The royal palaces built into Portugal’s Sintra Mountains are evidence of the Catholic country’s Islamic past. Although today, less than one percent of the population practices, the country was under Muslim control until the 13th century.
To supplement the information provided in the video, here is a complete list of the hygiene items we reviewed with price comparisons and links.
- Aftershave: a little coconut or jojoba oil mixed with you favorite essential oils.
- While the upfront cost is pretty high–you’ll probably spend around $10 for a bottle coconut/jojoba oil and another $10 for an essential oil while you could easily buy a bottle of conventional aftershave for under $10–they go a long way.
- Air freshener: our favorite options are sage, palo santo, and incense by JackThreads.
- Depending on where you live, you might be able to harvest sage for free. Other good options are lavender and pine (don’t burn the lavender though! just make a nice bouquet). JackThreads incense goes for about $7 a container compared to around $4 for Febreze.
- All purpose cleaner: white vinegar!
- Body & hand soap: any bar soap!
- Even organic bar soap options, such as Dr. Bronner’s, are cheaper than most packaged body wash and hand soap products.
- Condoms: like we said in the video, there aren’t a whole lot of waste free condom options and the priority should always be placed on safe sex, not zero waste. Sustain Natural is a really cool company that offers biodegradable condoms and other organic, reduced waste feminine products.
- Forget about the price comparison for this one, do whatever you can to practice safe sex. If you have the funds to buy Sustain’s condoms, go for it! If not, hopefully your college or local Planned Parenthood has free options for you.
- Deodorant: although we didn’t show it in the video, we are following this recipe for DIY deodorant: http://www.trashisfortossers.com/2016/10/zero-waste-deodorant.html.
- The price of the ingredients plus the time to make the deodorant itself definitely makes this option less accessible. Do what you can!
- Detergent: white vinegar and baking soda.
- Remember white vinegar from earlier? Yep, its still $2. Baking soda is even cheaper at less than a $1 (the one we used in the video actually cost 0.74 cents, excuse the typo).
- Face soap: try to find bar soap that doesn’t irritate your face. Activated charcoal soap works well for us and acts as a natural cleanser.
- Going for about $5 a bar on the low end, the price is on par if not lower than most other non zero waste options.
- Floss: floss can be pretty hard. I found a pretty good option at a local store back in Seattle (Puget Consumer Coop) called EcoDent. However, although the box was cardboard, the floss inside was still wrapped in plastic. Wasteland Rebel has a very helpful article on zero waste (and in their case vegan) floss.
- EcoDent goes for around $3, which is a fairly typical price.
- Mouthwash: you saw the recipe!
- As was the case with the aftershave, the essential oils (and potentially gin) are a large upfront cost, however, you’ll be able to make batches on batches once you have all the ingredients.
- Prescription medication: forget zero waste, just stay healthy. Here’s an article on recycling prescription bottles.
- Razors: get yourself a safety razor! Or a straight razor if you’re brave.
- Upfront cost is high ($17) but it’ll last a lifetime if you’re good to it, so you’ll save money in the long run.
- Shampoo: Lush will reuse their containers! Certain stores also offer bulk options.
- Lush is veryyy expensive. It’s safe to say that for this item, going zero waste could be too pricey.
- Shaving cream: coconut oil (try lathering up your bar soap and then adding coconut oil to the mix in your hand). Note: if you have a disposable razor, it will probably clog. Another reason to get a safety razor!
- You already know the prices for coconut oil, soap, and safety razors.
- Tissues: handkerchief! You heard the deal.
- Toothbrush: go bamboo if you’re looking for a traditional option. If you’re feeling adventures, check out Miswak or Neem twigs!
- A Spry bamboo toothbrush is around $3, only slightly more expensive than a typical plastic toothbrush.
- Toothpaste: baking soda plus any additives you think might enhance the flavor and texture. We added peppermint essential oil, a little salt, and coconut oil.
- Zero waste comes out to be cheaper again! Less than a dollar for baking soda compared to around $2 on the cheap end for non zero waste toothpaste.
December 6th marked the end of my study abroad program and, consequently, the end of my Swiss Pass validity (provided by SIT). Knowing that I would never have the opportunity to travel around Switzerland for free again, I tried to fit in a whole rush of trips towards the end of my program. Below are some of the last spots I was able to hit before leaving CH for France.
Carried my camera around Nyon and Geneva for a day to document what 24 hours in my study abroad program looks like.
I’m enrolled in SIT’s Banking, Finance and Social Responsibility program in Switzerland. SIT programs are characterized by homestays and site visits (i.e. field learning). Because I filmed on a Friday, the day is a little different than normal, but the house, commute, campus and thoughts are all there 🙂
Living in a home-stay has allowed me to see, and love, parts of Switzerland that I would never have encountered on a typical visit.
Rick Steves has some pretty extensive travel books, but he’ll never talk about that one forest service road that ends abruptly in a hillside cow pasture about 20 minutes outside Nyon or the nice old buildings covered in ivy that neighbor Azier’s commune office. And why would he? If you’re only in a country, in this case Switzerland, for a short bit, why would you spend a good chunk of a day and almost 40 CHFs in transportation from Geneva to see an old ‘trail’ and mostly typical group of buildings when you could be floating the Aare in Bern, eating fondue under the Matterhorn, or visiting some of the world’s finest watch shops in Zurich. Arzier just wouldn’t make sense.
It didn’t even make sense to the kids living there. “Why would you come to some random mountain town from America?” The answer is I didn’t really choose to come to Arzier, I chose to study in Nyon/Geneva and my housing just happened to be in Arzier. But thats the thing about home-stays, you don’t choose where you live, and as they are typically located in suburban or rural areas (at least in Switzerland), they are pretty much guaranteed to be places you would never visit on a normal trip. I definitely never would have ended up in Arzier–never run the old hiking paths and logging roads and never passed the old ivy covered buildings on my way to the train–but now that I’ve spent the past couple months here, I couldn’t imagine Switzerland without it.