Are Plastics Toxic? One take on Plastic information.

The more I research about plastics, the more scared I am to buy anything plastic…

Recycled, recyclable 3 ring binders, pocket folders and Tab Dividers

Plastics have become an everyday part of our lives, but are there issues we need to consider?

know your plasticsWhat are the issues inherent in the type of plastic should that, say, you have it on the shelf as a vinyl binder or as a cup you drink out of.  As we become more aware of  of what we are putting into our bodies (and the pacific gyre).

This  graphic is obviously not by the plastics industry (which I am sure has a different take on this), but might be something to get you more curious as to how plastics can affect you, if they are affecting you and what you can do about it.  While we are not advocating wide spread panic about these, it is useful and instructive to know what you are surrounding yourself with.

There is a reason that Corporate Image and Naked Binder do not use…

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Sleeping Habits in Different Countries

If you haven’t gotten the chance to read my other article, I was talking about how many websites provide the same information about sleeping, that adds up to only very little actual knowledge about how we sleep and how we should be sleeping.

In this article I want to research and lay down some of the things I’ve noticed while researching different countries’ sleep patterns, habits and culture around sleeping.

First of all, here’s the juicy stuff: some of the fun facts, cultural stereotypes, trivia – call it as you may – about how some people are known to sleep around the world:
*Note: None of this information has been properly studied; it’s just a bit of “internet knowledge”.

  1. About a third of British people sleep naked.
  2. The US and Japan get the least sleep among the most countries studied.
  3. While Americans sleep on 2-3 pillows, Japanese people sleep on no more than 1.
  4. Mexicans change their bed sheets weekly.
  5. While in North America people are most likely to sleep with a significant other, in Japan over half of the population sleeps alone.
  6. The most preferred place to sleep in Mexico is the hammock.
  7. No, Japanese people don’t nap at the workplace; it’s a cultural myth.

Okay, now let’s get to the juicy part. How people sleep in different countries, because that’s what I want to know. I want to become educated in sleep, not because it’s a cool thing to talk about in parties, but because I do it for a third of my lifetime, so I MUST know as much as I could about this topic.

Let’s classify sleep patterns by continents, then countries, then local customs.

I’ll start with the country most of us already know well:

AMERICA

  • many Americans are sleep deprived
  • king sized beds are preferred
  • most people prefer sleeping with their significant other
  • the average American owns at least 2 pillows
  • most babies sleep in a crib in a separate room

AFRICA

  • many Africans sleep on straw mats or on carpets, laid directly on the floor
  • all the family members share the same bed
  • some of them have received old used mattresses from the local hospitals
  • their so-called bed is covered with a mosquito net to protect them from insects

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TO BE CONTINUED (as of May 2nd)

How I’ve Spent a Third of My Life Sleeping

Oh, you too? What a lovely coincidence. This is how most of the “viral” articles start like in 2016. And have you noticed? The vast majority of them also are written at the first person, with the reader in mind, and with a certain purpose: to earn money by presenting the sensational (or something that appeals to one’s curiosity). Isn’t that becoming a bit annoying?

Well, in the next lines, I will not do that. Sorry! I will just jot down my thought exactly, how my mind flows in relation to the topic of my interest today. You take out of this article exactly what you need and ignore the rest. Please make the most of the next few minutes of reading.

If you intend to comment, please take your ideas through the “Three Filters of Socrates”: Can you prove what you’re about to say is true and applicable here? Do other people really need to read what you’re about to comment? Will it bring any value to their life? Will it bring any value to your life? Thank you!

***

Friday, 8:58 AM, Japanese National Holiday aka Official Day Off 🙂 Elisa’s sleeping. I have consumed 1 and a half bitter chocolates and 2 cups of water. Why am I craving so much chocolate?

*Searching Google* 3 minutes later…

I lack magnesium – it says – many women lack magnesium. Note to self: Eat more dark leafy greens (whatever that means), nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas. Yeah, right.

Anyway

Bee, I think it’s time we talked about how you’ve spent and continue to spend a third of your lifetime: sleeping. I mean, think about it, it consumes at least 50h a week. Add that all up and it’s over 2500h of sleep a year!

