MWL Tips/Products/Ideas

This page is dedicated to information acquired on my journey. It's intended to be of use for those who may have similar challenges in finding ZW-friendly products or in solving like-challenges. The Tips are NOT organized...yet. When the list grows long enough, I'll organize or alphabetize.

Note to readers: if you know of a retailer I mention that I should not promote for environmental, human or animal rights reasons, please share that information

Thrift is Always Better
2nd-hand, hand me down, get it from your neighbor, hit Craigslist, yard sales, thrift shops, ask friends and acquaintances. Shopping new is best as a last resort. (The lost convenience of "new" however, is something I'm still coming to grips with, myself.)

Glass Jars
Glass jars really are one cornerstone of a wasteless lifestyle. Now ideally thrift shopping is the best way to go (or Craigslist) when shopping for any goods. But In looking to acquire a volume to kickstart my lifestyle so to speak, I checked out what felt like countless sites.  These included Amazon and The Container Store, where I found I like Le Parfait. But because I am in need of a number of jars, I to considered cost a factor, and found Fido Canning Jars at quite a good deal at Wholesale Glass Bottles - Canning Jars

Natural Fiber Baskets (or Metal)
I found these everyplace from Target to The Container Store, but CostPlus World Market had better prices on most baskets.

Glass Straws 
I first discovered glass straws on Amazon, but then checked and found a plethora on Etsy. They are generally no more and in some cases less expensive than Amazon. You can even get some beautifully hand-blown creatures decorated on these hand-blown artisan items.

Dryer Balls (Wool)
If you haven't heard of them, you're not alone. 

The price can vary from a few dollars for a pair to $50 or more, depending on where and how many you purchase. If you're industrial, you can even create your own. Apparently the more dryer balls you use the greater the benefits. Many people suggest using 4-8 balls per load.

So, I've decided to make the investment. I found some beautiful wool dryer balls on Etsy. There are many good makers, but I ordered from DreamSweptAlpacas as this artist seemed to really know her business.

 If even half the benefits I've read are true, these should be well-worth the investment. I'll weigh in once I've started using mine. I can't wait!

The benefits of wool dryer balls:
1. reduced drying time (25%-50% depending on load size)
2. natural clothes softener
3. natural static reducer
4. capable of "scenting" clothes, if essential oils are applied to the balls
5. Long life. I hear they should last forever, or as long I live, which ever comes first.

Reusable Shopping Bags - A System!
I have been attempting to use reusable bags for years now. In the past year or so, I've become better about using NO bags...because I STILL forget my reusables, but feel too guilty to use plastic. So, I reload the handbasket or shopping cart and unload it in my car. 

To alleviate this, I'm doing a couple things:
  1. Get Organized. I'm re-organizing my car. My environment on wheels needs to be uber-organized in order to remind me to be remotely organized when I'm out and about. 
  2. Get a system. For me, it helps to know I've got all the right tools for shopping, not just a couple of random bags somewhere in my trunk. So, I've started looking at shopping bag systems. Here are a couple I found interesting:
    1. My Eco Shopping Bag System (likely not ZW-friendly materials)
    2. The Veggie Bed - Produce Bag System  (likely not ZW-friendly materials)
Rubbing Alcohol (try Vodka)
I am a rubbing alcohol user. I use it as an astringent and as an itch-stopper for bug bites. I feel naked if my bathroom cabinet is missing the stuff. Unfortunately, rubbing alcohol comes only in plastic bottles. Best Solution (I've found): buy cheap vodka instead. It can handle the same tasks, and though it costs a bit more, the price of my scruples is higher.

Soap Flakes
Soap Flakes are again available in the USA in compostable cardboard packaging (but be diligent, as they're also found in plastic bag packaging) and can be found online or locally in bulk (if you're lucky) at places like Whole Foods Market. Soap flakes can be used to make just about any kind of soap that one may desire, from hand to laundry. It can be customized in concentration and scent. In short, soap flakes are my new best friend. Visit soap flakes site to check out some great recipes.