Category Archives for "Eco"

Our Choices for a Zero Waste Bathroom

By Mela & Don | DIY , Eco , Lifestyle , Self Care

We spent a long time trying out different low waste, eco-friendly bathroom toiletries until we settled on products we love. Everybody has different skin types, hair types and personal preferences, so not all of these may be right for you, but we thought we’d take some time out of our beautiful stay in Crete to share some of the products and recipes that we have chosen to replace our old wasteful bathroom routine.

See the list below, Info and Product links, for details on these.

We are slowly trying to improve our behaviors and habits to lead a more sustainable life and care for our planet better. With my (Mela’s) family being so far away in South Africa, we do not travel to see them very often. While we are aware that by taking international flights we are greatly increasing our carbon footprint, after much discussion we decided that visiting family in South Africa every 3 to 5 years was not something we were willing to give up, BUT that we could do something to offset these flights. Most flights to South Africa from the US go through Europe first. This is how we chose our honeymoon destination as it was on the way to SA. 

We chose to plant trees to offset the carbon produced by these international flights. We used Carbonfund.org to calculate our CO2 emissions and donated the equivalent amount to plant trees on our behalf. 

We will continue to try to improve our habits and offset those we cannot change yet. We believe going zero-waste does not mean you are perfect, but doing your best to be less wasteful and doing your part in caring for the environment.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Honey Cleanser
Honey is naturally antibacterial so it’s great for cleaning your skin, treating acne or prevention.  Plus it is full of antioxidants, slowing down aging. It is very moisturizing and my skin has felt so soft since I started using it. It’s best to use raw honey as pasteurized honey has been exposed to high temperatures and may destroy some of these natural properties.  It is not great for removing make up, it is better to use an oil to effectively remove make up.

Face and Body Scrub
I make my own scrub to use every few days on my face and sometimes my whole body, especially in dry climates. I use 1 cup of epsom salts to 2 cups of oil.  You can switch out the epsom salt for sugar, I have not tried this, but I believe it is a less abrasive option. You could also add essential oils if you like. I have used both almond oil and jojoba oil and loved both options as they are very moisturizing.



Shampoo Bar
The best thing about using a shampoo bar is that you totally eliminate the need for a container.  This bar made by The Better Soap Company is full of ingredients that are good for your hair. I occasionally use an apple cider vinegar rinse afterwards instead of conditioner. The BSC does also sell a Conditioner Bar.



Shaving Soap Bar
Another fantastic bar soap from The Better Soap Company.  This works great, it lathers up nicely and helps prevent nicks and cuts. It has also lasted us a really really long time.  I love that I don’t need to buy Shaving Cream in a container. Don uses this to shave his whole head and says it’s than any shaving cream he has ever used. The Better Soap Company doesn't keep it stocked all the time, but you can ask her to make some if it is not currently in her store.



Shaving Soap Bowl and Brush
This makes the perfect accessory for the shaving bar.  It’s an easy and efficient way to store the soap and make it user friendly. It should last for years and years.



Better Hydrating Lotion
I use this on my face and body.  It can be used as a hair conditioner too. Full of all natural ingredients it is light and absorbed easily.  You can select your scent, my favorite is lavender and/or vanilla. There is no plastic packaging, you can recycle or reuse the glass container. We absolutely love this lotion! I am really happy to have found this at the Better Soap Company too, as I can order all my toiletries at the same time and have them ship in in one box.  She uses very low waste packaging.



Sunscreen
I so loved the Better Hydrating Lotion that I made a special request for a reef safe Sunscreen from Sheri of The Better Soap Company and she said “yes I can do that”! We were out in the sun and sea every day for many hours in Crete and neither of us (you can see how very white both Don and I are) got sunburnt.  She used non nano zinc oxide which worked great but the downside of that is it is harder to rub into your skin without it just tinting your skin white. This is to be expected though and just required taking more time and a gentle application.



Bamboo Toothbrushes
This was such a no brainer and easy to make switch. They are fully compostable, work great, cheaper than most plastic brushes and come in plastic free packaging that is recyclable and compostable.



Dental Lace
This floss is made from silk and is 100% compostable, the container is made of glass and metal. It is reusable as you can buy refills of just the floss.  The refills come in a compostable bag inside a cardboard box made from recycled materials. It works great and is a simple fix for replacing dental floss made from nylon that comes in plastic containers.



Bamboo Cotton Buds
Bambaw cotton buds were another no brainer for us. Cotton buds with paper sticks in the middle are definitely better than plastic sticks, but Bambaw uses bamboo which is a more sustainable product. The box is recyclable or compostable with no plastic.



Make Up Remover
I use coconut oil for cooking, so when I purchase a new jar I just scoop out a little into a smaller jar/container to use in the bathroom as eye make up remover.  I cut up little rags from old clothing with soft material and use the rags instead of cotton pads. I wet the rag, add some coconut oil and then wash and reuse the rags quite a few times before they need replacing.



