Plastic Free July is upon us

It is almost July and plastic free july is a challenge some of us has pledged for.

“Imagine a world without plastic waste. That’s our mission – to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling, worldwide.

​Will you join us and give up single-use plastic this July?”

This started in 2011 and now is in 150 countries, which is impressive. The idea is to get rid of disposable, go reusable and never look back.

I have also pledged but it is probably easier for us than some as we have been doing almost all the actions already for some time. Here are the things we do and it will also be counted for Plastic Free July 🙂

  1. No Bottled water: We religiously have been staying away from bottled water. First because it is unnecessary in most cases where you have access to clean water and can fill up a bottle, a cup or even use your hands to drink. I can argue any bacteria in your hand is far more benign than those in the bottled water. Second, the exact bacteria we talked about and many more toxins. I was just in an event with a scientist and he confided in me that any plastic out there is non-BPA Free (or it has BPA) and hence when warmed, i.e. under the sun or in a microwave will release all the toxins in it to the food it is containing and these toxins are not made for human consumption. Even BPA Free plastics are dangerous when put in a microwave so we started avoiding warming up anything in a plastic container in microwave. Back to the original point, there is no good reason to use bottled water, if you are in a place with no water, not even a dirty body of water that you can use personal filtering tools like those people use in camping, then maybe but except this extreme case your day to day life should be bottled water free 🙂
  2. Plastic bags: only convenient and the sheer number of plastic bags around us might entice you to use one as they are no good for anything. They can replaced with reusable bag for any usage so why not switch now. In Australia, the two big supermarkets finally pulled the plug on the soft plastic bags at the check outs but they still use them for online shopping and the grocery section which is either hypocritical or one could say one step at a time. Either way, at least something has been done. I even go further and try to divert already used plastic bags, banners, posters and so on from landfill by turning them into big reusable shopping bags.
  3. Plastic cutlery: this is hard to avoid unless you are carrying your own cutlery which is super easy and  cool as you can get the cutest cutlery and holders for your bag with cute shapes and colours. I got one for my now 17 month old daughter but have been using it myself ever since 😀 it has also extra space so I put extra/back up for us when we go out. I have to admit in this category, the wooden chopsticks that are not plastic are as much prolific so try avoiding those too.
  4. Cups/Coffee Cups: Thanks to KeepCup and FrankGreen these reusable coffee cups are fashionable now so more people use them but still a lot of people around me use disposable every now and then. I tend to sit in the coffee shop and drink my coffee when I dont have my reusable with me, have to note, you dont need KeepCup or any fancy pants cup, just a mug can work well.
  5. Straws: have to admit this one is not on my radar. First, I dont use straws ,just drink from a cup or bottle or glass. Second, I dont go clubbing so I never get a drink that needs straw anyway, so it might be easy for me to toss the disposable for good but not for some one that has straws in thei life. You tell me. Anyhow, there are reusable stainless steel straws in the market now that people include them int heir cutlery set, that could be for you is straws are big in your life.

Step 3. Reuse

This step is a very obvious but also innovative step in a zero waste journey. You know that recycling is not the answer and it is by itself a wasteful process and you know you should reuse stuff before chucking them in landfill or recycling bins. YES, I did put those two bins next to each other, they are both wasted, unfortunately!!!

However, finding ways to reuse stuff are difficult and sometimes need lots of research and time to figure another way of reusing something.

I decided to post on stuff that I ended up reusing so here goes the REUSING SERIES 🙂

Make your own period pad by reusing old clothing

A typical woman uses roughly more than 11,000 feminine hygiene products, tampons or pads, in her lifetime. That’s just for ONE FEMALE. That’s a lot of waste in landfill and tons of money out of pocket. We are talking about mountains and mountains of pads, tampons and baby nappies and grown up nappies in the landfill, where they don’t really belong to be honest.

Reusable pads are easier to use, more breathable, funner to wear as they come in different prints, colors and feels. You can mix and match with what you are wearing or how you are feeling that day. You can choose to have snaps on them or Velcros but there is no toxic plastic and glue next to your lady part so PHEW!!! In general, reusable cloth pads last longer, look nicer and feel softer plus protect better.

You might say, why I am not talking about menstrual cups?

Well for start, we are reusing material here, remember, second, if you are a tampon girl cups are perfect but if you are not, then pads are the only way to go.

