My Personal Trash Story- Zero Waste or Low Impact

About a year ago when I joined the Zero Waste movement, I focused all of my energy on creating zero trash because that’s what I thought you had to do. As I have talked about before, this made me stressed, aggravated, and full of anxiety. However, over time my family has made me realize that I can’t create Zero Trash. WHAT?! This was soul crushing to me, but also a big wake up call. If I wanted to embark on this lifestyle and movement, then I should do my research and explore ALL aspects of what it means to be an environmental activist.

Recently, Emmi from Sustainably Vegan released a video talking about how discouraging and limiting the term “Zero Waste” can be for many who are trying to reduce their waste. She also explored how a person shouldn’t concentrate on just their trash, but rather EVERYTHING that has to deal with the environment. This includes limiting your water and energy waste, carbon footprint, volunteering, and various other areas that will continue to help us make our planet a better place.

I polled my followers on Instagram and I was excited and shocked to see the amount of people who have decided to label themselves as low waste! However, I was also saddened by the amount of people who felt discouraged by the zero waste movement. I had a talk with Kaycee from @holistichue, once known as TheZeroWasteGirl. She explained how she was constantly receiving negative comments for not being zero waste enough to call her the zero waste girl. This made her feel discouraged and ultimately change her name. During this time she lost a ton of followers. However, she also felt more true to herself. She explained that the followers who did stick around were their because they loved her, not because they were looking for the someone who doesn’t produce any trash. 

This helped me realize that we need to step away from looking at the zero waste lifestyle as perfection and zero trash. The reason being that no one can actually produce zero trash. Better yet, many people who don’t have access to bulk stores, live with non-zero wasters, or who don’t have the financial capabilities to purchase a ton of the “zero waste” items, shouldn’t be pressured to do more than they feel comfortable with. We should also be concentrating on volunteering and advocating more for the environment. 

It’s important to note that if you have been following me for a while, you will know that the first 5 months of my transition I did try the trash jar. At first I got frustrated that I couldn’t start a jar right away. But a few months later, I had decided to try it again to see how much of a impact I was making in the amount of trash I was producing.  FYI I wasn’t able to fit more than a month’s worth of trash into a mason jar. The mason jar didn’t include any of the trash that I accidentally threw into my families trash can. It also didn’t include any of the waste that was created at the grocery store and restaurants I visited, and the amount of gas, water, and pollution I admitted into the air with having 2 part time jobs that forced me to drive everywhere. I am not sure many people take those into consideration when they hold up their fancy trash jar. Take a look at Sabrina from @sustainablesabs and her article on the trash jar! It will allow you to understand that despite how interesting the jar may be, it isn’t the “goal” of the zero waste/ low impact movements. 

Yes, even though I will be labeling myself as a zero waster, I am part of both movements. The zero waste movement is amazing to help encourage more companies to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the production of an item. However, it isn’t exactly ideal for many who want to reduce their waste at home. The low impact movement/ lifestyle allows and encourages people to do the best they can. The word itself is more inclusive for it’s members, and encapsulates many areas that the zero waste movement doesn’t. The zero waste movement has mainly focused on reducing trash; whereas the low impact movement focuses on how to reduce your water and energy consumption/waste, carbon footprint, and helps people want to get more involved in their local community! 

This zero waste/ low impact community has forced me to want to do more. I have a dream to create my own programs, co-ops, campaigns, and so many other big projects that will help make others become environmental activists and do everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint, waste, and help save our planet! Please check out my video below that talks more in-depth about the two movements and the type of content that will be featured on this blog and Youtube channel! 

The History of Ziploc bags & A Zero Waste Alternative!

The average American family uses 500 Ziploc bags every year. This seems insane, since ziploc baggies are created to hold something for a moment of time. After the person removes that item from the bag, it is discarded in the trash or recycling. Yes, many ziploc baggies can be recycled, check out to see if your city recycles them in my Recycling Guide HERE!!! Needless to say, these baggies can’t be recycled an infinite amount of times. When they do end up in the landfill, oceans, or other areas of the planet they can be detrimental to our health and the environment. In this post, I will be going through the history of the plastic baggie, and an alternative that will help you reduce your waste and save you money in the long run.

In 1951, an inventor named Borge Madsen applied for a patent for a plastic slide fastener, which was the precursor of today’s familiar zip lock bag. His original design was slightly more complex than the current version and it looked like a traditional zipper with a tab. The same year, the company Flexigrip was founded with the intention of developing and marketing a product based on Madsen’s invention. As a result, he came up with the “press and seal” type of zipper that we most commonly use today.

Currently, the Ziploc is a brand name for plastic storage bags and many other products made by SC Johnson. The baggie is made out of either a low-density polyethylene (or LDPE, which corresponds with plastic #4) or high density polyethylene (or HDPE, which corresponds with plastic #2). Most film is recycled into composite lumber, a highly durable building material that is used for decks, benches, and playground equipment. These are great items, but they can’t be recycled again. All of the recycled plastic baggies will eventually end up in the landfill.

What if I could give you an amazing option that was waterproof and does NOT contain lead, phthalates, BPA or brominates and is tested for contact with foods! The Etsy shop BeegoHandmade creates amazing food pouches out of lightweight cotton and a Food, Medical Grade and Waterproof fabric for the inside lining of the pouches!!! They come in amazing patterns, including my personal favorite below!

I take them everywhere with me, including on weekend get away trips to ensure that I always keep snacks on me at all times! They are easy to clean with some soap and water, no washer machine or dishwasher necessary!!! These pouches do start off at $10 dollars each, which can be a little pricey. When you add up the amount of money you pay per year for ziploc baggies, these bad boys pay for themselves! Best of all you are supporting a thriving small business run by a women named Adriaan who currently lives in Richmond VA, where she creates all of the baggies!!

Best of all, she has offered a Coupon Code: ZERO15 for 15% off from now until March 24th 2018!! If you are in the market to purchase some amazing, durable, and waterproof baggies, I highly recommend checking her shop out!

StrawSleeves Review

Side Note: I have written a blog post about the Plastic Straws and the Ocean, which was featured on Straw Sleeve website HERE!!!

When I started my transition to a zero waste lifestyle, one of my first reusable options that I fell in love with was a metal straw! There is nothing better than drinking your morning smoothie or juice out of a plastic free straw. Currently, I have 5 metal straws and one bamboo one that come with me everywhere. So, why do people use billions and billions of straws everyday? 

Drinking straws is one of the oldest food utensils in the world. It gained popularity in the 1800's, being made out of rye grass. But, the original straw came out over 500 years ago! "In the ruins of the Sumerian cities and tombs, archeologist managed to find straws made from gold and the precious stone lapis lazuli. These expensive 3000 BC artifacts can give us the proof that the more simple designs were used far earlier than that, most probably created from carved wood or natural hollow plants." It is said that they use to drink beer out of their straws. 

 In 1888, American inventor Marvin C. Stone created first model of modern drinking straw. The straw was made out of paper that was wrapped around a pencil and then glued to stay closed. Around the 1950's, when plastic items came into popularity, the plastic straw was born. Now plastic straws are made out of Plastic #7. This plastic isn't usually recyclable. When it is recycled, it can only be turned into plastic furniture, or semi-recycled bags. As a result, plastic straws are usually thrown into the garbage and many times end up in the oceans. Once in the oceans, they can be eaten, stuck in turtles noses, and even stuck in octopuses tentacles. How can we continue to use this item, when it is so dangerous to the rest of our world? 

Many cities and towns have begun to ban plastic straws, bags, and other plastic items that aren’t usually considered recyclable. Guess what?! People didn't even notice that the ban had been put into place. They also didn’t mind the more environmental friendly alternatives, like paper bags, paper straws, reusable cloth bags, and even reusable metal and bamboo straws. In time, I hope that this will help inspire more cities and towns to ban more unnecessary plastic items. Until then, it's important to find companies that are working hard to provide more sustainable options to the masses. 

StrawSleeves, is a small online shop that has started to make big changes in the way of reusable straws, reusable utensil sets, and even reusable bags. All made of out reclaimed cotton, hemp, and denim. I own a reusable utensil set and one of StrawSleeves straws in the carrier case. The carrier case may not seem like a necessity, but it is definitely a nice thing to help keep your utensils and straws organized and clean while in your bag. I keep mine in my bag with me at all times, just in case.

The company is owned by Cheri Newcomb, a women who has dedicated her life to making reusable items more readily available to people who want to reduce the amount of plastic in their life. Their Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with information on their products, healthy recipes, and other resources that help you understand how beneficial living a plastic free life can be to our oceans and the environment.

I personally find these items to also make great Christmas and Birthday gifts for friends and family members who are travel a lot or are looking to help reduce their waste!!!

For more information visit the links below:





How the Zero Waste Lifestyle Has Helped Cure My Acne

I have suffered from acne since I was 12 years old. I am currently 23 year olds and I haven't 100% cured my acne, but I definitely believe that the lifestyle has helped me improve my skin care and overall health. 

By transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle, I have stopped purchasing so much processed foods and items that aren't good for your health. I stopped experimenting with facial skin care products that seemed to only aggravate my skin, instead of curing my acne. I got rid of any oral medication that seemed to only mask the symptoms of my acne. All of these changes allowed me to simplifying my life and focus more of my energy on various issues that effect our environment, instead of those stupid little bumps on my face. 

My Glowing Skin Diet

During this time, I also began experimenting with my diet. I noticed that certain foods aggravated my skin and system. Currently my diet consist of mostly whole plant based food items, no gluten, no dairy, very little meat and eggs, no refine sugars, no processed foods, and a mix of raw and cook foods. I pretty much each the diet that everyone tells you should, but no one actually follows through on. 

Many of you may believe that this diet is impossible and to restrictive for anyone to follow. I believe that you have to find the diet and lifestyle that works best for you. Nothing starts off easy, but as you continue to find the positive outlook on the lifestyle and diet, and find that it makes you happy and healthy, then you can't imagine yourself otherwise. The only time I crave sweets and other unhealthy food items is when I am hungry and they are right in front of me. 


By eating more cleanly, I don't crave chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, or brownies that much anymore. My craving for refined sugars continues to reduced the more I experiment and introduce healthy foods into my diet. I have added my video on my Zero Waste Morning Routine below to help show you all how simple your routine can be! 



Living with Non-Zero Wasters


(Disclaimer: We all have different experiences when it comes to living with non-zero wasters.)

About a year ago, I found the zero waste lifestyle and wanted to get rid of all of the plastic and trash in my life. The big problem was that I live with my parents who aren’t zero waste. When I first talking with them about the lifestyle, I hopped that they would be completely on-board. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. As a result, I began to argue with them about why they continued to use plastic water bottles, to go cups, paper napkins, cleaners full of chemicals, detergent, dryer sheets, and other wasteful things that I didn’t want in my living space anymore. These arguments made me annoyed, discouraged, and stressed out, because I felt like I couldn’t be zero waste as long as my family were continuing to produce a ton of trash. However, their trash isn’t my trash.

By preaching to my parents and getting into arguments, I was explaining to them that everything they do is wrong and I know how to fix it. Adults don’t tend to respond well to this type of explanations, since they believe they are suppose to teach you. As a result, these arguments just made it unpleasant to live with them and made me feel inferior. The Number 1 Most Important Thing to Remember is that Their Trash Isn’t Your Trash. As long as you are doing your part to reduce your waste, then you have to let go of some of the stuff that you can’t control. This will allow you to de-stress and not feel so anxious about living with non-zero wasters.


Support is the number one key factor when it comes to living with people. If you are living with people who don’t support who you are, then you can’t live with that person. It doesn’t matter how many conversations you have with that person, if they can’t be supportive then it’s not going to work. That goes for anything in life, not just the zero waste lifestyle.

Now, your probably wondering how can you tell if they are supportive? If they are constantly asking questions about the lifestyle, talking with you about the lifestyle, or even go right out and tell you that they support you in your decision to be zero waste, then they support you! This is integral to all conversations that you will have with them about the lifestyle. 

Once you understand that they support you in your decision to be zero waste, try to do as much research as possible. Ask them to watch some documentaries with you, or send them a few articles that have really interested you. Just as long as you aren’t spamming them with zero waste, they will begin to become interested in the topic and your new lifestyle without feeling pressured to start the lifestyle.  


When they start asking questions, try to answer it to the best of your ability. If you can’t, then look it up and you two can have a discussion about it! A family member of mine asked me what are the essential items for the zero waste lifestyle, I gave them a list of my top 10, but I also explained to them that the lifestyle can’t be done with just these products, it’s an ever evolving lifestyle that becomes a part of you. This way, you provided them with an answer to your questions, while also leading them with wanting to learn more.

I have also had my fair share of “odd questions” like, well if someone gifted you a new item, would that be able to except that item? Does that item follow your lifestyle? Try to approach this question in a respectful manner by explaining that a gift is a great thing, and that you would never disrespect the other person by not accepting the gift. I also think it’s important to explain that you try to give everyone a list of gifts that you would really enjoy. This allows them to feel comfortable in still being able to buy you something, and makes you feel better by not getting mad at them for asking an odd question.

Make Changes in Your Own Life!

Start making changes in your life that wont effect the people you live with. By thrifting, purchasing package free items, and making your own you are starting your transition without making them feel like you are forcing them to change their lifestyle. This will also lead to more discussions and conversations with whomever you live with. People are naturally interested in what others are doing, and when they start asking more questions about how they can start making changes in their life to be a little less wasteful. This is your sweet spot to start asking them how you can start making changes in the common spaces.

What Changes Are They Comfortable With?

Talk with your roomies, family, or partner about what changes they would be most comfortable with doing that would help you all reduce your waste. I have heard people say that they started with getting rid of napkins and paper towels, or simply using reusable bags and water bottles. Whatever works for you, is how you need to start. Don’t feel like you aren’t doing enough because they aren’t doing enough. Everyone has to go at their own pace.

My parents have composted for years, so I started with the composting situation; since my family can be lazy and throw the compost in the garbage. This was an amazing start and allowed me to feel like I was making a difference in my zero waste lifestyle. I also began adapting a more plant-based diet. This wasn’t out of the norm as I was a vegetarian for four years in college, and my family doesn’t eat a ton of meat or dairy. About a year later, my family will still use paper napkins and towels, they don’t bring their own utensils, to go containers, or coffee mugs to places; and I am okay with that because their trash isn’t my trash.

Difference Between Roomies, Partners, and Parents

(Disclaimer: I have lived with roommates in the past, but not during my zero waste journey. This portion will explore how I have dealt with living with my sister, who is a year younger, since I believe many of the same principles can apply to a roommate.) 

For the first 5 months of my journey, I lived with just my parents. However, in May of 2017, my sister moved back home as well. This made it easier in some areas and more difficult in many ways. I believe that people who are around the same age as me are more understanding about the various changes within the zero waste guidelines then people who are a lot older than me.

Around the time that my sister moved back in I had also lost my job, so I wasn’t able to do the majority of the grocery shopping like I had done prior to her moving in. She also enjoys doing her own grocery shopping, As a result, there was a ton more packaged food products and other items coming into the house. Luckily, I was able to approach the situation without feeling as if I was preaching to them about my lifestyle. Instead, I focused on the fact that her garbage wasn’t mine. I also began to construct my grocery lists around what she was purchasing. This would allow me to feel better about using up what she already had, instead of it going to waste. This is one example on how you can help reduce their waste.

However, my sister also does a ton of online shopping, purchases clothes from fast fashion stores, and also buys a ton of body and face products. Yes, I can be there for her when she does ask me questions about the zero waste lifestyle, but I also can’t stop her from going shopping or doing something she enjoys. I also can’t make her feel bad about herself either. All of this would end up in the two of us having a big argument that wouldn’t go anywhere or make any sort of improvement. Instead, I go shopping with her when she asks, or I decide to do my own personal activity while she is shopping. We make it work by respecting and supporting each other’s lifestyles, instead of pushing our own point of views onto each other.

Roommates and Partners can definitely be different. Especially when roomies are friends, who aren’t completely on-board for being zero waste. At the end of the day, It’s all in the way that you approach the situations or topics, and how they seem to support you in your way of life. If they don’t support you, then this isn’t going to work; but if they do, then you will be able to make it work. You just have to start discussions and conversations, instead of arguing. Share information through a few articles and documentaries, instead of spamming their inboxes. Also, ask other zero wasters online or in person various questions that may help you get through a difficult situation that has arouse. This will make your life and others around you more stress free and enjoyable, especially when they decide to start making the transition themselves!

Focus on the Positives, Not the Negatives!

Whenever you do anything, don’t concentrate on why your family, roomies, or partner wont stop using paper towels or toxic cleaners, but focus on what they are doing to make their life a little less wasteful. This year, my parents not only followed me zero waste list, but also got me a really nice and comfortable sweater from Patagonia, a sustainable clothing brand that I continue to support. My sister bought me a nutcracker, since I collect them, and a few clothing items from Goodwill. This was an amazing win for them and me because I felt good that they took notice and made sure that they gave me presents that I would love.


At the end of the day, you are in control of how you speak with your fellow non-zero wasters about the lifestyle. By talking with them in a calm and more supportive matter, you are going to get someone who is supportive and wants to learn more about the lifestyle. If you speak to them in an aggressive and pushy manner, then you are going to get someone who is constantly pushing back against the lifestyle. This will allow you to feel as if you can make a difference within your own personal space and continue to want to become as zero waste as possible! Please comment below if you have any questions or comments about your own transition and living with non- zero wasters.

Articles and Other Bloggers:

Sustainability Vegan Video on Living With Non-Zero Wasters:

Gittemary Johnson's Living with Non-Zero Waste Roommates:

Going Zero Waste article on Living with Non Zero Wasters:

Paris To Go article on Going Zero Waste When No One Else Wants To:




Jonesboro AR Recycling Policy

Jonesboro AR Recycling Center

For information on where to recycle metal and bigger pieces of material that won't fit in your curbside recycling bin, please visit: or the Jonesboro Recycling Team at 5403 Vance Dr Jonesboro, AR 72401.


