China says” No more!”

It shouldn’t come to a surprise anyone that China has had enough of our recyclable plastic. The US ships approximately 1 million tons of plastics to china for recycling every year. Earlier this year china said they will no longer accept plastics from several countries around the world including the USA. They will no longer accept plastics with the codes 3-7. This creates a very large problem, 1 million ton problem.  And since we have relied on China primarily recycle these plastics for us, we don’t have the facilities here in the USA to recycle these kinds of  plastics. Now we have the recycling industry and municipalities scrambling and literally freaking out about how to handle this loss of a major part in their chain in recycling.

So, what are we going to do with all this plastic? It’s a very good question and the recycling industry doesn’t have an answer nor do the manufactures, municipalities or business. But us Zero Wasters do, just stop manufacturing the plastics. I know this sounds harsh but, how are we going to deal with more plastic waste? As a society we have come to rely on plastic for almost everything and therefore we believe we can’t live without it. We can and must begin to transition to a less disposable lifestyle because our planet resources and space is not infinite.

I believe that the companies that manufacture the plastic containers (the converter) and the company that makes the product that goes into these containers should take responsibility for this and change their packaging. Because now their plastic containers will go into the trash, this will be hard for the public to swallow when they are accustom to plastics going in the recycle.  They may want to

China has been dealing with our waste and toxins on an epic scale. They are not willing to be our garbage pile any longer.

About Zero Waste Classes

I tailor my class for the organization and my audience.  This is a sample of my typical class topic;

Class: Your Zero Waste Home; Save Money While Living a Sustainable Life

With an emphasis on financial and resource effectiveness, this class will adds value to your daily routine regardless of your budget, lifestyle, or how much you want to hug a tree. Topics will include food and personal care product waste, shopping tips and tricks, housekeeping and zero waste skills, our actions and how they shape the world’s behaviors, and resource mindfulness. Attendees will leave this class better prepared to deal with the onslaught of waste associated with the activities of daily living.

Classes can be from 1-2 hours in length.

I can speak to 10 or 1000 people.

All classes have an environmental education component to them but are presented as accessible and helpful.



Horse Chestnut laundry detergent (Don’t Eat these chestnuts!)

I was literally driving down the road and saw Horse Chestnuts on the side of the busy rural highway, hung a u- turn and decided to fill a cloth bag (of course it was cloth) with the nuts littering the shoulder. I had seen a few posting on Instagram about making laundry detergent from Horse Chestnuts and right then and there decided to give it a try.

After some internet research and a lot of nonspecific recipes, I came up with a recipe that I think works pretty well:

To make the dry stage of the process you start with:

  • Pounds and pound of fresh Horse chestnuts without the hull (green spiky flesh that surrounds the nut). I read that you need 10-20 pounds of raw shelled nuts to get you through one year. I am collecting around 20- 30 pounds this year (yes, I do lots of laundry).
  • Process the hulled nuts with either a grater, hammer, or food processor with a grating wheel/blade. I used my mothers food processor’s grating wheel.IMG_20171001_151255_308
  • Then put them in a blender, in batches, to make a pulp. Repeat.
  • Place a layer of the pulp on a cookie sheet and dry in your oven for 1-1.5 hours on 200 degrees Fahrenheit or until nice and dry.  You will need to do this stage in batches. Cool and then place in a jar to store your “detergent”.  Repeat. This dry stage will keep for 18-24 months in an air tight container.

To make the liquid washing solution: makes 2-4 loads (depending on load size and machine requirements). Don’t make a large batch of solution, it goes bad in about 7 days in the fridge.

  • Place about 1/2 cup dried nuts in a jar and cover with 1 cup boiling water, let steep for 15-30 minutes, strain through a fine sieve.the liquid will be a milky yellow/white solution (where will be some fine bits of chestnut in the bottom of your jar, that’s okay. I carefully pour my solution when I use it and always leave a little solution at the bottom of my jar with the bits, when it is empty.
  • One load uses 1/4 cup -1/2 cup solution (depending on load size and machine requirements)
  • I added 5-8 drops of Lavender or peppermint essential oil to the solution to make my laundry smell fancy.
  • If you make a bunch of solution a head of time, store it in the fridge. I should last about 7 days.

Have fun with this recipe. I sure am excited about this rediscovered zero waste recipe.

I might just try to wash my hair with a chamomile/horse chestnut shampoo. Keep you posted on that one.IMG_20171002_122345_359

*Some of the stages in the process of making Horse Chestnut laundry detergent. The bottle on the right is the final product.



Your Zero Waste Home: class coming to PNW

I will be doing a zero waste presentation on October 21st from 1-3 at Sno-Isle Natural Food Coop in Everett, Washington. The class will outline strategies, reasons for and the how’s of living a more zero waste life. This class will help you produce less waste in your home. You will learn tips and tricks to help reduce the garbage you produce while living a healthier, more satisfying life. A zero waste lifestyle is rewarding and economical if you do it right. Come learn how!

There is a fee for this class;  $25 at the door cash or check is accepted.

I hope to see you there (tell a friend).

10 things to do; Half way there

Day 5: 3.5 billion tooth brushes are sold world wide every year and lets say each toothbrush represents 2 plastic box of dental floss. 7 billion plastic dental floss boxes go along with those 3.5 billion toothbrushes. That is a whole lot of plastic trash that isn’t recyclable, burnable or compostable. These things sometimes end up in the water ways and oceans adding to the giant plastic geyers  in the Pacific Ocean.

Solution: Change to a compostable bamboo toothbrush and dental floss that comes in paper or glass. When the toothbrush is worn out you pull out the bristles (those go in the trash) and the handle goes into the compost. That dental floss box into the recycle. Done!

This is a really easy replacement, we all use a toothbrush and floss.

Here are some resources for purchasing:

Toothbrushes adult

Toothbrush Kids

Dental Floss




10 Things To Do; a day at a time Zero Waster

Over the last 6 plus years my family has reduced our garbage by 85%. I really enjoy spreading the Zero Waste lifestyle in a way that is easy and accessible to everyone. By listing some typical and non-typical 10 Things To Do, you can start the process of becoming a Zero Waster. I will be listing daily bits of information about waste, consumerism and environment with a Zero Waste option. So, here we go!

Day 1: According to 50 million plastic water bottles are thrown away each day and says, 58 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away each year. 10 billion trees are used each year to feed our disposable coffee cup addiction word wide. And that is just the vessels not even the lids. That is a ridiculous amount of preventable waste.

Solution: Keep a refillable metal or glass water bottle with you (learn to love tap water) and get yourself a reusable insulated coffee cup. These are solutions we hear of everyday but how many of us actually implement these simple things? Not as many people as one would hope.  This an affordable change you can make especially if you buy second hand. For just a few dollars you can stop these two prolific pollutants.


“Be the change you want to see in the world”  Mahatma Gandhi