Giving Amazon up…

I think this is the hardest thing I have ever had to give up. Do you know how convenient Amazon is? Incredibly convenient…you get the lowest prices and two-day shipping? There’s Prime Now, where you can get emergency things delivered in maximum of 8 hours! How much more do you want?

Image result for online ordering gif

Well…let me tell you something. Amazon is extremely wasteful. Not just because they send something like an eyeliner in a box where you could fix two 8×11 papers….but because even if you buy “waste-free” or “eco-friendly” items, they still come in plastic packaging or there’s plastic bubble wrap wrapped around it. Recently, for some insane reason, this crazy packaging has been happening. I have ordered some makeup items that I can’t find in stores and both items, a mascara and an eyeliner, came in these giant boxes… Have they ran out of reasonably sized boxes/packages? I honestly don’t know, but I think it’s time.

It’s time to quit Amazon.

Image result for oh no gif

Sure, you can recycle the box since it’s cardboard, but it’s so wasteful when you’re ordering normal sized things and receive them in these giant boxes. You also can’t recycle the plastic bubble wrap.

Tons of big stores like Target, Walmart, Michael’s, and more offer online ordering and in-store pickup. You can leave them a note in the instructions not to package it in anything so you can bring your own reusable bag and put your things in it. They send you an email when your order is ready and you can just swing by, spend 5-10 minutes waiting, and you’re out the door.

If it’s something you need urgently your best alternative is just to go to the store. Going to the store can ensure that you buy the items with less or no packaging. You can also reduce the amount of waste that you’re producing just by purchasing the things on Amazon. I have been trying so hard to stay away from Amazon and so far it’s been working. I have been going into stores more often and I have been getting back into my thrifting habits. The other day I got two 100% recycled glasses for $1 each. I would not have been able to find those super cute, recycled, vintage-looking cups for my makeup brushes on Amazon, or at least not for a dollar each.

With the holidays coming up and all of the Cyber Monday/Black Friday sales coming up, I know it’s hard to refrain from using Amazon. I know it’s hard, but try to limit the amount of things you purchase from them and maybe try to group your purchases to only one package instead of 10 different ones. If you are going to buy from them, then please recycle your cardboard boxes. At least this way you will be limiting the amount of damage that you might be doing to the environment.

CBS News Canada did a story on how online shopping increases your carbon footprint and they shared this graph. They wrote: Faster shipping completely changes what’s needed to get your order to you, and that drastically increases the carbon emissions generated in the process — the MIT study found online shopping with rush delivery was less environmentally friendly than going to the store. They do state that in store shopping will increase carbon emissions more than if you just order the thing with REGULAR shipping.

The argument for online shopping versus in store shopping is actually really interesting. Various sources say that UPS, for example, and other delivery carriers have been working towards more eco-friendly cars and that since they are on a single route delivering to multiple stops, they have less emissions than if each individual person were to go out individually in their, possibly, not-so-eco-friendly cars. That kind of makes sense to me, too. So, I think it just depends on how much online shopping you do and how much in person shopping you do. This blog started with me telling you not to shop on Amazon anymore, because their packaging is awful, but now I don’t know. I do know that you should try to group your purchases into the same packaging, but maybe it isn’t too terrible.

What do you think?

#PlasticFreeJuly: Days 6-10?

Honestly, I was going to write a blog post for everyday of this month, buuuuut….I already do a lot of things to reduce my plastic waste so I think I’ve hit a wall.

Image result for hit a wall gif

I can still maybe give some tips and ways that I have kept up with my reduction of plastic waste like having a reusable bag always in my car, that way if I have a random and unplanned trip to the grocery store, like today, I will already have a reusable bag with me.

