Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Plastic-free Undergarments

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

There is plastic in me, there is plastic in me, just remember what I said, the elastic is the plastic in me!

Yes, it's true, undergarments have plastic in them. It's not talked about much, but the elastic is plastic. So, at the end of its life, your undergarments will leave you with a real problem to dispose of in the trash. For me, this just won't work. Kids stretch out elastic too soon and too often from a zero-waste prospective.

For the longest time I have been looking for plastic-free undergarments and couldn't find them anywhere. Nobody seemed to sell organic, plastic-free, all-natural bras, underwear or socks. Since I have four people in my family, I felt doomed to sew or knit undergarments for everyone to avoid plastic. That task seemed overwhelming.

Besides sewing them myself, my other option would be to pay for someone else to do it for me, which seems overly expensive for undergarments. So what else is there?

Are there any companies who sell bras, underwear, and socks without elastic? It turns out there is a company that makes elastic free undergarments for adults. Not only elastic-free, but also sweatshop free, organic and all-natural They also have an affiliate program to help support our little homestead at no additional cost to you!

I've personally been needing some new socks and bras as my current pairs of socks develop new holes about every other wear after darning them (most pairs are at about 1/3 darned to undarned), and my bras are several years old and starting to wear out, so I'm ordering some from Rawganique's elastic-free products. The only problem is that they don't offer any kids' underwear elastic-free, so I still have plenty of projects to keep me busy.

Once I receive my shipment, I'll need to figure out what do with my old socks and bras. Well....for the bras I can recycle them for several worthy causes.

As for the socks.... I'll probably keep darning them, but I'll have some to wear while they're in progress, instead of wearing holey socks. I could also use them for sock puppets and other art projects.

Ah, another plastic reduction problem solved by some research. Now if I could just find a cheap/free metal 55 gallon drum within walking distance for a cat composter....

Here's to plastic-free undergarments!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How I Start Seeds for (Nearly) free and Waste Less!

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In a wasteful world, people pay top dollar for plastic wrapped dirt, cheap plastic pots, spray dangerous chemicals in plastic containers, and still buy plastic-coated produce out of season at the grocery store.

As for me and my house, we'll save the cash and lose the packaging. This is how I garden for nearly free and produce almost no waste.

Seed Savings-

1. Buy or use a seed library/seed exchange to find organic/Heirloom Vegetable Seeds in paper packets.
2. Use same packet for years by storing properly and use it up.

3. Save the seeds from your plants or organic food to get seeds for free.

Cheap dirt-
1. Use worm casings from a worm bin or aged compost to start seedlings to lose the packaging and save your wallet.

2. Buy bulk compost and have it dumped in front of your house.

Free seed pots/Mini-greenhouses-
1. Reuse individual yogurt containers and punch 3-4 drainage holes to start seedings.
2. You can also reuse toilet paper rolls as seed pots.

3. You can reuse plastic containers for mini greenhouses or upside down Mason jars if yours aren't all being used. (You can always ask your friends to save these recyclables if you make your own yogurt and baked goods or if you use family cloth instead of toilet paper, like we do. Once you use family cloth, you won't want to go back, trust me.)
Starting seeds 2-3 weeks ago, all free containers and dirt from our worm bin!

Plant markers/Plant starts-
1. Mark a piece of scrap paper and slip it in or around the container=compostable plant marker
2. Plant starts can be regrown from plant scraps in water or by sticking cuttings in potatoes with two to three eyes on them!

What are some ways that you save money on gardening supplies by wasting less/using less packaging? 

Enjoy a less wasteful world by seeing our seedlings progress,
Little Urban Greenie

Both of the tomato seeds sprouted in the pot, so I'm planting them here with the avocado until it's warmer out

Organic avocado I sprouted in a yogurt cup

Cauliflower seedling in the middle, and I'm adding calendula seeds for good companion planting and extra cheerful healing flowers for inside
Aloe vera babies with golden yarrow seeds in the middle and more calendula seeds around the edge for healing indoor flower cheerily

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Feed the Birds..How to Feed the Birds!

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Part 2 of the Zero-waste Cat Poop Composting series

(See Part 1 for How to start a Bokashi bucket for precomposting cat poop)

I have found a way to supplement our chickens diet and make their feed go further, compost our cat poop quickly so it can age sooner, reuse some stuff we have just sitting in our garage, all for minimum maintentence, and it is ridiculously cheap! Are you not entertained?!

Early each day to open the coop,
this little bird woman comes.
Later in the evening, 

to the chickens she calls,
"Come, eat the larvae;
Of the black soldier fly.
Show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
I know you are hungry
Your nests are so bare.

All it takes is laziness from you."

Yep, black soldier fly composting. Sounds gross I know, but they don't carry disease, they don't bite, and they create compost quickly, while their larvae are popular feedstock for exotic pets, chickens, aquaponics fish, etc. The plans I'm showing today are very simple and are set up next to the chicken coop so I don't have to collect the larvae. It should work to fall right near and/or in the chickens coop. Sounds good?

Let's dive in! First we'll need some basic supplies that you could find for free or cheap:

  • A storage tote with a lid or wooden box (I'm using this wooden plywood box I wouldn't bring indoors to reuse what I already had, save me the trouble of borrowing a saw and more likely injuring myself.) 
  • A wooden board
  • Dried used coffee grounds
  • Drill
  • Saw


  1. Drill or cut some drainage holes in the bottom of the tote/box.
  2. Cut a slit or hole big enough for the wooden board to stick out and adult soldier flies to get in to lay eggs. (Predrilled!) 
  3. Sprinkle bottom of the tote/crate liberally with a thick layer of coffee grounds, 1-2 inches thick. This is to help absorb the larvae's sludge.
  4. Place your board through the slit and leaned at a 45° angle or so for the larvae to crawl out of the tote. 
  5. Carry your composter next to your chicken coop with the board hole side leaning against the wire side of the coop. 
  6. Add any kind of kitchen scraps, including meat, dairy, oils, manure, etc. In our case, we add the "pickled" cat poop from the bokashi bucket with some browns.
  7. Wait for black soldier flies to take over or add a purchased colony. 
  8. Enjoy your chickens automatic feeding and compost ready in as little as 1-2 days!

Until next time, here's to feeding the birds cheaper and cheaper,
Little Urban Greenie

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