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  • Writer's pictureOverturnTheTables

Revisiting zero-waste and shampoo

I'm a huge believer in new years resolutions. Like Easter but without the chocolate. But I am a big believer that you should start them a few days earlier. Because January 1st is always a bad day to start anything right - most of us sleep in and in my experience I work better in the morning. So I start my new years resolutions a few days earlier so that my sleep in doesn't make me apathetic.

We are in dire need of revisiting the zero-waste situation in our household. With the closing down of source and the recycling issues happening at the moment and my all round terrible mental health for the last few months in between surgeries and family tragedies - things 'slipped.' In my personal theological perspective I was sinning on basically a mortal sin level. I'm confessing that. I would go to a priest but from experience, not all of them understand when I tell them that I feel as though I have sinned when I got meat in a plastic bag instead of a container.... God gets it though.

So I did 3 things today to get me kick started on my new years resolution.

  1. I shopped online at a shop called 'Raw Bulk Foods Online.' Since source foods Springfield has closed down it has been a struggle logistically and mentally to be able to make the trip to Indooroopilly or Carindale or wherever to get what I need in the pantry and for cleaning. I tried another place called sovereign foods at Morooka - again not quite as logistically suitable as I would have liked, but I do like their work! Raw bulk foods online works like this:

Step 1: order your goods online (flour, tea, sugar, snacks, pasta, rice, beans.....)

Step 2: they deliver in a reusable bag

Step 3: you empty the bag into a jar (now they advertise very pretty jars for you to buy that would make your pantry very aesthetically pleasing - if you need jars don't waste your money and buy nice ones, give me a call and I'll give you some, I have a very large collection.

Step 4: Using the enclosed postage pouch, resend the bags back to the company for cleaning and refilling.

The cost was pretty reasonable and so was the postage. Minimum spend of $40 so you have to be thinking bulk when you buy. $40 goes quite a long way and the postage was $10 for my area. They are Australian based - from the Sunny coast as far as I can tell. So my order is on its way, I'm going to give them a try.

Now you are probably thinking 'Alice, is going to the big shopping centres really that bad that you are resulting to ordering online instead of having human interaction?' There is one major thing that I feel is of more benefit doing it this way that isn't just being able to do it in my PJs from home. My mental health is benefiting dramatically - I really can't do large shopping centres anymore. There is too much 'stuff,' there's too many people, the PARKING! and the carrying of all the jars around multiple flights of stairs is a lot! Source at springfield was great - I could park outside, on the same level and get a trolley to help me carry my jars, it was more spread out so less people on top of one another, and I had grown up with that shopping centre, I knew it better. And I liked the people who worked there. Indro, Carindale, etc etc are just awful to go to lets be honest.

So that is pantry covered that I'm going to try.

2. I did the same but with the cleaning gear. I'd seen ads for Zero Co for ages and wasn't sure about it. Again - not a fan of the whole 'buy our very expensive aesthetically pleasing matching containers...' when you can just refill the ones you have. They operate the same as the Raw foods place but just with cleaning and self care products.

James has never wanted to make deodorant for him. They have a refillable one that I'm going to get him to try. I got some dishwashing liquid, some stain remover, and hand wash. Again for about $50 including postage. Each of the refills is quite large so I expect it will last a few months.

I didn't get a few things because I thought they were quite overpriced. One of them being shampoo - which brings me to number 3.

3. I made liquid shampoo and I'm going to show you how. Liquid shampoos are quite expensive and so are most solid shampoo bars. Shampoo bars I'm not a big fan of after trying them, they get soggy and they just don't work for me.

We tried bi-carb and vinegar for ages .... but my hair is so oily/greasy that I just can't keep it up - I'm basically Severus Snape after 2 days. I love Alan Rickman (RIP) but I just can't do it. I exercise a lot, I sweat, I need a good detergent based shampoo to help me out. Now you can argue with me that I should just not wash it for ages and let it go and it will be fine - but seriously.... Snape....

So I had this brilliant idea that came with another product I have been using and absolutely loving. I have a zero-waste moituriser bar that you grate, add water to, emulsify and store to create a liquid moisturiser.

When Source closed down I was like - lets try it will a cheapo shampoo and conditioner bar. And viola - seems that moisturiser chemistry and shampoo/conditioner chemistry is not that different and the same process worked. It also makes quite a bit and does the job brilliantly. It takes about half an hour to make and at the moment lasts about 2 months or so.

So here goes.

  1. Boil some water. Like 500ml about that.

  2. get your cheapo shampoo bar (or more expensive one if you have a brand preference. James just got the first one he saw I think. I was actually quite skeptical because Garnier has greenwashed in the past and I wasn't sure if there would be plastic on the inside - thank god there wasn't) and some squeezy containers. I used some old moisturiser bottles, an old travel bottle, a sauce bottle .... just anything kind of squeezey.

3. Grate the shampoo - this took me 15 minutes. Does give a slightly sore arm.

4. Pour about 1 cup of boiled water and let it cool down to about room temperature. You don't want it warm especially if you have a coconut oil based shampoo bar because coconut oil melts at like 25 degrees and just makes things a bit tricky. So the waiting takes about 20+ minutes for it to cool.

5. Add in the water and emulsify using a hand stick blender. You might need more water or just add in a bit by bit to get the consistency you want, but I used the guide on the box. If the box says its the 'equivalent' of 2 x 250ml bottles as this one said, I use about half of that. You can always add more water while washing your hair. It makes it easier to apply if its a bit thicker. You should have some bubbles in you emulsified liquid, that means its good to go.

6. Pour into clean bottles. I would recommend a funnel - much much easier. You might find that it separates when left in the shower over a few days, but just give it a shake and it will be back to nice bubbly soapy shampoo. Just repeat for conditioner as well. And that's it!

Ta Da!

So I will update you when all my pantry and cleaning refills come in on how that whole things goes. I'm hoping that by the end of the year I'm cycling to my local fruit and veg shop and butcher to get the rest of what I need for us and the dogs - one step at a time though!

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