Deodorant
I have tried a few different non toxic natural deodorants that I liked but they all came in plastic containers. Then I found the Little Seed Farm.  They offer an aluminum and baking soda free deodorant cream that comes in a glass container with a metal lid which is recyclable. Guess what….it works great too!  Score! You can choose your scent or have it unscented. I don’t need to reapply daily, once in the morning is all I need. Don hates deodorant because he says it never works, I convinced him to give this a try and he was shocked how well it worked.  I use the activated charcoal scent as it has a subtle fresh minty smell and really seems to eliminate odors. They offer an applicator too if you don’t like using your finger to apply. You can also select to have your order shipped with zero waste packaging.



Carbonfund.org
Carbonfund.org is leading the fight against climate change, making it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce & offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future.



Fact Check

Holiday Special: Rehabi-Tips for a Waste Free Holiday

By Mela & Don | DIY , Eco , Kitchen , Lifestyle , Self Care

We are taking a little break from the bus build to bring you this Holiday Special Episode and share some of the changes we have made in the way we celebrate Christmas.

Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.  The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Watch the video to learn more about our Rehabi-tips for:

  1. Waste Free Decorations
  2. Rethink Gifting
  3. Feast without the Waste

The recipes for the Curried Butternut Soup, Granola and Mulled Wine we make in the episode are shared with our Rehabi-Tribe on Patreon.  Join our tribe to get all the details!

If you have any ideas or suggestions about how to reduce waste during the holiday period, please comment and share your thoughts! 

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

The Rehabi-Tribe on Patreon

We are making some BIG changes - attempting a major lifestyle makeover and we are bringing you along on the journey.

We started our journey as a 2-car, 3-cat, big-city-dwelling couple with hopes and dreams of
  • Tiny House Living
  • Organic Farming
  • Earthship Adventures
  • Beekeeping
  • Travel
  • and passing on a planet with clean air and fresh water to the next generations.
We hope that by sharing our experiences we encourage others to try small changes and that collectively, all of our small changes will have a big impact.

Season 2: F.A.Q.

By Mela & Don | Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Eco , Lifestyle , Travel

Thank you to all those who have joined us on our journey so far.  As we start moving into the build faze of our conversion we thought we'd dedicate an episode to answering the questions we get asked regularly across all platforms (youtube, facebook and instagram) and in person.

See links below for the episodes we are referring to in our answers.  If you haven't seen them yet go check them out!

Please feel free to comment below if you want to share ideas of where we should visit once we start traveling, or if you have suggestions of workshops/classes we could take along the way.  If you have any questions that we still haven't answered, let us know!

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

The Rehabi-Tribe on Patreon

We are making some BIG changes - attempting a major lifestyle makeover and we are bringing you along on the journey.

We started our journey as a 2-car, 3-cat, big-city-dwelling couple with hopes and dreams of
  • Tiny House Living
  • Organic Farming
  • Earthship Adventures
  • Beekeeping
  • Travel
  • and passing on a planet with clean air and fresh water to the next generations.
We hope that by sharing our experiences we encourage others to try small changes and that collectively, all of our small changes will have a big impact.

Trailer for Season 2

Many people have asked if Don composed all the music in our episodes.  There is just no time for him to do that, BUT he did compose the music for Rehabit8's theme music and this Trailer for Season 2.   For more info on Don's original compositions go to www.donbodin.com

Our Maiden Voyage

This was our first trip in our bus!  We had no running water and were roughing it just to get to the Midwest and begin our build. This is not the way we will be living in the bus in the future, but it sure was a fun trip.

We Bought a Bus

In this episode we show a little of our search for the perfect bus for us, and some not so perfect buses.

Bus Demolition Day 5: Things Get Stinky

The day we dreaded, taking out the toilet.  We discover our perfect bus did have some rust after all.

RV Trial Trip.........Can We Travel Full-Time

That time we tested out what it was like to live and travel full-time in an RV. See also Part 2 and Part 3 of the trip.

Saving Money While Saving the Planet

In our first season we shared the ways in which we had made changes in our lives to reduce our waste.  We plan to continue to make changes, improve our habits and share them with you. This episode was about the ways we saved money while being eco-conscious.  You can navigate through our site to find more episodes like this focusing on zero-waste and sustainable living by clicking on Posts in the menu tab, and then Eco.

Bus Demolition Day 16: We Are Going Back to LA!

By Mela & Don | Bus Conversion , Eco , Kitchen , Lifestyle , Travel

We couldn’t believe we were still working on the same jobs - cleaning the glue off the frame, rust removal and taking the seat rails out.  Check out our previous blogs for day 12, 13 and 14 if you want to see how we did this. After much trial and error we found a good method, even though it was a slow and tedious job. 

We had to take a  quick business trip to Los Angeles and it honestly came at a perfect time. We needed to step away from our frustrations with the demolition and take a little break.  Flying is not one of the most eco-friendly things you can do, but sometimes it is necessary and cannot be avoided. What we do try to do when we fly is reduce our waste on the flight.