That’s a lot of wasted life, right?

Right?

I mean, just think of all the things I’ve missed while sleeping! The TV I didn’t watch, the novels I didn’t read, the facebook pages I didn’t check, the parties I didn’t go to. Or better yet, the beautiful night sceneries I didn’t see, the stars I didn’t gaze at, the nightly creatures’ voices I didn’t hear…

Enter my Nerdy Self. Sure, Bee, that sounds great. It’s true, that’s what you didn’t do during sleep, but you know what you had done instead?

So basically, out of all this nerdy talk, I understand that sleep is not just vital for our health and physical well-being, but also it’s better than not-sleeping when it comes to emotional balance and especially when we’re talking about enjoying our life to the fullest.

Enough Sleep beats Sleep Deprivation 2:1. Way to go, Sleep!

Soo, now that I know why it’s better to sleep than to not sleep, I think it’s time I should know how to sleep better.

***

I’ve never been a bad sleeper, I honestly can sleep anywhere anytime but why aren’t all the people like me? Why are some people bad sleepers? Meh, I’m not in the mood for researching that.

What I want to know the most right now is, what do I NEED to have a good night’s sleep? Or better yet, out of all the stuff that we are told we need to have a good sleep (sleep memory mattresses, buckwheat pillows, fine silk sheets etc), what do we actually need, biologically speaking? How did our ancestors sleep and did they sleep better or worse than us. No, wait, that sounded wrong. Let me rephrase that. Is it possible that we sleep better today than our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years?

*After hours of researching while battling with my toddler*

Gosh it’s so tiresome. So much poor, fragmented, unnecessary information. I strongly believe they should teach about sleep in school. Use a whole hour to explain to kids how sleep works, why it’s good for them, how to have better sleeping habits and tools.

I’m just tired of this pointless research. Over 50 pages paraphrasing the same article, that our ancestors used to sleep in two 3-4h chunks before the 1900s. But almost nothing about where they’d sleep before the modern bed was invented, or the overall environment in which they’d sleep.

BUT, I’ve found out a very interesting article about how naps are viewed in some cultures. And it seems that Japanese people sleep less than the population of other developed countries. It also stated how Japanese people regard “inemuri” or naping at the workplace as a sign of commitment to the company. Well, in reality, it must have been true aright after the war, but right now, sleeping at work is regarded at incredibly impolite.

So I guess I’ll just have to imagine how people used to sleep, based on the climate they were living in. I’ll just research some countries from all 6 continents (not 7, because I’m guessing not many people are living in Antarctica to make a difference in our talk).

But this article is getting too long, so I’ll just open another one and write there. I’ll see you in my next post.

 

Why We Should All Become Compulsive Hoarders

drawer1

Do you have a secret drawer in which you stock plastic shopping bags, a case full of pens or a pile of random papers (magazines, bills, flyers etc.)? If the answer is yes, then it’s because there is a little (or big) hoarder in each and everyone of us.

For those of you who are not too familiar with the term,
a hoarder is a person who is unable or unwilling to throw away unneeded objects, because of a feeling of attachment or the impression that one day they might use them. These objects are often mundane items, which, in time, accumulate to a point where they occupy the entire living space, becoming a health hazard. Hoarding ranges from very mild to extremely severe, in which case it is called “compulsive hoarding” (it’s not part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum though).
*For more information, follow this link: hoarding explained visually.

In this article I will talk about the severe case of hoarding and why I think everyone should become a compulsive hoarder.

***

In today’s society, even mild hoarding is considered an unacceptable personality trait. People who are mild hoarders are looked down upon and criticized. But what are they blamed for? Here’s a number of reasons why hoarding is bad in general:
1) it causes a cascade of other issues that affect them and their family;
2) it is a bad habit acquired as a form of coping mechanism, like smoking and eating one’s nails;
3) represents a health hazard from the accumulation of old items that make it difficult to clean up;
4) the person is unable to control and organize his/her space, thus life in general.
5) indicates poor work performance
6) it’s a sign of depression
and so on.

