On the journey to zero waste there are many different areas in your life to look at. Whether this is eliminating waste from your shopping list, fridge, kitchen or buying habits. One thing I feel that gets pushed to the background is the icky areas, the less talked about areas, but still the daily issues we all face as humans. So lets talk about the taboo topics of zero waste.
TOILET PAPER WASTE
Oh the toilet. While I try and stick to recycled toilet paper wrapped in paper from Who Gives A Crap, toilet paper still takes an enormous amount of resources.
– An average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper a year.
– Daily production of toilet per is 83,048,116 rolls a day.
– Which also involves over 1,000,000 liters of water.
-260 tons of chlorine bleaching
– Some places in the world do not use toilet paper because of the lack of trees
– You need 384 trees to support one persons toilet paper use through out their lifetime
Therefore switching away from toilet paper, would be an extremely beneficial to the trees and fresh water systems. So what are the options?
Bidets / Bum Guns
For those of you who do not know, a bum gun or a bidet are water shooting alternatives to toilet paper. Bidet’s used to be exlusively in Europe, however a new report shows that 60% of japanese households have high tech bidets while 90% of Venezuelan homes have some form of a bidet.
The month I spent in Cambodia showed me that bidets were much more popular than toilet paper. While I did not quite master the art of squirting water without getting the floor, my pants, legs and sometimes everything else wet, I did start to see the value of using the bidet.
- Switching to bidets could save up to 15,000,000 trees.
- BioRelief Reports show that almost 80% of people do not wash their hands after using the toilet : meaning using hands free bidets a much more hygienic option as well.
Hygeine and saving the environment? I definitely think its a winner. While I do not own my own home I am not able to just install a bidet in my bathroom : some as cheap as 69$, so I have too keep looking for alternatives.
Wait, what? Family? Cloths? That does not sound right when put under the subheading of a toiler. That’s right. It does not. Family cloths are reusable cloths people have next to their toilet, ready to wipe with. Once dirty, typically there is a dirty laundry basket nearby to drop the soiled rag.
My first hearing of this solution definitely grossed me out. But after further inquiry :
- Yes, each family member has their own cloths
- You use one then drop it off in the basket
- You can also wash with a bidet then use the cloth to dry
- If you’ve had children and dealt with poop its not that gross
- Not that much residue stays on the towels.
So now that we understand a little bit more about the family cloths, lets look at the pros and cons.
- They are eco-friendly
- They are reusable
- They can be made out of old t shirts and sheets
- Reduces pollution
- Can last years
- Gentler on skin
- It is kind of gross
- If dropped into the toilet they have to be fished out to stop clogging
- They need frequent laundering
- Some stains may disappear
- If not washed properly, some cross contamination may occur
Personally, I definitely think the bidets are the way to go in terms of zero waste in the toilet department, and cannot think of a reason why to stick to toilet paper. What do you think?
In this day and age, the general expectation for females is to be completely hairless. While many girls are fighting this stigma by growing out their armpit hair, I am personally not that into it. Maybe its coming from an central to eastern european background, I have always taken my grooming seriously. I am lucky though, because since being blonde my hair is generally much finer than many girls out there. Therefore I can get away with shaving less, which until recently was my preferred method of hair removal.
Plastic Free Shaving
Probably the most common method of hair removal is shaving : the beauty industry has made millions of dollars by taking the classic male razors adding some pink packaging. There are hundreds of different options to pick, but mostly they all have some sort of plastic on them.
So if you do want to stick to shaving : picking a fully metal razor is the way to go. Do be careful not to cut yourself!
If you prefer the waxing alternative, I have found that there are methods you can use to eliminate waste from the typical wax. No single use strips, pink chemically wax or a beauty therapist and her gloves. Instead making a wax like paste from sugar is an option!
All you need is
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of water
Mix them together and heat them up! Careful not to overcook otherwise it will turn into rock. Then use the paste to wax off your hair. For more details check it out here.
Sugar is a fantastic alternative to wax, because its easy to buy in bulk bins and can definitely be composted. If you do not like waxing, the next option is the one I have taken.
Laser Hair Removal
The option I decided to go with, is laser hair removal. While it is a little more expensive than buying razors or even wax, in the long run I find it to be cheaper. I paid 120$ for six sessions at Oz Skin. In those six sessions, my hair decreased by 70%! If I had time for another six, I would never have to shave again.
If you do have the opportunity I highly recommend investing in laser hair removal, that is if you are certain you do not want hair anymore.
Basically what happens :
- You get put into a room with tiny little metal goggles on your eyes.
- A freezing cold gust of air is directed at the spot which will be lasered
- The laser starts, and the burning begins.
The laser is painful, it feels like a bee sting for a second, however as soon as the light flashes and the laser stops lasering the pain is gone. Similar to waxing, the pain disappears as quickly as it comes making it manageable.
Let me know if you’d be interested in hearing more about the laser process.
TIME OF THE MONTH
The last part of the icky zero waste is the female time of the month. So lets have a look how much we spend on female hygiene products and how much we actually use. If we calculate how many tampons an average woman would use in a lifetime is :
1 tampon every 6 hours = 4 tampons per day x 5 days of a period = 20 tampons per cycle x 456 periods =
At 16 tampons per box, that’s 570 boxes x $8 = $4,560
That’s an enormous amount of money! Even in just one year you would be spending over $120 on tampons. Not considering how much waste that creates : that’s filled with chemicals and who knows what. Basically, tampons are expensive and wasteful.
I was so happy to finally take the time to buy a diva cup. Which is a reusable cup that captures anything that exists your body, can be cleaned and reused for many years!
I tried it and while it was a little strange, and I did not like the feeling of plastic up there. I do have to say, that the knowledge of how much money and waste I am saving made me utterly convinced.
The Diva cup can be found in just about any pharmacy, I found it at the Chemist Warehouse, where it cost 49.99$. You can get them in two sizes : one before babies and one after babies.
Can you truly go Zero Waste?
Zero waste is truly a journey, and I do not think that in this day and age, the way we are dependent on cars, cards, credit cards, phones, computers and lights. There are so many areas in which we can definitely decrease our waste, including plastic use , making your own cleaning products , reusing clothes , growing food from scraps and your own insect repellent.
Eliminating waste from the unspeakable parts of your life may be low on the list of priorities, but it never hurts to learn and see where you can make a change! Chose a better razor, get a diva cup, consider your choices.