Also, cloth pads are perfect for postpartum wear, I should know cos I used them for specifically this purpose. I used the longer and thicker overnight pads at that time. Many women soak their pads in soothing formulations to wear against their skin to promote comfort and healing after giving birth. I didn’t because I am lazy and plus I think they are pretty soft and nice already. And cloth postpartum pads seem to be a natural choice for women who choose cloth diapers for their babies.

Some pads are made leak-resistant by the thickness of their fabrics. Other cloth pads have a waterproof lining, so they require less cotton fabric than pads with no waterproof backing. The thickness of the pad also varies based on the flow level the pads are designed for, and whether they’re an all-in-one system or have adjustable inserts.

Cloth pads might seem expensive at first, but considering a typical women can expect to deal with 35 years of menstruation during their lifetime. That can cost her thousands of dollars in disposable products over time. When she switches to cloth pads, she will spend a lot less on feminine hygiene there onward.

So if you are convinced that reusable cloth pads are the way to go, grab an old T-shirt to up-cycle. You can use PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate) as the water proof layer as it is a type of laminated fabric. Or you can just go thick by adding more layers and leak proof it like that. It all depends on you and your flow.

Grab a pattern and cut away your material, sew them back together per the pattern and Voilá, you have a free reusable cloth pad.

If you want to join a group of people and sew away your cloth pad together, come along to our next get together and sew your free pad with us, all material will be provided but feel free to bring a shirt to reuse.

Making your own deodorant and other beauty products

Today I had another successful workshop with this lovely bunch, making our own hand-made non-toxic beauty and hygiene products.

These are the material we used and their pros and cons 😉

We all made a decision there to remove toxins and chemicals that we don’t know from our daily life and stick with what we know and known for generations. If you want to join our next class, visit here.

Hence we used these:

Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate can help your skin in many ways. Adding a little bit to your bath water can help you deal with scaly skin and soothe itchy skin. A baking soda solution can also be used to exfoliate skin, soften calluses, and clean inflamed skin. And it may help brighten dull and darkened skin when used with lemon juice. Baking soda also works as a natural alternative to antiperspirants.

Benefits of Baking Soda For Skin

  • Deals with scaly skin
  • Soothes itchy skin
  • Exfoliate
  • Brightens complexion
  • Handles sweaty skin

Do A Skin Test First

Baking soda is generally safe for your skin. However, it can cause irritation in some people. It is, therefore, a good idea to do a patch test first to see how your skin takes it. Also, don’t apply baking soda to broken skin without checking with your doctor first.

Coconut Oil

Reported Benefits

According to Lita Lee, PhD, coconut oil has many benefits that were unrealized until studies were done on island populations who ate diets high in coconut oil. Some of the benefits Lee cites for dietary intake of coconut oil include thyroid stimulating effects; anti-aging properties; decreased levels of LDL cholesterol; antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties that prevent illness; anti-cancer effects; and weight loss as the result of thyroid stimulation. Many of the benefits of coconut oil may be due largely to the presence of lauric acid, a fatty acid present in breast milk that confers many of the immune and health benefits to breastfed babies. None of these reported benefits have been evaluated by the FDA.

Reported Drawbacks

The primary drawback to coconut oil is its saturated fat content, with 11.8 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fat intake is one of the main dietary causes of high cholesterol. The Association recommends that you limit saturated fats — including tropical oils like coconut and palm oil — in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. If you consume 2,000 calories per day, your saturated fat intake should be no more than 15 grams. A 1-tablespoon serving of coconut oil comes close to 100 percent of the recommended amount. Another disadvantage to coconut oil consumption is its high caloric density: one gram of fat has nine calories while one gram of protein or carbohydrates has four calories. If you are consuming coconut oil, then you are eating more than twice the calories you could get from equal amounts of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

Jojoba Oil

What is jojoba oil and how is it made ? Jojoba oil comes from the seeds of a plant scientifically known as Simmondsia chinensis that grows in northern Mexico and south western US. It is extracted by cold pressing and processed into liquid wax used in many cosmetic products such as creams and lotions. It is similar to other vegetable oils and contains all wax esters, vitamin E and phospholipids.

This wonder oil has an incredibly long shelf life compared to other vegetable oils and can be stored for long without degrading. It has a few special characteristics that make it very essential.

Tumeric

Proven beauty benefits from Turmeric

There are many proven benefits that can be acquired from turmeric and its by-products. But when it comes to beauty, it is essential to know how turmeric acts as a resource to add beauty to your tone.