Take these problems to the extreme and you have a compulsive hoarder. These people not only have a house full of random things they seldom or never use, but they are living in a dirty, unsanitary, disorganized space that increases the risk of injury, illness and even death.

hoarding1

– So, what are you saying Zero Waste Mama, should I just start collecting random junk in my house? Are you trying to make me sick and ruin my life?

– No, no, no! I would never do that! Please bare with me for a little while! Before I start explaining why becoming a compulsive hoarder is not bad but might actually be the best decision you’ve ever made, let’s look at the reason why there is such a thing as “compulsive hoarding” in the first place.

Let’s look at the causes. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the reasons why people hoard are because they perceive objects to have a sentimental value, to be useful or valuable (in price), to be unique or irreplaceable, to be a memorabilia (they remind them of a person or event) or they simply think it’s waste to throw away. Hoarders seem to have severe anxiety, depression, a mental or physical difficulty in cleaning and organizing. They have a hard time making decisions and are almost always isolated from their family and society in general.

***

Alright, now that you’ve read the official reasons, here’s my own two cents.

The reason why there is such a thing as compulsive hoarding in the first place is because obviously the system we are living in… is flawed. We live in a strong consumerist society. Every single day we are bombarded with commercials telling us to buy-buy-BUY! Even though we don’t really need so much stuff anyway, we are still told to constantly buy new and “improved” products!

And to make things worse, all of our stuff was built to intentionally break down or deteriorate after a certain period of time, just so we can use more money and buy a new product every year or so. Why? So companies have more money to pay their employees, their greedy CEOs and their hungry shareholders. I mean, let’s face it, have you ever heard of an annual company report in which the board says “Good job everyone, we’ve achieve this year’s financial goals, next year let’s continue to earn the same amount as this year!”…?? Of course not! What’s the point of having a company if sales don’t continue to grow every year… until, well, forever… right?

consumerism31

So tell me, in this case, is a hoarder at fault for being a “good” consumer? He might be naive, but a bad person? No.

***
– But the problem is not buying and consuming, it’s about storing! I hear you shout.
– Right! Storing. Ok… so, now tell me… what’s so bad about storing? What’s so bad about keeping things for later use? You store things, too, don’t you? You have a closet and a storage room, even a garage full of who-remembers-what, don’t you?

So is a hoarder bad for storing something (s)he thinks might come in handy some day? No.

***

– So where IS the problem?
– Storing too many things and never using them! some would answer.
– Yes! That’s right! Storing too many things, never using them and never throwing them away either.

So we’ve discovered the problem: The inability/unwillingness to throw things away/ to make garbage! The inability to find the reason why an object is unimportant/invaluable. The unwillingness to throw away something that might have value depending on how you use it. The unwillingness to fill the landfills with possibly useful stuff. The unwillingness to let go of a fond memory regarding that object. The inability to understand what is so wrong with an object that it “needs” to be thrown away and forgotten. The unwillingness to accept the hopeless death of an object, once created from the planet’s resources by humans beings to serve other human beings.

Do you see where I’m going here? Here’s a hint: a hoarder cares more about his/her stuff… than you.

A hoarder unconsciously attaches meaning and hope to each and every object they come to own. A hoarder unconsciously respect the creator, the materials used and the fact that it was created to serve our comfort.

A hoarder looks at an object not as if it were a mere boulder. When a hoarder looks at an object, (S)he sees it for what it really is: a living thing. An object that was once earth and water and other raw materials, an object that was planned and/or built by a person, an object that once served a purpose and was part of his/her life.

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Isn’t our idea that once an object has deteriorated or lost its original purpose then it must be discarded, thrown away, eliminated, killed, forgotten – isn’t this a far worst idea than being a hoarder? Isn’t our “buy-consume-dispose” society far worse than a world where all objects are important and valuable, no matter if they can perform or not?

I, for once, am disgusted by myself. I have been judging these hoarders as being creepy and disturbed. Yet, with a sunken hear I realize – I am the monstrous one! I throw away anything without thinking twice! I am not grateful for those who have put time, sweat and maybe even tears in making something. I am not grateful for the earth that has given us the resources to enjoy the comfort that all these product bring.