Travel Edition: Reduce your waste

  1. BRING A REUSABLE COFFEE MUG AND WATER BOTTLE.
    They will have to be empty to get through security (this is true for the USA, some countries might have different rules for local travel) but once you are through TSA there will likely be a coffee shop or restaurant that you can purchase your hot drink and ask for it to be put directly into your mug.  If you make a purchase they are more likely to say yes to filling up your water bottle too.
  2. LOOK OUT FOR WATER REFILL STATIONS.  
    I have found a lot of airports in the US now have these located next to the restrooms. 
  3. SAY NO to the complementary but wasteful snacks and refreshments offered on flights in single use containers.
  4. PACK YOUR OWN FOOD AND SNACKS in reusable containers.
  5. BRING YOUR OWN CUTLERY AND CLOTH NAPKIN.
    I try to pack food that I can eat with my hands like a sandwich, nuts, fruit etc. But if I do need a knife and fork that won’t be considered a weapon I use compostable bamboo cutlery.
  6. USE REUSABLE STASHER BAGS FOR YOUR CARRY ON LIQUIDS instead of ziploc bags.  Reuse those ziplocs bags until they have lived their best life and then replace them with stasher bags which should last much longer and can be recycled once they reach the end of their lives.

If you have any other travel tips, please comment below and share your ideas!

It was great to get a break from the bus build and see some friends and family while we were in Los Angeles, especially since the past few days have been so tough.  We were happy to head back to our bus and this trip helped affirm our decision for this lifestyle change.  

​ 

 

Up Next
We knuckle back down to work and get into the last phase of the bus demolition.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Stasher Bags
​100% pure non-toxic platinum silicone: the world's first fully functional, self-sealing, non-plastic bag. Plus unlike traditional plastic bags, Stasher bags contain no BPA, no PVC, and no latex. Keep your food safe from contaminants in Stasher bags!



Bamboo Cutlery
Biodegradable, compostable, sustainable, and comes in plastic-free and recyclable packaging! No metal so easy to take through airport security,

Bees Wraps
Made of organic cotton and bees' wax, Bees Wraps are one of the best solutions we found for replacing many our single use plastic products is Beeswax wraps.

Stainless Steel Containers
We are moving away from our Tupperwares when they wears out and turning to stainless steel containers.  They have a silicon seal so are airtight in the fridge or freezer.

Mason Jars
We do upcycle our jars we get from the grocery, but there is nothing as reliable as a Mason Jar! We're not the only ones who love using mason jars - check out all the things people are doing with jars on pinterest.

Mason Jar Lids
Mason Jars can last for generations. But the lids will need to be changed. When we buy new lids for our jars we choose to shop for BPA free lids.

Packing Up for Tiny Living

By Mela & Don | Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Eco , Lifestyle

We dived head first into this new life by buying a bus, now we have to figure out how to fit into a bus and enjoy a life of minimalism.  It was time to downsize again, but in a much more extreme fashion. Our plan is simple:

  1. Buy  a bus

  2. Pack everything we own into the bus

  3. Glamp across the country

  4. Stop in the Midwest

  5. Convert to a Tiny Home

  6. Travel Full-time

But each of these steps is a process within itself.  Our bus is less than 300 sq ft, so we had to start by getting rid of a lot of stuff.

Minimalist Wardrobe

When you put yourself into a situation like this, you realize there are a lot of things you hold onto that you really don’t need or use.  For both of us our wardrobes were such places. We’ve been keeping clothes from 20 + yrs ago, just in case we put on weight, or lose weight, or need that green dragon jacket.  Well, the fact of the matter is that these clothes are just sitting there taking up space. Don was the first one to dive in and pair down his wardrobe with a minimalist approach.  These are the steps he took:

  1. Take all your clothes out of the closet and put them into a big pile. 
  2. Go through the clothes one piece at a time.  If they don’t fit currently, have holes in them or you haven’t worn them in years just get rid of them.  Forget about the “some day” and the “maybe if”, rather hold onto the clothes you really love, feel comfortable in and wear regularly.  You’ll probably find some pieces you get sentimental over, that’s okay. As Marie Kondo says, if it sparks joy then hold onto it!
  3. As you go through your clothes organize them into piles.  What you will keep, what you will donate and what you can turn into rags.
  4. Pack away your clothes neatly and assess what you have left .  You may find the first time round you still kept more than you really need.   

I followed Don in this minimizing process. We both lived with these choices for a little while, then found we didn’t miss the clothes we got rid of and were able to minimize even more.

BuyNothingProject.org

We continued this approach throughout our condo.  We organized our things into what we would keep (and could fit into the bus) and what we would pack away to store for our future home.  We donated and sold a lot of furniture and only held onto a few things as our free storage place is not that big, and paying for storage over a couple years seems like a waste of money.  With so many things to get rid of, I was happy to be a part of the Buy Nothing Project.  

