Eco Friendly

Eco Conscious Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Father’s day is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about the special dad in your life! I have compiled a list of ideas for those dads who are more eco conscious and nature oriented. I see so many lists out there full of suggestions of goofy ties, drinking products, and golf. But I wanted to gather some ideas for the nature loving dads out there. So check out these Eco Conscious Fathers day gift ideas.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Water Bottle

Water bottles are a great way to reduce plastic waste. There are so many excellent water bottles out there. I personally love using bottles made of glass because I think the water tastes so much better in them. Check this one out that also has a shaker in it.

Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are excellent additions to your yard or garden. You can try this one from Amazon, but check out your local garden center or hardware store to find a nice wooden bird feeder.

Plant or Tree

Certain trees and plants are a wonderful addition to a yard or garden Try getting your dad his favorite plant or tree for his garden this year.

Books

Books are always great gifts. Check out your local book shop or try to find a second hand book in good shape. For the tech lovers out there, try Kindle Unlimited. Using this link, you can get your first month free!

Field Guides

I have found that wanting to be more eco friendly increases when I spend time in nature and learn more about it. Field guides are great to bring on hikes and adventures for this exact purpose. Try this tree or bird book to get started!

Straw Hat

It is important to shield one’s self from the sun when spending time outdoors. This straw hat is great for keeping the rays out of the face and it’s an all-natural material, too!

Electric Lawn Care

We spend so much energy and gas on mowing and caring for our lawns. An eco friendly upgrade from the gas guzzling yard appliances is an electric mower and/or weed whip. For the ambitious types, try a push lawn mower!

Subscription

Subscriptions are also great gifts! Try Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, or satellite radio.

Movie or DVD rental

Having a family movie night is really fun! Try your local move rental or a red box.

State Parks Pass

Getting outside is a great way to spend a day. This year get a parks pass as a gift to encourage outdoor adventures. Every state does things a little different so I found this great website that has information for all 50 states.

Zero Waste Personal Care

Switching to zero waste bathroom items can help cut out so much plastic waste. Try this Ethique sample pack of shampoo and conditioners. I have tried a couple of different shampoo bars and Ethique is hands down my favorite. My husband and I also love using felt soap. While I linked felt soap from Amazon, I purchase mine from a local woman who I met at the farmer’s market. As always, I encourage you to shop local when you can.

Reusable Coffee Filter, and Beans

Last but not least, consider these reusable coffee liners and dad’s favorite beans from a bulk bin.

I hope you found some ideas on this list that the father in your life would love. I tried to find some Eco Conscious Fathers Day gift ideas that were friendly to the environment and fun, too! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

For more eco friendly gifts check out my zero waste gift ideas!

Homemade recycled paper

I have been pondering what to do with all of our shredded paper for a while now because it’s starting to build up. I am looking more and more like a hoarder! With limited recycling options in town, I wanted to get creative. So I decided to make my own homemade recycled paper! I made paper a long time ago for a girl scout project, so I thought it would be pretty easy to make again.

I first intended to make this as a project to do with my Little One. However, it ended up being too delicate of a project for a one year old. My first try ended up with lots of little finger prints that dented the paper. After this first attempt I realized it would be a perfect activity for older children.

Materials

Making paper is a pretty simple process and you can use simple tools you already have around your home. The toughest part is getting a screen. Your local hardware store would have some, or even take a look around your garage, maybe there is a spare screen you forgot about. I got mine from my father-in-law, who has a window and screen repair business. I did learn that using a metal screen is better then using a plastic-based screen.

Making a Deckle

The screen is needed to make the deckle. I’ll link a couple of videos on how to make one and where to purchase one. I made one by using a screen and an old photo frame from the dollar store. First I popped the glass out and the metal pieces that hold the backing on. I did this with a pair of pliers. Next I used a hot glue gun to glue the edge of the screen to the edge of the frame. Once it dried I used duct tape over the raw edge of the screen and over the sides of the picture frame. It’s not my prettiest work but it will do.

Supplies

The supplies you will need are…

There are many tutorials out there on how to make paper. I watched this video before I started. However, I wanted to try a couple different methods. The first is that I wanted to keep this as eco-friendly as possible, and that means not using paper towel. Instead I used old bath towels and flour sack cloth…lots and lots of them. I used a big bath towel on the counter top and flour sack cloth towel to lay the paper on.