The other thing I love to talk about is TerraCycle. Sometimes you just can’t replace something in your life or it is just easier for you to buy that one toothpaste at the grocery and maybe cheaper. When this happens, you might want to recycle it, but sadly your local recycling program won’t recycle it. Like mine?

tom'sofmaine

I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, just because David’s (the beloved one in the Zero Waste Community) can only be bought online and it is a little pricier, too. I love the toothpaste, it is fluoride free and makes my teeth feel really, really clean. It is also reasonably priced and can be bought at Target (the love of my life). I am going to harass anyone I know to give me their deodorant bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste bottles, mouthwash bottles, and the other accepted items so that I can send it out to be recycled.

Image result for give me gif

If people won’t do it themselves, I will gladly help them recycle and maybe also convince them to use more environmentally friendly or sustainable in their everyday life. I have slowly made everyone around me use a reusable bottle, which I am so proud of, but then something like my mom going grocery shopping and bringing home a gazillion plastic bags happens and I feel a little discouraged. BUT, it’s okay. I am trying my hardest and I can tell that some people around me are changing their wasteful ways, too.

ANYWAYS, I was feeling a little ranty and in the mood to type something, even though it was kind of empty. If you are in Miami and want to recycle any of the items in the picture above, please, please, please let me know! I will pick them up from you or meet you somewhere. I just want to recycle them and prevent them from going to the landfill!

Until next time,

Dani

No-Stink Summer 2019 (and on)

I started working recently in a job that requires me being outside A LOT. And here in Miami, that means heat and 90% humidity almost every day. Most days most of the A/C we get is from the cars we use to drive around and the lunch breaks in the office. It’s also officially summer, which means everyone needs to please, for the love of God, wear deodorant. I don’t want to have to be around stinky people (including myself) this summer. 

Image result for no stinky gif

Also recently, I finally finished my last deodorant stick. So, I decided that I would try to find a recipe for a deodorant that could help me stay dry and smelling fresh through my work days.

I googled a bunch of recipes and I decided that I wanted it to be as vegan as possible, so I didn’t want anything with beeswax in it. I found a really great recipe from BeautyMunsta (here). Her recipe only includes coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and she uses lemon eucalyptus essential oil. These are all things that most common households have in either their kitchen or anywhere else. I know I had most of these at home and the eucalyptus essential oil can be replaced with any essential you have at home.

So, I started the recipe by doing exactly what she said in her post. I mixed 4 tablespoons (more or less…I couldn’t actually find my tablespoon measure anywhere) of coconut oil, 5 of corn starch, one and one teaspoon of baking soda, and 20 or more drops of the essential oil, which in my case was eucalyptus.

The baking soda and corn starch as supposed to absorb the sweat and neutralize the stink. The coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, it moisturizes the skin, and it will prevent skin irritation and rashes. Something I didn’t know was that the lemon eucalyptus can also work as a bug repellant….so I guess this deodorant can also help keep the bugs away if you live somewhere that’s very buggy, like Miami.

You start by combining the ingredients, except the essential oil, in a pan over a low flame. Stir until everything melts and combines. Then let it cool off for around a minute and pour it into a glass jar. Not plastic because it could melt. Once in the jar, stir in the essential oil and you’re pretty much done.

10766441264-img-2221.jpg

At first, my deodorant had a really, really liquidy consistency so I decided to add some more corn starch and some more baking soda. I was extremely impatient and realized that I probably had to let it sit for some time harden up.

I let it cool and harden overnight and VOILA, it worked!

It was not really a paste…so maybe sticking to the original recipe might have made it into a paste, but mine was more of the hardened deodorant consistency that I am used to. The only difference is that this one is in a glass jar and I have to scoop it out with a popsicle stick.

 

So, after I used it a couple of times in places like Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando and my job in the Everglades, I’ve come to the conclusion that it works. I do have to give you a warning that generally when I sweat, I don’t stink so much, but I haven’t been stinking at all at this job that would probably make me smell. I did add too much baking soda, which makes my armpits burn a little when I recently shave them, but it works otherwise. Just follow the recipe from BeautyMunsta and have patience and you should be good to go.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or head over the original recipe’s blog post. Definitely try this and let me know how it goes! Happy summer!

Until next time!

Dani

Episode 5: Carbon Footprints!

