I'm ashamed to admit how many Q-tips I've used in my lifetime. Swabbing my ears has been a habit since I can remember, even though my grandfather, a family physician, said that you should never put anything in your ear that's smaller than your elbow.
Turns out he was right, and most doctors agree that swabbing your ears actually may do you more harm than good. You run the risk of poking a hole in your eardrum, and you may actually be removing wax that your ear needs in order to protect itself from infection. So as much as I may love the feeling of swabbing my ears, I concede that from a health standpoint it's actually better not to. (If you're still grossed out by the idea of wax buildup in your ear, Greatist offers this solution.)
But I also use Q-tips for makeup, especially tidying up around my eyes, and for nail care. I'd love to tell you that I've always used Q-tips with a cardboard post, but that's not even true. I know I've used plastic without giving it a second thought, and I shudder to think how many of those little guys are now hanging out in a landfill somewhere waiting to decompose.
I was on a work trip recently, and I realized I'd forgotten to bring any Q-tips with me, and I literally had a mild panic attack. I rely on them to make my eyebrows look perfect, and eyebrows are the most important facial feature! I ended up digging around in my makeup bag for an old one (gross, I know) and ended up finding an old plastic sponge eyeshadow applicator that came out of a multi-color eyeshadow pack. I had never used it so it was (relatively) clean, so I dipped the end in some water and it ended up being the perfect tool for cleaning up my brows.
It got the wheels turning. What other tools could I find or fashion to take the place of Q-tips so that I don't have to chuck them away every day, and even better, so that I don't have to buy them at all?
You know how when you get a manicure, the technician will wrap a piece of loose cotton around an orange wood stick and dip it in polish remover to clean up around the edges? Well, you can do the same thing at home, and use it like a Q-tip with the same result. And, guess what? Both the orange wood stick and the cotton are compostable and bio-degradable.
Another added benefit to ditching Q-tips: less clutter on your bathroom counter top. I'm all about that!
So you've decided that you want to start transforming your lifestyle. You want less clutter, less waste, and more beauty in your day-to-day. You feel awesome for having arrived at this decision, and excited to begin. But you're also overwhelmed by the amount of work and conscious effort it's going to take to achieve it. Where do you even start?
Here was someone who got it! Someone who understood! Hallelujah!
Craig Leeson's film is a soul stirring, shocking, inspiring work, which I think everyone should see.
No matter how insignificant our individual efforts may seem, they do make a difference.
While many of us aspire to the picture perfect lifestyle of the fashion savvy woman who still manages only to create enough waste to fit in a mason jar, most of us aren't there.
I find that sometimes the beauty of perfectly curated Instagram accounts can make it tempting to throw out all our ugly stuff and replace it immediately, which can actually be contradictory to the goal of going zero waste.
Is the world on an irreversible path straight to hell?
I took for granted how many opportunities there are in the course of one vacation to create trash.
In the zero waste world, one of the most talked about items is the safety razor.
When I really looked at all of the things I own, it made me realize there's so little that I actually need.