Category Archives for "Kitchen"

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.

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.

What We Learned Glamping in Our Bus Conversion

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

We spent a week traveling in our 40ft MCI D3 bus from California to the Midwest. We needed to move all our belongings, our cats and ourselves to the Midwest to begin work on the bus conversion. So why not use the bus as a moving vehicle and our “home” for the week. There were moments it felt like a crazy and not so convenient idea, but at the end of the day it worked!  We made it to our destination safely without too many hiccups, and we learnt a lot about what living in the bus feels like which I’m sure will influence our decisions in our bus build.

There’s Nothing Quite like the Luxury of Running Water

We cooked all our meals during the week in order to stick to our regular diet.  We used a 1 burner cooktop which worked great, we’ll probably keep it for outdoor cooking, as on a warm day it’s nice to not steam up the inside of the bus. We made a make-shift dishwashing station, which got the job done but it was challenging none-the-less. So many times during meal prep, cooking and clean up did we notice how badly we wanted plumbing. So spoilt we are. Our toilet situation was even less glamorous. With all our boxes and furniture taking up the back of the bus, we were limited with living space in the front.  We put a port-o-potty on the stairs at night and filled it with peat moss which meant there was no smell. Being down on the stairs made for a little bit of privacy but was also a tricky balancing act in the dark at night!  We used the RV park facilities during the day, but we were glad to have this toilet as an option late at night or in the early morning when it was 33 degrees Fahrenheit outside!

We definitely want to build a spacious functioning kitchen, so not to sacrifice on the way we eat. A decent sized fridge, a 2 burner cooktop is plenty though, oven or convection oven and a large sink for washing up...oh and did I mention running water! We will build a bathroom with doors on it, we are both feeling comfortable with the idea of a composting toilet.  We did not enjoy our black water tank dumps when we rented the RV in the past, so we are going with a fresh water tank, a grey water tank and will make a composting toilet.

A Room with a View

We were struck many times by the amazing views out our bus windows.  We will have to try to keep as many windows as possible in our conversion plans. No one can see in at all because they are tinted, but we felt privileged to enjoy so much of the outdoors while still being inside.

Not being able to open the windows was a problem though.  The windows in this bus are designed as emergency exits only, they could be propped open, but we can’t do that because of the cats. So we will replace some of these windows so they can have screens put in them to keep the cats in, the bugs out, and create a cross breeze.

Staying Eco-Friendly

We stayed at RV parks for this trip so we could get electric hook ups, mostly to run our heater at night, which worked great and kept us nice and toasty. However we will be putting solar panels on the roof and hope to mostly boondock in the future. Without the ability to cook and clean the way we normally do, we found we created a lot more trash and recycling than usual.  Also only one of the seven RV Parks we stayed at actually offered recycling collection.

Our MCI came with a California rated emissions filter and we don’t plan on driving frequently. I think this will probably keep our carbon footprint about the same or lower than in our previous life as a 2-car-city-driving couple.

I do feel that if we set ourselves up with a well functioning tiny home there is no reason why we can’t live a responsible eco-friendly buslife.

Storage Space

One of the most tiring aspects of the way we lived “glamping” in our bus, was packing up everything before traveling, and then unpacking again when we arrived. Especially because we were traveling every day. We will attempt to give everything a designated space and built in options for things we want to stay out in the kitchen and bathroom. 

We used the overhead luggage bays as storage.  I’m so glad we kept these in to use as storage for this trip, however they were not user-friendly.  We’ll have overhead cabinets for sure, BUT….they have to be easier to open and stay open. Plus no one should ever be at risk of bumping their heads!  

Now the real work begins.  It’s easy to say you want all these things, now we have to actually make it happen.  Step one: empty the bus. Step Two: demolition!

 

Up Next
Stayed tuned for our trailer for Season 2 of Rehabit8: Tiny House Bus Conversion

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.

1 burner cooktop
While traveling we used our butane Colman one-burner cooktop to prepare all of our meals.

Port-o-potty
The 5-gal. Luggable Loo Portable Toilet offers a simple bucket-style design and traditional snap-on lid and designed for "luxury" while on camping trips.

Lights

These lights run on AAA batteries and have a low heat lumen efficacy of 120Lm/W,
Easy to Install on ceiling or wall surfaces with included 3M adhesive tape or stick a magnet to them like we did.

Magnets
Made of Strongest Magnetic Material! Strong Holding Power, Holding Power is not Less than 12 lb per Magnet with Direct Touch and Direct Pull.

Reflectix
A reflective insulation consisting of two outer layers of 96-percent reflective film, bonded to two layers of heavy gauge polyethylene bubbles. This worked great to keep the heat and cold out once we attached it to our bus windows.

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?"