Recycling Policy 

It took me a while to find any sort of information about recycling in the Jonesboro area. Unfortunately, many areas like Jonesboro do not make it easy on their residents to learn how to recycle correctly. Below is more information on what you can and cannot recycle! 

You can visit their website here to purchase a blue recycling bin and look up your local recycling pick up schedule. Unfortunately, they don't have a ton of information on how to recycle properly. However, I will be continuing to update this page as the town begins making more strides in recycling. 

According to their website here is a list of what you can and cannot recycle. 

What Can You Recycle:


  • #1 PET Plastics - Most water and soft drink bottles.  There are other items made of PET, just check the bottom of things like clear plastic drink cups.
  • #2 HDPE - Milk jugs and other liquid containers.  Just check the bottom for the number 2 in the recycling triangle.
  • Currently the the market for other plastic is depressed and we are unable to find buyers for the products so we are asking that you dispose of those.  When the market changes we will be able to accept again.

Aluminum: We accept Aluminum Beverage Containers (cans) which can be recycled over and over again.  Other aluminum like foil and pie pans are not accepted at this time but there may be opportunities for those in the near future.

Steel Cans (Tin): Tin cans and other metals can be place in a blue bag and other metal that is to large for the bag may be brought to the recyce center.

Glass: We accept clear and color glass containers.  Glass has no value but there are companies that will pick it up and recycle it.

Cardboard: We accept all cardboard that is not contained with oil or food waste.

Paper: Newspaper, magazines, junk mail and most clean paper products including shredded paper.

What You Can Not Recycle: 

The following items are not accepted

  • Tires
  • Wood
  • Mattress
  • Furniture
  • TV's
  • Computer Monitors
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic Auto Parts
  • Used Diapers (you would be surprised how many we get)

Compost Policy

I couldn't find any information on how to compost properly in this area. 

Package Free Shopping 

Since Bea Johnson's app is closed for the time being, I will update this area of the guide once it's back and running! 

All About Zero Waste Tea

I have received a lot of questions regarding the tea companies I support. Especially since I can't find an bulk tea places near me, except ones that are super expensive. Unfortunately, many in the zero waste community have explained that all tea companies in the world use plastic in their bags to make sure that they don't biodegrade. Though many do, there are some companies that don't use plastic in their tea bags. 

Instead, they use a corn starch compound that when mixed with the paper, forums a bag that wont break when put into hot water. Companies like Tea Pigs, Yogi Team, and many others found in the natural food section of your local grocery store all have corn starch instead of plastic in their tea bags. Now, it's always a better option to purchase tea package free. Unfortunately, it isn't regularly available to everyone. I enjoy supporting these companies and their efforts to try and make more sustainable products available to everyone. 

I have decided to enclose a list of tea companies who are biodegradable and the prices of these teas, to ensure you that their really is a company for everyone! 

Yogi Tea-

This is my personal favorite because I can find it everywhere, including Walmart for $3. That is insanely cheap for a sustainable product. They also make all of their packaging out of paper, cardboard, and soy ink. Everything, including the box, can be put into the compost. A lot of their teas are also organic and all of their tea is fair trade! 

Tea Pigs- 

This company is another favorite, but is definitely on the more expensive side at $8 a box. I can only find it at my local health food store. The tea is organic and fair trade. They a pretty good selection of teas, but unfortunately their bags are put in a plastic bag to ensure they stay fresh instead of paper. This is the biggest reason why I have decided to stop purchasing their tea. 

Traditional Medicinals- 

This company is a great one if you are looking for some classic remedies! They are regularly available at many stores, including my main grocery store. They are usually around $5 a box. I personally love their Lavender and Chamomile Tea for at night, which is all organic and fair trade. They entire box and tea bags are compostable and the company itself runs on renewable energy!! Better yet, they explain all of their companies information on the box itself so no research necessary! 

Choice Tea- 

I haven't yet to try this company out yet, but I find that they are available at my local health food store. Like the ones above, they have remarkable values and packaging! They also have an organization that is attached to the company and make sure that their farmers are satisfied. They aren't too expensive at $5 a box and are completely compostable and organic. They also now have mushroom teas for people who are interested in mushrooms for anxiety and depression. 

Numi Tea- 

Like Tea Pigs, Numi Tea is on the expensive side at $8 a box. They do use a lot of turmeric and ginger in their tea. I personally enjoy their turmeric and black teas once in a while. The company is very similar to the ones above, and continues to work with farmers in India to bring sustainable and organic tea to the rest of the world. They also have a rooibos tea that I was obsessed with in college. Unfortunately, my local health food store stopped caring it. 

Reshi Tea- 

This is another company on the higher end, that makes a lot of interesting Tea Blends. You may have heard Catlin Shoemaker from FromMyBowl mention their Turmeric and Ginger tea. They are around $7-8 a box. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find them at many of my local health food stores. 

These are just a small list of the amount of teas that come in compostable packaging. I feel like everytime I go to the grocery store, I am pleasently surprised to see more companies moving away from using plastic in their tea bags. This is an incredible strive in the zero waste lifestyle and a great way to allow more people to start transitioning their lifestyle without breaking the bank or driving hours away to purchase bulk tea. 

Zero Waste Recipes: Homemade Gluten Free Bread

This recipe is my go to Gluten Free Bread! The original recipe comes from Gluten Free Baking! I don't think I could ever try a different recipe! I have added her original recipe below the video incase you are interested in it! I have replaced Mullet flour for Brown Rice flour, since I can purchase it in brown bag packaging or make it myself by grinding up brown rice from the bulk bin! I also use flaxseed eggs instead of regular eggs, since I eat a mostly vegan diet! 

This recipe is quick, easy, and will make your house smell amazing!!! Please let me know if you try it out! 



  • 3/4 cup warm water, about 110° F (6 ounces; 170 grams)
  • 1 packet instant/rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons; 7 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups millet flour (6 ounces; 170 grams)
  • 1 cup tapioca starch (4 ounces; 113 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (1 ounce; 28 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (not Kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs , whisked (about 5 ounces; 150 grams total, out of shell)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • *if desired , replace the eggs with 3 large egg whites.


  1. Whisk together water and yeast in a small bowl. Allow to stand for five minutes.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine millet flour, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Fit the stand mixer with the flat paddle attachment. Add the yeast mixture, eggs, oil, and vinegar. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Dough will be thin.

  3. Spray an 8-1/2" by 4-1/2" by 2-3/4" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread dough evenly into the pan. Spay a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place plastic wrap loosely on the pan. Allow dough to double in size. This takes about one hour.

  4. When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap from the top of the pan.

  5. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 210°F, about 45 minutes. (If the crust gets too dark before the internal temperature reaches 210°F, place a piece of foil onto the bread. This prevents the crust from burning.)

  6. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool for two minutes. Transfer bread to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

  7. When cool, slice into pieces with a serrated knife.

  8. Store bread on the counter for up to three days or freeze sliced bread, wrapped in freezer wrap with waxed paper between each slice, and placed into a freezer container, for up to six weeks.

The Plastic Straw Ban

During the beginning of my transition to a more sustainable and zero waste lifestyle, I tried my hardest to refuse as many straws as possible. Unfortunately, it looks like waiters and waitresses will continue to put straws in people’s drinks, despite how much you try to refuse them. But, what’s the big deal?

Plastic straws have been around since the 1960’s when TV dinners, plastic dolls, and other items entered into mainstream consumerism.

According to This country is on a mission to stop straws sucking the life out of our oceans “it is estimated that by 2050, the weight of all of the plastic in the ocean will be more than the weight of all the fish”. These numbers aren’t widely discussed in mainstream media, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. The lack of coverage has resulted in people not thinking twice about accepting plastic straws and other useless disposable plastic items. Is there a way that we can get the actual employees and places themselves to stop offering these useless items?

Banning different plastic items is nothing new. In 2014, California became the first state to enact a legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at retail stores. The bill also required a 10-cent minimum charge for recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags, and compostable bags at certain locations. The law as set to come into effect in July of 2015 and has lead to many other states, cities, and towns around the United States doing the same. The plastic bag ban has allowed for less plastic bags to end up in the landfill and opened people’s eyes to the possibility of reducing their personal plastic waste.

In 2017, restaurant, diner, and cafe owners in Seattle Washington, conducted a little experiment. They got rid of all of the straws in their drinks to see if people noticed that something was missing. Guess what? Only a few people asked for the straws. As a result, the city of Seattle has decided to go through with a ban on plastic straws, with the possibility for more plastic items being banned in the future. This hasn’t officially happened as of yet, but it’s exciting to see more and more places deciding to ban or put a tax on these unnecessary plastic items. Many places are supplying a biodegradable paper straw alternative, but it’s also important to note the amount of money that these restaurants, diners, and cafes will save by not constantly purchasing plastic straws.

This has helped inspired more cities to start banning plastic straws. In 2018 many cities and towns in Rhode Island banned plastic straws and bags. This has forced more to start bringing their own bags at the grocery store and use paper or metal straws. At restaurants, hospitals, schools, diners, and fast food establishments they do allow for plastic straws upon request. They have been taken out of stores, parties, events, and other areas of the community. In 2019, Washington DC banned plastic straws and stirrers as well- allowing for restaurant owners, schools, hospitals, convenient stores, and other places to use up what they have by the July 2019. They will have a “biodegradable” option for those who request a plastic straw.

