First of all, let me tell you that the term: “Zero Waste”, is a major misconception. We can never reach the “Zero Waste” lifestyle, simply because we are not fully equipped to cater to this radical change. In Bahrain, we struggle to find the minimum infrastructure to be able to produce less waste, from proper recycling methods, to environmental awareness, to the availability of sustainable, eco-friendly stores and brands. It is almost impossible to enjoy a waste free life in Bahrain. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we should just sit, cross our arms and watch our planet die, absolutely not! We still can do so much. We can live a “Low waste” lifestyle, and every single step we make towards that direction, is a big and rewarding one.
If you try to make a big life change happen immediately, chances are it won’t stick, let alone a huge, challenging one that requires a lot of hard work, like living a life where we produce less and less waste. The key is to start, anywhere, and with anything, but to just START. Starting with simple small steps, and being aware of the crazy amounts of waste we produce each and every day.
What I found to be very helpful is to start with one part of the house, and make the changes needed for it to be minimal, and with less trash, then move to anther area, and so on, until you are done. I, for example, started with my bathroom. After making sure to get rid of all the nasty chemicals, and replace them with natural substances, my goal was to keep track of my waste, maximize the use of eco-friendly products, and minimize the single-use items. I must say this wasn’t easy, as there is nothing easier than throwing what’s dirty instead of washing and drying and folding …etc.
The hardest part was to get rid of the shampoo, it took months, to finally let go of it, and use The “Ghassoul” –a Moroccan type of mud, used by grandmothers to wash their hair, and their skin. Let’s be honest, it is much easier to wash your hair whenever you feel like it (the less you wash it, the better), apply few drops of shampoo, wash, rinse and voila, as opposed to first wetting the mud, mixing it, applying it thoroughly, no foam or what so ever, just tiny pieces of mud all over your hair, which will take you at least a whole 5 minutes to rinse. However, the results are absolutely worth it.
I abandoned the shower gel, for the Moroccan natural soap, made out of extra virgin olive oil, which has no fragrance at all, no peach, no cherries, no lavender nothing haha, but definitely so much better for your skin.
For the deodorant, I made my own very easy mix, some arrowroot flour, coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils of your choice for a nice fragrance, and voila! Easy, cheap, healthy and chemicals-free.
I also posted here, about my DIY loose powder, and the recipe. Few of my friends were very skeptical, because it contains turmeric, and they thought it might stain their clothes, and their faces in case it rains (not sure how this will happen but …!!). I had been using it for over 6 months now and I LOVE it. I would love to reassure everyone who asked: In case of an abundant rain storm, your face will remain unstained ;). When you use the powder you will notice that only tiny particles of the ingredients make it to your brush, and they are very well mixed together, therefore it will act just like a normal powder, except this one is clean, safe and it smells fantastic!
After a long debate with myself, I finally decided to give the clothes pads a try. As most of you, washing and drying isn’t my favorite thing to do, however, I must say it was the best decision EVER! Cleaner, more organic, and definitely eco-friendly, and zero waste!
Replacing the wipes to remove my makeup, was NOT an easy task. What usually takes a minute, now takes a little more, BUT, I now know that there are NO chemicals on my face, instead I use Argan oil- the best of the best, from Morocco- with little towelettes made from a bigger towel I had. My skin is smooth and clean and my bin is empty 😉
Tooth paste and tooth brush: Switching to bamboo for myself and my family was the best choice. Again, I did NOT buy extra toothbrushes while I was still using my plastic ones, no! I ONLY bought them when we were done with the old ones. Being Low waste (and aiming for a zero waste lifestyle) is all about using what you have and avoiding unnecessary purchases). For the tooth paste, I switched to tablets, which I bought when I was in the USA last month.
When I run out, I am planning to make my own using:
½ cup coconut oil
2 tbsp baking soda
Peppermint Essential oil
This bathroom detoxification didn’t happen overnight, it happened in the course of weeks, if not months. But it was definitely worth it. While it is not a huge deal, and I will never be able to cram my waste for 3 years in a small glass jar, it is still a step forward, and this is how I started cleaning, minimalizing my home and making it eco-friendly and low waste. Starting with the bathroom gave me the chance to focus on one thing at a time, doing a proper research on eco-friendly brands, alternatives, and DIYs that I previously thought less of, of thought it was the hardest thing to make/do.
My next stop was the kitchen! You will always have to remember that the aim is to make use of the things you already own, and to buy less and less products. In my next post I will explain how I handled the process of making my kitchen a low waste space. Stay tuned!!