***

Now, do you see why we should all become compulsive hoarders? Because we should all start valuing objects more than the big companies tell us to. We should start seeing beyond the design, use and “trendiness” of a product. We should start thinking about the entire life of a product. What it was made of, who made it, why they made it, and most importantly how will it end up after it stops performing.

We should all have the right to know more about the birth of a product so we could value every millimeter of it. We should attach a memory to each and every object, so we can use it at its full physical and emotional potential.

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http://www.storyofstuff.org

For example, instead of buying 10 pairs of cheap T-shirts every year, why not buy a strong, long-lasting T-shirt that represents your personality perfectly, a T-shirt you love so so much, either because it was bought together with your loved ones on a trip,or because it has your favorite artist printed on it. Either way, having 3 great-quality T-shirts that we love, rather than cheap 10 T-shirts we don’t care so much about, can make us the perfect “new-age compulsive hoarder” – one that does not end up with a mountain of trash in his/her house, but which knows the value of things.

Also, when the T-shirts are too worn out to wear them any more, this “new-age compulsive hoarder” reuses the same T-shirts by transforming them into rags. When they can no longer be used as rags, they can be used to insulate a wall inside a new house that’s being built.

Cool, right?

***

In conclusion, a compulsive hoarder is not a bad person, because valuing an item so much that it’s impossible to throw away is not a bad thing. We should all value each and every one of our belongings. But in order to avoid stocking piles and piles of them, we should just buy less of the same thing and reuse them after the objects no longer serve their initial purpose.

So my advice is: Be HBR!     Hoard – Buy Less – Reuse 🙂

***

So, did you decide to become a new-age hoarder?

I have.
Much love,
The Zero Waste Mama

Prepare Your Hair for the “No Poo, No Nothing” Method

no poo

Last week I explained why there is no secret formula for the perfect hair and I asked you to ask your elders about the way they used to wash their hair with, before the invention of shampoo.

This week I want to talk about how to prepare your hair for the “No Poo” method. Before anything else, I need to warn you that if you start the “No Poo, No Nothing” method suddenly, you will fail. And unless you persevere, you will quit. Because, let’s face it, who wants a greasy, barbaric looking hair? 🙂

So there are the 3 simple steps to help you transition smoothly:

  1. Ditch shampoo all-together.
    No shampoo at all for a while. Just wash your hair well, massaging your scalp and trying to get water to reach all the hair, especially the one in the back.
    Q: For how long should I continue to use no shampoo at all?
    A: Until you feel your hair started creating less sebum, aka your hair becomes less greasy. It might very well be 1 month or six. You need to be patient and not give up. The moment you give up, all your hard-work will have been in vain, wasted. So you have no choice but to continue. If you have an important meeting, use just a little bit and blow-dry your hair to make it less greasy.
    Q: Why?
    A: Because the commercial shampoo you have been using for a looong time, it has programmed your hair to create a lot of sebum in order to compensate the dryness left by the shampoo.
  2. Wash less often.
    Q: How often?
    A: Preferably every 7 days, but of course, my intention is not to ruin your social life, so let’s try every 2 days for a week and then every 3 days. Gradually washing less as your hair starts releasing less grease.
    Q: Why?
    A. If you’re used to wash your hair every day, your scalp is used to creating a lot of sebum very fast, as opposed to releasing it slowly. Washing it less often will result in less need for creating sebum.
  3. Dry your hair naturally.
    Q: Every time?
    A: Yes, every single time, all year round. Even in winter.Q: Why?
    A: Blow drying your hair leaves it especially dry, again forcing your scalp to release more and more sebum. Naturally drying your hair will help your scalp adjust the amount of grease it creates.
    Q: What about when I’m in a hurry?
    A: If it’s warm outside, don’t be ashamed to walk out with it half wet. But don’t make a habit out of it.
    If it’s cold outside, either wear a thin towel underneath your hat/cap, AFTER you dry it only partially.
    Or don’t wash your hair at all 🙂

Continue for 6 months.