Many of the tutorials out there make use of a second screen. I found an easy way around this that involves flipping it onto the towel.

homemade recycled paper

Making the Paper

Making homemade recycled paper is really simple. Place a hand full of shredded paper into the blender. You can also add colored paper and newspaper to change the color of the paper. I just stuck to my shredded paper simply because I have a lot of it! Next, add water to the blender. You need quite a bit, but don’t over fill the blender. Blend until it gets to a consistency you like. It took 20-40 seconds for me. See my before and after pictures below.

homemade recycled paper
homemade recycled paper

Creating the Paper

This next part is really fun. I used my sink and filled it with a couple of inches of water and put the deckle in the water. Then I poured the paper mixture on to the deckle. Spread out the mixture on the deckle, using your fingers to spread the mixture over the deckle in an even layer. Next, raise the deckle out of the water and shake it to even out the layer and let the excess water drip off.

homemade recycled paper

Drying the Paper

Flip the deckle over on top of a bath towel and flour sack towel. With the deckle still down, use a sponge to wick away some of the water and squeeze it back into the sink. Continue until you are no longer getting water out of the paper. Carefully take the deckle off the paper and place it to the side.

Next, fold the other half of the flour sack towel over the paper and press it with an iron. Keeping the towel folded, flip the towel over and press the other side of the paper. Flip again and gently fold back the flour sack towel. Use a cutting board or some other large flat service and place it on top of the paper. Flip it over and then gently pull back the flour sack towel. Finally transfer the paper onto a dry towel and leave it to dry. See the photos below for reference.

homemade recycling paper
Iron homemade recycled paper
finished homemade recycled paper

That’s it, your homemade paper is officially done! I plan on using the paper for cards/notes and as coloring paper for Little One. What do you think? Will you turn your own shredded paper into homemade recycled paper? Let me know of any tips or tricks you may have in the comments below!

Feel like more DIYing? Check out my homemade beeswax wraps.

Eco Friendly Easter Ideas

This year we are trying to make a greener Easter basket for our Little One. So I thought I would share some Eco friendly Easter ideas to include in your basket for your kiddos!

Play Dough

Homemade play dough is so much fun to play with and is a great eco-friendly option for your Little One’s Easter basket. There are many simple recipes like this one on Pinterest. This year for Easter I want to try to make play dough using homemade natural dyes. So stay tuned to see how it goes…

Felt Animals/Food items

Little One has so much fun playing with his play food. These felt food are items are very enjoyable and are great for creating little chefs!

Wooden Cars

Wooden cars can bring a lot of excitement for Little One’s play time. These ones are a great size and would be very easy to hide in a scavenger hunt. We personally love these cars because they are easy to pack and take on trips with us.

Chalk

Chalk is a great option for an Easter basket. It gets kids outside and lets their creativity soar! The best part is once a rain storm comes along (or a hose), the canvas is cleared and the next masterpiece can be created.

Art and Craft Supplies

Arts and craft supplies are always great to give. Have you tried these honey sticks? Fun fact – they are made out of beeswax!

Green Kid Craft Box

This is a favorite of mine – it’s the Green Kid craft box. In the box there are a couple of activities that are created to engage your child. These boxes are a great option for an eco-friendly Easter treat.

Pass for an Activity

Passes for an activity is always great fun, too. Do you have a local children’s museum, zoo, or aquarium? If not, something as simple as going to the movie theater or creating a themed home movie party can make memories. Doing an activity can be so much fun!

Seeds and Gardening Tools

Seeds and gardening tools are great for the spring. Kids love to help out and gardening is a great way to get them outside. There are a couple of great options, likes these wood and metal ones, or these recycled plastic ones. You could also try these seed bombs, which are so easy to plant and you get to watch the flowers grow!

Sand Toys

These sand toys are great for playing outside. The bucket would also make a useful Easter basket. The toys are made out of recycled milk jugs, which makes it a green option. These baskets are also built to last and are so much sturdier then the ones you can find in the dollar stores.

DIY Veggie Garden

I made this felt veggie garden for Little One last year for Easter. It’s so cute and Little One really enjoys planting and harvesting the veggies from the garden. In addition to just being fun, this garden can be an educational opportunity for Little One’s expanding mind.