This ban seems like a small change, but it will result in more people learning to live without these useless plastic items. Hopefully, by 2050, the numbers will explain how much mainstream consumers and business owners are trying to help save our oceans. Many may ask, why don’t we try and stop the companies who are actually manufacturing and selling these items to the restaurants, stores, diners, and cafes? By refusing these items, we as customers are creating less of a demand for them. In a world dependent on supply-and-demand markets, this will result in more manufactures trying producing these paper straws that can biodegrade in the compost.

If you live in a city or town that hasn’t banned plastic straws yet, you can still make a difference by refusing plastic straws in your drink. I also highly recommend talking with your local diners, restaurants, and cafes about the dangers that plastic straws have on our oceans and planet. Want to do more? You can sign the Last Straw Petition to help encourage more and more places to see the dangers that these useless plastic items have on our planet!

For more information on the plastic ban please visit these websites:

A Broke College Student's Guide to the Zero Waste Lifestyle

Recently, I have received a lot of questions from students in college, or recent college graduates about how to stay zero waste when you have LITTLE MONEY. The life of a college student is also a life where you totally lack expendable income. Zero-waste living may seem expensive, thanks to Instagram and advertisements. But, honestly, it's not as difficult as you may think. I graduated from college 18 months ago and I believe that the zero waste lifestyle has allowed me to be more financially free.

Here are my tips on how you too can live a life of more freedom and possibilities with less worry and stress:

1. Don't Let Anyone Intimidate You! You Are Doing Your Best!

I am starting off with this one because this is something that I tell myself every morning. Recently, on a Facebook group, someone asked if they should continue purchasing tea in compostable packaging, or if it was worth a 2 hour drive to their local bulk store to purchase bulk tea. Many people jumped on how they should have a bulk tea place near them because they are "EVERYWHERE". I immediately replied with, "my local health food stores has a very limited section of bulk items, and I have never been able to find bulk tea near me. I also swear by compostable tea because they are going right back into the earth.”

At the end of the day don't let anyone make you feel like your impact isn't good enough. Not everyone can find all of their items package free and put them in aesthetically pleasing mason jars. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST AND THAT IS ENOUGH!

2. Try to Find as Much as You Can in BULK!

Now, I understand that you can't find everything in the bulk section, but that doesn't mean you should always rely on plastic packaging. My local health food store has a huge area full of package free fruits and produce that I can put in my own bags! They also sell package free rice, beans, dried fruit, and granola that I eat on a regular basis! By purchasing these times in bulk, I am letting them know that I prefer these items to those that have a ton of plastic packaging. My choice to “vote with my dollars” influences their decision to expand their bulk section.

That being said, it's also completely okay if you can't afford some of the bulk items. Think about buying items with a decent shelf-life in larger quantities. It’s better to get one plastic bag for 4lbs than 4 plastic bags of 1lb quantities. This, of course, doesn’t help if the food expires/goes stale before you can eat it. Think about this in terms of foods you can freeze, or items that are shelf-stable.

3. There are a TON of Items that Come in Compostable Packaging!!!

Just last month, I purchased some coffee in paper packaging! This is the most ideal kind of packaging because I am able to put it right back into the earth. I understand that many of you may not have a composting system in your dorm room or house. I know that it may seem as if plastic packaging is everywhere, but just look around and read some labels, you will be surprised to see what you can find!

4. Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle!

For many of you who live in a dorm or at home, where you may not be able to compost, there are other ways to reduce your trash! By reducing, refusing, and reusing your packaging, you are also limiting a ton of plastic and other types of packaging from ending up in the landfill.

However, recycling is one of the most controversial topics within the zero waste lifestyle.

Many believe that sending things to the recycling center is just as bad, since it take a lot of energy to repurpose the items into new products. While, others believe that recycling is a great option for those who don't have a ton of bulk or package free items available to them. That being said, no one really shares how much they are actually sending to the recycling center. Until now: go check out Jane_and_Simple, an awesome zero waste blog run by a women named Jane. Every month she explains every item that she will be sending to recycle and landfill and why. These posts are informative and allow you to think about your own personal choices a lot more.

Try to find items you can reuse over recycling, if there’s an option.

5. Bring your Own Containers and Bags When You Are Eating Out or Getting Take Away!

I have found that many still feel a bit weird about doing this, but I have never been treated negatively for doing so. As a matter of fact, every restaurant that I have been to compliments me for bringing my own containers and some even reduce a certain percentage of my bill. You are saving them money by refusing their plastic to-go containers and plastic bags.

Whenever, I go to a coffee shop to do some work, I always bring a cup in case they don't have normal coffee mugs available. I have also been able to put bagels, donuts, and other items in my own bags as well. It's awesome what people will do when you ask!

6. You Don’t Have To Explain Yourself!

When I first started my zero waste journey and a person asked me if I wanted a plastic to go container, I would try to reply with "I am allergic to plastic and can't use your containers." This is a trick that many have used from Bea Johnson's book the Zero Waste Home and it may never fail, however it is lying. Do you want to go through life lying to others. Over the past 2 years, I have learned that it is better to just say “No, I have my own container.” You may get some weird looks, but don't worry about it as long as you get what you want! As far as I know, using your own containers doesn't violate any health codes or violations because you aren't asking them to clean or store your containers, just put your items into them.


You may or may not have a full time job that probably pays you $40,000 a year at the most. You are probably paying off loans, rent, bills, and other important items that your money should go towards. Fast fashion items aren't manufactured or constructed well and are marketed for people who always want to be fashionable. Those items have a closet lifespan of about 4 months before they’re tossed to a thrift store or worse, a landfill. By purchasing items from thrift stores you are giving them a second life and promoting a circular economy. You are also not placing your dollars into the hands of corporations that are promoting unethical practices, and lack of environmental responsibility.

8. SPEND Your Money on Adventures and Memories, Instead of Items!

This has been a weird subject on Facebook. Many have begun asking, how do I talk my family into not getting me any gifts when they are so materialistic?

Many respond with, "Don't get them anything because people who are materialistic are shit heads" or my personal favorite, "Why would anyone ask that question?" As a result of years and years of marketing and influencing, our society has become largely materialistic.

Now, we all agree that this does have to stop; but that also doesn't mean that everyone who doesn't agree with this idea are "shit heads who don't deserve anything.” Instead I recommend writing them a list of activities that you would like to do with them as presents!

This allows them to still think that they are purchasing you something, while also spending time with you! The adventures and memories that I make with family and friends are more important to me than any items that I have been given. When I was in college, I enjoyed taking trips, hosting parties, and having fun with my friend's far more than getting lots of presents on my birthday and other holidays.

9. Forget about the TRASH Jar!

I know that everyone wants to be like Lauren Singer, who claims that she hasn't produced any trash in the last 4 years or so. That idea isn't exactly realistic for everyone (or anyone)! Especially when it comes to college students and recent grads who are concentrating too much on trying to find a job, a place to live, paying off their loans, and a bunch of more important things.

However, that shouldn't be a reason for someone to give up on trying to be zero waste! Even Lauren Singer withholds items from her trash jar, that are trash. Many people who promote a trash jar don’t put in items they are accidentally given (they say no straw, the waiter brings a straw), medicine, moving materials, etc. More so, a trash jar doesn’t show that there is plastic behind the scenes. In our beloved bulk bins, those package free items we joyously buy most likely arrived at the store in a large plastic bag.


If Lauren Singer was the perfect zero waster, than she wouldn't have a single item of trash or carbon footprint. She wouldn’t fly or drive. She wouldn’t use non-renewable energy sources like electricity. Her store would be 100% clean energy powered, etc. There is still a ton of waste that goes on behind the scenes, especially in New York City.

You shouldn't stress out about not being perfect either! It's amazing when you join a community full of people who believe in what you are trying to do and want to make the world a better place. I love that this lifestyle brings people together, instead of dividing them! It makes people want to do more and be better. It creates conversation and helps us all think about our actions!

You aren't perfect, but you are doing the best you can for now. Maybe in a few years, you can do more. Maybe not. Don’t freak out about it! We are all in this together, and together we can bring about positive change.

Do You Know What You're Smelling? The Haunting Effects of Candles on Your Health and the Environment


During the fall season, I love lighting a candle to help bring a sweet smell of cranberries, cinnamon, and cloves into the air. Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle are two of the most popular candle companies, especially around the holiday season. Are there candles actually safe? What are you actually smelling/inhaling when you light those candles? Can they be harmful to your long term health? 

Underneath the amazing smell, are toxic chemicals that are just as dangerous as second hand smoke. According to Wellness Mama, most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens). In combination with the possible heavy metals like led in the wicks, even a few hours of burning them can create levels of airborne heavy metals and toxic fumes that are much higher than the acceptable limits.

According to Green America, other toxic chemicals may be present in the paraffin mixture and released in during the burning. These ingredients include Acetone, Trichlorofluromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Carbon Tetrachloride, Cyclopentene, Stryene, Synthetic Fragrances, and other ingredients that can found in paint, laquer, and varnish removers. Do you really want to be inhaling all of these ingredients?

