Step 1: Brush your Teeth
I’m looking for zero waste dental floss and toothbrush. I found the Miswak stick but everywhere I went to buy it, it is covered in plastic or would have to be shipped. Even at my local food co-op it’s covered in plastic, then cardboard, then a stupid case that you’re not even hygienically supposed to use – PSA toothbrush cases are a lie. Let me remind everyone that this is a STICK. Literally a twig (albeit with dental hygiene properties-but a twig nonetheless and fastidiously packaging it up doesn’t change that and is bitterly ironic).
There are bamboo toothbrushes of course, but same problem, so much packaging, the bristles are not compostable, and then you still have to use toothpaste and water, AND buy it online if there are no local options, and it will come in even more superfluous packaging. This picture is from a well-known nationwide environmentally friendly food store – with no bamboo options 😦
So, my thought is that with the Miswak stick (vs. bamboo) you don’t need anything. So why not dive in and go completely zero waste? As an additional perk, it would also be super handy on climbing roadtrips cause we all know the last thing a dirtbag wants to do is get out of the van bed to spit. Seriously it’s literally my least favorite task.
Also, just as a side note of my bias. I pay attention to oral health as much as the next person. I brush two to three times a day. And floss with the same frequency as any other sane person: right before and after a dentist appt. Just kidding. Kind of. HOWEVER, I’m not convinced that any amount of fluoride or mouth detergents or soft or medium or hard bristles the dentist recommends in arbitrary alternating succession is truly going to help me more than a stick and water would.
“Death enters through the gums” – Sara Silverman, Dental Hygiene Expert
Step 2: Floss dem toofs
And because I’m scared of death currently just about much as I’m afraid of getting another $600 cavity (Thanks Obamacare…100% kidding, I love and miss you Obama plz come back), I will be flossing despite the waste using the millions of mini floss packages my dentist has given me over the years with the same condescending but hella healthy smile. (I may also use a Waterpik already in possession- which uses water like floss but produces no waste.) However, if I had to buy floss, I would look at these options.
Step 3: You have to poo
Yes I use toilet paper when I am at the office or a bar what have you. But at home, I use scrap fabric/bandanas and toss them into a bin by the loo when they’re dirty. No different than using cloth diapers except for yes, it’s very different, it’s not messy at all, I’m not a baby. Also, when it’s just no. 1, it’s perfectly acceptable to air dry-dudes do this ALL THE TIME.
Bottom-Line: Excuse the pun, but going without TP at home felt pretty simple. Butt, after practice the other night, our drummer, AT, sassily asked if I was going to stop going poop when they found out I was going ‘zero waste’. It may have been less PG than that, but they laid bare a glaring truth that I hadn’t even thought about: I would have to have a compostable toilet to be zero waste. And I don’t. One day, I will build one. And it shall be magnificent. And all ye shall look upon my compostable toilet and say, ‘that is the shit’.
Step 4: Wash your hands now!
I’ve pretty much nailed down the habit of shaking off and wiping my hands on my pants post-washing instead of using a paper towel or air dryer. It’s not rocket science. Oh yeah, you won’t die if there are germs on your hands but if you are of the OCD kind then I recommend bringing a rag to the office.
In terms of washing at home, duh use a locally made bar soap that has no packaging. Some Kroger’s let you cut your own soap from Zum Bars or go to a farmers market.
Step 5: Be a girl that has to deal with more complicated fun bathroom stuff
I got a pair of THINX underwear – which are pretty cool. Facebook has been blowing up about them for what seems like ages, which means six months. I wore them ice climbing and rock climbing in CO with no problems – although lets be real, I use them as a backup, not by themselves. Those ads of ladies just sitting with them on as they fill up with red liquid looks soooooo uncomfortable. Speaking of potentially uncomfortable, I bought a MeLuna Cup and a friend is letting me borrow some cloth pads just in case which her amazing environmental activist friend hand made. It’s safe to say I will now be having a zero waste lady time every month!
(P.S. I know this stuff isn’t something my grandma would want to hear about but the amount of waste produced by feminine hygiene products, and now the little baggies they want you to use to wrap around everything – is just obscene. So I’m happy to share these details because it’s a fact of life; we need not be shouting it from rooftops (unless that’s your thing) but neither should we feel ashamed about it.
Step 6: Wash your hair
Or if you do, do it once a week or once a month. We don’t need to really. Use baby powder, baking soda, or cocoa powder or other dry shampoo. I’ve been washing every month or so for the last year and it’s been grand. My hair feels healthier yada yada. There a million posts about this. Also, no one seems to notice or doesn’t have the guts to say anything if they do- except for my mom and let’s be real moms are never chill about their daughter’s hair.
Step 7: Take a shower
Do it less. And make them short. You can skip shaving to make it quicker 🙂
There are other bathroom things I haven’t figured out yet so I will circle back another time!