Have you ever wondered about carbon footprints? Maybe you want to offset your emissions somehow…well it’s a thing you can do and I talk a little bit about it on this episode!

Episode 4: Twenty-Something Environmentalists

Hey guys! I’m finally back with another episode. I know it’s been quite some time since I posted one, but it has been a couple of crazy weeks for me. Nonetheless, I’m back with another episode and this time I’m accompanied by one of my fellow classmates, Adrian Figueroa. He is a senior, like me, at Florida International University studying Environmental Studies. We kind of talk a little about everything relating to our field and what it is like being environmentalists in this world and at our age. We touch on some issues regarding diversity within our field and things that we would do to help move that forward.

I hope you enjoy this longer episode and I will talk to you guys in a week (hopefully!).

Until next time,

Dani

Episode 3: Zero Waste Journey

Hey everyone! I’m back with another podcast episode. I’m still trying to figure out what the best upload date and recording date is best for me. On this episode I discuss my journey to being zero waste so far. I’m far from being completely zero waste, but I’ve given you some tips and definitely tried to guilt you into becoming zero waste in this episode. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know if there are anythings you would want me to change or what other topics I can discuss on the podcast. If you would like to be on the podcast, don’t hesitate to comment and let me know!

Waste-Free Christmas Presents

I hope everyone has been having an incredible holiday season! Hopefully, it’s been a waste-free one, too.

Image result for welcome back gif

One of my very good friends from my time at Purdue, Alaina, who is a pretty waste-free person already, decided to gift me the most thoughtful gift this season. She got me shampoo and conditioner bars! She got me a sampler of different “flavors”, which is perfect because my hair can be a little temperamental.

This specific pack brings three shampoo bars and two conditioner bars. The three shampoo bars are Frizz Wrangler, Heali Kiwi, and St. Clemens.

Frizz Wrangler is made of coconut and is supposed to be perfect for dry, frizzy hair. Heali Kiwi is made from kiwifruit, neem and Karanja oils that help soothe and calm irritated scalps. St. Clemens is made from orange and lime oils that help cleanse and refresh.

The two conditioner bars are The Guardian and Wonderbar. The Guardian is made from coconut, cocoa butter, and crushed limes for a smooth and lush look. Wonderbar is made with coconut and cocoa butter, so like The Guardian is very smoothing and hydrating.

I have now used the bars a couple of times and each time I am amazed that they actually work. I think the concept to me is just so weird, but it works! My hair feels clean, frizz-free, not greasy, and super shiny. My hair is in between curly and waving and it actually makes my curls come out. I do think if I want to wear my hair curly, then I’ll have to find some sort of oil or solution that I can make at home to make my hair more bouncy.

The next thing that I got, for myself, for Chrismas was toothpaste in a tube. I know! A tube?? How COULD you?! I did it, but it’s not a normal toothpaste. It’s Dr. Bronner’s Pepperming All-One Toothpaste. It’s fluoride-free, made from 70% organic ingredients and the packaging is 100% recyclable (including the tube). I tried to buy Davids Toothpaste, which comes in a metal tube aka recyclable, but it would not get here in time for my trip.

10752062496_IMG_0574.JPG

I previously had been using the Bite toothpaste bite things, but I am not really a fan of the taste of it and also I feel like I don’t know how to properly use them. It’s mostly the taste for me, though. So because of this, I had been looking up different toothpaste alternatives. I found out that there are companies that recycle toothpaste tubes. One of them is TerraCycle’s Oral Care Recycling Program. You can fill a box with toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and caps, and floss containers and mail them to TerraCycle for recycling. They have a rewards program where you can redeem the points for cash donations to the school or nonprofit organization of your choice.

There’s a website that helps you find recycling solutions in your area called Earth911 Recycling Search.

