January 21, 2016

I've moved!

Hi Friends! 

Thanks so much for following this blog! It has been my blogging home for almost SEVEN YEARS! It has followed me through college, studying abroad, brethren volunteer service, and the beginning of seminary! 

I have moved to katieheishman.blogspot.com
New last name, new era, new blog. 

April 11, 2015

Economics of Zero Waste

As a frugal seminary student trying to get through seminary dept-free, I am keeping an eye on my finances and pinching pennies. When starting my real transition to a zero waste lifestyle, I had a fear that Zero Waste might put a strain on my frugal lifestyle. However, that's proven not to be the case in a lot of ways! I did the math this morning on the hygiene products that I have made for myself. 

Before going zero waste these are the products that I would buy every couple months:
Face Wash
Body Wash 

I have turned to homemade, zero waste alternatives for all of these and did the math to prove I'm saving money! 

Main Ingredients
Coconut Oil (14oz) = $9
Baking Soda (16oz) = $1
Cornstarch (16oz) = $1.40
Apple Cider Vinegar (32oz) = $5.50

Packaged Price = $1.64 (6.4oz)
Zero Waste Price= $0.67 
Savings = $0.97

Face Wash
Packaged Price = $5.69 (5oz) or $2.99 off-brand
Zero Waste Price = $2.12 (6 oz)
Savings = $3.57

Packaged Price = $2.49 (2.6 oz)
Zero Waste Price = $1.98 (8oz)
Savings = $0.51

Shampoo & Conditioner 
Packaged Price =  $11 (5.50 each; 25.04oz)
Zero Waste Price = Soap @ $3.00 + ACV @ $2.88 = 7.88
Savings = $3.12

These aren't hard and fast numbers, but averages based on how I move through these products. For each product I did the prices based on about the length of time it would take to use up each one. For things like deodorant and toothpaste the savings don't seem like that much--but $3.00 on face wash and shampoo/conditioner will definitely add up! Also, I can avoid PLASTIC! :) 

April 4, 2015

Zero Waste Lent: Self-Sufficiency + Creativity

“It’s about self-sufficiency and creativity,” I think as I swipe some homemade toothpaste out of my glass jar and onto my toothbrush. My pursuits of a zero waste lifestyle are young and fledgling. My time is spent searching for homemade recipes for products that come in plastic and squirming as someone hands me a piece of plastic and I don’t refuse out of fear. Yet, I’m slowly learning what this lifestyle is about and how it’s contributing to my wholeness as a person, while seeking the wholeness of the planet.

This Lent I’ve learned how to make toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, hair rinse, and sauerkraut. The first few things were essential—the sauerkraut was just for fun! I’ve set aside a sack of t-shirts to make into a rug. Not only have I avoided marketed products in plastic—I’ve learned new skills! Namely, coconut oil and baking soda can be used for everything!

I haven’t run out of my first batch of toothpaste or deodorant, but I when the time comes I will turn to my kitchen instead of the aisles of branded body products. Going to the store, I get down seeing the aisles and aisles of plastic wrapped products. I didn’t pay too much attention to marketing before, but I would pour over the bottles and read the labels to see which product would be best for me. Who knew my hair would be just fine with a bar of soap and Apple Cider Vinegar to be healthy and happy?

My clothes tend to get holey pretty easily, perhaps that’s the poor quality of clothing these days or my hard wear and tear on them? Anyway, I’ve learned to darn and mend my clothes. This is something that I did before starting this Lenten experiment, but while watching one documentary I mended: one pair of running pants and a sweater. It’s fulfilling to put on a piece of clothing after it is resurrected from the “to-mend.” My clothing gets a second life—saving my budget and boosting my self-sufficiency ego.

Pursuing a zero waste lifestyle encourages creativity. Looking through my cabinets and cupboards—my mind starts to wonder, “Where could I get this zero waste? Or how could I make my own? What alternatives exist? How are other people doing this?”

The toothpaste or deodorant marketed to me are out of my control. I don’t control the ingredients or packaging. But those things that I make myself, I see the ingredients and I get to re-use the packaging. But if I didn’t know that other ways exist or if I didn’t wrestle with the plastic in my house—I wouldn’t know to make my own! Creativity stems from seeing the world as it is and imagining that other ways are possible. A third way is possible.

A large part of this journey has stemmed from my faith formation and my Christian beliefs about the way the world should be. I believe that God created the world and named it “good” and I believe that being created in God’s image gifts us with God’s creative energy. The ability to create and imagine anew. I don’t have to be stuck in the rut of consuming only what society tells me to consume, but I have the creative power to say “No! I’m gonna make my own toothpaste (without microbeads to boot!).”

March 17, 2015

Trash: Week Three and Four

The past two seminary weeks were a bit insane! Weekend intensives + Papers due = Perfect Storm! Needless to say, I am beyond pumped to be enjoying Day Four of Spring Break and happy to be catching up on some blogging. I kept photographing my trash--even though I didn't have a chance to blog about it yet.

Week Three
- Brown Sugar Bag
- EmergenC packets (2)
- Biscoff cookie wrapper
- Contact foil tops
- Contact lenses
- Sticker from Pizza Box
- Butter wrapper
- Zip tie
- Apple Sticker
- Pad wrappers

Week Four
- Two butter wrappers (lots of baking!)
- Popcorn bag & wrapper (last one!)
- Fruit stickers
- Covering from self-sealing envelope
- Dried out bar of soap (not sure what to do with it!)
- Piece of floss
- Car tag from auto shop

Ultimate Sin
Father, forgive me for I have sinned. 
Yeah, this is literally the worst offense I could ever have done. Ugh. After church last week, we went to a Mexican restaurant to eat and I hadn't brought any leftover containers to re-use. With half my meal leftover, Tim and I shared a styrafoam container. I didn't include it in the trash picture because I am hoping to recycle it...even though in my former life it would have just gone in the trash.

Trash evaded--something to celebrate!
Feminine Hygiene Products: Last week, I kept a couple pads and a few tampons from venturing into landfills. I invested in a MoonCup and a few re-usable pads from Sckoon.
Shower Supplies: Last week, I finished up my face wash, body wash, and conditioner and replaced them with homemade face wash (honey, baking soda, and coconut oil), a bar of soap, and ACV. I am finishing up my shampoo and won't be buying plastic products for the shower again. Next up is finishing my plastic tube of toothpaste!
More Popcorn Bags: I finished up my bags of microwavable popcorn this week and have been using popcorn kernels that I bough in bulk.
Peanut Butter Jars: I am addicted to peanut butter and eat it almost every day--so I can move through a couple plastic jars in a month. First, I filled a glass jar with peanut butter from Whole Foods, but last week, I bought some peanuts, made my own, and saved money!