Plastic Free Dishwasher Detergent

I have been obsessing over having a plastic free and trash free lifestyle.  This is a slow change in progress as I have a husband who prefers convenience; plus, he does all of the grocery shopping.  I don’t want to throw 0% waste at him all at once.  It would never happen.  So, I am trying to remove as much plastic from my life as I can in my chores by means of making things myself.

I have been using homemade laundry detergent for a while and I love it.  It is plastic free and very easy to make.  I have heard debates on whether or not Borax is safe.  Well, I have been using it for about a year or more and I haven’t had any issues: rashes or skin irritations.  However; I am going to try a new recipe next time (I am soon out) that is Borax free to see how it works.

I am soon out of my store bought dishwasher detergent (my husband bought not knowing I had planned to make my own).  I wanted to use up what we had first before making my own.  I don’t like wasting.

Store bought detergent doesn’t contain ingredient list. Claims it’s safe for the environment.

I tried finding an ingredient list on my store bought detergent, but I couldn’t find one.  Look at all of the warnings on this stuff.  This is “Eco” detergent, “Friendly to Lakes and Steams.”  It says Phosphate Free; but since there isn’t an ingredient list; I am not confidant in this claim.  I am maybe reconsidering my dislike of wasting.

Toxic Dish Detergent

I wanted to find a non-toxic, plastic free recipe for dish washing detergent.

I found a recipe I wanted to try on thank your body.  For dish detergent, I wanted something borax free for sure since you use dishes to put food into your mouth.  I didn’t want to chance it.  This recipe was easy.  I had to only buy citric acid; the rest I already had in my pantry.  Citric acid is good for cheese making too (which I learned today).  So whatever you have left over, you can use to make cheese too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups citric acid
  • 1 1/2 cups washing soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sea salt

Directions:

Combine all together.  Blend out any lumps.  Store in a sealed canning jar with lid.  The jar that I used had been storing canned tomatoes.  Instead of throwing out the lid, I labeled that this jar contained dish-washing detergent.  It can be reused infinite times.

Three of the ingredients of this recipe are food-based.  Washing soda is closely related to Baking Soda; it’s also known as sodium carbonate and can also be created from sodium chloride, also known as table salt.  This plastic free homemade detergent will be much safer for your dishes and for you.

Things That Could Be More Green

Sometimes an idea comes to mind.  A small idea that would make less waste or one that is just simpler.

  • Okay, so this is an out of date idea, maybe, but why do you have to get prints or CDs when you bring in disposable cameras.   I have 5 sitting here needing to get developed but I just want to load them into the cloud and not deal with the clutter of prints and CDs.  Why can’t I bring in the cameras and they 1) all be put onto one CD or 2) be added to a flash drive or 3) email me all of the prints.   Any one of these options would be simpler for me, create less waste for me and less to store for me.  This maybe isn’t a huge deal since disposable cameras will soon be extinct anyways but Walgreens shot down all of my ideas when I called them.  Bummer.   I understand that mostly this is because the cameras are shipped off location to get developed.

*UPDATE – I went to Walgreens and they said that I had no choice to get prints.  The CD was optional.  I left and went to a local grocery store where they said I do not need to get prints and all 5 disposable cameras can be loaded onto one CD.  Score!

  • Receipts are just like plastic bags.  They are given to me by obligation (or default) but I never (rarely) use them.  They just pile up in corners, pockets and desk drawers for me to look at and wonder why I still have it.  Why can’t they ask if I want a receipt instead of printing and handing me one or offer to email me a copy.  Some companies do this, like GAP and Banana Republic, but more should have this as an option.

Do you have any  ideas on how companies could modify their processes to be more environmental?

Journey to Zero Waste – Eliminating Excess

I started reading through a book on organizing while I was at Urban Outfitters called, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever” by Marie Kondo.  Since I was thinking about going Zero Waste when I found this book, I thought now is the best time to start getting rid of stuff and having a better method of organization.  One take away from that book that just makes complete sense, is to organize by category, and not by room.  Over the past month I have picked a few categories of stuff to go through: coats, towels, bedding, etc.  

Today’s task was to finally go through my clothes.  I have SO much and the thought of tackling this overwhelmed me.  I knew I hung on to clothes I didn’t wear at all or often enough to keep, but I always think that eventually it will go with something so I don’t want get rid of it quite yet.

I eventually found the guts to begin.  I started with emptying my entire closet.  Everything I own came out and onto the bed.  It took about 30 minutes to sort each article of clothing by type: cardigans, t-shifts, pants, etc.  It’s good to see everything you own in this category as you will see that I obviously have too many t-shirts.

ZeroWaste

I did struggle on a few decisions.  Below are questions I thought of when I was hesitating on letting go:

  1.  Does it bring me happiness?

2.  How does it feel when I wear it?  There were a couple of tops that I didn’t wear because it was itchy, or I didn’t like the pockets.  So they were easy to let go.

