Zerowaste is a lot about.....
*creative thinking.... *new use of existing products.... *DIY.... *looking at “how did we do things in the old days”.... etc.
In this blogpost we think about how and when can tapwater replace plastic and other packaging and would LOVE to learn about other ideas on the subject:
Typical daily products where we can limit the amount of plastic or other packaging by buying solid instead of liquid:
- Solid shampoo and soap bars vs. plastic bottles of liquid soap (this is also much easier if you travel). The tapwater replaces the plastic shampoo bottles, since a big part of bottled shampoo is water. We use our ES wraps to wrap around the solid soap bars; no soap on the bathroom sink and easy packed when travelling!
- Cleaning products: By only using vinegar, sometimes mixed with carbonate, and buying vinegar in bottles of various litres which, mixed with tap water, results in cleaning products for many months.
- Oils as body moisturizer instead of body lotion which normally comes in plastic bottles and contains some parts of water. We could recommend either coconut or almond oil for the body, which could be found in bulk or 1+ litre glass jars. We use it both in the bathroom and in the kitchen.
- Metal drinking bottles to bring along filling them up with tap water instead of buying plastic bottles with water. We have had the very same bottles for 10+ years now, amazed about the excellent quality!
- If we want to bring something else than water, I reuse old small glass bottles to bring; tea, kombucha, vegetable chocolate milk etc.
- Machine of Carbonated water. Some years back we bought a device that carbonates water by adding carbon dioxide from a pressurized cylinder to create soda water (or carbonated water) to drink. We have lovely tap water and drink lots of it, but sometimes we like water with bubbles, so instead of bringing home bottles – glass or plastic – with carbonated water we use our tap water to make our own mineral water with gas. For more taste we sometimes add cut off lemon, mint leaves etc. The cylinders with dioxide are recycled, with 60 litres of Carbonated water in each and we buy for more than 1 years use in one delivery.
- Kombucha or water kefir… and then mixing the carbonated water with kombucha gives a savory taste with lots of bubbles which is a tasty substitute for any prefabricated packed drinks, with healthy bacterias too. We brew it on tap water, sugar and green tea, adding our favourite flavour in the 2nd fermentation being: lemon, ginger, mint leaves and a bit of honey, almost a ginger ale kind of taste or adding matcha tea for a green super-tasty drink
Other items/products where tapwater can substitute packaging:
Magnesium is a good supplement to take and magnesium is best absorbed in the body through the skin, so we take it as magnesium oil. But buying magnesium oil on plastic bottles is actually buying more water than magnesium and making your own magnesium oil is very easy:
- 1/2 cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
- 1/2 cup boiled water (or distilled water)
- A glass bowl or glass measuring cup
- A spray bottle, glass would be best, but I reuse a plastic spray bottle I already had.
How to make Magnesium Oil:
- Boil the water. Using distilled water could extend the shelf life, but I have always used normal boiled tapwater.
- Pour the boiled water over the magnesium flakes in a glass bowl and stir well until the magnesium is completely dissolved.
- When the mixture has cooled down store it in the spray bottle. I keep it in the bathroom.
Magnesium with Lavender and Chamomile essential oil:
When I make a new batch of magnesium oil I would make two different oils; one with pure magnesium and another one where I add 10-20 drops of both lavender essential oil and chamomile essential oil. This one I use on my feet (and sometimes on the feet of my kids), which we feel relax tired but sometimes restless feet.
Instead of buying face tonic in plastic bottles, with water as a main ingredient, I have
made my own for years using tapwater, apple cider vinegar and lavender oil. Apple Cider Vinegar is always on my kitchen shelf anyway.
Raw apple cider vinegar is the by-product of the fermentation of apples. Apples are loaded with potassium, pectin, malic acid and calcium, and fermentation fortifies it with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. It does smell a bit, but the smell disappears quickly, and it may seem strange to put apple cider vinegar on your face, but it is antiseptic and antibacterial.
Apple cider vinegar can help to balance the pH of the skin. It cleanses pores and provides nutrients to repair the skin. It has been used traditionally to soften the skin and to lessen the look of acne scars, wrinkles and age.
I use boiled tapwater, after cooling down. The recommendations for the ratios could be:
Sensitive skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water
Normal/dry skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water
Oily skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water
I also add lavender oil for more aroma (and to soften the smell of vinegar) and for at soothing experience. I add 5-8 drops per 500 ml toner.
We make bone broth several times a week; we drink it, add it to stews, boil the rice in it etc. Bone broth is nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavor and boost healing due to compounds like collagen, glycine, proline and glutamine. Bone broth can be bought packed in bricks or other packaging, but using the tap water together with the cut off peels and pieces from all the vegetables we use, adding bones from for example chicken, makes a tasty and healthy bone broth.
Buying liquid dishwashing soap creates a lot of empty plastic bottles and thinking about it, a significant part of what you buy is actually water!
I have tried to make my own liquid dishwashing soap from lemon, oil etc., but I have never gotten to the perfect consistency! Some time ago I read about a “soap shaker” – something that was apparently used a lot “in the old days”, but now really difficult to find (and expensive?). I thought it would be a great idea and solution for washing my dishes (and other cleaning) and since the “technique” of such a soap shaker is similar to joining two small strainers thus that’s how we made our very own DIY soap shaker – recycling an old strainer together with a new one.
The whole soap shaker idea is great, cause you can use unpacked solid soap, but you can even make good use of all the small left over pieces from solid soaps used in the bathrooms. Together with the piece of soap I recycle the used lemon peels (the oils in the lemon not only provide a great scent, but also provide a bit of extra cleaning power), resulting in a, for us, perfect dish washing zerowaste water!
A good solid soap for dishwashing is Savon de Marseilles which is primarily made form olive oil. It is important to choose a good Savon de Marseilles, which can be used for many other things in the daily household. To choose a good Savon de Marseilles it is important to make sure that:
it does not have more than 6 ingredient.
there is no added perfume.
it is green due to the olive oil (72%). If is is white it might mean that is contains palmoil or another oil and not olive oil.
the best Savon de Marseilles are made in France
I have seen real soap shakers on sale in one or two European webshops, but if you are keen on a DIY one, below find our tutorial video on how we use our soap shaker (by the way, the kids think it’s really fun to shake the soap….!!):