Candies from Bulk Bin

If you are wanting to give sweet treats, go the waste-free route and try a bulk bin. Our local co-op has some great options and if you bring your own container, you cut out the plastic.

I encourage you to change up the Easter basket this year and try some greener alternatives. It’s easy to just go buy the big bag of jelly beans, but these ideas switch up the normal routine and give great eco-friendly alternatives! Do you have any other Eco Friendly Easter ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

Zero Waste Laundry Soap

zero waste laundry soap

We have been on a mission to make zero waste switches in our home. This mission is filled with goals to create a healthier home and make better choices for the environment. One area that we have been focusing on recently is the laundry. I have written about our zero waste laundry essentials but I wanted to do a larger review of the zero waste laundry soap we have been using.

We recently started using Tru Earth laundry detergent and they rock! These are so easy to use and smell great! I’m seriously recommending them to everyone. Below I thought I would walk you through the ordering process, how to use them, and tell you about some things I have learned along the way.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Tru Earth associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Ordering

These awesome Eco friendly laundry detergent strips can be ordered at tru.earth. They have a couple options for ordering. You can purchase a single package or use a subscription service, which offers huge savings. There are a several package amounts, including 8 loads, 32 loads, 64 loads or 384 loads. I know that was quite a jump. However, the first subscriptions are more of a monthly and the large one is for a year. There are also three scent options: fresh linen, fragrance free and one that is formulated for babies.

At first I was a bit unsure about getting laundry detergent sent to me. I was worried about all the extra wasteful packaging that would be coming with it. To my delight, however, there was not much. The laundry strips were shipped in their normal box (I’ll include a photo below) with my husband’s hand for size reference. It is a slim, recyclable envelope that had our address label on the back. The box was a bit dinged and dented here and there from the mail but the contents inside were untouched. This box was a nice size and it was able to fit in our mail box. If you don’t have to deal with snow this isn’t really an issue, but we have lost more than one package to a snow bank!

I do recommend that if you find one you like, get the big box. Then there is that much less energy going into shipping your product.

Tru Earth laundry soap package

Using Tru Earth Laundry Detergent

Using Tru Earth Laundry detergent couldn’t be easier. Before throwing your laundry in, tear off one strip of the laundry soap along the perforated line and toss it into the bottom of the washer. Next, add your laundry and then run your cycle as normal…it’s that easy!

Tru Earth recommends that you use one strip for one load. However, if you have a really small load that has one shirt in it or something of that nature, I recommend tearing the strip in half.

The Smell

I normally go for unscented laundry soap, but I wanted to try the fresh linen scent that was available. It smells so fresh and clean! I don’t really notice too much scent on my laundry after they have been dried but it was wonderful coming out of the washer. I did order some unscented strips to try next month, so I will update this post when I give it a go.

Stains

So stains are going to happen, as much as we would like pristine clothes all the time. I have a couple of examples but I did not go out and try every stain. Could you image that project? Yikes.

The first stain I tested was a raspberry stain on a light green shirt. I didn’t treat it at all and the stain came right out the first time. The second stain was a red sauce stain, which did not come out the first try and I had to use my stain remover.

I have one more story and it involves our toddler. If you don’t have kids jump ahead to the next paragraph. If you do, keep reading…you have been warned.

So I woke up one morning and our Little One had been quite sick. Unfortunately, his diaper did not contain all of his sick and his pajama bottoms and top were messy. I, of course, threw them into the wash. The top, which was less messy then the bottoms, came out in great condition and the stain was completely removed. The bottoms were not quite so lucky. I put my stain remover on them and threw them in the wash again with another load. This time the stain came out!

Zero waste laundry soap

Allergens/Sensitive Skin

We do not have allergens in my home, so I called upon my dear mother to be my test subject (sorry, Mom). She has been in a constant battle to find products that do not cause her irritation. She tried our fresh linen laundry soap first and did, unfortunately, break out. Many times it’s the fragrance that make her break out, so I have ordered the fragrance free strips and hopefully she will be a willing test subject once again.

So if you have sensitive skin or allergens, I recommend still trying the fragrance-free option in the small package first.

