I’m looking over a brainstorming list I made when my year started of various topics I could potentially cover — things like how to throw a zero waste dinner party (too bad we don’t throw dinner parties), how to cook beans from scratch (oh, that would have been a good one — learning to cook beans was life changing), and a tutorial by Johanna on how to make an American doll skirt out of a t-shirt sleeve (she’d just made one out of an old lacrosse tee. Her lacrosse career lasted one season, incidentally).
I also wrote down a few questions we got at the beginning that I had hoped to address … and then never did. Well, no time like the present! Especially since I don’t have any other ideas for today’s post.
How do you deal with all the boxes from packages?
Well, we don’t order very much online, so that helps. But I like to save the better ones in case I want to send out a care package. (With Abby on the brink of college, I’m really keeping that in mind.) I’m not opposed to recycling or composting cardboard, but I’ve also found that people at work tend to appreciate good boxes if I bring them in — for moving or for storing stuff or whatever. I’m not above passing that kind of thing on and out of my house.
Also: They make really great cat beds. Just ask Pearl.
What do you do for dish soap?
I never answered this one because I can get dish soap in bulk. (I know, stupidly lucky.) I made a dish soap once upon a time when I was just getting into homemade cleaning products — can’t remember the source — which was just:
- 1/2 cup castile soap
- A few drops tea tree oil
- 1-1/2 cups hot water
It wasn’t particularly sudsy, but it did work like a champ — my dishes got squeaky clean. I’ve since run out of tea tree oil and haven’t decided if essential oils are really zero waste or not, so I haven’t replaced it.
I think I read somewhere about a person using a bar of castile and rubbing that on their dishtowel and then using that to wash dishes. But I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for that one.
Chocolate and alcohol?
I can get chocolate in bulk or paper … and we also live in an area where you can get many different spirits — wine, beer, hard cider — in growlers or bottles at various wineries, breweries and cideries. I don’t actually drink — my stomach is a jerk, it’s just not worth it, pass the coffee — but that’s how I would take care of that.
Do chocolatiers still exist? Why don’t we have one of those in town?
Alternatives to potato chips?
I made potato chips once, several years ago, but Johanna (who has an interesting stomach herself) puked afterwards and is to this day convinced it was the potato chips that did it. I am not convinced, but I haven’t tried it again. HERE is a recipe that looks easy, though. Except for the boiling hot oil, I’m afraid of that sort of thing.
I’ve made plenty of kale chips in my life — tear kale into bite sized pieces, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake it in a relatively hot oven, like 400º or maybe even more until crispy — but I think it’s too big of a pain to do it very often. I’ve also seen recipes for zucchini chips (HERE is one that looks sort of good, plus it’s baked!), but haven’t tried it yet.
To be honest, my favorite coffee shop and deli gives you a handful of potato chips when you buy a sandwich — I adore the veggie — so that’s mostly how I dealt with cravings this year. Not quite zero waste because there was clearly waste on some end with the chip bag, but … look, cravings happen. That’s all I have to say about that. 😉
How do you live without paper products?
I actually might have answered this one already but I’m too lazy to go look back through my posts. Eric was the biggest paper towel in our household, and he suggested we hide them to get into the habit of grabbing a towel instead. And that has worked really well — so well that I was able to take them out of their hiding spot in the kitchen and stick them in the laundry room. Uh, so I guess we still own paper towels, we just don’t use them.
Anyway, we have cloth napkins and towels to take the place of paper ones. I like regular tableware — I’m not a fan of paper anyway. Oh, I made some hankies, there’s another paper product we don’t need. Um … reusable sacks instead of paper bags … I can’t think of any other paper product.
Oh, wait, maybe books — well, that’s easy for me, I have a Kindle and I much prefer it. Having my whole library in my purse is kind of amazing and also makes me feel better about life in general (I have anxiety and enjoy distraction). But the girls like paper books. That’s one paper product I have no problem buying.
Next up: More ramble, probably.