In order to avoid any complaints 🙂 I suggest taking a picture before and after the 6 months. But be careful, the picture must be taken in the exact same conditions! For example, if you took the “before” picture in bright light, outside, 6h after you washed your hair, you have to take the “after” picture in the same bright light, outside, 6h after you washed your hair.
If, after 6 months, your hair looks like a disaster, remember that there are at least other 10 possible causes:
food (the more fat your diet is based on, the greasier your hair)
exercise (little exercise = greasy hair
weather and season (drier and thinner in the hot summertime, greasier in the cold wintertime)
hormones (greasier during menstruation and ovulation, during pregnancy and after birth)
stress (exams, demanding jobs, problems at home, all lead to greasier hair)

A balanced diet, a lot of exercise, little stress, frequent haircuts and no dyeing make it impossible for the no-poo method to fail.

I wish you good luck in your attempt to regain control of your hair and your health!

All the best, much love,
The Zero Waste Mama from Japan

Why there’s no secret formula for the perfect hair

As I start my day every day, the first thing I do after I open my eyes is to reach for 2 objects: my glasses and my elastic hair band.
Not everybody wears glasses, but I assume that everybody has hair that grows, regardless of their hairstyle choice. (No? Oh, ok, except those with congenital hypotrichosis) So let’s talk a bit about hair.

I have a love/hate relationship with my own hair. I love it because it’s part of me (no, I’m not narcissistic, just grateful to have it). But I hate it because it’s too damn complicated to take care of properly: washing, brushing, cutting, styling etc. It takes so much of my precious time… And there’s so much information out there, I don’t know who to believe any more!

So in order to reduce the time I spend on my hair every day, I gave it a good thinking and a good internet search too 🙂 And here’s my conclusion:

Any given hair product is good for your hair and not good for your hair at the same time.

What the hell do you mean by that Bianca? Ok, I’ll explain, so please bare with me for 5 minutes, alright? 😀

All the hair products that you can find on the shelves of all the shops around the world are the result of long and tedious research and many years of development. So we have to say a big “thank you!” to all the people in the industry! They have tried their best to give us the best products they could think of. And at the same time pay all their employees and shareholders. Thank you! You did a great job and we are grateful! (I’m serious!)

But a new age has come! And it is time to change the way you research and develop your products! And think of new and creative ways to sell them. Because the dawn of Zero Waste, Back-To-The-Basics, All-Natural, Environmentally-Friendly, and most importantly Humanly-Diverse products has arrived! The AFTER-ECO* era!

Today I’m only going to go with explaining the concept of “Humanly Diverse”. A word I just made up 🙂 but a concept which, although it’s very obvious to most of us, it is also easy to forget. We get distracted by all these commercials regarding hair products which are absolutely amazing, but which completely ignore one tiny-winy, completely unimportant, almost nonexistent detail: we are all different. (Irony intended).

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! And not just compared to each-other (as in “dry vs. greasy hair” or “curly vs. straight”), but also compared to ourselves. We are all a little bit different every day. And that includes our hair.

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No wonder we have a “good hair day” and a “bad hair day”. No wonder sometimes we shed hair more than our cats, but sometimes we feel like super-hairos, I mean heros, and our hair looks fabulous. In this case we think it’s the result of a certain product we had used, which, don’t get me wrong, was probably effective! But which was also probably not. There is also a very big probability that it wasn’t just the product’s influence, but also the influence of at least 20 other reasons! Reasons which I will enlist below ↓

1. food (we are what we eat – never forget that – your hair is too)
2. exercise (not enough of it leads to bad circulation – thus bad hair)
3. water composition (soft water vs. hard water, chemicals in the water by area)
4. weather (hot vs. cold, humid vs. dry)
5. hormone balance (menstrual cycle, childbirth, menopause)
6. stress (we know this one very well don’t we?)
7. how you wash (how often, how long, what movement of your fingers you use)
8. how you dry (natural vs. blow dry)
9. when you wash (morning vs. evening, before or after exercising/eating etc)
10. season (how long the hot/cold, dry/humid days continue)
11. interaction (wearing vs. not wearing a hat, touching/not touching hair)
12. gender (actually the testosterone/estrogen balance)
13. race (actually gene pool – I don’t believe in the concept of race)
14. type (straight/wavy/curly)
15. color shade (from light blond to dark black)
16. hair dye (natural vs. dyed, hair dyeing products)
17. age (baby->teen->adult->elder->ghost)
18. health (healthy vs. ill, chronic diseases)
20. frequency of cutting (anyone here who can’t remember the last time they cut their hair?)
21. culture (the way you look at hair)