This coming year, I think if you can’t change your entire life to a zero waste life, try to change small things. This way you can get into the grove of living a little differently. Stop grabbing the plastic bag when you shop, start bringing your own. This can maybe lead you to stop asking for straws or single-use utensils with your take-out or at restaurants. It just starts with one small thing. You’ll start noticing that people are so wasteful all of a sudden. You don’t have to immediately change to shampoo and conditioner bars, but you can maybe buy bigger bottles of your shampoo/conditioner or buy bulk with your own containers. You’ll start to be more conscious of your choices and how they might affect our environment.

You can do this.

We can do this.

Until next time,

Dani

Wasteless Makeup Removal

Don’t you wish you could just wipe your makeup off with a magical sleeve like Mulan?

Image result for makeup wipes gif

Think about how many makeup wipes do you throughout a week (That is assuming you wear makeup).

I counted mine: 6-7 a week. That’s only when I wear mascara and eyeliner. Imagine if I wear a “full face” of makeup, I’d probably use 2 just in one sitting.

The makeup industry is extremely wasteful in general and for someone who loves makeup, like me, it’s really hard to just quit using it. I love lipsticks and mascaras and eyeliners, but they are really so wasteful. They come in either a plastic wrapping or a box. The box can easily be recycled, but not the plastic. I’m still on the hunt for a really good waste-free makeup company, but this blog is about makeup wipes. 

They’re so wasteful and you can’t reuse them. They come in a plastic bag, too. I try using mine until there isn’t any empty space on the wipe itself, but I still throw it out eventually. I easily found an alternative for them: cotton round pads that can be washed in the washer. You can easily DIY cotton rounds from old t-shirts or towels.

Image result for diy reusable makeup remover pads

What about the actual makeup remover water? Those come in plastic bottles, right?

Finding the alternative to the actual makeup remover has been the most challenging thing for me, but the answer was right there, on my bathroom vanity….coconut oil!

According to two dermatologists, Anthony Youn and Carl Thornfeldt, they both agree that coconut oil is a good choice when choosing a makeup remover. They both agree that coconut oil is not only safe to use when cleansing your face, but it also offers other benefits to our skin. You have to keep in mind that coconut oil may not be compatible with all skin types and so testing it on a small patch of your skin. They suggest that you can easily use the coconut oil by rubbing it on your eyes gently, without using any cotton pads or anything, and then gently washing it.

There is a chance that coconut oil can clog pores, but this possibility can be removed by using organic and minimally processed oil. Cold-pressed doesn’t have toxins in the process that would impact the skin. Another great thing about coconut oil is that it can be bought in bulk and also in glass containers (that you can reuse later on or recycle).

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Unrefined White Kernel Coconut Oil Tub. (14 oz. Glass Jar)Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 23 Ounce

You can generally find these glass jar coconut oils at places like Whole Foods, or your local grocery store, but you can also buy them on Amazon.

 

 

 

Sure, it’s a little bit messy and can have you looking like this:

Image result for coconut oil makeup remover

But you would be reducing your waste drastically if makeup wipes are your preferred removal option. Try it out. Use the coconut oil for a week and test it out for yourself. If it doesn’t work on its own, you can always try this homemade makeup removal recipe:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baby shampoo (no tears)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • a few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional).

There are also other oils you can use instead of coconut oil, such as castor oil, but coconut oil should be okay to use.

Until next time,

Dani

Back to School? How to be waste-free at school.

It’s that time again for a lot of us.

Image result for don't you dare gif

That time of year where we have to discontinue our binge-watching and get our lives together for.

BACK TO SCHOOL!

Image result for nooooo gif

I’m entering my final year at my university, but this year is different. I’m trying to be zero-waste this year, which makes shopping for school supplies a bit complicated.

I headed to Walmart with my brother the night before my semester starts, which was the worst idea I could have ever had, but we started to hunt for our supplies.

Image result for black friday gif

I then realized, that I have to be as zero-waste as possible. It’s really hard to do that when all of the pens, pencils, markers, and other writing utensils come in plastic wrappings. Sure, the backing is cardboard (which we can recycle), but the wrapping covering them is plastic.

One of the blogs that I follow for zero-waste inspiration and shopping is called Package Free Shop. In this store you can find all sorts of package-free items like razors, toothbrushes, shopping bags, and other such things.

