In a time before modern sanitary towels and tampons, women had a choice of pads and tampons made from reusable rags, grass, sheep wool, rabbit fur, menstrual belts to hold pads of various kinds textiles in place. Modern disposable towels, pads and tampons have made our lives so much easier! As always with convenience comes a price normally at the cost of the environment. Parts of the sanitary product is plastic, the packaging plastic, the disposing of them, how do they magically disappear once in the rubbish, trash, sanitary bins? Which poor person has to deal with the disposing? Add there’s debate over the chemicals in the products if they’re good for our nether regions.
Recently on the ladies sanitary market are period knickers. Think cotton nappies versus disposable nappies/diapers, the concept is the same. Instead of being single use, the disposing of it which can be tricky when out, buying new pads, tampons, all you have to do is rinse, wash, dry repeat with reduced environmental effect. I think this is something most girls want as let’s be honest periods can be expensive with period tax in some countries in addition to the general cost of them. The three number one issues regarding period knickers are: Do they leak? Do they smell? Will they be bulky? Or for me a least they are.
This year’s Earth Day theme is Invest in Our Planet and I might get a little soap boxy. Just warning ya.
Earth Day has been celebrated globally since 1970 and is held on the 22nd April each year to promote awareness and demonstrate support for environmental protection. To be honest I think this message has been lost with the rise of influencers posing in fields of flowers, backdrops of mountains, beaches saying oh how we should protect this earth with using my discount code for xyz sponsor. Earth Day isn’t about the influencer, the main focus of those photo. It’s about the fields of flowers being the focus, tall majestic mountain ranges, the blue oceans and seas. They’re the focus. They’re the ones paying the price for human consumerism. I’m guilty of it, the buying into items! I’m not perfect. However every 22nd of April I roll my eyes at the wanna be influencers, made it influencers, brands with never gave a crap to start with suddenly caring about the environment. Honestly I check out of it. The message has been lost.
So many of us can’t fight corporations, the big money, however we can with the choices we make with our money. I know it’s not easy. Goods still need to be transported and that requires lorries, trucks, shipping both by air and sea. That I don’t think will change. The type of fuel for them maybe. Sometimes I don’t think this is taken into account purchasing items. Sometimes look local before buying online. The shipping will have been less in terms of destination. Items still need to be shipped and people needs jobs. I always think if I really need the item before ordering online. Could I get it locally, do I really needed it, what’s my mood today? Is it a quick fix to feel good? I think this way regardless of it’s from a sustainable brand or not. A sustainable brand still wants you to buy its item, they still need to market it attractively, it still needs to be shipped, it’s still part of consumerism. Just because it’s sustainable, doesn’t mean you need it.
I think you get the idea of Invest In Our Planet with money. Do research on brands that line with your ethics. I love beauty products. They are often my most used plastic consummation. I’m always trying to reduct the amount of plastic I use which I share here on natjtan with Recycle Less finds. Food and beauty items being the top plastic consumption.
Sometimes you don’t realise how much you take something for granted until it’s gone. Like when the water pump in my building fails and left without water for an afternoon.
That means no flushing the toilet, no washing hands, no drinking water, no cups of tea, no washing up, not even boiling a pan of water to cook vegetables. Just a feeling of feeling dirty, how much you rely on water out a tap on demand and to be honestly helpless. Now for those just in case afternoons which have only happened 3 times in the last few years, I have a 6 litre water bottle just in case stored away. I should probably learn how to filter water too as a survivalist. Those moments of not having any water make you think about how you’d survive without water or electricity if you didn’t have clean water skills or knowing how to build fires to cook and be warm or even a generator. I wouldn’t survive long!
However I’m always trying to save on water. More so for the environment. The water bill followed. That’s risen so much in the last few months as energy costs have soared in Europe. I don’t even want to talk about the electricity bill. I’m using the same amount of electricity yet it’s approx €63 more a month. Now I for sure unplug the toaster and kettle when not in use.
The past few years I’ve been using the following tips that have now become second nature. They do save, yet it doesn’t help the hot water takes so long to come through!:
When shampooing and conditioning my hair I turn off the shower. This saves quite a lot of water. Yes, might be chilly in the winter but honestly you get used to it.
When cleansing my face in the shower I again turn off the shower while applying cleanser.
Shaving my legs, again you guessed it I turn off the shower!
Turn off the tap/faucet while brushing teeth.
Turn off the tap while washing hands. It doesn’t need to be on the whole hand washing sequence. I know however with older turn/compression taps as opposed to lever taps this is tricker to impossible.
Welcome back to another Recycle Less! This edition features an easy self watering plant system using plastic bottles.
I’m in no way a green thumb, but I try. I mentioned recently I follow Hamimommy on YouTube a day in a housewife vlog, who too cares for the environment, sharing tips and ideas on how to help lead a more sustainable lifestyle. One vlog she featured an easy self watering system for growing edible plants indoors as in the video below using plastic bottles. Curious to see if it worked, I had an 8L water bottle left over from holiday I didn’t want to throw out. No not hoarding! It still had some water in it, I hadn’t got around to using up. In Spain the water isn’t nice out the tap, so when away buy bottled water. At home I use a tap water filter.
