Firstly it has to be cruelty free, plastic packaging free, palm oil and it’s derivatives free and petrochemical and it’s derivatives free along with being free of a host of other nasty ingredients. With most of my beauty products I try to think about the environment after products have been washed or flushed down the drain. Just like all my other beauty products, in addition to being cruelty free, palm oil and petrochemical and their derives free (I might allow 4th or 5th generation petrochemical) I do my best to avoid parabens, phthalates, SLS, PEGS and a load of other nasty ingredients. I choose to avoid palm oil as I prefer orangutans. Its alias like petroleum can be tricky. I try if possible not to go coconut oil as it’s crops can be just as bad as palm oil crops. If I can I prefer to use sustainable palm and coconut oil. With skincare it’s bit more tricky so I go for cruelty free and try to avoid some nasty ingredients. My skin type is oily, sensitive, acne and now those wrinkles! Body skin type dry. 

Outlaw Soaps Home On the Range Soap 

I was sad when I finished using this as I know I won’t be able to get it again. It was a USA find earlier this year on holiday from Wholefoods. Blackberry scented but not if you get me. It’s a little more musky than I go for but I liked it nonetheless. It didn’t irritate my skin, it left my skin hydrated, I liked it’s creamy texture and it didn’t leave scum marks in the shower that are a bugger to clean off. It’s scent so strong that between uses it lingered in and around the bathroom. Even the packaging I saved to write it up still has its scent. As for the packaging, I like it for what it is. Undyed cardboard to fit its rustic feel. The only cons I have are: the colourings as it what they are, is it vegetable colouring, is it natural, is it environmental friendly and the fragrance oil: what is it in case of reactions. Would I repurchase? Yes if I could get it in Europe. 

The soap swirls are cool! Mona Lisa here
Dog or cat here.
The surprises inside the packaging added to the soap! The horse reminds me of ballon horses!

Sappo Hill Almond Soap

Another USA find I was sad to finish. I found this in a weird organic, super health food shop in Oahu. An expensive health food shop. But it is on an island with prices higher due to import. There’s nothing fancy about Sappo Hill’s packaging. Only plastic the price sticker. It comes in a display box which you select from. It was also the cheapest cruelty free soap I found in the USA and for now in Europe that’s plastic packaging free.

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Recycle Less: September Challenge. Did I Do It?

Last Month in Fast Fashion’s Inditex Join Life Label and My September Challenge I set myself a September Challenge. Aside from gym leggings and socks not to buy any other item clothing for the month of September instead shopping my wardrobe. Did I do it?

Technically yes. Technically no. 

Technically yes: I did get a pair of gym leggings and much needed socks. Socks can be expensive! I prefer Decathlon invisible trainer socks for the gym, running and everyday socks and while they’re cheapish €4.99 for 2 pairs, 6 packs add up.  

If we’re going calendar dates from ‘money’ to ‘money’ I did more or less do the challenge. If going full calendar month from the 1st to the 30th no. I’m not a zodiac monkey for nothing. 

Technically no: I did get a hoodie under the pretence of teaching classes when it gets colder. However as for now it’s the only decent looking jumper I have until a coat or jacket hides jumpers, I’ve been using it as a regular hoodie. Naughty Nat. 

My Mum every year gives my sister and I winter coat money, although we can use it for what ever we want. I always forget every year she does and trust me my sister and I buy coats, shoes or bras with it. I usually wear a winter coat for 2 winters with the money covering a coat and maybe a bra or pair of shoes. It wasn’t my intention to get an in-between autumn and winter and in between winter and spring jacket. I saw one and decided it would break up being dressed all in black when short puffer jacket season starts. Buy it now before when I need it for when I can only find big winter coats. I’ll be shopping for a big non down winter coat then anyway. So, this is a grey area under my Mum’s saying if you see it, get it, as you might not see it again along with another of her’s it’s only a bargain if you need it.

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Recycle Less: Recent Plastic Free Finds

Welcome to another Recycle Less! For the past few years I’ve been cutting down my plastic waste, trying to buy less, reuse, repurpose and find plastic free alternatives. 

Food and cosmetics remain my number one plastic waste. Thankfully more brands are using bio degradable plastics and glass bottles. Sometimes however the price tag is still too high. Sometimes there isn’t a plastic free alternative. Sometimes you look at the label on glass bottle, realise the sticky label’s plastic. Sometimes you know the ingredients in the skin care or hair care bottle is better for you and the environment when washed or flushed down the drain, however the bottle’s plastic. One thing I am noticing is European supermarkets like Carrefour and Alcampo own brands are finding plastic free alternatives. For example going back to foil and cardboard for chocolate bars, while other main name brands are still wrapping chocolate in plastic. It’s a small step in the right direction.

Anyways, recent Recycle Less Finds

Bambaw Bamboo Bottle Brush Set

Plastic free bottle cleaners have been on my to buy list of ages however the prices were never right or they didn’t ship to Spain. Cleaning bottles I was relying on shaking soapy water in the bottle after the last bottle cleaner plastic bristles disintegrated and letting water run into the bottle until no more suds were left. I’d completely forgot about replacing them until checking Amazon basket total they were in the save for later basket. The bristles are sisal bristles are made from the agave plant with a soft cotton mop like end. They work great. I still have to let the water run rinsing out suds, however the bottles are so much cleaner. I like that they come in different sizes and lengths. Rather than use the spilt ring, I use an old keyring carabiner, hanging them on a hook next to the sieves and colanders.

BamBaw Reusable Paper Towels

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Nat Dyes Linen Shorts

My favourite pair of shorts from summer 2019 still had some life in them for this summer. The only problem, they had faded so much in the wash I felt embarrassed to wear them. 

Out of nowhere I got the idea to dye them. They’d take dye being linen. Next step was buying the dye. I was convinced buying clothes dye in Spain would be hard. It wasn’t. My local supermarket had the colour I wanted, sky blue. 

Laundry colour faded before. These were once light blue

I put off for dying them for a few months thinking it’ll take a long time and finding the right moment. Sometimes there is no right moment. One day in July I decided to dye them, rather than keep looking at the box. 

Instructions. While I understood most of them, Google Translate helped with new words. The camera translate still needs work with some words. Blue Texas if you’re curious is denim. Green Oscuro, dark green.
What to expect from the dye

Dying them was so easy! Straight forward steps. I’m not sure I put enough salt in as I got distracted counting how many spoonfuls I was putting in (tip: if you’re dying items in the bathroom and have 2 toilets and others around, tell them to use the other bathroom. There was big eye roll moment of ‘Dude! Can’t you see what I’m doing?! Use the other bathroom!’). I thought the bathroom would be the best place to dye them. Easy clean up and the dye wouldn’t stain the bath. The box came with 2 packs of dye and one pack of fixer. Salt not included. The brand also does its own dying salt however as I was already feeling guilty over the toxins in the dye I used regular sea salt. Which is also cheaper. I used 1 pack of dye based on the weight of the shorts.

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