Since, this is an environmentalism blog I would also like to talk about the impact that these candles have on our planet. According to the Postconsumers’ website normal candles can produce a number of harmful byproducts when burned (including greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide). As an added bonus, the petroleum found in many candles is the same chemical that is found in your car. Not to mention the chemicals that haven’t been widely researched for their environmental impact. All of this research has resulted in me starting to find more eco-friendly alternative.

Thanks to Etsy, there are a ton of small businesses committed to making natural, sometimes vegan, and amazing candles. Instead of using paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances among the other toxic chemicals; these candles are only made out the simple ingredients of soy or beeswax and essential oils for smell, health, and mood.

Thanks to Kate from the Etsy shop DecorbyAdorned, her candles are natural soy candles are handmade in Minnesota, and are made with the best essential oils. Kate uses essential oils from Plant Therapy, to ensure that her candles are 100% pure. The awesome doesn’t stop there. She goes as far as to package everything in paper, using packing paper to ensure that the glass jar doesn’t break during travel. I am currently trying the Clove, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg candle, I have to say that it smells like Fall in a little jar and will definitely be repurchasing!!!! 

Kate hopes to expand her shop to include natural fabrics, blankets, and even maybe some pottery. She is committed to everything being eco-friendly, and shares her passion for the environment. 

Check back each week for more posts on small etsy shops and how committed to the zero waste lifestyle!!!! Don't forget to continue Zeroing In On Your Impact!!! 

Top 5 Best Sustainable, Vegan, and Minimalistic Documentaries!

There are a lot of documentaries on Netflix and Amazon. It is difficult to find great documentaries on sustainability, veganism, and minimalism that are actually trying to educate people on the lifestyle, instead of explaining it as a forum of entertainment.

It is also important that documentaries explore important issues in modern society, explaining how you could enter that lifestyle and ultimately bringing positivity into your life. It is always helpful when someone brings up an issue, or problem, to attach a solution to it. Introducing a problem with no solution may still be necessary but isn’t inherently productive, and it’s certainly not positive.

The reason I have chosen veganism, minimalism, and sustainability-centered documentaries is because there is a ton of overlap between these three lifestyles. Many who are sustainable are also vegan and minimalistic.

Here are my top 5 documentaries (in descending order) that I believe more people should watch to gain more knowledge and information about these three lifestyles:

5) Food Inc.

Food Inc. is the documentary that forced me to think critically about the vegan lifestyle, especially when it comes to the lack of current regulations in the meat and dairy industry.  The documentary follows the lives of farmers, parents, and many people who have seen the negative effects of the meat and dairy industry. One parent, in particular, watched her son die because of salmonella poisoning from uncooked chicken. This documentary shocked me into the vegan lifestyle, but it didn’t tell me how to go about pursuing the lifestyle. It just told me to stop eating meat. Since I didn’t know a lot about the veganism, I ended up eating a lot of salads and I actually lost weight very quickly because I wasn’t gaining the right nutrients that I needed. For those reasons, I have decided to place this documentary at number 5 on my list.

4) The True Cost

The true cost is a documentary that looks into the various issues concerning the fast fashion industry. The fast fashion industry includes H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Target, and other cheap, unethical, and unsustainable clothing stores. The companies out source their employees to third world countries like Bangladash. The employees are not paid fair wages and are forced to work in inhumane working conditions. The documentary also talks about how the owners and CEOs of these companies reap all the benefits of their popularity. By showing you the horrors of the fast fashion industry, the documentary allows people to think more critically about our consumeristic society.

3) The Minimalists

Once I began eating a more plant-based diet, I began to understand the larger implications of consumerism. I decided to take my research a step further and take a look at the documentary, The Minimalists. This documentary explains positives and negatives of an extreme minimalist lifestyle, and how one can become more minimal. Instead of explaining minimalism as a trend, it reveals the various issues within the consumerist culture. The film is filled with footage of people kicking and screaming their way through stores on Black Friday. The two founders/The Minimalists, who created their website to spread the positive aspects of the minimalistic lifestyle also explain the unsatisfactory life that many consumers live. Stuff can buy happiness for that moment. Unfortunately, when the moment passes, one feels that they need to purchase something else to get that feeling back. This comes with even more intensity when people use coupons or only purchase things on sale. In the end, they have a whole bunch of stuff that they hate. We can combat consumerism by thinking critically about our purchases and really asking ourselves, “can we live without this?” When we as a society slowly begin to realize that what we thought we needed isn’t actually a need, we began to find ourselves spending less and less money and feeling more content.

2) A Plastic Ocean

We have finally reached the top two of the list! It was a difficult decision, but I have put this documentary at number 2 for many reasons. One in particular is that it ties the other three documentaries together, while also looking at plastic in a new way. I found that by trying to stay vegan and minimalist, I still continued to purchase things that were plastic. Plastic is an oil-based compound that can be made cheaply and molded into almost anything. However, it’s endangering our wildlife, especially those who live in the ocean. One of the most important facts about our world that no one can deny is that our planet is mostly blue. Unfortunately, scientists have predicted that because of the amount of plastic, including micro plastics that are in the ocean, every single underwater animal has some form of plastic in its body. When we eat these animals, we ingest this plastic material. Many have not considered or discussed this horrifying reality when talking about the plastic industry and veganism. The documentary also follows a family as they try to reduce the amount of plastic they use on a daily basis. Please check it out if you haven’t already, or don’t think you can give up some food items that are wrapped in plastic. This documentary will definitely have you thinking otherwise.

1)   The Human Experiment

We have finally made it to number 1! This documentary is one of the most eye opening documentaries that I have ever watched. Especially as someone whose family members have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This documentary may cross the fine line between educational and horrifying. However, it speaks to a larger audience, which I think needs to be done more often. Most documentaries are speaking to either a younger or older generation. This particular film takes stories from young people, older people, minorities, and people from varying backgrounds to explain how terrifying plastic, chemicals, and harmful toxins are to our bodies. For those reasons I have decided to put it as number 1. This is definitely not for people who have just started the zero waste lifestyle. Instead this is better suited for those who sometimes think it’s too difficult and need a bit of a push of encouragement to continue pressing forward. This documentary follows the lives of people whose health has been directly infused by chemicals that are mass marketed to everyone as safe and effective. It ties in elements from all the four other documentaries, while also touching on subjects that people usually turn away from wanting to learn about, since “everyone dies at some point in their life, right?” What if we could stop using plastic and chemicals and live longer?

Lucky for you, the majority of these documentaries are found on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I am always up for watching and hearing more about amazing documentaries. Let me know in the comments if I forgot any!

The Issue with "Sustainable" Clothing Items

Second hand items are cheap and amazing for the environment. It's can be difficult to find the diamond in the ruff of cheap polyester. Many have decided to purchase new items that are made out of organic cotton and bamboo. Are those sustainable options? Is it really organic? These type of questions have made me skeptical about purchasing items made out of organic cotton and bamboo. However, it's also very difficult sometimes to find items from thrift shops and second hand stores that aren't made out of polyester. What should we do? 


At the beginning of the summer I purchased a white tee shirt made out of organic cotton and bamboo. I thought this was the best purchase I had ever made. It was soft, comfortable, and sustainable right?! I even posted a picture of me wearing it on my Instagram! What did I actually purchase? Bamboo grows everywhere and is one of the most sustainable products right? That is not completely false. It is a very sustainable product because it can grow anywhere and very quickly. It takes a ton of labor to make a sustainable product that isn't very soft, and a ton of chemicals to turn the planet into a soft piece of clothing. 

In a pieces featured on The Guardian, it explains the ins and outs of the two different types of production. The first method involves crushing the plants into a mush, using natural enzymes to break it down and then combing out the fibers and spinning them into a yarn. This process is very labor intensive, expensive, and as I said, doesn't make that soft of a fabric. The second method, involves the plants being cooked into a cocktail of chemical solvents- primarily sodium hydroxide (lye, or caustic soda, as it's more commonly known) and carbon disulfide. Both are known to be harmful to human health, and sodium hydroxide can harm aquatic life when released into the water supply. After hearing both of these options, it seems impossible to get a pieces of clothing made out of bamboo without it being very expensive or full of chemicals. Is organic cotton any better? 

Organic cotton is grown just as wide spread as bamboo, but isn't as sustainable. In a pieces featured on the Fashion Hedge, explores the production of organic cotton and GMO cotton. Though the crop has been used for centuries, it takes about 20,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton; equivalent to a single T-shirt and a pair of jeans. 73% of global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land. 4% of the world's crop land is planted with cotton and yet it accounts for 24% and 11% of the global sales of insecticide and pesticides respectively. The use of genetically-modified cotton varieties has increased in recent years. Organic cotton does seem like the better choice than cotton full of pesticides and other synthetic materials. It also isn't the most sustainable in the long term, because of the amount of water it takes to produce it. 

