In the last few weeks I've been identifying items in my home that could and should be replaced with non-disposable, zero waste alternatives. Q-tips were a relatively easy one. As I was cleaning out my handbag the other day, I found a few lone band-aids floating in the bottom that I kept there for emergencies - usually shoes that rubbed holes in my feet.
The package was worn off and they were caked with dust from the bottom of my bag, and there's no way I would ever put them on an open wound, so there's a couple grams of plastic gone to the landfill. But it got me thinking, is there a biodegradable alternative to band-aids?
You may be thinking, you're an adult, how often do you need band-aids? Well, aside from the above mentioned shoe scenario, it depends on your extracurricular activities. In New York, Mat and I participated in local bicycle races almost every weekend, which occasionally resulted in road rash on our knees and elbows. So we probably used more than our fair share of band-aids as adults.
The good news is, there is a pretty easy alternative: make your own bandage out of cotton gauze and adhesive tape.
Unbeknownst to me, there are a few adhesive tape options in existence that are biodegradable. One of them is cellulose tape or "Sellotape", a term Mat (a U.K. native) often uses and up to now I never really understood. I thought it was just a British word for Scotch tape, but in fact there are adhesive tapes made from plant cellulose that are 100% biodegradable. Win.
The other is paper tape, which is basically exactly what it sounds like. Paper backing with latex-based adhesive that is also begging for your compost bin.
So, biodegradable tape + biodegradable cotton gauze = protected wounds and happy earth.
An added bonus to this lovely research is that I now know about alternative tapes, and can use them for any packaging or taping needs I may have in the future - this will be handy come Christmas when I'll be wrapping trinkets in newspaper for my loved ones.
I have spent the last 7.5 years involved in the nitty gritty details of design, endlessly tweaking colors, print techniques, sleeve proportions, and fabric qualities in order to funnel thousands of units of product into stores for middle-American consumers to buy at a sharp price point.
I like to stay aware of and promote brands that are doing their best to minimize their impact on the planet, while providing livelihoods for workers in developing countries.
Distancing yourself from the need to buy more stuff is going to help you tremendously on your way to financial freedom.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to deal with pills, using only a safety razor, which, if you've started swapping out the disposables in your bathroom for non-disposables, you'll probably already have!
Turns out, it’s not that hard, and is worth the little bit of effort it takes to keep them looking and feeling like new.
Convenient as they are, lint rollers don’t really have a place in a zero-waste lifestyle.
Not everyone has been taught how to do this properly, in fact I didn't really learn the proper technique until I went to design school and was required to learn.
Trust me, if I find that perfect pair of dungarees, I will chuck out another pair of trousers in a heartbeat.
I love coming home from work and taking off scratchy denim and tight elastic and slipping into sweatpants and a buttery soft t-shirt.
I've never been very good at outerwear.