Buy Nothing is a social network on Facebook of your neighbors.  You give, receive, lend, share and express gratitude while getting to know your community.  It’s definitely my favorite Facebook group. If you are not a part of this group yet, I highly recommend you join!  If it’s not in your neighborhood yet, start it up! I was so happy to give away kitchenware, furniture, arts and crafts, clothes, jewelry and much more to the group and see their joy at receiving something they wanted for free. We too were able to benefit from this group in sourcing things we needed.  It’s mutually beneficial, saved us money and best of all prevented a lot of waste. We loved getting to know our neighbors, I only wish I had found this group sooner! 

Rehabitips for Eco-Conscious Moving

Moving can create a lot of extra waste, so we did our best to reuse and recycle wherever possible. These are our tips:

  1. Save all your mailers/bubble wrap envelopes from packages and reuse them for packing fragile items
  2. Reuse boxes.  Collect the boxes you receive packages in, or ask in your local Buy Nothing Group for other peoples boxes and bubble wrap from packages they receive.  A lot of stores will give you their boxes after they receive their deliveries.  Craigslist is another good source for free boxes.
  3. We kept old bedding, towels and clothes to use for extra padding in packing.  With some items we even used our current towels and bedding. You have to pack them anyway, so why not use them instead of bubble wrap.
  4. Save junk mail newspapers and paper grocery bags for wrapping fragile items
Moving often becomes like spring cleaning, you run into household hazardous waste items you have kept as you didn’t know how to dispose of them properly. So take this time to find a hazardous waste recycling center and dispose of these items responsibly.

Moving Day

We planned to move in our bus cross country, so we packed all our belongings into the luggage bays below and the back of the bus.  Then with a little help from Don’s brothers we built a temporary wall in the bus. This wall helped keep our cats out of the box area and secured things in place for bumpy roads.  In the front of the bus we could fit our King size bed, a table and a couple coolers for food. With those securly bungie down and all our overhead bins secured, that was all we needed for this glamping trip.  

I got set up in our Jeep with our 3 cats for the drive, Don in the bus and off we headed for our week long drive to the Midwest.

 

Up Next
We drive to the Midwest and learn the ups and downs of buslife!

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Buy Nothing Project
Buy Nothing Project offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.

​​Earth 911 Recycling Search
​​With over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings, they maintain one of North America's most extensive recycling databases.

Fact Check

Marie Kondo  - KonMari Method

Saving Money While Saving the Planet

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

When we first started our zero waste journey, not only were we looking to reduce our plastic waste, but we were also looking financially at areas we were wasting our money.  We were on a mission to save and put our money to better use. With our big plans to change our lives, watching our spending was essential.  We ran into conflicts, like we talked about in our first blog episode, buying almonds in bulk was more expensive than buying them in plastic packaging. Our agendas were conflicting, at first reducing our waste was seeming like it didn’t quite gel with our budget to reach our savings goal.

We pushed through and kept exploring our options. One thing I have learnt so far is that going zero waste is not easy. It definitely requires extra effort, but in the long run we have still saved a ton of money by adopting this lifestyle.  Some things were a little more expensive, but so many alternatives we found were either free or really inexpensive that overall we were way surpassing our original savings goal. To the point that we realized we could double our savings goal and it would still be attainable.

This is why we are sharing our Top 8 Picks for Saving Money while Saving the Planet! We went out and priced items we used to buy with what we are currently purchasing to share with you how we have saved money.  Of course, prices vary depending on where and when you are purchasing these items, how often you use them and what is available to you where you live. Hopefully this will serve for you as an example of how this lifestyle can help you save money.

NUMBER 8 - Bamboo Toothbrush

Costs
4 pack of Oral-B brand toothbrushes cost us $17.58
4 Pack Bamboo Toothbrushes for less than $11.00

Why
Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable/compostable, whereas plastic toothbrushes go to the landfill and take years to breakdown. We have been using these for almost a year and highly recommend them. They work well, my dentist said my teeth are boring, so they must be working!  

Approximate Yearly Savings (for a family of 4) . . . $26.32

​NUMBER 7 - DIY All Purpose Cleaner

Cost
For less than $10 worth of simple household products, you can make 192 oz of this cleaner
That is the equivalent of picking up  6 name brand 32oz spray bottles for a total of $39.78

Why
You probably already have the ingredients for the cleaner already in your house.  You’re actually probably saving more money than we calculated because you were already buying your citrus fruit and just throwing away the peels.  So to find ways to use something you buy for multiple uses is really just a winning situation. Have you seen our recipe for a DIY non-toxic household all purpose cleaner?

Approximate Yearly savings $29.79

NUMBER 6 - Reusable Wipes

Cost
For less than $12 worth of products, you can create enough cleaner to last you a year. Just add upcycled clothing squares to this and you have your own reusable wipes.
This replaces $59.85 worth of brand name disposable wipes.

Why
With just a few ingredients you probably have around the house you can mix up a non-toxic household surface cleaner. After each use, we just throw the clothing square in the wash and they are ready for you to use again. This is the recipe we use to make our own reusable wipes .