Tru Earth does say on their website that they are paraben-free, phosphate-free, and vegan. The zero waste laundry soap is also free of added dyes, chlorine bleach, and free of 1,4 dioxane.

Final Thoughts

Tru Earth zero waste laundry soap is fantastic. It does a great job cleaning and is better for the environment than the large plastic containers of liquid detergent. While slightly more expensive than some of the store brands, the ease of use and subscription services makes it easy peasy.

If you would to mare your laundry routine Eco Friendly in other ways check out my zero waste laundry essentials post.

Have you tried Tru earth zero waste laundry soap? Let me know of your experiences in the comments below!

Tru Earth Laundry Strips

Zero Waste Laundry Essentials

Zero Waste Laundry Essentials

We have been hard at work the past couple of years finding zero waste solutions and more Eco friendly alternatives to keep our household running. One area that normally makes a lot of waste is laundry. Between all the plastic jugs of soap and the dryer sheets, over time it adds up to a lot! That’s not even mentioning the energy and water consumption. So this post contains zero waste laundry essentials to help cut the plastic and make your laundry routine greener.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Zero Waste Laundry Soap

The best way to cut out the plastic is switching to a zero waste laundry soap like the product from Tru Earth. Fortunately, there are more and more zero waste laundry soap options coming onto the market. I haven’t tried them all but I really like these ones. They are so easy to use – I only needed to place the paper in the washer and turn it on! Tru Earth also offers a subscription service so you don’t have to think about adding it to your shopping list.

Dryer Balls

Another way to cut waste from your laundry routine is to use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. The reason for this is because dryer balls are mostly made of wool while dryer sheets are plastic fibers. The dryer balls I linked to below are great for cutting out static. If you would like to add a fragrance to your dyer’s load, place a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil on the dryer balls.

Drying Rack

Cutting the use of your dryer is going to help so much in conserving energy. Try using a wood rack, like this one linked below, to dry your clothing. Some other tips of making your dryer more efficient include drying in larger loads or adding a dry towel to a smaller load.

Laundry Basket

If you are needing a new laundry basket, try one made of a natural material instead of plastic. If you already have a plastic basket, by all means keep on using it. Tossing out a perfectly good basket just creates more waste. But if you are needing a new one, consider transitioning into these wicker ones.

These zero waste laundry essentials will help you create a more Eco friendly laundry routine. Switching out your laundry detergent, using wool dryer balls, and hang drying your clothes can make a world of difference!

Do you have any other methods for creating a more Eco friendly laundry routine? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking for other Eco Friendly options? Go check out my Eco Friendly Living page next.

DIY Dry Shampoo

DIY Dry Shampoo

Let me start with this – I love dry shampoo! I have fine hair that tends to get greasy very easily. It has been a goal of mine to take better care of my hair. My switch to all natural bar shampoo has helped immensely. Washing my hair less frequently is also helping it look and feel better. However, after one day of not washing my hair it is one giant grease ball…enter dry shampoo! I use this recipe 2-4 days a weeks as a part of my morning routine. This DIY dry shampoo is very easy to make and it uses ingredients you can find in your pantry.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .

Supplies

Below are the supplies needed to make DIY dry shampoo. This is going to be a fairly short list because it is that simple!

  • Corn Starch (This one is vegan, gluten free and Non GMO) Some people use arrowroot powder instead of corn starch. I have never tried it but if you have some, give it a try and let me know how it goes!
  • Cocoa Powder Note this is for dark hair only. If you have blonde hair you can skip this ingredient.
  • Essential Oil You can choose any scent of essential oil you want (lavender is popular). If you don’t like having a scent you can go without essential oil.
  • Glass container. I personally use a candle jar that had been used up from Ikea that has a nice silver lid. You can use any glass container as long as it has a lid of some kind.
  • Make Up Brush The make up brush is used to apply the dry shampoo. I highly suggest having one dedicated to only the dry shampoo and not to mix it with your foundation brush.

Instructions

For dark hair, mix one part corn starch (1/8 or 1/4 cup) and 1 part cocoa powder (1/8 or 1/4 cup). Next, add a couple of drops of essential oil and mix. Put the dry shampoo mix into a glass container and it’s ready to use. Simple, right?

For light hair, take 1/4 cup of corn starch and add a couple drops of essential oil. Set it into a glass container.