3 Sustainable Storage Options to Replace Our Tupperware & Plastic Ziploc Bags

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

Did you know Tupperware was developed by Earl Tupper and that he first introduced Tupperware to the public in 1948.  

Tupperware pioneered the way in network marketing, more commonly known in the 1950’s as a Tupperware Party! You probably have heard of many businesses today who have adopted this marketing strategy like Mary Kay, doTERRA, Young Living and Herbalife.  Whether you love or hate this marketing strategy, most of us have Tupperware in our kitchens today because of it. It’s convenient, useful and affordable. But (of course you knew there was a but coming) - we cannot continue to keep using plastic due to the fact that it does not biodegrade, instead, it slowly breaks down into microplastics which enter our food chain and destroy our eco-systems.  

We are kicking our Tupperware habit.  We started using Tupperware because of it’s convenient.  But Tuperware is platsic and Plastic does not biodegrade but slowly breaks down into microplastics which enter our food chain and are effecting our eco-systems.  

Other commonly used food storage items are Ziploc bags and plastic wrap.  The convenience of these products was awesome….while it lasted. Now we know better, we must make better choices.  Tupperware is recyclable, but Ziploc bags are a little more tricky to recycle. Let’s face it, the majority of us are not going the extra mile to recycle our waste in the correct fashion.  It’s very easy to throw your plastic waste in the curbside pickup bin and think you are doing good.

But the reality is Ziploc bags most often just clog the recycling machines at facilities.  If plastic bags are accepted at your local recycling facilities, they may need to be stuffed into one plastic bag until it becomes about the size of a soccer ball.  

Regardless of whether it is recyclable or not, there is the problem of whether the plastic is leaching into our food.  I’ve found opposing research on this topic, but have decided that it’s probably best to just avoid plastic wherever I can.

I was once fooled by Pyrex, thinking this was my answer to my food storage needs.  I was wrong. Pyrex is a form or glass, however, it is not recyclable. Pyrex is a specially treated glass that is able to withstand high temperatures. This is why you can microwave it or put it in the oven.  However, this means it cannot be broken down and recycled.

I haven’t thrown out my Tupperware and Pyrex yet, I’m making good use of them before I throw them out.  Even my Ziploc and sandwich bags I’m trying to find useful and safe ways to reuse them as many times as possible.  Though I have been searching for more eco-friendly food storage options to replace plastic, and these are my 3 favorite options so far:

Step 1: Beeswax Wraps

Made of Beeswax, Organic Cotton, Jojoba oil and Tree Resin these wraps are biodegradable and compostable. They are reusable, reduce toxins in our food storage and unnecessary waste. The heat of your hands help seal the wrap and can be used to wrap fruits, vegetables, bread, and cheese but not meats. You can also you to cover a bowl making Beeswax wraps great to replace plastic bags and plastic wrap.

To clean them you simply wash with cold (never hot) water and soap. I absolutely love these! I regularly use these to store half an avocado, cut lemons and onions in the fridge and it helps my food last longer. Yes at first the price seems high compared to plastic wrap, but you have to consider that you are reusing these wraps for hundreds of uses. So add up the cost of your Ziploc bags, freezer bags, sandwich bags and plastic wrap over 4-6 months and then you’ll see the cost is worth it.

Step 2: Stainless Steel Containers

The wonderful thing about these is that they will last a really long time, unlike your Tupperware which will warp and disintegrate.  Even when stainless steel containers do come to the end of their very long life, the steel, which is made of chromium, nickel and molybdenum, are highly valuable and easily recovered to form other materials through recycling.  I’ve been using Mecete’s storage containers and love the fact that they are airtight and I can keep my food fresh in the freezer or fridge.  It’s made from 304-grade stainless steel which will not rust, is non-toxic and easy to clean.

Step 3: Mason Jars

The best thing about mason jars is their ability to have so many different lives!  Just do a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll find hundreds of ways to use mason jars for so much more than canning and food storage.  Your jar will last a long time, well until you drop it I guess, as food storage and you have so many wonderful options of ways to upcycle your jar.  The lids do need replacing, but the glass will last a long time and can be used in the microwave (not the lids) and recycled. These are great for purchasing products you can buy in bulk too, just weigh the jar first, this is known as the tar weight so it can be subtracted from the cost at checkout.  

Bring your containers to the grocery store for fish and meats from the butcher. You can also bring your own containers for cheese and olives from the deli.  With meats they weigh the meat before putting in your container, and then can place the sticker on your container for check out. However for something like olives you will have to tare your container before checkout. I like to keep the tare weight on my phone for easy reference at checkout. Yes, at first you may be met with confusion by your butcher, but it’s a great conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m trying to reduce my waste, please don’t use a plastic bag or sheet to place my meat on the scale”. I was terrified the first time I took a stainless steel pot to the grocery store and asked them to put a whole chicken in it. But it was not such a big deal and the butcher was friendly, helpful and chatty. People may be confused at first, but then inspired by your efforts. You can do the same with takeaways or to go food from restaurants.

