A Zero-Waste Kit That Costs Zero Dollars

jars filled with pantry staples

My daughter Mary Katherine rarely writes posts on the blog she started as a teenager, The Plastic-Free Chef. She did however write one a couple of weeks ago on how, as a busy, cash-strapped student, she finds the zero-waste lifestyle inaccessible. I’m simply too poor. We need more solutions to deal with waste that don’t […]

Go Plastic-Free in 2018 (or Close to It)

If you’ve arrived at this blog, you’re probably aware of the plastic pollution problem so I won’t spend time discussing it. You can read recent news on that here, here and here. Instead, I’ll discuss changes we can make in our own lives. Individual choices may not seem like much in the face of this disaster but […]

How to Shop for and Cook Your First Zero-Waste Meal

Pumpkin dal ingredients

This post originally appeared on the Makesmthing Week blog. Make Your Dinner for #Makesmthng Week Just in time for peak holiday consumption comes Make Something Week, a campaign created by Greenpeace to encourage people to create rather than passively consume. One of the most important things you can make is your dinner. And you can […]

Homemade Pasta

When we cut the plastic back in 2011, I swapped many store-bought foods for homemade versions, such as: Cookies Crackers Cereal Canned pumpkin Canned tomatoes Many other foods, including those that don’t begin with the letter “c,” such as pasta If you love pasta and start on the zero-waste path, finding a replacement for it […]

Homemade Tahini

We eat lots of hummus and so go through quite a bit of tahini. I’m pretty sure when people set out to reduce their waste, their hummus intake becomes inversely proportional. There’s likely a mathematical theory that proves this. This past weekend, I cooked two cups of chickpeas in my pressure cooker for hummus but […]

Don’t Be Perfect

I really struggled with this blog post because…I wanted it to be perfect. The irony! As one of my creative writing teachers told us, just write “s&!%, s&!%, s&!%” over and over and over if that’s what you must do to get words onto the page (or screen). Like perfection, the zero in zero waste […]

Zero-Waste Menu No 3

If you have access to decent bulk bins and a good farmer’s market, with a little preparation and perhaps a substitution here and there, you can prepare almost any recipe without producing waste. Just follow the rules below. When we first went plastic free in 2011, it took at least a couple of months to […]

Bentonite-Calcium Tooth Powder

I am not a dentist. I am merely sharing my own experience, not dispensing medical advice. Now that I have that out of the way… Full-On Hippie Ingredient: Eggshell Calcium Powder For a while now, I have wanted to make toothpaste with calcium powder but simply could not find calcium powder in bulk. So I made my own […]

Meet Frank, the Zero-Waste Hamster

My youngest daughter, who asked I use a fake name for her in this post—let’s call her C—repeatedly asked me for a hamster this summer. C: Can we get a hamster? Me: Bootsy will eat it. C: I’ll keep it in my room with the door shut. Me: Meh. C: All of a mother’s problems disappear when she […]

Good, Better, Best Zero-Waste Shopping

Updated 01/05/18 Every time I post pictures on Instagram or Facebook of my bulk shopping or farmer’s market hauls, I get lots of questions: Do you bring your food home in bags and transfer it to jars? (No, I bring the jars shopping and fill them directly.) Doesn’t your food cost more because the jars […]

DIY Mouthwash

Updated 07/09/17 This easy-to-make mouthwash passes the I-avoid-putting-anything-down-the-drain-that-I-won’t-eat test, which I mentioned in my recent TMI post. You might actually want to drink this, since it contains only vodka, spices and water. With just these few edible ingredients, you can make a large amount of inexpensive mouthwash that works really well to freshen your breath. Original Listerine, on […]