Anti-Bacterial Agent – Turmeric

The turmeric is widely considered to have antibacterial properties in it which prevents the various bacteria and germs to enter our body and also has the capability of destroying the bacterial organisms which are already present in our body. This ensures in maintaining the safeness of the skin and are also applied to various small injuries like burns and small cuts without damaging the skin.

Anti-Aging

Anti-aging has now become one common and a major problem among youths and people who are at a very young age in today’s world. There are several factors which contribute to the anti-aging including the healthy diet, pollution, stress and the environment. These are the major factors which are the main causes for creating dryness in the skin. Turmeric can be mixed with water and be applied to your skin like a face pack to reduce these problems. The making of paste and applying it all over the body is a common practice followed from the ancient cultures in many countries like the India.

Facial Hair Control

The growth of hair in face for men is common as it looks like a beard or a mustache,whereas they feel uncomfortable with the growth of hair in their faces. In order to reduce the growth of hair, turmeric can be used as a supplement when mixed with water and applied regularly can show better results in quick time. This not only reduces the development of hair in the face but also protects the skin from pollution and other infections without easily getting exposed.

Lavender Essential Oil

Pros

Act as bug repellent: Lavender oil has its specific smell which is irritating to the bugs like mosquitos, moths and midges. Applying the lavender essential oil on bare skin can help you prevent bug bites. They are even helpful in treating bug bites and reducing irritation and pain.

Regulates sleep disorders: Lavender essential oil is a great home remedy for treating sleep disorders. It is soothing and relaxing and promotes a deep sound sleep after inhaling its scent for half an hour before going to bed. It is also used for treating insomnia.

Promotes healthy nervous system: A number of nervous system functions are regulated with the help of lavender essential oil. It treats migraines and headaches along with reducing the feelings of stress and anxiety among blood pressure and heart patients. It lowers the BP and heart rate promoting better mood and healthy nervous system.

Best for acne treatment: Acne occurs because of bacterial infection which becomes worse when the acne starts feeding on face sebum. Lavender essential oil control over excretion of sebum and reduces bacteria resulting in less acne.

Cons

Causes Breast Growth in Boys: One big con of using lavender essential oil is that it causes breast growth in boys which is undesirable among males.

Skin Irritation: Constant use of lavender oil causes skin irritation and allergic reactions among the people with sensitive skin.

Causes Nausea: Consuming lavender oil can be toxic and it causes nausea and vomiting as well.

Frankincense Essential Oil

(Botanical name: Boswellia carterii)

Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the sap of the Boswellia tree. This tree grows natively in Somalia, Yemen and Oman. The tree is intentionally wounded to produce the sap needed for oil extraction.

It takes about a hundred kilos (220 pounds) of frankincense sap/resin to get about 10 kilos (22 pounds) of essential oil.

What is Frankincense essential oils used for? First of all, it contains alpha (and beta) pinene, sabinene, limonene and myrcene. They are all active molecules with specific actions. Thus, the benefits of Frankincense oil are very diverse.

One of Frankincense’s benefits is that it can calm down inflammations. It has strong anti-inflammatory effects that act almost immediately. This ability helps the immune system respond to sudden external aggression.

The oil is also great at forming scar tissue. The alpha-pinene increases the ability to repair the skin and other soft tissue. The oil can prevent bacterial infections and inflammations. Thus, the scab of a wound is formed faster and the healing process sped up.

Another great benefit of Frankincense is its immune boosting effect. It strengthens the body’s natural defense mechanism and makes it more resistant.

Frankincense can also make body secretions more fluid and promotes their elimination. This effect helps clear the respiratory system from phlegm and mucus.

Frankincense is great at relaxing the nerves and muscle tissue. This favors a good sleep and anxiety relief.

The oil of Frankincense can also help with depression.

 

Jasmin Oil

The heady jasmine oil has quite the reputation as an aphrodisiac. But this precious oil can do much more for you. Use jasmine oil to improve your mood, lower anxiety, relieve sore muscles, and ease menopausal symptoms. Jasmine oil can work for your skin and hair as well, helping moisturize, soothe, and nourish them. A massage with jasmine oil can reduce pain during the first stage of labor.

Benefits of Jasmine Oil

  • Relieves sore muscles
  • Improves your mood
  • Lowers anxiety
  • Relieves menopausal symptoms
  • Nourishes your skin
  • Smooths frizzy hair

 

More on this topic in a future post 🙂