Changing habits is hard.  We still slip up sometimes and forget to take containers or bags to the store.  But you have to start somewhere!

 

Up Next
In our next video, we share our trials and errors of trying to make our own liquid soap..

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.

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 going with jars on pintrest.

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.

Our First 4 Steps to Reduce Our Waste

By Mela & Don | Eco , Kitchen

When I first heard of the Zero Waste movement, I was intimidated.  

Aiming to fit all my trash into a mason jar in one year was setting me up for failure.  But the more I got to know about the movement, the more I realized that trash happens, everyone will be in a different place in their journey of reducing waste, and that it was better to start sooner rather than later. Don and I are no Zero Waste experts, just a regular couple trying to take responsibility for our actions and “be the change we want to see in the world.”

Our world is drowning in plastic.  The predictions of global climate change are now occurring. 40% of Food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste. We can no longer wait for the government or big business to make the changes necessary to save us from this mess we're in. We have to take a bottom-up approach and all do our part in creating less waste.

As we shared in our “Reducing Our Waste” video, living close to the beach and seeing the trash washed up onto the shore inspired us to learn more about plastic’s effect on our oceans and ecosystem. A big motivator for our choices was learning about the 5 giant islands of plastic waste that are floating out at sea. There are a few environmental groups working hard to find solutions to collect and recycle these islands of plastic like The Ocean Cleanup Project. But even in it’s recycled forms, that plastic will still be around for up to 20,000 years. We need to find alternatives so that we don’t heavily rely on plastic anymore, if at all.

Step 1: Changing Our Consumer Habits

Before any purchase, we now ask ourselves ”Do I really need this?”
The first step is to change the way you shop and make conscious decisions about purchases. We’ve been so conditioned to just purchase stuff, feeling like we can’t live without all this stuff, like this stuff will make us happy. So next time you want to buy something, take a moment before throwing it in your shopping cart and think about it.

If you do need it, then ask yourself what will happen to it after you’re done with it? Is the product or packaging it comes in reusable? Compostable? Recyclable? Or does it just become trash in a landfill? 

Step 2: Reusable Shopping Bags

This is the most basic step you can take at the Grocery Store and it’s easy!  Just make sure you always have some bags in your car to be prepared. If you use public transport, create a travel bag.  Cloth bags can easily fold up. Take these shopping bags to clothing stores, restaurants for takeaways and any other store you shop at.  Just say no to the plastic bag.

Step 3: Reusable Produce Bags

Put your vegetables, fruits, bread from the bakery and bulk items like nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, flours and more into reusable bags instead of using a plastic bag.  I’m a big fan of using what you have first, so if you save your plastic bags, use those and clean them to reuse first. You could make your own bags out of old cloth too.  

 I found these cotton produce bags which I love, because they have the tare weight of the bag listed on them so you don’t have to tare them first. Tare weight is the weight of the empty container/bag.  

When you check out, the cashier will have the gross weight, however with the tare weight listed they can easily subtract it to calculate the cost of the goods only. Plus the bonus of this is that they are made of cotton, which is compostable.  They should last a long time, but at the end of their life all you need to do is remove the metal clasp to reuse or recycle and compost the cloth. Just be sure to wash your reusable bags as needed to get rid of any pathogens.

Step 4: Reusable Containers

Bring your containers to the grocery store for fish and meats from the butcher. You can also bring your own containers for cheese and olives from the deli.  With meats they weigh the meat before putting in your container, and then can place the sticker on your container for check out. However for something like olives you will have to tare your container before checkout. I like to keep the tare weight on my phone for easy reference at checkout. Yes, at first you may be met with confusion by your butcher, but it’s a great conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m trying to reduce my waste, please don’t use a plastic bag or sheet to place my meat on the scale”. I was terrified the first time I took a stainless steel pot to the grocery store and asked them to put a whole chicken in it. But it was not such a big deal and the butcher was friendly, helpful and chatty. People may be confused at first, but then inspired by your efforts. You can do the same with takeaways or to go food from restaurants.

Changing habits is hard.  We still slip up sometimes and forget to take containers or bags to the store.  But you have to start somewhere!

 

Up Next
In our next video, we share some of the ways we are implementing reusable containers into our lifestyle.

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.

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.

Reusable Bulk Item & 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.

The Ocean Cleanup Project
Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods - vessels and nets - would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. The Ocean Cleanup Project is trying to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage patch in just five years.

Fact Check

5 Plastic Islands - The Ocean Clean Up Project

The Problem with Plastic - Ecology Center