3.  Am I keeping it for sentimental value only?   I found I had lots of sadness thinking about getting rid of a dress my grandma (who passed away 5 years ago) made for me when I was about 15-16.   But I had never worn it.  I decided to take a picture for memory sake and to donate it to our local thrift store.  I pray someone will like wearing it.  I also have attachment to anything with a cat on it.  I forced myself to get rid of t-shirts with kitties on it.  Someone else will find just as much joy in owning them as I did.

Dress

4.  When is the last time I wore it? When is the next time I will wear it?   If I can’t remember or I don’t know, it’s time to get rid of it.

5.  Does it fit?  If not, why are you keeping it?

I notice when I dress myself for work I tend to wear the same things over and over, so why do I have so much clothes.  I want to make getting dressed easier by having less options.  Cutting back will make that happen.

Making Life More Efficient

I always thought that decluttering would make life less stressed.  We own bigger homes than decades ago just so we can fill it up with stuff.  I think half of it is the thrill of shopping.  Buying something new makes us feel good.  These things clutter our lives and add stress.

So my husband and I had a rummage sale and tried our best to rid our lives of as much stuff that wasn’t needed.  We definitely could have got rid of more.  But, by even doing this…we continue to get frustrated by how cluttered and messy our lives are even with less stuff.

We had an ah-ha moment.  Yes, it’s nice to get rid of things and declutter, but it’s more about our home is organized.  We made a plan.  We figured out what frustrated us the most and drilled down to see why it was a problem.  Here is what we discovered and how we made it better.

1.  We always had garbage all over our counter top.  We decided that the location to our garbage can was not working for us.  We originally had it in a closet…out of sight, out of mind.  Having to open a door every time to throw away something was a hassel  By buying a new garbage with a lid, and putting it out in the kitchen has kept our counters clean.

2.  We always misplaced our keys.  I didn’t want to install a key holder because our sun room had nice wood paneling (not the 80’s style – more like cabin style) and I didn’t want to mess it up.  So I installed those adhesive hooks that you can pull a tab and it releases.  This was an efficiency that requires a new habit but so far it’s working.

3.  We put a garbage in the bathroom.  This made a huge difference.  I didn’t realize how much garbage we created in this room.

4.  We put a laundry hamper in the bathroom as well.  We would always have piles of dirty clothes on the floor and just putting it in a bin has made our house so much cleaner.

5.  We always had issues with one of us opening mail and leaving it all over the table.  We are still working this one out.  We need to find a way to remove consistently putting waste in the recycling.   This will require a new habit.

We do have a long way to go, but we are finding ways to make our household easier to live in.  So far, it’s making a huge difference.

If you had 260 square foot of living space…

What would you keep?  What would you donate?  Would you get bored with only the small amount of things around you?  Is our livelihood, happiness and popularity defined by what we own, or how little we own?

I live with my husband and 3 cats in a home the size of about 1400 square feet, included in that a 2 floor sunroom-loft and living space above the garage.  I believe I can live with half this amount of space.  If I did not have the loft or the garage living space I wouldn’t miss it.   The space we spend the most amount of time is the living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.  These to me are the only required spaces and they do not need to be large.  More space makes us believe that we require more stuff to fill it.

Check out this link.  I could live here.  You can pick where you want to live (it’s on wheels).  We ought to spend more time in the outdoors, rather than indoors anyways.  Do you think you would be happy living in a house this small?

Media Inspiration

I am inspired by a lot of things.  My interests in the environment and being healthy have been formed by many things that I have seen on the internet, watched or read.  I am even inspired by others.  I watched a really inspirational documentary last night and I wanted to share with you all.  Living On One Dollar is the name of the film and it is about Americans spending time in Guatemala living on very little income and trying to survive.  They show the difficulties local families endure deciding on whether to buy food or to educate their children.  It’s quite sad.  But it makes me want to do something.   I want to be happy with what I have and seeing these families happy yet struggling to get by makes me really think about all that I have and why I constantly want more.  If you want more information on this documentary or to donate, check out this link.

I have also seen several other documentaries that you should check out if you have not already:

  1. An Inconvenient Truth-you all probably have heard of this one by Al Gore.  This is the science behind global warming.
  2. No Impact Man-a small family spends one year without environmental impact.
  3. Supersize Me-made me swear of fast food.
  4. Food Inc.-overview on corporate farming.

Also, if you have a chance, you should read the book, Not Buying It by Judith Levine.  A woman goes one year buying only the specific list of agreed upon essentials prior to starting the year.  This means not eating out, going to movies or going shopping.  Wine is not a necessity, neither is travel.  To me, these types of videos and books are inspirational to me.  They make me want to make a change, as I hope they will inspire you to make simple changes.