Since I began my earth girl quest, I've been surprised to read so many articles giving dry-cleaning a bad rap. Honestly (and the seasoned environmentalist may roll her eyes at this), it's not something I've ever thought about.
I never asked myself what kinds of materials were used in the dry-cleaning process. I'm not sure I even had any concept of how it happens - maybe I just subconsciously assumed that a dry-cleaning fairy zapped her wand in the direction of my blouses and all the grossness disappeared.
The revelation that I shouldn't be dry-cleaning my clothes is actually pretty convenient for me. I hate spending money on dry-cleaning, especially since sometimes I feel that my clothes come back not looking that much cleaner. I'm glad that the eco-blogsphere opened my eyes to (economical) alternatives, such as:
1. Hand washing - soaking clothes in the sink with mild detergent and gently rubbing stains out with your fingertips
2. Steaming - with a hand-steamer or by hanging clothes up in the shower
3. Diluting vodka in a spray bottle and spritzing your clothes to kill the bacteria that cause odor (this one was my favorite since it means you'll have leftover vodka in the house!)
Thank Your Body has some additional suggestions and some further reading on the chemicals involved in dry-cleaning.
So far I've hand-washed two silk dresses, and after hanging to dry and getting a light press, they are looking (and smelling) as good as ever. I saved my body from some harsh chemicals and also saved about $20!
Traveling can be especially difficult for a zero waste warrior, as it can be challenging to keep yourself fed and watered without resorting to single-use disposables, ubiquitous and convenient as they are. Water can be of particular concern, especially if you’re traveling to a country that doesn’t have safe drinking water readily available. Is it possible to travel to places like Mexico and India without resorting to plastic bottled water?
Though I love my job and look forward to it every day (yay for being your own boss!) I still need to take time to step away and engage in something that doesn’t involve a screen (aka binge watching Friends reruns on Netflix), and that relaxes and recharges me. So I came up with the following menu, to help me keep some balance even as I’m striving to make my fledgling business a success:
Disposable menstrual products contribute a staggering amount of waste to landfills each year. As menstruating people become more aware of the waste problem facing the world today, many of us are switching to reusable menstrual products, which, in addition to being less wasteful, are often better for our bodies and lighter on our pocketbooks in the long run.
One of the challenges of international travel is that it can leave you looking tired, dehydrated, and generally ragged. I don’t care who you are, flying through the night is hard on your body, your immune system, and your skin. But with a little preparation, you can help mitigate the bedraggling effects of trans-Atlantic travel.
I've often despaired that every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is start opening apps on my phone, before I've even gotten out of bed, sometimes before I've even turned on any lights. What if, I thought, I came up with an alternative way to begin each morning, a simple series of healthy activities that would put me in the right frame of mind to have a satisfying and productive day?
After dragging my feet for a long time, I finally made the switch to 100% natural skincare products. The transition process was not easy, but I ended up finding some natural products that my skin loves and that are environmentally friendly in both their ingredients and their packaging.
On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I had a chance to catch up with my friend Cory, a former house mate from my New York City days. He's now the co-owner of Hi-Fi Mycology, a commercial scale mushroom farming operation, supplying fungi to distributors and restaurants all over Austin.
Anyone who suffers dry skin like mine will understand - when your skin is dry, cracked, and red in the cold winter months, you’re willing to use anything that works.
When I first decided that I wanted to start working towards zero waste, one of the first things I did was to swap my plastic toothbrush for a natural, compostable, biodegradable bamboo toothbrush. An easy swap, and I don't think anyone will argue that bamboo toothbrushes are just better looking than their plastic counterparts. Double win.