Approximate Yearly savings $44.85

​NUMBER 5 - Paper Grocery Bags as Cat Litter bags

Cost
Paper Grocery Bags FREE
3 month supply of Plastic trash bags $16.99 

Why
If you have cats, you understand.  The litter must be scooped everyday.  So that means everyday you are probably (like us) scooping your cats poop into plastic bags to throw in the dumpster.  Flushing cat poop down the toilet is not advised as the parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii found in cat feces can kill marine life. So unfortunately, the landfill is the best place for cat poop, and no you can’t compost it either…..because Toxoplasmosis….

By keeping any paper bags that enter my life, or asking for other people’s collections of free paper bags in my local Buy Nothing group, I am able to dispose of my 3 cat’s poop all for free.  There really is nothing better than FREE!

Approximate Yearly Savings $54.36

NUMBER 4 -Home Made Make-up Remover

Cost
Coconut oil costs about $4.99 a jar and will last for longer than a year. Rags are free, upcycled from old clothing. A 30 count of makeup remover wipes usually for $6.79, or $71.88 for a years supply. Various make-up remover liquids can skyrocket way up there, so this is the conservative cost I’m comparing.

Why
Coconut oil is well known for being good for skin, as an anti-inflammatory, good for acne, a good moisturizer and wound healing for its antimicrobial properties. Not all skin types are good with coconut oil, but this has worked well for me. It has also been amazing for my eczema issues. As time has gone by, I have used coconut oil for so much more than make up remover, but as a moisturizer for all over my body and lips! It really keeps saving my money the more I realize my body loves it.

Approximate Yearly Savings $66.89

NUMBER 3 - Beeswax Wrap

Cost
You can get a 3 Pack of bees wax wraps for $18.00. Those 3 wraps will last you over 500+ uses. That is the equivalent of using up 18 Packs of Ziplock bags which would cost you $85.50

Why
They are a sustainable, biodegradable and compostable. Whereas ziplock bags and plastic wrap are generally not recyclable.

Approximate Yearly Savings $67.50

NUMBER 2 - Home-Made Liquid Dish Soap

Cost
One Bar of Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap for $4.29 makes an entire 4-6 Months supply of soap.
Compare that to 4 - 64 Fl Oz Bottles of a name brand dish soap for $54.97

Why
Dr. Bronner’s soap is non-toxic, biodegradable and the wrapper is compostable. Yes, Dr. Bronner’s sells liquid soap but it comes in a plastic bottle. To be honest, I have used both and I way prefer my home made liquid soap .

Approximate Yearly Savings $101.36

​NUMBER 1 - Farmers Market Finds

We have access to 5 different farmers markets each week near our home. After investing some time into scouting each of them out, we found that we can save big when it comes to leafy greens, herbs, onions, and other vegetables by taking advantage of the deals they offer like buy 3 for the price of 2 (off a variety of vegetables).

Cost
We have found we can save up to 50% off our veggie grocery bill by planning to head to the farmer market. That adds up quick especially when you try to eat as much fresh veg as we do!

Why
Shop local, eat fresh and know where your produce comes from. There is generally a lot less plastic waste if any from your local Farmers Market when purchasing veggies, especially if you bring your own cotton produce bags. By buying fresh veg and making all your meals yourself, instead of packaged processed food, you are making a huge impact in eliminating waste and improving your health. Plus, your investing in green space in you own back yard!

Approximate Yearly Savings $700

 

Up Next
In our next video, we go on an experimental trip to play with the idea of changing up our lifestyle in a really big way.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Bamboo Toothbrushes
We have been using these bamboo toothbrushes for almost a year and we love them! The contain no plastic and are biodegradable. 

Glass Spray Bottle
We bought 2 of these Glass Spray Bottles for our DIY Cleaning Mixtures.  The sprayers are plastic and these are just notorious for breaking. One has worked really well, and the other did not.

Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castille Soap
​We choose to use the Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap unsented with no added fragrance, super safe for a Baby and those with sensitive skin.

Beeswax Wraps
Made of organic cotton and bees' wax, Bees Wraps are one of the best solutions we found for replacing many our single use plastic products is Beeswax wraps.

Beeswax Wraps


Cotton Produce Bags
We use these cotton bags for bulk items and produce eliminating our need to use the plastic bags at the grocery store or market. The bags we have come with the tare weight listed on each one. which allow the cashier to easily deduct the bag weight from the purchase price.


All Purpose Cleaner Recipes
I have found this mixture works great on cleaning my stove top, in the bathroom and even for quick clean ups on the floors.


Reusable Wipes Recipes
I use this for so many things - kitchen counters/stove/oven/microwave/fridge/sink, bathroom tub/counters/sink/toilet, windows, mirrors and more.


Homemade Liquid Dish Soap Recipe
The big benefits we are interested in here is that this soap is environmentally friendly, very useful and effective for our soap needs. You can use it for body wash, hand soap, for household cleaning, on your pets and even as dish soap..

