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 89 of 159

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  🙂

Day 34 of 159


Coming from Rio, Geneva felt more like home than a new destination when I first landed. Lac Leman, the mountains, green trees, modern city… all of it could have been placed in the Pacific Northwest. However, a distinctly swiss feel began to settle in as I left Geneva for the relative countryside around Nyon–the cows, sunflower fields, vineyards, trains and old wood & stone buildings, all added up to a scene that can’t be found in the states. After all, Geneva may feel similar to Seattle after Bogota, Cartagena and Rio, but you’ll never look out over Lake Washington or the Puget Sound from a castle.

View from Chateau de Nyon in Nyon, Switzerland. About a 30 minute train ride from my home stay up in the hills of Arzier and just a 5 minute walk from SIT’s office and classrooms.

Afyon: A Short Documentary on Opiate Use

Afyon is a short documentary that considers the differences between predominantly exogenous and endogenously stimulated lifestyles. It was filmed in Washington, a state that is currently struggling with increasing opiate use (especially amongst young adults), but at the same time is well known for it’s culture of fitness, healthy/organic eating, sustainability and highly educated, wealthy population. ] ]

Putting the life of a Triathlete and user in a juxtaposition, Afyon illustrates the different ways both lifestyles stimulate the brains natural reward circuitry, fulfilling our inherent drive for pleasure.

Afyon was created for my senior project, which I completed at the Seattle Waldorf High School. I edited it on Final Cut Pro X and filmed it with a Nikon D5100 – fixed 50mm lens and cheap external mic. Hope you enjoy.

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.