How to use dry shampoo

To use DIY dry shampoo, take your blush brush (remember, only used for the dry shampoo) and gather a small amount on it. Shake off any excess because you don’t want to have it clumpy in your hair. Next, working in small sections use the brush to rub the dry shampoo onto your roots. Repeat as needed for all the greasy sections of your hair. Give your hair a brush and shake off any remaining dry shampoo.

That’s it for DIY dry shampoo! This is such an easy DIY that has a great result for your hair and a better impact on the environment than the aerosol cans. What do you think of this dry shampoo? Let me know in the comments below.

Next, check out my other zero waste switches at Little Family on the Big Lake.

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

So I have run into this time and time again – when I ask someone what they want for Christmas they reply with. “Nothing” or “I don’t need anything.” This can be so frustrating! So this list is for those situations. It is a list of zero waste gift ideas that includes items that they never knew they needed or wanted. These are items that make their home and lives greener.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Beeswax wraps

The first item I am including on this list is beeswax wraps. They are perfect for wrapping food, covering bowls, and packing food in your lunch! These are a great switch from plastic wrap and zip baggies. The best part is that when they are used they can be composted. They can be purchases all over the place, but I did include an Amazon link below. If you are a DIY crafting soul, check out my post on how to make them yourself at home! Click here!

Glass Water Bottle

I would love to get another of this glass water bottle. I already have one and I love it! However, I am always leaving it in the car or the office when I need it. So having more than one would be really helpful. Something that I discovered when switching to glass is that the water tastes so much better. When I switch back to plastic now it tastes funny. It has a bamboo top and a silicone sleeve to cover the glass and to protect it from scratches and drops.

Shopping Bags

Many people now are making the switch to bringing reusable bags when going shopping. If they are anything like me they are using promotional bags that they get from wherever. Grocery shopping would so much more enjoyable with these fun shopping bags!

Bar soaps

There are so many bar soaps on the market. I will link to some on Amazon, but I would definitely check out your local shops, craft fairs, and farmers markets. There are so many local vendors out there and shopping local helps support your local economy.

Felted Soap

I put this felted soap in a different category because it has a different function. Felted soap is great as a replacement for a body wash. It lathers really nice in the shower and can eventuality be composted when the soap is gone.

Cloth Napkins

These cloth napkins are adorable! They would be great for both everyday use and for entertaining. Cloth napkins are a great alternative to using paper napkins or paper towels. Once dirty, they can be thrown in the wash with towels.

Make Up Remover Pads

These pads are great for those who like to put on make up. Instead of using disposable pads that will be used once and thrown away, these can be washed and reused.

Dryer Balls

These dryer balls are a great alternative to disposable dryers sheets. They are made of 100% wool and can be used over and over again. You could also pair this with some essential oil. Place a couple drops on the dryer balls then throw them in the dryer. This will make your clothes come out smelling fresh and clean.

Glass Containers

I love these glass containers. For a long time I was a Pyrex user. However, over time I found that the plastic lids would crack and warp. These containers have bamboo tops, which, along with being more sustainable, are less prone to cracking.

Zero Waste Starter Kit

When in doubt you could always try this zero waste starter kit. It has a reusable cup, straw, tooth brush, beeswax wraps, and shopping bag. All of this also comes in a lunch box!

I hope you have found this list helpful and that you are able to complete your Christmas shopping. These zero waste gift ideas can help any home become greener and more Eco friendly. Do have any other ideas for zero waste gift ideas? Let me know in the comments below!

Have you thought about making your home and life greener but have no idea where to start? Check out my post on getting started with an Eco friendly lifestyle.

Christmas Gift Bags

We are all about reducing waste whenever possible here at Little Family on the Big Lake. With the holiday season fast approaching, I have been thinking about Christmas morning. This year, Little One will be 18 months old, and we are so excited to be experiencing Christmas with him. I wonder what he is going to think of what Santa brought him and all the fun we will have…then I turn to the cleanup. Sure, watching Little One rip off wrapping paper may be fun, but I can’t help thinking about all the waste the wrapping paper has created. So this year, gone is the wrapping paper that only lasts a day. Introducing Christmas gift bags!

