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Sailors for the Sea
as of May 9, 2020
As the quest for going green continues. I came across a great resource Sailors for the Sea. They provide a list of commercial products that have been tested for the environment based on the following factors:
The site also provides recipes for making your own cleaning products with lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and salt.
Learning about topics like this gets me more excited to move aboard. In the meantime, we may give these DIY solutions a try while we are still on land. Much like our water water everywhere experiment, we’ll test out commercial and DIY solutions in a future post.
It has been precisely one month since we began using toothpaste powder. All of the ingredients are naturally occurring (sea salt, peppermint oil, etc.) and biodegradable. While the packaging is plastic, we feel confident that this form will last us longer than toothpaste tubes. So far we have seen advantages such as:
- water conservation - less water is needed, because there is no rinsing!
- salt - antibiotic, cleansing properties - Andrew noticed he had a canker sore developing in his mouth. In 2 days, it disappeared
- plaque reduction - with its mild abrasion, my teeth feel cleaner as if I had used an electric toothbrush
In addition, we are gathering more ideas about zero waste. Here are other cruisers who have forged a path ahead of us, including
A couple weeks ago, we ran out of our usual shampoo. We took this as an opportunity to experiment with other ways to clean our hair. Andrew opted to use a bar of soap and said it worked great for him. I shook my head, recalling days from my youth when I tried that on my long mane. There is a tacky residue that stays behind on my hair which makes it difficult to comb or brush. I equate that with pain, so using a bar of soap was a non-starter. Instead, I reached for a body wash that had been hanging around in our shower for much too long. That seemed to do the trick until that also ran out.
I decided to pull the trigger and purchase a zero waste, biodegradable shampoo bar made in New Zealand and give that a shot.
Verdict? Ethique left a bit of residue, but it wasn’t as tacky as my experience with Oatmeal and Honey soap from Trader Joe’s. I sprayed some leave-in conditioner and had no issue combing out my wet hair.
When I described what I was experiencing, Andrew asked me how I was applying it to my hair. He offered a suggestion which is to lather the soap in my hands to apply rather than smear the soap directly on my hair. 100% improvement!
Reduce plastic - Use bamboo
We are trying out bamboo toothbrushes. The Greenzla bamboo set we picked up from Amazon come with 4 charcoal bamboo toothbrushes, a travel bamboo tube holder and charcoal mint floss.
Our bamboo toothbrushes, dental floss and bamboo travel holder are all additive, coloring and BPA Free, and are manufactured in an FDA registered facility, so they’re better for you and better for the planet too.
If most dentists, and the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months, then over our lifetime we would have used and thrown out over 350 toothbrushes or 7 kg of plastic waste (based on an average weight of 20 g per toothbrush). That seems unnecessary going forward.
Perhaps the only downside is they come with only soft bristles and Andrew prefers medium bristles.
Also starting this month, I decided also look at other areas of waste and reduce my use of single use, disposable items such as tampons. When I think about boat life and carrying smelly items aboard, it was a natural conclusion to switch things up. Andrew had no idea I was contemplating this until he sorted through the latest Amazon delivery and exclaimed, “My menstrual cup arrived!”
I chose this particular one based on a recommendation by Pick Up Limes. It’s interesting how marketers have influenced the behavior of millions of women, steering us at a young age toward disposable items. This reminds me of cigarette advertising: get ‘em while they’re young and you’ll have a customer for life.
The benefits of this are:
- less waste
- less cost
- more time
I’m sold! I can use this product for a year and simultaneously reduce waste, especially smelly waste.
As we continue to discover products that align with zero waste, minimalism, self-sustainability or going green, we’ll continue to provide updates on ethical sailing. Please note that we are providing links for convenience, and we are not earning any affiliate revenue.
Update as of August 3, 2020
The toothpaste powder lasted about 2 months. Andrew continues to swear by it while I have abandoned it since I have a sensitivity to the mint. I have switched to Burt’s Bees Extra White Zen Peppermint. We both enjoy using the Ethique Shampoo. The bar is still quite an ample size and I expect at this rate, it will last a few more months and we may take it aboard when we move to Florida.
Thanks for reading!
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