October has been a busy time: coming back and organizing ourselves after our overseas wedding, starting a new job, jumping into classes that have had 2-3 teachers before me, preparing for report cards, and keeping up with life in general. Much has happened in my Zero Waste adventures, and I’m still doing my best to keep up with everyone else’s posts too!
Today I want to post about some changes I’ve made this month. Some of them have required some serious self-convincing, research, and trials, but now, and very quickly, they have become some new favourite habits.
This month marks four major changes:
– a switch to homemade deodorant
– a switch in feminine hygiene products
– DIY food adventures
– changes at school
The switch to homemade deodorant
I had been reluctant to try this. School can get busy and sweaty, and the last thing I want is to smell like some of my students. A simple recipe came across my Reader one day from Detrash_the_Millennials that involved coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder (sub: corn starch), and essential oil (I used lavender). I decided to try it one weekend for a 2-day trial only to discover… no smell! Win! It’s a mild antiperspirant, so at busy times I sweat a little, which isn’t that big of a deal. Try it!
I had bought these antique jars at a thrift store forever ago and really wanted to use them. Turned out to be way too large for this batch 🙂
The switch in feminine hygiene products
For a while now I had been wanting to try cloth pads, but I had been reluctant to try the DivaCup; do yourself a favour and don’t read the negative reviews. Right after I tried it for the first time I read a horror story on a girl’s blog about her first trial, and I could feel myself panicking. Don’t do it! There are way more positive reviews out there, and don’t be afraid to check out YouTube videos on how to use this little device. First trial was a success though, so I will keep using it.
After researching a whole lot of Canadian cloth pad companies, like Goddess Moons, Hankettes, and Tree Hugger, I ended up going with my original choice: Lunapads; they were cheaper, offered organic cotton, and have an incentive program called One4Her that provides girls in Uganda with pads so they don’t miss school during their periods.
DIY food adventures
There are foods that we naturally eat again and again, and these are the kinds of foods that I want to make myself for different reasons: no waste, knowing what goes in my food, and typically cheaper. A condiment that I won’t give up is mayonnaise, which comes in a plastic jar with a non-recyclable foil tab beneath the lid. Though I failed twice making this, the third time will be great; first batch had way too much salt, and second I spilled too much ACV into it. Recipe here.
Another thing we eat a lot of are refried beans. I haven’t tried to make these in over a year because the first time I followed a bad recipe that ended up giving me food poisoning (never eat undercooked beans). Needless to say I was reluctant to try it again, but I did, and cooked the shit out of it :). It was a huge batch, so I froze most of it; it’s delicious. Way less salt and without the “extra ingredients” of canned stuff. Recipe here.
Changes at school
School is busy, and as a teacher we are always trying to find more effective ways of doing things in our classrooms that will benefit our students. As a zero-waste teacher it can be tough, especially when (almost literally) no one follows the same lifestyle. This week I brought a hand towel to school and just hung it in the staff bathroom; each week I’ll switch it out, and if others want to use it instead of paper towel – great!
This year I am trying to use less paper in the classroom. The excessive photocopying bothers me, and most of these papers won’t be reused or recycled. Luckily I have technology in two of my classrooms, so most of my directions can be posted up on a big board to avoid paper, as well as giving my whiteboard markers a longer life (too bad the days of chalk are nearly over).
These are some changes I’ve been wanting to make for a while, so it feels good to check that off my list. Now, what’s next?!
Project: Awareness update: I’ve got student questions ready to go, so I will be contacting a few of our dear bloggers for answers. I’ll post the project once it’s finished.
Thanks for reading!