For back to school, they added some school supply items that are package free and sustainable. They have recycled paper notebooks, binders, and folders. They also have 100% cotton pencil pouches and book bags. I also recommend if you already have pencil pouches or notebooks that are half filled, just keep using them. If they have a rip, just do some basic sewing and fix it. That is one way that we create waste: by just throwing things way because we don’t like the anymore. There are DIY ways to just revamp something that we do not like anymore. Try to find those ways. If you really don’t want to keep it anymore, but it is still a good item, then just donate it to Goodwill or other secondhand-stores around you.

If you can’t get your supplies from this website and Walmart is just closer, then try to find the least wasteful things.

Pilot has pens that are called B2P (Bottle-2-pen), which launched in 2010. The gel ink and ball point pens are made from 89% and 83% recycled plastic bottles respectively. They are all 100% refillable.

Image result for b2p pilot pen

 

Notebooks are for the most part recyclable, but you can always try to reuse the ones from the last semester or school year. This way you can reduce the amount of waste you are causing. Always try to save things you used from the previous year so that you can use them for the following semester.

If you are in the market for a new notebook, there are these super cool reusable notebooks that I found out about last semester. They are called Rocketbook. It is a reusable, digital notebook. There is an app that the notebook goes with where you just upload the pages to and then erase it when you’re done.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write notes.
  2. Choose a destination. You use symbols at the bottom of the pages that connect to your Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, OneNote, iCloud, iMessage, or Email. Each symbol represents a course that you are taking or a specific destination.
  3. Scan your pages.

To erase your notes, you just have to wipe them clean with water and a cloth. It’s really simple and can be used an endless amount of time.

It’s always a little difficult to be zero waste, but you just have to be conscious about the items you are grabbing and buying and how you can reduce your waste. Will it be recyclable? Can I refill it? Can I donate it when I’m done?

Good luck!

Until next time,

Dani

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

I’ve been away for around a week and for good reason.

This summer I had the chance to be an intern at Everglades National Park through a program called Latino Heritage Internship Program, LHIP for short. I was one of two LHIP interns at the Everglades. My job was to work with the education department and help them make their Nike Missile Site Program better.

I had the chance to explore new places in the park and around the park. Sadly, my internship has come to an end. To conclude it, LHIP hosted a conference in Colorado.

IMG_0098

We started our conference in Denver, Colorado in the Intermountain Regional Office for the National Parks Service. We got workshops relating to USAjobs.com and federal resumes. We also had the chance to present to the other 42 interns about our projects or what we spent all summer working on or doing. After the workshop, we started our travel to Boulder, Colorado, where we would have dinner and drive to Estes Park to sleep. Estes Park is the town right before Rocky Mountain National Park on the east side of the mountains.

The plan for the Rockies was to get an exclusive tour of the park since only one of the interns within the program had been working there. We had three “breakout sessions” where the group would be split into three and each person was able to go to two sessions. The three were fire and rescue, llamas, and trail maintenance. I chose the trails and llamas (of course). We were able to see how the rangers in the park are able to keep the park clean and maintained. They use horses for trail work and llamas for the backcountry bathrooms since the park is composed of mountains and you can’t exactly get up there by car.

Here are some pictures of the llamas. We were able to walk them and be with the three llamas that the park leases for a couple of months. Their names were Dorito, Wilson, and Hector.

We were also able to make some stops before getting to the breakout sessions.

The park rangers that guided us took us to the highest peak in the park, where the altitude was no joke.

This trip was an incredible experience. I was able to connect with 41 other Latinos who were also heavily interested in working towards saving our environment. I had never been around a group as incredible as this. We all connected right away and still talk to each other every now and then. We’re already planning a reunion!

The point of this blog wasn’t just to talk about my trip, but to maybe persuade you to going to the closest national or state park. Get out and experience nature for an hour or a whole day. Disconnect and enjoy what this earth has provided you with. Get out there and find your park!

Until next time,

Dani