Zero Waste: Hygiene

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:
    • 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.
    • One handkerchief, a lifetime investment, is $4. A single box of tissues is about $2; it’ll pay itself off quick, especially if you have allergies like me.
  • 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.



Day 1 of 159


I don’t know exactly what it was about preparing to leave home this time around that made me so nostalgic. The two years of perspective I’ve gained away from home that have allowed me to reflect on my adolescence in Seattle more acutely likely played role. A stronger internalization of the changes this part of life (mid-college years) entails probably contributed as well. Anyways, I was pretty sad leading up to the first segment of this 159 day tour of the states, South America and Europe (and replaying the Shin’s Port of Morrow album definitely didn’t do the situation any good). However, whether it was just my short term memory lose kicking in or the excitement of travel, all feelings of nostalgia vanished when I got on the road.

This photo was taken in Paradise, MT on July 28th, the first day of my 159 day tour which I will (attempt) to chronicle in the Visit section of this blog. The first 10 days will be spent road-tripping though Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming with stops in Whitefish, Glacier, Yellowstone and Jackson.

Subaru Outback packed with my personal road trip essentials. Trail running gear, frisbee, hammock, reads (This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly and Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction), quality beverages (including Anchor Brewing’s IPA and Lager), ham/cheese/avocado sandwiches, underwear, etc.

The Whale

“Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began . . . Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?”

– Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Photos taken at Third Beach, Washington.

Interview – Anita Yandle, Yes on I-522

Q: How have you seen outside state corporate spending effect the campaign?

A: Well, I mean, it’s definitely just mind boggling how much money the big corporate donors have put in to stop us from having the center, taking out the air waves on television, radio, pandora, they’re everywhere just spreading false information and misleading ideas about labeling and that just an interesting and difficult thing to deal with when its simply our right to know what in our food.

Q: If you had to address one piece of misinformation, one misconception, about the campaign, what would that be?

A: The main thing I find that is a misconception about it is that it would in anyway raise grocery prices. That is just false. The same companies said the same thing in the 90’s with nutrition labeling, you know, calorie count and stuff, and there was no price increase due to that. Other countries already have labeling for genetically engineered food and there has not been a price increase due to it and companies change their labels all the time, they change them for Halloween and for Christmas and to put a new sports player on the front and it doesn’t cost anything so its just a scare tactic to trick the other side into making people vote no.

Q: Do you think that level of corporate spending is acceptable in an election like this?

A: Well, I mean, it has been approved by the Supreme Court that they can do that so I don’t really think its my place to comment on that.

Q: Are you familiar with California’s Prop. 37 from last year?

A: I am more or less familiar with it, yes. It was a very similar proposition.

Q: Do you see any connection between the marginal failure of that bill and the large corporation spending in opposition to it?

A: So, in California, because it was the battleground state for GMO labeling, it hadn’t happened before, they didn’t expect to have the opposition put in–I think it was $47 million there–so they were unprepared for that. But here, we saw that happen in California, we knew that it was probably going to happen, so thats why we worked on getting such a strong grassroots support before we got to the election.

Excerpt of an interview conducted on October 27th with Anita Yandle, the social media coordinator of the Yes on I-522 campaign. Thank you so much, Ms. Yandle, for taking time out of your day to talk to me!

Reclaim Your Vote

“Once the financial industry came unmoored from its ethical base,  financial firms were free to behave in ways that were in their – and   especially their top executives’ – short-term interest without any   concern about the longer term impact on the industry’s customers, [and] on the broader American economy,” Gregory Curtis, Chairman  of Greycourt & Co, wrote in his paper on the financial crisis of 2007.

The idea that corporations should be entitled to the same protection of political expression, as established in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion on Citizens United (CU) v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) 2010, is as dangerous to a democracy as discouraging profit and ingenuity would be to capitalism.

    The primary goal of a financial corporation in a capitalist society is profit. While citizens have a civic duty in a democracy, corporations have a duty of profit in capitalism. Unlike citizens, corporations by nature do not have the best interests of the United States in mind, so they should play no role in the electoral process on a state or nationwide level.

    Last year, California residents voted on Proposition 37, a bill that would have subjected all Genetically Engineered (GE) food products to labeling. While it enjoyed a 61% lead (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll), the proposition failed to pass after corporations in the Agro Industry, such as Monsanto, outspent supporters by over $37 million.

    Just last week, Washington’s measure I-522, a bill similar to Prob. 37, failed to pass after seeing a record breaking amount of campaign contributions raised against it. Out of all of Washington only five residents donated to the No campaign, raising $550, a small amount in comparison to the $22 million raised by out of state corporations. The political expression of such corporations did not contribute to our democracy. It undermined the majority to help increase profit for the Agro Industry.

    This year, in Washington, Comcast worked against the re-election of Mayor McGinn, donating thousands to anti-McGinn Political Action Committees (PAC’s) (Andrea Peterson, Washington Post). Ostensibly, because of McGinn’s efforts to offer higher internet speeds at lower costs to Seattle residents. He was working to do so through a public-private partnership known as Gigabit Squared, which would offer cheaper and faster internet than was currently provided by comcast. Comcast’s interests clearly conflict with those of the citizens.

    Corporations belong to capitalism, not democracy. When they are allowed to participate in democratic proceedings they do not act as democratic figures, but as capitalist ones, focusing on profit rather than civic responsibility. In Washington, and across the nation, its time we stop taking steps in the wrong direction and reclaim our democracy from the self-interests of corporations.

Chapel of St. Ignatius

Steven Holl is an American architect and watercolorist who currently resides in New York city, teaching at Columbia University and designing at his architecture firm, Steven Holl Architects. He is internationally recognized and has won many awards in the fields of architecture and modern art, including the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) prestigious Design Award for his work on Chapel of St. Ignatius.

“When we move through space with a twist and turn of the head, mysteries of gradually unfolding fields, of overlapping perspectives are changed with a range of light.” – Steven Holl

     Chapel of St. Ignatius is located in Seattle, WA at Seattle University, a Jesuit institution. It was designed from 1994-96 and constructed from 1996-97. The abstract of the building focuses on Holl’s most prominent architectural element: light. The building was designed to represent seven bottles of light emerging from a stone box, each corresponding to a different facet of Catholic worship. The volumes or bottles of light emerge from the roof, letting in light from all different angles during the day and projecting light all over Seattle University’s campus at night. Each volume or bottle has a different tint of stained glass, filling the chapel with a spectrum of soft colors. The exterior walls and design of the chapel are rectangular and flat, conveying the stone-box feel. However, the inside of the chapel is a full of apertures, curved and arched walls, walkways and windows, conveying the volumes/bottles of light feel. A maze for light to play in. Light is the buildings ever-changing soul. Chapel of St. Ignatius brings an essence of spirituality into existence and masterfully demonstrates how light affects perception.

     Chapel of St. Ignatius incorporates the two most defining elements of Holl’s career, light and texture. Light is so enlivening to Holl, partly because though a consistent element, its presence in a building is continually changing, altering how the building is perceived. Holl takes advantage of this change to add life and dynamic to his buildings.

     As Kenneth Frampton describes Holl’s use of light, “walls are consistently activated by indirect colored light, bouncing off concealed apertures, cut-out of the bounding walls” (Steven Holl, 7-10). Frampton describes Holl’s interest in texture/material as the study of how the intrinsic value of material imposes a discernible presence and rhythm on the volume or space it encloses.