Fact Check

Zero Waste Definition - Merriam Webster Dictionary

Parasite in Cat feces killing marine life - Pets on Broadway

Buy Nothing Project - Buy Nothing Project ORG

Coconut Oil Good for Skin -  Healthline


DIY Non-Toxic, Zero Waste Cleaning Alternatives

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

Everyone who knows me well knows that I like things to be clean and tidy. I’m also a small business owner and teacher, working long hours and cleaning up after a messy partner (who I love dearly, mess and all) and 3 cats.  I’ve been a big fan of clorox wipes for their ease and convenience to quickly clean up a mess. I’ve also collected quite a collection of toxic sprays of all varieties. One to clean the toilet, another to clean the bathtub, a different cleaner for the kitchen and then don’t forget you “need” windex for your mirrors and windows.  So many plastic bottles, so many toxic substances, so many paper towels and all those clorox wipes thrown away after one little wipe down. What a waste and how easy it was to turn a blind eye to it all!

I’m not going to lie, I was worried about making a change to my cleaning routine to align with our new zero waste goals, but the only hard part was adjusting my habits.  The new routine is simple, easy and reduced my waste drastically.

DIY Non-Toxic Reusable Wipes

The first thing I needed to replace was my beloved clorox wipes. There are tons of people who’ve been doing this longer than I have who’ve come up with great solutions, so I turned to the internet for options.  I was skeptical this would work as well as my clorox wipes, but thought why not give it a try. 

One day when I pulled a jar of pickles out the fridge for lunch I realized this would be the perfect jar to reuse. I like the wide mouth because I can stick my hand in it and get the last wipe from the bottom of the jar. Once we’d finished eating the pickles, I cleaned the jar, removed the sticky label and cut up an old t-shirt to make my reusable rags to a similar size as my clorox wipes.  This is the simple recipe of “cleaning juice” I use for my wipes.

DIY Reusable Wipes Recipe

  1. Pour about 1 finger of white vinegar into your jar

  2. Add water to fill about ⅓ of the jar

  3. Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oils

  4. Close lid and give a good shake

  5. Fold up rags and place them into the mixture

I use tea tree oil for it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, and lavender as it helps mask the pungent vinegar smell. White vinegar is made from grain alcohol and can kill salmonella, e.coli and other bacteria.  It is biodegradable and non-toxic.

“Vinegar, be it white or malt or rosemary-infused, is about 5 percent acetic acid. The acid kills bacteria and viruses, by chemically changing the proteins and fats that make up these nasties and destroying their cell structures. When US researchers tested commercial cleaning products against alternatives like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, they discovered that neat vinegar killed a range of household pathogens. Science also tells us, for example, that vinegar will kill off the flu virus.”
- ABC Health & Wellbeing by Anna Evangeli & Amy Thanh Ai Tong

I am even more in love with my reusable wipes, those clorox wipes and waste are out of my life for good! It takes me 1 minute to make and is still there for me for quick clean ups.

DIY Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner

This one I’m really thrilled about, because it also gives me a way to make the most out of all the lemons I use!

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

  1. Collect your used citrus peels (anything lemons, limes, oranges) in a jar in the fridge
  2. When the jar is full, add white vinegar.
  3. Let it sit for about 2 weeks so the citrus juices can dissolve into the liquid.
  4. Strain the liquid through a sieve
  5. Pour equal parts of vinegar mix to water into a spray bottle

I use this for so many things - kitchen counters/stove/oven/microwave/fridge/sink, bathroom tub/counters/sink/toilet, windows, mirrors and more. There are a few surfaces you shouldn’t clean with vinegar, so check out this handy list if you aren’t sure. I used the glass spray bottle I talked about in our last blog. It’s the best option I have found for a reusable spray bottle.

You already know why to use vinegar, but did you know that citrus peels contain an oil D-limonene which is a power solvent for dirt especially grease. And who doesn’t love a lemony fresh smelling kitchen!

I have found this mixture works great on cleaning my stove top, but I needed something more for cleaning soap scum off the bathtub. For this I add baking soda. I sprinkle a little baking soda over the surface and then spray my all purpose cleaner and give a good scrub. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive without scratching the surface, all while keeping my cleaning non-toxic and biodegradable

Rags for All Occasions

Sometimes your old clothes you don’t want anymore are still in good enough shape to pass on to someone else or donate. Sometimes they have holes or stains meaning the materials life as clothing is over. BUT they can always become rags. I now cut up our old clothes to make rags for different clean up situations. Soft materials I use for my face instead of cotton wool squares, and thicker materials I use for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. Between my rags and newspapers (the free kind/junk mail) I have replaced my need for paper towels.

After all that fear of changing my cleaning routine, I found that I’ve actually made things a lot more simple, saved money and feel just as clean. I should have made this change long ago!

 

Up Next
In our next video, we share our Top 8 picks for saving Money while Saving the Planet!

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

​Essential Oils
When we make our DIY cleaning wipes, we add Tea Tree Oil for it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, and Lavender Essential Oil to helps mask the pungent vinegar smell. 