I have decided to go to option three, only purchasing items from thrift shops that are made out of sustainable products. As a result, I wear every item that I own. I use to donate 3 big garbage bags filled with clothes every season. Now, I only donate a small bag of clothes once a year! In doing so, I have been able to save up money and feel good about the purchases I do make. I have also been able to pay off a significant amount of my loans off and find new hobbies and activities to do, instead of going to the mall every weekend. 


P.S- I will purchase "new" items that are made out of recycled materials, since I believe that they are a better and more sustainable option, similar to second hand shopping. Also, I have heard that GoodWill isn't the best company, in regards for wages and labor. I have invested the majority of my money in small business thrift shops and flea markets! Please let me know if you would like me to share my secrets in finding the best items at thrift shops! 

The Plastic Bag Ban!

One of the primary missions of the zero waste lifestyle is to limit the amount of plastic in the world.

Plastic is an oil compound that became popularized in the 1950’s with action figures, dolls, TV dinners, and a variety of other items that are labelled as both disposable and non-disposable. Plastic was a revolutionary innovation that allowed for people to have unbreakable containers, fast food in anywhere you want, microwavable dinners, action figures and games for kids to play with. Unfortunately, plastic isn’t indestructible, once these items break, start falling apart, or don’t work anymore- they are thrown in the trash. They will then either last forever in the landfill or turn into micro-plastics that will live forever in our oceans.

Yes, many of the plastic water bottles, containers, bags, and other items can be recycled. Do we know if they are actually being recycled. Currently, in the United States only 9% of all plastic is recycled. It wasn’t until the China recycling ban that the US didn’t start to become aware of their plastic waste.

Over the years, the topic of plastic has continued to gain buzz within activist communities but also popular media. Last year, the Huff Post published an article by Dana Ellis Hunnes, an adjunct professor at USLA Fielding-School of Public Health, titled Plastic: It’s What’s For Dinner, where she explains that “according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 30 percent of all fish have plastic in them.” This means that when you order fish from a restaurant or the grocery store, there is a possibility that you could be eating plastic. If that doesn’t gross you out, I don’t know what will.

At the beginning of August, Tesco, a popular UK grocery chain, made a statement explaining that they will be banning all plastic bags and providing reusable option that would cost customers an extra 10p (50 cents in US). Considering that most reusable bags usually cost a couple of dollars, getting a reusable bag for 50 cents is a steal. Back in 2015, Tesco started charging their customers 5p (25 cents) for plastic bags. By banning plastic bags altogether, they are reducing their environmental impact even more and making it easier for everyone to stop using plastic bags. Why can’t we do this in the United States?

When I walk into a local grocery store, I see people walk out with at least 10 plastic bags. Sometimes they have a bag for each item that they purchased. Not to mention the free plastic bags that people put their produce in whilst shopping. All of this plastic seems unnecessary when you could use reusable bags.

On August 14th 2017, Dana Ellis Hunnes wrote another article titled, Plastic Plastic Literally Everywhere. In this post she explains how 8% of the world’s oil goes to making plastic products. That may not seem like a lot of oil, but when you think about the amount of human rights violations, environmental, and cultural issues that have revolved around oil, it seems as if we should be limiting our use of oil as much as we can.

Everyone can make difference by using mesh bags for produce and reusable bags for their groceries. However, until the grocery stores stop stocking disposable plastic bags, people will continue to use them. Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, has also created a petition, that everyone is welcomed to sign and propose to their elected officials in the help to ban plastic goods.

It may seem that you can’t make a difference, especially in the current state of our political climate and government. That is not true. You can always make a difference. The more you talk to your local grocery stores and state officials, the more people you will inspire to do the same. I hope this petition inspires more companies to go plastic free! For now, take a look at your local food stores and explore your package free options.

Menstruation Products Around the World!

The average person who menstruates will throw away 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs, and applicators in their lifetime. That’s a lot of plastic, chemicals, and other non-biodegradable products that are going into the landfill. Pad and tampon users are also more likely to get toxic shock syndrome and other harmful infections from those chemicals and plastics.

One of the first zero waste purchases I made was a menstrual cup! Menstrual cups are made out of Grade A silicon and can be used for up to 10 years! There is zero chance of toxic shock syndrome and you can go up to 12 hours without having to change it, depending on your flow.

Recently, I have noticed more companies and organizations creating programs that will help change the world, by educating many on the importance of safe and healthy menstrual and reproductive care. It’s important to note that in many countries, the subject of menstruation is very “taboo” and is either not normally discussed/taught or is seen as unsanitary. In this post I will be concentrating on three major organizations that are determined to give more people sustainable and safe period products that they can use for the rest of their lives!

The Ruby Cup is a brand and a non-profit organization that bring menstrual cups into various countries in Africa. With their ‘Buy One, Give One’ program, every cup sold results in one being donated to help bring about positive change! The Ruby Cup trainers and partners create programs to help teach these adults and young people about menstrual care and reproductive health. They will also demonstrate how to use the cup correctly and provide support for them. Since the organization began in 2012, they have been able to impact the health of 24,000 people so far!

My Cup NZ is a New Zealand-based company that provides a selection of safe, healthy, and eco-conscious alternatives to disposable menstrual products. Their mission is to end poverty in New Zealand with their free cup program, student program, and by providing educational resources about reusable products! They sell menstrual cups, menstrual underwear, organic pads, and period product accessories like cleaning soap, pouches for reusable pads, and menstrual sponges.

The Cup Foundation is a non-profit organization that empowers underprivileged young adults worldwide by providing them with sustainable menstrual cups and comprehensive education on sexuality and reproductive rights. According to their website, in 2015 UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimated that at least five hundred million people lack sufficient resources to manage their periods. With insufficient menstrual solutions, many young adults miss a week of school each month, or they drop out permanently. Too often these people even engage in transactional sex to make money so they can afford pads and tampons. Since its inception, The Cup Foundation has impacted close to 10,000 young adults aged 11-16 in Kenya! These young adults now have higher attendance in school and are better able to concentrate during lessons. It’s important to understand that just because a culture doesn’t talk about this subject, that does not mean it shouldn’t be discussed. It is organizations like this that help bring safety and additional education into countries that would otherwise shame those who menstruate.

These are just three of the many organizations around the world that help provide sustainable menstrual products, like the menstrual cup along with education and continue to fight for reproductive justice. If you would like more information on additional sustainable period products please visit my article on “name of blog”.

(DISCLAIMER: I am referring to everyone as people instead of women and girls, because not every person who identifies as a women or girl menstruates. However, these organization’s do use the term women and girl through out their website. This choice was a personal preference and if you have any questions I would love to chat.)

All Natural and Zero Waste Bug Repellent!!!

Summer is bug season. They LOVE ME. It doesn’t matter if I use natural repellent or DEET repellent, I can’t go one summer with at least 10 to 20 bites. During a family vacation to Antigua, I was attacked by the sand flies. My legs and arms were on fire because of the bites. I could only spend an hour or two in the sun before the pain became unbearable. It took a week of anti-itch cream, tea tree oil, and ice packs to get rid of the pain and the bites. When I got home I was on the hunt to find an effective bug repellent that was both zero waste and natural!

Last summer, thanks to this bug repellent recipe, I only got a handful of bug bites! I don’t think that there is bug repellent recipe or product that will stop the bites entirely. This is major success in my book and I will never use any other recipe. I will be sharing the recipe below and then some information on the dangers of DEET on our health and the environment. Please comment below if you try this recipe!

(PS: Deet is still a little bit more effective than the natural alternatives. That being said, mosquito bites can cause severe illness and health related issues as well. If I was in an area that was populated with malaria and other deadly diseases, I would use a Deet repellent.)


Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s the strong oder that actually repels the mosquitos. It has been said that if you drink enough apple cider vinegar, you will develop a strong oder that will also repel the mosquitos.

Essential Oils: I use Young Living essential oils that have been proven to repel mosquitos. One of my favorites is R.C because it contains lemon grass and citronella. I also add tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella oil.


Fill up the bottle half way with apple cider vinegar. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with warm water. Put 3-5 drops of Young Living's R.C oil (or something applicable), Lavender, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. Shake the bottle and start using it.

I put mine in a roller ball bottle so I can carry it in my purse, pocket, or keep it in the car.

The Dangers of Deet!

Despite what many people think- mosquitos are actually super important to our eco-system. Did you know that it is only the female mosquitos that actually bite humans. The male mosquitos don’t have the ability to bite. That being said, they also carry a ton of deadly diseases that aren’t so pleasant. The majority of bug repellents have an ingredient called DEET in it. DEET is a chemical that has been known to help repel the mosquitos away. However, DEET has been proven to come along with some severe health and environmental risks as well.

According to a few sources, Deet can be extremely toxic to various animals including fish, birds, and other sea life. Unfortunately- it is still inconclusive if it is also harmful to the plants and life under water and on land. Back in a 1991 study, scientists found high levels of Deet in the Mississippi River. This resulted in a ton of the sea life and insets dying. Deet also has the ability to break down like mist and vapor in the air. Allowing humans, plants, and other animals to inhale it.

According to a few sources, deet has been linked to kidney and liver damage, birth and development defects, and neurotoxicity. The following health risks haven’t been proven yet- but it has been said that deet can lead to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive effects. It is for these reasons- along with that many of the mosquitos in my local area don’t carry a ton of deadly diseases- that I have decided to switch to a more natural alternative to help my personal health along with the environment!