On average Americans go through 4 million pounds of wrapping paper each year. To put that into prospective, that is 5,787 football fields! Obviously, this is waste that can be greatly reduced. Gifts can easily be wrapped in alternative materials that could be recycled instead of wrapping paper that sits in a landfill. I have seen brown paper bags and newspaper be cute wrap ping options. But after a trip to Joann’s and seeing all the cute Christmas fabric I decided to go with Christmas bags. Brown paper bags or newspaper is still a good option for those larger packages, though.

There are of course some cloth fabrics bags available on line, you can find them here. However they are really easy to make!

Materials Needed

I got 100% cotton fabric from Joann’s’ and 100% recycled cotton yarn to be used as the draw string. These bags can be reused over and over again. We got a couple of prints that matched well and creates a cohesive look under the tree.

From one yard of fabric I got 8 bags that are around 15” * 10”. I did change sizes to bigger and smaller for different sized gifts.

Process

Step One

The first step in this process is to cut the bags to size. You will need two even pieces of fabric cut to your size of choice to make each bag. A fold in the fabric can be utilized as one of the sides, too. That way you would only need one piece of fabric.

Cutting Christmas bag fabric
Step Two

Next, finish the edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling. I choose to do this by using a serger, but a zig zag stich along the edge or a French seam could be utilized.

Finishing seams
Step Three

If using two pieces of fabric, stitch the two pieces of fabric together using right sides together along the long edge. If you are using one piece of fabric, start with this next step. Along the top edge fold the fabric down between ½” to 1 inch and press it with an iron. This will form a case for the yarn to go in to form the draw string. Stitch down the folded piece, back stitching at the start and end of the fabric.

Creating casing
Sewing casing
Step Four

Then line up the two pieces of fabric right sides together. Stitch along the edges of the fabric, avoiding the top of the bag and the casing that was created so the casing isn’t stitched closed. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Christmas bag
Step Five

Next using a safety pin, tie the end of a piece of yarn. Cut the yarn a couple inches longer then the bag opening. Thread the safety pin through the case opening and push it through until the other end takes the yarn with it. Line the end of the yarn up and tie it off around 1 inch from the end. I like to fray the ends up to the knot.

Inserting draw string
Finished cloth Christmas bag

Repeat the steps for all other bags that you would like to make. These bags are a simple design and there fore can be made relatively quickly. If you can spare 10 minutes this is a great project!

I hope you liked this Christmas gift bag! I loved matching the fabrics and creating a cohesive look for under my Christmas tree. For close family I plan on using the Christmas gift bags, because I can probably get them back. For those other gifts, like the secret Santa at work, I plan on utilizing brown paper!

Have you thought about implementing Christmas gift bags too? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out my other zero waste swap here!

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Have you ever been in this situation? You’re at a restaurant and didn’t finish your food, so you ask the waiter for a to-go container…and they bring you a Styrofoam monstrosity (insert big sigh here). I just know that this Styrofoam container is going to be sitting in a landfill for the next couple hundred years. I have been saying for a long time that I needed to stop contributing to this. Now I can’t change what restaurants give out, but I can change if I choose to accept it. No more…instead I am going to bring my zero waste travel kit! 

I made this kit from things I already have in my home. I keep it in my car for whenever it is needed. With using this new kit I also had to implement a process at home. I didn’t want to make a kit, use it once, and then never get it back to the car. We have all been in this situation with other things.

The new system is as follows. Once the items are washed they are placed next to our key bowl. On the next trip to the car it is taken with the keys. It’s pretty simple, but it is important to spell out the expectations. 

Below are the items that I have included in the zero waste travel kit. While I encourage you to use items that you have around your home, I will link similar items, too. 

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart 

Identifying Situations

So when building this kit, the first thing I looked at was the types of situations that I find myself in. I didn’t want to put something in my kit that I would never use. 

Most of the time I have need of the kit at restaurants when we have left over food. However, I would like to do an experiment to see if fast food places would put the food in my container instead of in their wrappers. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

I also find myself needing some of my zero waste products when I am shopping, so those items have gone into the kit, as well. I normally bring shopping bags with me when going to the grocery store, but when I don’t have a bag, it is nice to have a back up. 

If you set out to make your own zero waste kit. I encourage you to look at the situations that you encounter when you wish you had a zero waste alternative.