Glass Spray Bottle
We bought 2 of these Glass Spray Bottles for our DIY Cleaning Mixtures.  The sprayers are plastic and these are just notorious for breaking. One has worked really well, and the other did not.

Wishing Well Mini-Ranch
Wishing Well mini Ranch is a 2+ acres of friendly farm animals with 3 Airbnb spaces including an Airstream Trailer, a Tipi and a Master Bedroom.

Aztec healing clay mask
We use this powdered Aztec clay mask mixture because it is 100% natural with no additives, fragrances or animal products.


Apple Cider Vinegar
You will want to grab this to mix into the Aztec clay mask. Bragg's makes this Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and it does the job!

REthinking Soap – Recipe for Making Liquid Soap from Castile Bar Soap

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap that has no animal or synthetic ingredients. It is a natural, non-toxic, biodegradable soap and it is very versatile. Castile soap gets its name from the Castile region which became Spain in the 1500’s. At that time the soap was made from the olive oils which are abundant in the Mediterranean. Fast forward to 2018 and Castile soap is now made with coconut, castor, avocado, walnut, almond, and hemp oils.

The big benefits we are interested in here is that this soap is environmentally friendly, very useful and effective for our soap needs. You can use it for body wash, hand soap, for household cleaning, on your pets and even as dish soap. When we found out one bar of castile soap could replace a few of the products we use regularly all while keeping us clean and cutting down on our creation of waste, we new this was a habit we needed to try out.

So we decided to make our own liquid soap from castile bar soap.  This is the simple recipe we found:

Our Liquid Soap Recipe Ingredients: 

1 (5 Oz) Bar of Castile soap grated

9 1/4 tsp of Baking Soda

11 cups of water

14 drops of essential oils (We used 7 tea tree and 7 bergamot, but you can use whatever you like)

Step 1: Boil water in pot

Step 2: Turn off heat and add grated soap. Stirring to help dissolve.

Step 3: Let it cool and add baking soda when it is still warm, but not boiling.

Step 4: Wait till the temp is below 100 degrees to add essential oils 

Step 5: Cover and leave to cool completely

Step 6: Pour into dispenser and extra into storage

See this recipes in action in our video and blog post: Staying Clean While Going Green

Staying Clean While Going Green

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

When it comes to cleaning dishes, there are 3 changes we wanted to make to our cleaning up process.

  1. To use soaps that have plant-based ingredients and no artificial fragrances, both good for our health and the environment

  2. Use products that have not been tested on animals

  3. To reduce our waste of plastic bottles and sponges

Cleaning dishes can be a personal thing, we all have different ways of doing things. For us we use a dishwasher and hand wash the items that can’t go in the dishwasher, or hand wash when you are in need of giving just one item a quick clean.  So we addressed our cleaning goals to still keep things convenient and easy for us!

Sustainable Dishwasher Detergent

In replacing our dishwasher detergent I was able to check off all the requirements for our changes with Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods.  They use non-toxic plant based ingredients with the option of no scent or scented with essential oils, are cruelty free and their packaging doubles as their shipping container.  The product is shipped in a cardboard box made of recyclable materials which is reusable, recyclable or compostable once you are done with it.

In the past I have struggled to find a plant-based dishwasher detergent that actually works, and Dropps really does work!  I love these! Plus I enjoy the convenience of using the subscription that they offer so it just arrives at my doorstep as needed, while their packaging is helping me reduce my footprint a little bit. On a side note, Dropps also offers laundry detergent which we love too.

​Making Our Own Liq​uid Castile Soap

My internet research always pointed to the fact that Castile soap was the clear winner when it came to replacing my dish soap. Castile soaps are made of plant-based oils, water and essential oils.  It lathers easily, cuts grease, is gentle on the environment and is mild enough to use on babies and pets. Plus the bonus is that it can have many uses from dish soap, to hand soap, body soap, shaving cream, face wash, dog shampoo and more. The most popular brand on the market, Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap is cruelty free.  



See our Step-by-Step Recipe for Liquid Soap here.

We didn’t want to keep buying liquid castile soap however because it comes in a plastic bottle. The bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic, but we’d like to get away from plastic packaging wherever possible.  So we bought bar soap instead and tried our hand at a recipe to make the bar soap into liquid soap. The wrapper for the bar soap is biodegradable and made from 100% recycled material. 

This recipe worked out fine and the soap worked great. Our only complaint was that after it sat for a while it would turn jello-like, so we had to regularly shake it up to keep it liquid.  The pro of making our own liquid soap was that it was very economical. The one bar of soap turned into enough liquid soap to last us about 6 months.

Does my soap need to be Anti-Bacterial?

I am so used to buying soaps that say “antibacterial” on them, that we naturally were concerned that we would not be killing germs with our new homemade soap.  A quick search however led us to this statement from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did recently ban Triclosan from antibacterial soaps. Most antibacterial soaps now use Chloroxylenol and the ruling does not yet apply to it.  It is not significantly toxic to humans in small doses, but it is highly toxic to fish and cats and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

According to the FDA, there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven.  In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.