Our Little Journey to Becoming a Zero Waste Family!

By Angela Matthews, Owner of Bee Sew Responsible, Middlesbrough, UK

Why did you start your zero waste Journey?

How can I tell you an exciting story about “plastic” without boring you so much that you get distracted from the sponsor banners down the side of this post? To be fair, if Ryan Reynolds was trying to sell me broadband from a side banner, I’d be distracted too! For those of you who want to be here: Namaste, Bonjour, Hola, Privet, Kalimera, Witaj, Hallo, Ciao, Salaam, Ola Folks. I’m glad to meet you!

I started my journey as an individual, before transitioning my family. It’s easier to do the children, but the husband needed some persuading! Now he actively approaches me with things and asks if something can be recycled or composted!! Monica, my eldest 2.5yr, picks up rubbish wherever we go and puts it in the bin; I guess she’s watched me too many times!

I first started to think about my impact when we found out we were having Monica, and a friend of mine told me the horrific statistics that occur with disposable nappies. She was pregnant at the same time and was planning on using Cloth Nappies, which I’d never heard about before. I convinced my husband, who eventually loved them just as much as I did. During my maternity with my first child I was stuck in the house and up all hours, Netflix was my saving grace at 1 and 2am! But it also opened my eyes to what we were doing. I knew, in my heart, we were deteriorating this planet; but actually seeing statistics and the footage of what we were/are doing was another matter. As a child, my mum and family members always said I was a “hippie" because I’d shout at people for littering.

When I was a teen, I guess I lost my way to follow the crowd, instead of my own path. Now I’m treading my own path again. Now that Malcolm, 10 months, is here, I couldn’t be happier. When I was a kid the hedgerows were clean, the streets didn’t have rubbish on the floor, there wasn’t plastic bags in the wind; now if you walk down any hedgerow, you will find all types of garbage, waste, and plastic! It deeply saddens me as I’m looking at the world in a different perspective. We are leaving this earth to our children. I don’t want them to see plastic in hedgerows as the norm, or see plastic when they go swimming in the sea. An ancient American Indian proverb that I think it is important to remember, "We do not inherit the earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our children”. It’s our human nature to want the best for our children, so why does it need to be so materialistic? We have forgotten that the thing we live on is a planet, we need the earth to survive and most of all we have lost our connections to the earth. When we give them the plastic bottles to drink from, we are starting our children off on a future of normalising plastic and all the chemicals that they are in them.

What are the ways your family is Zero Waste?

As a family, we compost our left-over food (and cardboard sometimes to balance out the green in a compost you need to add “brown” to stop smells and create a good compost! Who Knew!!). We recycle our bottles; cans; papers. We use Salveo Indian Soap Nuts in our washing machine at a low 30 degrees and on a low spin cycle of 1000rpm. We use 100% New Zealand Wool dryer balls on an extra spin cycle so that we can dry our clothes quicker. We use The Charcoal Company’s water filters instead of Britta filters, for example, which can be composted afterwards or placed in the fridge to absorb smells. We have a water butt in the garden that collects rain water for the plants, rather than use tap water. We also use loose leaf tea or TeaPigs Tea so that it can be composted and no plastic residue left for the plants. We also make our own nut milks in a nut bag, I have tried butter but need a churn to do this, unsure of whether I will try this again as the result didn’t last as long. We all have Bamboo toothbrushes and 100% Organic Cotton Bamboo Buds, which can be composted. We did use cloth nappies with our eldest, but haven’t in a while due to excessive washing with two little ones and no place to dry them when the weather wasn’t dry. We use steel straws when out with the kids and also have our own cutlery sets that we take out in our reusable shopping bags. I have Indian tiffin boxes for lunch and reusable cups to take to work with me, once I return, instead of wasting money on expensive convenience food. We both use a shampoo bar from Lush with their square tins and Reusable Safety Razor’s. However we still use kids soap/shampoo that come in plastic bottles (due to the abundance we have received over the years) and the best decision I ever made was starting to use a Diva Cup! I’m not going to lie, it takes a couple of cycles to get used to it, but after that hump it’s glorious!! And my periods are lighter and shorter as a result, a happy coincidence. I’m so glad I do not have to deal with the chemicals in monthly sanitary wear.

What kind of challenges do you face in your zero waste Journey?

On the business side, the challenges I face come from the lack of understanding or wanting to change from other people. In my personal life, the majority of the challenges come from my kids. My kids want everything that is either wrapped in plastic or a is a disposable piece of plastic! From the teether’s they use to get their teeth through, to the bottles they are drinking from! If you need to know why this disturbs me please I urge you to watch “A Plastic Ocean” or “A Mission Blue”.  Also, I will hold my hand up because my husband and I are Pepsi Max Addicts. We have tried to quit but it doesn’t happen. Instead, I am trying to find other ways to use the 2ltr bottles we keep accumulating each week!! It really is ridiculous now that I think about it! But it’s the only thing we splurge on. We don’t drink, smoke, or go on nights out any more, as we have two kids under 3. That’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it! I do know the statistics are bad. 15000 single use bottles are thrown away every SECOND and here’s me contributing to this. We have both vowed to cut down and eventually wean ourselves off the black nectar. I know the health implications are really bad.

Have you always been interested in sustainability?

I’ll admit that no, I haven’t. In my child/early teen, I had environmental books and such. When I got to secondary school (middle school) -- Bam! That’s when I fell into the mind set of “this is what we need to do…think…feel in the midst of trying to confine to normality." Not only has it become important to sell environmentally friendly products, but to talk about them and share the problems we need to address. This has awakened a source of excitement in me!

How long have you had your Etsy shop?

I started my Etsy Shop in March 2017, after realizing that zero waste items were too expensive for the people in my area to afford. Most people shop at the Poundshop (99cent Store) because there is one on every high street offering cheap, but nasty goods. It all started with our Beeswax Wraps, because I wanted to use an alternative to cling film. After seeing some DIY tutorials, I thought I could do this myself.

What do you think are the most difficult parts of the zero waste lifestyle?

Buying food! You can be starving in a supermarket and it’s so easy to grab anything from that convenient fridge at the entrance of the door! The snack packs for the kids, the individually wrapped things, so the toddler doesn’t eat it all in one sitting. The next thing for me is deodorant, I’ve tried quite a few brands and let’s say that I am less than impressed as I can still smell me or feel conscious of what’s going on. I can go days without using deodorant, only using it on nice nights out.

Why do you think more people haven't transitioned?

Honestly, my age group seems to be more aware of the difference from our childhood to what the world looks like now. As a result, I feel these are the age groups who are transitioning. Many from my generation still know what hedgerows or fields look like without unnecessary plastic or litter in them. We also went to the shop with our bottles and reused them and our parents cooked everything from scratch. I think the main reason people won’t transition is cost. This is why I want to keep my shop affordable for all budgets and recommend not transitioning straight away, slowly is key. I’m still replacing certain things like plastic lunch boxes and haven’t got anywhere close to growing my own food! As I mentioned earlier, when you can get a five pack of plastic toothbrushes for £1/1$, why would you look or think about the actions and repercussions behind this purchase? If the truth was shown to everybody on the shelves or regularly displayed I’m not so sure everyone would buy the disposable plastic. However when people are in a rush, hungry, or thirsty, it won’t matter what you offer. It’s a fast lifestyle we lead, without any patience or concern for the environment.

Why has our society become reliant on disposables?

I feel that our society has become more disposable simply because the option is there. Our human nature is to take the shortest route possible to get what we need, expending the least amount of energy possible. Whether this is to cut across the field instead of walk around it, or to microwave our food rather than to source the ingredients and then cook it. Many of you will say, “I’m not lazy, I am efficient”!!! In the UK, we have banned the plastic bag; instead we charge 5 pence for the smallest one. This allows people to question if they want to pay for the small bag. People only have a certain amount these days to spend after bills and they spend it on what they feel is worthy. Ask people to spend £10 on a bag of Soap Nuts that will last them anywhere from a year to 3 years on washing, when they have £10 for the week is not feasible. However I can only speak for my experience of my area and the type of people surrounding it, I am from a small town in North East England, 40 mins south of Newcastle and 1 hour north of Leeds. In my town we have been hit hard by unemployment and we are now one of the poorest towns in the UK. This also prompted me to begin thinking about sustainability. Our town’s citizens need a reusable revolution to utilise the little money it has to invest in necessities.

How can I improve my impact?

We can all improve, right?! Nobody’s perfect. My family and I have certainly failed on many occasions this Plastic Free July, especially on our minibreak! It made me realise how daunting it can be for someone who is starting out on the Zero Waste journey! We did not plan well, even though we thought we had! I think we could start to use cloth nappies again. In the future we could convert my diesel car to a gas car or hybrid. I can stop buying food that has been heavily processed, as my kids shouldn’t really be eating it anyway. I could also lessen my pointless journeys in the car to shops I don’t need to go to, to buy things I don’t need. I could religiously buy fruit and veg without a plastic wrap and bulk buy goods. I could also only buy clothes from charity shops, online like Ebay or Facebook groups, the same with the kid’s clothes. I could also, when needed, get the kids wooden toys instead of plastic ones. I could also source our milk in glass bottles, as I am aware that this still occurs somewhere! Oh god, I could actually go on and depress myself with how little I’ve done! Hah. The main thing I take from our little zero waste journeys is the fight and passion in me to raise awareness and to set our family on the right path. As long as that path steers true it doesn’t matter how long or how far it will go! Everybody can start to be zero waste just try it you might like it!!......