So now you know why choosing a hair product is just like gambling…

But Bianca, you ask in despair, this just makes things more complicated and more time-consuming!!!

Uhm, yes and no.
No because now you know that the time you spend researching commercial products is mostly just a waste of time.
And yes because this means that in the course of one year, your duty will be to find the perfect hair routine for you. How? By asking your elders!

So, first of all. Don’t panic. Now you know better. You’re a more informed person. That’s a positive thought! 😀

Second of all, you have a new, more effective goal to look forward to (and that’s another positive thought): ask your elders! Your grandparents, your mother’s friends, your neighbors etc. Any old person you can find. 🙂 Asked them how they washed their hair before shampoo was invented. And they will have the answers. Especially if you’re from mixed descent, it’s important to ask more than one person’s opinion. NO! Don’t do a random google research, that’s beyond the point. You will, again, find answers of people not directly related to you.

So how come the elders know better than big companies who have spend so much money and time on R&D. Well, the answer is simple. Their (your) ancestors have spent more than a thousand years researching natural and effective ways of dealing with haircare. And they already have similar backgrounds just like you! Which means there’s a bigger chance that they know a recipe that might be perfect for you.

Then explore their ideas, create your own products and experiment until you get the hair care product and routine that matches your expectations!

Isn’t that exciting?
Yes? Great, I wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect formula in the shortest time possible!
No? Make it exciting by taking it as a personal quest. Set a one year goal and think of it positively! It’s also a great way to get in touch with your elders and spend some quality time with them. You might learn more than you think!

Now, I really want to know your opinions, so before you go, leave a comment and talk about it with other professionals.

Love,
The Zero Waste Mama

*AFTER-ECO era is another term I made up to express the era that comes after the era of eco-products. The way we define the current “eco” products does not address all the green problems we are facing today. The after-eco era addresses ALL the problems, from all the different perspectives related to the environment. Eco can mean one of different things, e.g. no toxic chemicals, less plastic in a plastic container, organic etc. But the after-eco era means we care about ALL the aspects of a product: where it came from, how it was created, how much waste was created while producing it, what happens to it after disposing, what long-term effects it has on our health, synergistic effects (how they interact with the environment and other products) etc.

A Zero Waste Lunchtime in Japan

Japan is well known for giving the upmost importance to safety and organization. From the first years of elementary they are taught how to put safety first (安全・安心一番), how to keep everything organized and clean. And, without even being aware, they are taught some very important rules about how to be Zero Waste.

Lunchtime is one example. Watch how the school makes their students’ lunch from scratch. How they use locally grown vegetables to create a nutritiously balanced meal. How the students all bring their own tableware, including chopsticks and cups. And how, at the end of every meal they make sure no food is left!

Business Cards and The Zero Waste Week HK 2015

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Wow. I just found out a week ago that there’s going to be a summit during the Zero Waste Week in Hong Kong. I got the invitation to join by mail and I was shocked to realize I have only 2 weeks to prepare. Yikes! Let’s put on my Zero Waste gloves and off we go on the Hong Kong Preparation Adventure! Making a list (checking it twice… gonna find out if I’m naughty or nice…) :

>> Passport -> not expired yet… phew! 🙂
>> How to go there – by plane or by ship? -> as one might expect, traveling by ship uses less fuel than by airplane, so it’s supposed to be more Zero Waste than flying. Then I google it. Guess what – it takes 46h by ferry to go from West Japan to China. And then I need to take the train/rent an electric car to Hong Kong… for another 5h or so…. So I guess that leaves me with only one option – flying. Hong Kong Express Airline seems to be not only the cheapest, but one that actually tries to minimize the experience of those who have no interest in a luxurious flight. Yay!
>> What to wear? -> Business suit – check. But oh no! I only have my summer beach sandals, I need to buy actual business shoes! -> plan a trip to the thrift store: the most famous one is called Book-off here in Japan.
>> Food and water -> As I am not allowed to take my own food and water on the plane,  the least I can do is take my “handy-dandy zero-waste lunch set”, comprised of stainless steel; cutlery, food canister and glass. All of it possible thanks to the wonderful Klean Kanteen store!