So antibacterial soap has gotten the boot from our house!

Replacing our Soap dispenser and dish brushes 

Now that we are checking off point one and two for our dish/hand soap, we needed to address point three - something to put our liquid soap in and a replacement for plastic dish brushes and sponges.  We are obsessed with mason jars, so we chose this glass mason jar with a metal pump. There are small parts of plastic inside the pump. The pump has worked well though so I’m sticking with it even though it seems we can’t get away from plastic 100% on this one.

Redecker products were able to help us replace our scrubbers with both the dish brush and the pot scrubber.  Both of these are biodegradable and compostable, minus the metal parts on the handle of the dish brush. The head of the dish brush is replaceable though so your metal handle will last a long time.  We tried both the dish brush heads made of horse hair and tampico fiber. The horse hair is much softer, it took a lot of gentle scrubbing to remove sticky food from dishes. So personally I will continue to use the tampico fiber replacement heads on this one.

Conserving Water

Something that was not on my initial 3 point checklist, was to save water. Growing up in drought ridden South Africa and living through drought here in California, means saving water is always in the back of my head.  So I added this glass spray bottle to my collection of dish cleaning supplies. All that I put in it is a tiny bit of soap and mostly water. This soapy water is a great way to clean without leaving the tap running. Give the item you want to wash a few sprays, scrub, then turn your tap on to a light flow to rinse off.  There’s no reason to leave the faucet running! This method has been working well for me.

I bought a couple of these bottles for different reasons. One has worked really well, and the other did not. The sprayers are plastic and these are just notorious for breaking and not lasting. So while I am doing well with saving water, it was not a fully successful purchase in reducing waste as I do have to replace the sprayer head now.  I’d recommend reusing plastic spray bottles that you have from other cleaning products first before opting to buy a glass spray bottle. Maybe one day I’ll find a spray bottle with an all metal sprayer???

 

Up Next
 See our Step-by-Step Recipe for Liquid Soap here. 
In our next video, you can find out why Don has to eat pickles every night this week.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

See our Step-by-Step Recipe for Liquid Soap here.

Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap
We choose to use the Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap unsented with no added fragrance, super safe for a Baby and those with sensitive skin.

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
​​After eliminating plastic in our soap consumption we found these glass and metal mason jar soap dispensers! You know we are crazy about Mason Jars and these fit the bill for our kitchen soap delivery needs.

Spray Bottle
Growing up in drought ridden South Africa and living through drought here in California, means saving water is always in the back of my head. I bought a couple of these bottles.
One has worked really well, and the other did not. While the bottle is glass, the sprayers are plastic and these are just notorious for not lasting. So while I am doing well with saving water, it was not a fully successful purchase in reducing waste

Dish Brush
The wood and bristles in this dish brush are biodegradable and compostable and the heads are replaceable! We tried both the horse hair and tampico fiber replaceable heads.

Pots & Pan Brush
When it comes to cleaning pots and pans, we found a stronger sustainable option. These work great with the flexible yet strong fiber scrubbers and this Pot and Pan Brush is designed to handle heavy duty cleaning,

Dropps
In the past we have struggled to find a plant-based dishwasher detergent that actually works. But Dropps dishwashing pods really work.  Dropps also offers laundry detergent which we love too.

Fact Check

EWG rating on Dr Bronner’s Castile soap - Environmental Working Group

Chloroxylenol  - Wikipedia

FDA findings on antibacterial soaps - Food and Drug Administration

CDC Quote on Antibacterial Soap - Unity Point Blank Children’s Hospital

EWG rating on Dropps LaundryDetergent Pods - Environmental Working Group

EWG rating on Dropps Dishwashing Pods - Environmental Working Group


How to remove sticky labels from Glass Jars

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

Some are easier than others to remove.  
This really simple method is what worked best for us!

We love mason jars and use the ones we have. But rather than spending money on new jars, we upcycle the glass containers that our coconut oil, jams and olives can live on to have another life. When we first started we found it difficult to completely remove the labels and adhesive that most of these jars come with. 

After trying several different recipes for removal we are happy to share the method we have found that works best for removing sticky labels from glass jars.

Step 1:

Fill your sink or a big bowl with warm soapy water. ​

Place the jars in the water for a good 30 minutes.

Step 2: 

Take them out and remove labels. This is all that’s needed for some labels, but for the extra stubborn and sticky labels move on to step 3.

Step 3: 

Make a paste of equal parts olive oil and baking soda.

Rub all over the sticky residue and let it sit for a while. 

Then, give them a good scrub.

We used steel wool, and it left no scratches.

Step 3:

Clean with soap and water to remove the paste. 

​Let dry and your glass containers are ready for reuse.

 

Up Next
This glass label removal recipe was referenced in our video post "Zero-Waste Food Container Makeover - Can we be sustainable with all our food needs?"

1 2