If you want to follow me on facebook @beesewresponsible or Instagram @beesewresponsible5456 please do! No trolls though! haha I gave up playing with them in primary school! Love and hugs guys and gals. Angela and family! xxxx


Trendy and Sustainable: Adidas Sports Fashion Company

I always loved fashion and clothes! During my transition into a more sustainable and zero waste lifestyle, I stopped purchasing “fast-fashion” items because of the extreme negative impact the clothes have on the environment.

For more information on the issues of the fast-fashion industry, please watch the True Cost on Netflix. Fast fashion can quickly be defined as trendy clothing that is often cheaply manufactured and consequently enabled to remain inexpensive due to unethical practices and lack of environmental consideration. I made the decision to only shop at thrift stores, goodwill, and other second hand stores.

When I couldn't find a pair of sneakers that I liked and came in my size, I decided to widen my search to sustainable stores. I was shocked to hear that Adidas, a trendy sports company that is plastered on every billboard in the world, could be a sustainable, eco-friendly company that cared about the environment.

Here are four different approaches that helps make Adidas a more sustainable company.

Here are four different approaches that helps make Adidas a more sustainable company.

Here are four different approaches that help make Adidas a more sustainable company:

Adidas is a famous sports company. Since 1989, they have made strides to make their company more eco-friendly and sustainable. In 2016, Adidas was listed fifth among the ‘Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’ and was recognized as the leader in its industry. It was the third consecutive year that the company has been included in the Top 10 of the Global 100 Index. They are also a plastic-bag free store.

Despite using some new plastic, Adidas continues to try and use organic cotton, recycled nylon, ocean plastic, recycled plastic, and other reusable and natural materials. This new Sustainable Strategy, has become their holistic framework for the production, manufacturing, and purchasing of all current and future items. This has allowed them to look into using recycled nylon for their swim wear, all recycled plastic in the heel of their sneakers, and many other sustainable innovations. Adidas also partners with various environmental, textile, and human rights organizations.

I don't usually support trendy companies that are scattered around fashion blogger's Instagrams. If more sustainable and eco-friendly bloggers talked about Adidas's positive impact --> fashion bloggers might consider to do the same to gain more followers --> then we can inspire other companies to do the same. Unfortunately, when you look on their Instagram and other social media platforms, it doesn’t look like the majority of their influencers, celebrity speakers, and the company stores don’t talk about the environmental practices that Adidas is trying to enforce in the fashion industry.

Next time you are thinking about getting some new sneakers, work-out gear, or even a cool t-shirt, vote with your dollar for sustainable companies!


How You Can Start Your Own Compost!

My family has been composting my entire life. Composting was one of the main reasons that I started my personal journey to living a trash free life. I loved that composting has allowed me to reduce food waste and turn it into useable soil! According to a 2012 report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans throw away about 35 million tons of food per year that adds up to around $165 billion dollars. The report goes onto explain how more than 20 lbs of food is wasted per person every month in the United States. That’s roughly the same weight as a one year old child! Why do we throw away so much food?!

In a world where consumerism rules us, we are told that we need to keep our fridge fully stocked for whatever we are craving. We are told that food waste isn’t a big deal. We have the privilege to be able to eat whatever we are in the mood for- despite if something else is about to go bad. Not to mention the amount of food waste that we are unaware of when it comes to attending events, parties, or going out to eat at a restaurant. We can’t stop all of this food waste- but we can reduce the amount that we product in our daily lives.

The act of composting has allowed me to think more critically about the food that I purchase, making sure I use everything in my fridge before I go out to buy more food. It also allows me to not feel guilty for having to throw something out when it does go bad, or if I purchase a bad food item from the grocery store. As a result- I only create about 1% of food waste that actually gets tossed in my personal garbage due to it being a sweet or something that can’t be thrown into the compost.

For all of you who have a burning desire to reduce your food waste, I have provided a step by step guide to starting your own composting system and the types of food you can and cannot throw into your bin!!!

Side Note- My compost pile at home was created by my father back in the 90’s. I think it’s important to note that I have never created my own compost pile. I have decided to attach a few other blog posts from people who have successfully created a thriving compost pile. Please comment below if you have any additional questions or comments on creating your own compost system.


If you can, I highly recommend composting in your backyard. You can purchase or build a crate that can be closed off to the outside critters, but includes slits that allow for warms and the heat to help decompose the food scraps. My family has a small container in the house, when it’s full they dump the scraps into the compost pile. It’s not impossible to compost in your apartment.

I have never created a compost system in my apartment. There are a variety of different types of composting systems, but the most popular one is a worm bin. All you need is a dark corner or closet, a big bin with a top where you can drill holes into, warms, dirt, paper or cardboard, and some food scraps. I have attached a post from Wasteland Rebel on how to create your own apartment warm bin:


When it comes to starting any type of compost system that is indoor or outdoor, it’s important to have layers of grass, hay, paper, cardboard, along with your dirt and food scraps. This will ensure that your waste decomposes correctly, instead of turning into a big pile of mold. The worms will help turn the compost and bring more oxygen into the decomposing process. It’s also important to turn your compost with a shovel or rake. You should do this daily if your compost is small, or monthly if your compost is bigger. When it comes to turning your compost- make sure to not kill any of the worms. The turning will help with keeping the oxygen flowing in your pile, increasing the heat, and a happy healthy compost.

I highly recommend checking out MakeSoil, a non-profit organization that creates courses, videos, and other sources all around the United States to help people create a happy healthy compost.


When starting a compost pile, many believe that any type of food waste can decompose into the soil. That is 100% false and if you put the wrong food items into your compost- you will end up with mold, dead worms and no nutritionally dense soil to put in your garden. I would highly recommend not adding citrus foods into a small compost pile, since they take a super long time to decompose. If you have a big backyard compost then it is okay to add a few citrus peels in once in a while.


Fruits and Veggies of all kinds (citrus should be avoided when your compost is first starting out)

Nuts and dried fruit

Algae, seaweed, and lake moss

Wood ashes

Kitchen water


Coffee grounds (and natural/unbleached filters)

Dryer lint



Egg shells

Grass clippings

Bird, rabbit, and other small animal droppings (they don’t eat meat!)







Tea leaves (and natural filters)



Coal ashes or charcoal

Cat droppings

Colored paper

Dog droppings


Meat, fat, grease, oils, bones

Toxic materials

Diseased plants

Milk, yogurt, cheese

Soda or sugary food





Compost piles aren’t difficult to maintain, however they need a ton of love. Their is defiantly a learning curve to make sure that you don’t kill your compost pile and worms. I recommending doing a ton of research and if you aren’t sure about a particular food scrap, then it’s safe to not add it to your compost. What about all the items that you can’t compost?

I don’t eat meat, dairy, and processed foods, so I can have put all of my food scraps or bad food into the compost. If you live in a house, I would recommend throwing leftover meat and bones into the woods. If you can’t, then I would throw your bad processed foods, meat, and diary into the garbage. It’s not perfect, but it’s the only solutions.


Composting can look complicated, but once you get the hang of it you will learn to become obsessed with your compost. The reason being that composting helps decrease the amount of food waste going into the trash and bad smells coming from the garbage. You can also use the compost to plant flowers in the spring and start growing your own food in a garden!

I am no expert on the subject. Below are some additional links to helpful and more in-depth compost articles:

The Easiest Way To Compost:

How to Start a Compost Pile in 4 Easy Steps:

Worm Composting 101:

Homemade Gluten Free Almond Pulp Crackers

I love to make my own plant based milks as they are cheaper and taste way better than anything you can get at the store. Not to mention that it is more cost effective and don’t have any weird fillers. Not to mention that the majority of plant based milks come in non compostable or recyclable packaging. What are you supposed to do with the leftover pulp?

I usually add the leftover almond pulp in granolas, cookies, muffins, etc and other ways that I can easily hide it. I found that you are able to replace some of the dry ingredients such as oats or flour with the left over almond pulp. As a result- I have begun to add it to my homemade granola recipes, cookies, and even muffins. Sometimes you have to play around with the texture depending on if your pulp is wet or dry.

However my sister came up with this gluten free almond pulp cracker recipe so I thought I would share it with you all! I was able to find an egg replacer in cardboard packaging, which is easily recyclable.


Almond Pulp

1 egg or egg replacer

1 teaspoon of sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Mix the almond flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix well, until it forums a dough.

  • Place the dough between two large pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out to rectangle, about 1/16" thick. (It will tend to roll into an oval shape, so just rip off pieces of dough and re-attach to form a more rectangular shape.)

  • Cut the cracker dough into rectangles. Prick with a fork or toothpick if desired. Place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden.

Recipe taken from: