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My initial progress towards zero waste  RSS feed

 
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Location: New Jersey
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I'm very much interested in zero waste and am slowly making the transition; however, I've hit a few bumps with the few attempts I have made. I tried making toothpaste from coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil. I tried it immediately after making it and found it a little unpleasant. The taste was not terrible, but could have been better. And unlike commercial toothpastes, it did not foam. (I believe the foaming is a result of sodium lauryl sulfate?) I could live with these two issues, but the next morning I found that the oil had separated a bit which was disappointing especially because I had distilled the essential oil myself. Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

I also bought a set of three (because I couldn't find just one ) metal earwax removal tools. They were a bit smaller than I thought and to be honest, they don't work as well as Q-tips. They're also from China which I didn't know at the time. I will check next time. I'm wondering if anyone has tried them and if maybe I just need to get used to them.

It's not a lot of progress, but it is progress.
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John

Have you listed out what kind of waste you produce and how much? There may be low hanging fruit that's easier to score than trying to make custom toothpaste to eliminate the tube. If you really want to lose the foil tube, there's always baking soda.

I'm not sure ear picks are the first/best approach in that department. Warm oil drops kept in ear for a couple minutes (sit or lie so you can keep your head turned to the side) then irrigate with warm water from a rubber squeezy bulb. If the water is hot to your hand, it's too hot. In this case, I think it's worth the $5 at Walgreens to get the bulb so you can do a proof of concept w/out trying to reinvent that right now. Repeat on succeeding days in difficult cases. This has worked for me when I got lazy and let an ear totally clog up. There are recipes online for the oil stuff if you want to add fizz or whatever.

I have never found any ear pick of any type which was really safe, nor any which gave good results even half the time. The best I found was the old style BIC pen cap with all rounded corners and edges. It was (for me) the exact right length and that greatly reduced the chances of my damaging myself. An expen$ive misfortune that could be.


Rufus
 
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John David Johnson: I don't know if my solution to the separating oils would work for you. I have a place that is always warm, for it's own reasons, that I keep my coconut oil + stuff on, then stir or shake the liquid as I need to before use.

My mom uses just baking soda + salt for tooth powder, and oil pulls the coconut oil by itself. I have weird painful nerve damage issues in my mouth, so I dry brush and do my breath freshener stuff separately.


 
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John David Johnson - I've found that I like tooth powder better than DIY toothpaste. Typically mine is baking soda, calcium carbonate, DE and powdered clove (like used for cooking).
 
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I found this on the Internet as I was looking for something I had read on this subject: Taking Care of Your Teeth Naturally

In the wonderful book, “Living On The Earth,” by Alicia Bay Laurel, from the same era, 1971, there is an unusual “Eggplant Tooth Powder” recipe. It says to cut the insides of an eggplant into cubes, then wrap each cube in foil and put them into hot coals. After about 15 minutes, the eggplant will turn black and crumbly. If it turns white it is too done, throw it out. Take the black eggplant powder and mix with equal parts of sea salt. Store in jars. The book says, “Eggplant cures many gum diseases. Salt is also very good for the mouth.”



I have that Alicia Bay Laurel book (its recipe was what I was looking for), and if you can find a copy (it is long out of print), get it. Some of her information has since been superseded, but overall, it is very useful.
 
John David Johnson
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
Have you listed out what kind of waste you produce and how much? There may be low hanging fruit that's easier to score than trying to make custom toothpaste to eliminate the tube.



My toothpaste was also to experiment as I'm interested in this whole way of life, but your point was well received.

After I read your comment I dumped my kitchen trash on the floor and separated everything - it's mostly food packaging, paper towels and then food scraps. Since then I've stopped using paper towels and throw my food scraps (except animal products - mostly fruit and veg) in the woods surrounding my apartment complex. Still working on food packaging, though I've been looking for a recycling labels.

Thanks!
 
John David Johnson
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I will look into tooth powder. I have a feeling I won't like it as much, but worth a try!
 
Pearl Sutton
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John David Johnson wrote:I will look into tooth powder. I have a feeling I won't like it as much, but worth a try!


It's just habit that makes you like toothpaste. Think on it, toothpaste was not the norm until less than 100 years ago. You can always add a bit of water or coconut oil to your powder.

Keep working on your trash habits and realize they are only habit. And the definition of habit is something that you got used to doing, which means you can get used to doing something else. Habits are not a structural issue that are incredibly difficult to change, just a mental thing that only you can change. You made it, you can change it :)  We all make habits to make the world easier, but a lot of them we import wholesale from our family or culture. Lots of things to consider besides trash to see if you have a habit because you chose it, or if it was not thought out. Choosing habits is an interesting skill set to acquire :)

Keep up the trash bit!! You are doing well! It's not easy to go against the cultural norms :D
 
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