Items in the Zero Waste Kit

Large Container 

Beeswax Wraps 

Water bottle /mason jar 

Produce bag 

Straw 

Silverware

Grocery Bag 

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Travel Kit

Everything for this kit is contained in a large plastic container that I already owned. While I don’t love using plastic, I would rather be putting it to good use instead of throwing it in the recycling. This container is great for taking those leftovers home in instead of using Styrofoam or cardboard takeout containers. 

I have also included beeswax wraps for any other leftovers that need to be wrapped up or for shopping. I can foresee it being useful for bulk bin purchases. 

The water bottle or mason jar is also an essential for my zero waste travel kit. Most of the time I bring a water bottle with me but sometimes I forget. I also included a mason jar as a good alternative because it could be used for both drinking or food storage. Double duty! 

I included a straw because restaurants tend to bring you one. I like to bring my own and use one of the 5 R’s and refuse the disposable plastic type. Having an extra straw is also handy for my son, since he’s only one year old and drinks better out of glasses with a straw. Also, waiters sometimes bring us a plastic sippy cup, but I would prefer a regular glass and give him one of the reusable straws to use. 

With this kit I included some silverware. These ones are just plastic ones that I picked up some where. Instead of buying new ones, try reusing some old ones. I did link some bamboo ones that are made of a more sustainable material.

The produce bag and grocery bag are for when I find myself needing them while shopping. I got this grocery bag from a conference that I went to. I made the produce bags and you can, too…check out my post on how to make a product bag here.

Have you tried making a zero waste travel it? Let me know how it went!

Beeswax Wraps

Plastic wrap is one of the easiest things to eliminate from your home on the journey to zero waste. When you really think about it, there are alternatives to everything that plastic wrap can be used for. One of the more obvious is just using containers instead. But for those items that need to be wrapped, try beeswax wraps.

There are so many beeswax wraps on the market, like these. They are a great choice, but did you know that you can make your own? I know, pretty cool! Instead of purchasing a pack of 3 for $18.00, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Also, you can use left over fabric that you already have…truly zero waste!

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Materials Needed

Fabric – It’s best to use 100% cotton and a looser weave. Also, it works better with fabrics that are dyed instead of printed. I personally like gingham fabric.

Beeswax Pellets

Grape Seed Oil

Jelly Roll Pan

Oven

Pinking Shears

Parchment Paper

** I linked the supplies needed, but if you already have the supplies needed, use those instead of buying new.

Beeswax and grape seed oil

Process

First, press the fabric with an iron and cut it to size using the pinking shears. I normally use 12 inch by 12 inch squares but the beauty of this is that you can custom make any size you need.

Pre-heat the oven to 175* F.

Lay the fabric down on the jelly roll pan over a piece of parchment paper. It’s best if the fabric is completely flat. However, if the fabric is bigger then the jelly roll pan, then just fold the fabric over on itself.

Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of the fabric) of beeswax pellets on top of the fabric, spreading them evenly. Next, add 1/2 teaspoon of grape seed over the fabric.

Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until all the beeswax is melted. Once done, take it out of the oven and check that the fabric is covered. A basting brush can be used to move the melted beeswax around. More beeswax can be added at this point if needed, and then pop it back into the oven. Once this is done, take the fabric off the jelly roll pan and gently wave it through the air until it’s dried This should only take a minute or two.

Repeat as needed.

beeswax wrap before heating
beeswax wrap after heating in oven

Care and Maintenance

Beeswax wraps can be used in place of what you use plastic wrap for. However, you shouldn’t use it for raw meat.

Beeswax wraps can be hand washed with soap and water, then laid to dry. The wraps are good for 6-12 months. When they are showing some signs of wear and tear, they can be placed in the oven again with more wax. If it gets to the point where they cannot be used anymore, they can be placed in the compost bin (I strongly recommend cutting the fabric into small pieces first.)

Notes

The beeswax is not easy to get off the jelly roll plan, so use an older pan or one designated just for this project.

I have tried the ironing method to making the wraps. Place the fabric with beeswax on a piece of parchment paper and fold the paper over the top. Next, iron until the wax is melted. This worked well to make the wraps but I did get beeswax all over my ironing board.

Beeswax wraps are a great zero waste switch. Have you tried them? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Next, check out my zero waste switch to produce bags.