Life without Plastic

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Zero Waste/Plastic Free Hair Accessories

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

Every hair you own, every one you love, will be coated in plastic.. Okay, not really, but it sure feels that way when it comes to simple tasks like doing your hair. As I type, my plastic-coated ponytail nags at me. I need to let go of this elastic habit and eliminate one last more source of plastic and waste in my life.

How to let go of the ubiquitous elastic hair band though? How to hold my braid? How to put my hair up without a plastic jaw clip? How do I put my hair up? 

I had to research really hard to find alternatives for all of my hair accessories. As I went about looking for them online, my mind kept going back to how far we've come in our zero-waste and plastic-free journey, including the past two weeks of going car-free. See what led to that idea here.

We found a ride to Winco for our bulk food trip. We took the light rail to Food Not Bombs. We walked to the library and did our taxes online as we have no home internet, just mobile data. Mr. Greenie bikes to work for half an hour each way. We have more time to look around the neighborhood and really see our surroundings. 

The only major hurdle we've encountered is buying chicken feed. It comes in 50 lb bags and isn't easy to ask for a ride so often to get it. But this too has an advantage, we have been looking for ways to not need to buy chicken feed as often, and this saves us money. 

Now we let our hens free-range all day whenever we're home, vs for a little bit each day. Best of all, it encourages us to see such a big step toward reducing our waste, and helps inspire us to do more, like let go of my plastic and wasteful hair accessories.

So, without further ado, here are the ways I've found to use no plastic in hair styling. 

1.Braid Without an Elastic
2.Updo Without Clips, Pins, or Elastic
3.French Twist
4. Tie a strip of cotton fabric around a ponytail.

5. Use a bandana, like this one:
6. All natural rubber and organic cotton hair ties

I found a few ideas from the my plastic free life forums as well-

  1. leather cord 
  2. Metal barrettes
  3. Cotton ribbon or wool/hemp yarn
  4. wooden hair sticks
  5. old rubber band (saved from broccoli, asparagus, etc), and using cotton crochet yarn, crochet over it to create your own scrunchie!  It lasts a long time, and when the band eventually wears out I can unravel the yarn and reuse in another one.  I do a simple single or double crochet
  6. little metal spring clips
  7. ends of braids a plain rubber band 

All in all, it is entirely possible to have every hair you own and love to not be coated in plastic, and still be quite stylish.

Here's to a more plastic-free and zero-waste head of hair,
Meghan- the Little Urban Greenie

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Zero-waste and Plastic-free Vision

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

Modern eyeglasses are not the plastic-free and zero-waste option you're looking for. They are, in fact, almost entirely made of plastic, from the tips of the frames to the lenses themselves. Even the cloths to clean them to the carrying cases are usually plastic, ever breakable and only down-cyclable.

Contact lenses and assorted trash are currently recyclable, but are still plastic and will only be downcycled like all other plastic.

I recently encountered the oh-so-disposable vision monster head-on with my "yearly" eye exam.  There were many wasteful hurdles to overcome with the exam itself, such as the disposable tissue to help with tearing from eye dilation. Doh, I should've refused the tissue I didn't need!

I should have suggested natural dilation by turning off the light or waited for the machine rather than accept the tiny plastic bottle that dilation drops come in. My first optometrist always was able to dilate my eyes naturally by leaving me in the dark for a few minutes.

After the appointment was my opportunity to refuse new glasses, or upgrade to plastic-free and zero-waste ones that would last longer. The upgrade would require more than just buying off the shelf, this would require a lot of homework.

Is it even possible to buy glasses without plastic anymore? Would I just have to accept plastic glasses or be nearsighted?

Or could I Refuse vision enhancement and try to improve my sight naturally? Yes actually, Wellness Mama has an excellent post on this subject. What if my vision still isn't 20/20 and I need new glasses?

Could I Reduce how many frames I buy, and only replace as needed a few times in my life?  Maybe, but wouldn't they still have those plastic tips and bridge rests that break? Actually, I could choose wooden frames as they don't use plastic bridge rests or tip covers, and wouldn't break easily and need to be replaced as often. Okay, as long as I also refuse the microfiber cleaning cloth (plastic) and buy cruelty-free silk instead, I just might be able to buy what I want, right?

Okay, but what about the lenses themselves? Aren't all of them plastic? Even buying wooden frames come with plastic lenses, right? Unless...unless I ask for either real glass lenses or no lenses if they can't offer glass. Does anyone offer actual glass lenses anymore???

Jackpot! I can Reuse my frames I bought and replace my eyeglass lenses with actual glass. This website sells glass lenses and makes repairs so you don't need to replace the whole pair, sweet! Non-scratch "coating" comes with it though... they're seriously coating the glass lenses with plastic. Custom order no non-scratch coating, check.

Doggone it, what do I do with my old plastic pair though? I'll have eco-guilt up the wazoo if I just throw them away... Google what to do with old eyeglasses... Looks they can be Recycled by donating to the Lion's Club for someone who needs them. Luckily my new pair will have glass and broken glass should be able to be recycled with other glass if they ever break....

Wait, how to dispose of my new ones once they break? Well, they are wooden so they should be able to Rot/be compostedAssuming the wooden frames can't be repaired, reused for a craft project, or recycled for those in need, they can now be composted, along with any silk cleaning cloths that are worn through. Great, I have my perfect game plan for replacing my glasses.

I wounded my vision monster, but it was a cowardly blow. I replaced my glasses with a pair in the optometrist office. They may have less plastic, but not much. I only realized after I got home that my zero-waste vision of metal-framed glasses had only given a flesh wound to reducing plastic and waste.

Next time though, I will deal a deadly blow and follow the five Rs to plastic-free and zero-waste vision victory.

Here's to zero-waste and plastic-free vision!
Little Urban Greenie

Friday, February 3, 2017

Phase 4: The Big One

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

Sorry for the post drought, we've been busy! Mr. Greenie, myself, and UG3 all had a cold this week, so I've been sleeping more and getting less done around the house and blog.

Last week was more crazy with our car breaking down and trying to figure out what to do about it. The repair ended up being almost exactly what we owned on it, which is always a bummer. We have decided to go forward with an 'wonderful, awesome idea' to rephrase Dr. Seuss.

Ready for the next phase of our baby steps to less waste?....We're going carless! After much thought, we paid off the loan using some of our Winter savings to free up the title. Next we're going to sell the car as a mechanic's special. We're currently working on finding affordable bicycles for both of us, particularly Mr. Greenie who has been walking and getting rides to work 5 miles away.

Obviously this has involved some creative problem solving, such as answering how will we bulk buy every 6 months? Carpooling of course or Uber. We can use public transportation for most of our other needs and biking. I'm holding off on biking until the weather is warmer for UG3's sake as she is less than 8 months old and UG1's as well, though she would probably be okay at 3 1/2 in the covered bike trailer.

We're so excited to start this new phase of our zero-waste and plastic-free journey. I'm not sure if we'll stay car-free long term or just for awhile, but it's an interesting challenge. It lowers our liability expenses and should have a fantastic effect on our health and drastically reduce our transportation waste. Buh-bye oil changes, and hel-lo tire repair kits!

On a side note, check out my sprouted onion that I planted in worm casings from our worm bin and an upcycled milk jug. We'll get two or three onion plants from this one we received at Food Not Bombs for free.

Then check out our garlic plants I just repotted. Maybe we won't need to buy garlic or onions anymore? Only time will tell.

Here's looking forward to cheaper, healthier transportation and lowering our carbon footprint,

Little Urban Greenie

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