A Zero-Waste Life In Bahrain

 

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!!

 

Ouiam

 

 

Less Is More… (This is why I stopped buying clothes- part 2)

Living minimally and in a simple non extravagant way is not something that the world was recently introduced to. Generations before us did it, not by choice, but out of necessity. My own parents and grandparents, and even myself as a kid, we lead a similar simple life and I remember it vividly, yet I have no recollection of how we all transitioned into this fancy, lazy, harmful new way. Every new thing/machine/device that has been invented to help humanity comes with some kind of harm: Microwaves, Phones, Ipads, Internet…etc.

Decades, if not a century later, history is repeating itself, except this time, it is by choice, and not out of necessity. People are more conscious about their lifestyles, and aware of the harm done to our planet and how by small decisions all of us can help whatever is left.

There is a huge wave of thinkers, researchers, environment lovers, who finally have been speaking out and using the social media as an outlet to increase awareness about the many ways we are harming our beloved planet, in ways we don’t even know of.

The more I knew about the whole thing the more I wanted in, and in this post I will share with you my way of doing it, which is basically thinking back about the life I have had as a kid and try to imitate it now. I am not a Guru in this matter, I am just a novice who started her journey, and I would like nothing more than sharing this journey with you.

Growing up I didn’t really need/own lots of clothes, I had what I needed and what fit into my closet. As a kid I spent all my money on books, and clothes came last of course- Yes I was a nerd lol- So now before buying anything new I think back to that era of my life, and how I focused on what was more important to me, and I try to do the same. Of course that is no walk in the park, with all the sales, pretty things in the shops, colorful and eye catching items almost calling your name, However, I always try to do the following:

1- Sleep on it: If you feel like you really want to buy something, sleep on it for a couple of days. Almost always you will realize that you don’t really need it, and if you still feel like it, then go ahead but at least you have tried.

2- Avoid malls. There is really NOTHING for me in the mall! I only go IF and ONLY IF I needed something.

3- Borrow, or buy second hand. For example, this Halloween Adam wanted to be a Superman, I asked my friends to check who has a superman costume, at home collecting dust, so I can buy it from them. One of my friends had one, she offered to lend it to us, and we happily took it! It was perfect, and we didn’t spend a penny on it!

4- Let go of the idea of: “I need to buy expensive things in order to fit in”. To me that is the most absurd idea ever! My clothes say nothing about who I am, and if someone thinks otherwise then probably they will never be in my circle anyways.

5- Go for experiences: My husband and I decided that we will condense Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, and whatever other holiday there is, and just save up and TRAVEL! We love exploring the world together along with our wonderful little boy- who may I say, loves traveling even more than we do lol!

6- We are very blessed to have family who help us tremendously. Adam is only four and obviously is growing bigger and bigger each day, so his clothes get smaller. We never buy him any clothes though, because once a year, his Grandmother buys few outfits for him and that’s more than enough. He owns few shorts, couple of jeans, few T-shirts, and a jacket. Two drawers worth of clothes. Just what he needs. then we give them to a friend who is a year younger than Adam, so it worked perfectly.

Some people might think that I am depriving myself and my family from life’s finest joys, to those I say for us the true joy is to be healthy and happy together, enjoying life’s experiences and challenges together. Giving back to our planet, community and the people we love the most. Preparing earth for the generations to come, and not destroy it instead. The less we own the happier we are.  Things will always be things, being attached to them doesn’t make any sense, instead we appreciate the people around us, our family, our close friends, and our planet.

With Love , Ouiam