Ok, now that I took care of the basic needs, on to the business needs. And this is where it gets interesting. What is the most Zero Waste solution for business cards?
Eco-friendly business-cards?
Business cards that you can re-use for something else (see for example the bottle opener business card)
or No business card at all?
Hmm… I’ll research it and get back to you after my visit at the dentist – wisdom tooth OUCH!

10 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Zero-Waste Bloggers

A wonderful article about other Zero Waste bloggers out there!

Waste-Free PhD @ Mixed Media Musings

Moments after transitioning my blog (mixedmediamusings) into a space where I document our journey living more waste-consciously, I was scooped up by the lovely Inge @ Gruenish.com to join the rapidly growing Zero-Waste Blogger’s Network. In just the short week since I’ve joined we have reached a membership of 30+ bloggers from all around the world.

A little game of sorts has been circulating amongst the group and this post is dedicated to this chain of inquiry/play. I will be answering 10 questions about my experiences transitioning to a life lived more waste-consciously. Bloggers will then answer and tag 3 other ZWBloggers to answer and share with their community of followers.

Shall we begin?!

First things first, I’m tagging the following bloggers from our network to complete the challenge (sorry if you have already been tagged):

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Baby poop and zero waste diapers

baby-smallHere I am, 3 months after giving birth, finally able to sit down and write for a few minutes before my baby wakes up again. I tell you, a newborn is, like everybody tells you, hard work, but it’s also very rewarding. The first time (s)he opens his(her) eyes, the first time (s)he grabs your hand, his(her) first smile, every milestone, no matter how small, makes up for all the sleep deprived nights, zombie faces looking back from the mirror and countless hours of research about which baby poop color is normal and which is not 🙂

I have researched the topic during my pregnancy and got to the conclusion that “the most zero waste way” to deal with baby poop, is to buy cloth diapers. You know, the diapers made of cloth material, that after you use you wash and use again? I was already emotionally prepared to face the dreaded fact of touching poop and doing laundry every single day, for the sake of protecting the environment and my child’s sensitive hiney. I squeezed my wallet and bought a few adjustable cloth diapers so that I can use since birth until potty trained.

Then pop goes the baby (literally, I had an instant spontaneous birth in which the baby literally popped out without me needing to push – I forced my delivery by actively walking and doing housework during labour). And the first thing I realize… the diapers are too big and bulky for my 2.2kg baby! I felt really sad to see that my plan to bring into this world a zero waste baby has failed from day 1.

So there I was back to the drawing board. I thought `If I can’t use my cloth diapers yet, the least I can do is to search for paper diapers I can throw away without feeling guilty.`That’s how I discovered the existence of bio-degradable diapers. Woo-hoo! You can’t even imagine my joy!!

Then I saw the prices and my heart sank. I needed to pay 3 times as much for a pack of diapers that contains 60%(!) less diapers than the pack I usually buy. Which means I have to pay 280% of the price of one pack of common cheap paper diapers to keep my zero waste promise… Now I am sorry but, as much as I would like to, I am just not able to invest such an amount in bio-degradable nappies… 😦 I’m already living out of my savings.

So, I am still searching for the best bargain in earth-and-baby-skin-friendly reasonably-priced paper diapers for my 3 months old. Any ideas?

Please note that in North America, Europe and Australia there are a few very good companies who sell such diapers at a cheaper price than here in Japan. You should check them out. You can probably find them at very acceptable prices!

Also leave a comment if you have already used such diapers, tell us how satisfied you are with their performance or price. Don’t forget to mention what country you are from!

See you!