It’s really easy to set up:
Cut the bottle about 1/3 down from the top.
Keep the lid and cut a hole in it.
Thread through a cloth or rag through the hole in the lid and screw the lid back on. I used part of a bamboo cleaning cloth. Have about 1/3 or a bit more of the cloth in the inside of the bottle.
Place the now cut 1/3 bottle with the lid upside down on the remainder of the 2/3 bottle and fill with soil making sure the cloth is sufficiently in the soil to draw up water.
Welcome back to another Recycle Less where I share my journey towards a lesser plastic free and more sustainable lifestyle. This edition is solid dish soap. Yes, solid dish soap! I didn’t know it was thing either.
I don’t know why but it never occurred to me that you could get solid soap other than hand soap and shower/bath soap. I mean, where did that idea come from to use a solid soap to wash with come from. Probably Nat from soap that was used to wash EVERYTHING! First however a backstory how I came across solid dish soaps if you’re interested otherwise, skip 3 paragraphs and grab a cup of tea or coffee, for this is a long one.
Back in October last year a YouTube video wouldn’t get out of my recommendations. To shut the algorithm up I clicked it. The algorithm might know me a little too well. I can’t remember the exact video other than the channel is Hamimommy and I’ve subscribed. Hamimommy is a channel I thought I’d never watch. A house cleaning, day in a housewife type of show. I like clean house, there are other things I prefer to do with my time. The cooking parts I mostly skip as meat is featured and I don’t eat meat. What I do like about her is she’s very much about reducing waste, reusing things, buying less plastic, sharing tips, promoting a less wasteful and more sustainable lifestyle. It’s one of the few videos I look forward to watching and the only one I sit down and watch rather than have on when in the kitchen cooking. Her house is gorgeous, her videos are amazingly filmed and edited and I’ve got some many tips and ideas from her. One being solid dish soap. I can’t find the exact video, however this one, 13 Items To Help Make Less Plastic and Disposables/ Zero Waste Routine features solid dish soap. No worries if you like me don’t speak Korean, you can turn on the subtitles in your language in YouTube settings.
I wouldn’t say a light bulb when off when she featured solid dish soap. More a frying pan to my head. I use solid soap in the shower instead of shower gel to save plastic and help the environment when it’s washed down the drain. I use solid soap to wash my hands. While I’ve never got on with solid shampoo bars I have tried them. Why hadn’t I thought about solid dish soap before? Why? Because I didn’t know they existed.
It was also around that time I started using new liquid dish detergent by Frosch. I’ve always used Frosch dish detergents as they’re bio, not that expensive and widely available in Spain. This particular one, a new rosemary scent came with a hazard sign on the back. None of the other Frosch dish detergents I’ve used have this!. While I use solid soap to wash my hands in the bathrooms, in the kitchen and when I get in, I use liquid dish soap. The scent even after rinsing well was still on my hands. I was concerned then that even with rinsing well the dishes, I was ingesting this hazardous bio dish soap. Hamimmony released that video, I went on a hunt for solid dish soap down a long rabbit hole. And with that, the actual review of the first dish soap I found.
I tried Amazon first and it seemed only Jabon Zorro d’Avi a Spanish brand had sold natural dish soaps. I did find in my local supermarket Marseille soap however that had sodium tallowate, beef fat. Being vegan I didn’t want to wash with animal fats. The shipping was expensive even on Jabon Zorro d’Avi’s site. I think it’s since gone down. The soap bar, 120g, Jabón Sóldio Natural para Vajilla, wasn’t cheap €5.95. Amazon €8.95! Amazon shipping €3.95. €12.9 is a lot! I only wanted to try one! I decided to try a few zero waste shops locally to see if I could find any. The first one I visited stocked it however a little more than online I think €7. The sales assistant said it would last me 3 months.
I think I used it wrong as it lasted about 3 weeks. It’s not a foaming bar. I’m team if it foams it’s working right? I know foam isn’t always an indicator that something’s working. I used the soap exactly as I do in the shower. Wet sponge, wet bar, rub them together, foam, clean. I tired to cut it into smaller pieces but it just crumbled. It also left white marks everywhere if you didn’t rinse or wipe down surfaces or the draining board well. Due to how quickly I got through it I decided to find another solid dish soap to try.
I did like that it was plastic free, vegan and all natural ingredients: Helianthus Annus oil, aqua/water, Olea Europapea Fruit oil, aqua/water, Sodium Hydroxide.
In another zero waste shop Yes Future Positive Supermarket, I found a vegan traditional Marseille soap by La Corvette 300g. The sales assistant said it can be used for everything. EVERYTHING! I purchased one for the kitchen and went back a few days later to purchase another for hand washing as I wanted to stop liquid hand washing detergent. Price is around €3.50-€6.99 on La Corvette’s own site (in English!) depending on size purchased and if plastic wrapped. They sell non plastic wrapped bars and sell in bulk! It’s also palm oil free and certified COSMOS NATURAL by ECOCERT Greenlife, so I’m hoping coconut derived ingredient’s ethically sourced.