Easy Reuse Tip:

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Used coffee grounds. If you are a coffee drinker and brew at home (which you should cause you’ll save disposable cups and so much money and PLEASE don’t tell me you’re a K-cup person), you can reuse your coffee grounds as exfoliator. Once they cool, you can just wash your hands with a little scoop of them and your hands will smell fantastic and be so soft.

Using coffee grounds in the shower gets a bit messier and more complicated. Cover your drain with a towel or fine mesh if you want to exfoliate your whole body.

Benefits:
– You don’t have to buy expensive, chemically laden exfoliators anymore. It’s a 2 in 1 deal
Caffeine will stimulate circulation on your skin, temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite (only temporarily and who cares, embrace your “flaws”)
– Caffeine works to reduce inflammation and swelling, great for problem skin
– The smell. Even if there were no real benefits, the smell is worth it. Though I probably look really creepy randomly huffing my hands in public.

It is recommended to mix this with a bit of olive oil when you scrub. I’ve also seen brown sugar, and honey would probably be wonderful as well for it’s exfoliating, skin calming properties. I’ll be incorporating this into my face routine to see if anything good happens (I’m not a coffee drinker though, so I’ve been outsourcing grounds from others). This makes my skin softer than any other exfoliant, natural or otherwise, that I’ve tried. And you’ve got nothing to lose!

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Vegan Spicy Cauliflower Burger (with Lemon Kale Chips)

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As I stated early on in my blog, I am not working on creating my own recipes just yet in the vegan game, but I am sharing some of my favorite, easy, and cheap vegan recipes and synthesizing them on my blog– for me and for you. I thought about this all day at work today and probably all week. So, here’s the recipe:

It’s so easy, very filling (I can polish off a loaded chipotle burrito bowl and still have more for ice cream, but I was surprisingly full), healthy, and good. I used to be skeptical when people would say “cauliflower steaks” or like “raw vegan donuts”… like, that is not a donut. But I’m finding that these replacements are equally as good and much better for you. Plus, a head of cauliflower can make you 3-4 steaks, which is ridiculously way less expensive that buying that amount of meat.
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Notes: I am a super lazy cooker. I try to cut corners so I don’t use as many dishes and I am almost always cutting out a seemingly meaingless ingredient here or there. I did not have a milk or vegan butter while making this, so I used all water instead of milk and just hot sauce in some of the leftover batter and didn’t add butter. It turned out fine, it turned out great. But I am super excited to try again using those ingredients because it will add fat and flavor, or another recipe for it. I also didn’t make the ranch even though it looks amazing because I am moving soon and trying not to buy groceries for the next 2 weeks (coming up: no waste everything-in-the-fridge improvised salads)– I cannot WAIT to not be sharing fridge space with 4 other people where I only have a half shelf and a produce drawer to house 2 weeks worth of produce…LOL. Anyway, coarse grain mustard is really good on this.

In between steps 1 and 2 of cooking the cauliflower, I threw some lemon kale chips in the oven to crisp up. Seriously, you put the cauliflower in for round 1, get out your kale, chop it up (or just rip…again, saving dishes), put it on a foil lined baking sheet, add olive oil and lemon, mix with your hands (olive oil is a great moisturizer…SAVE DISHES, SAVE WATER), top with some sea salt, and pop those puppies in the oven. Check on them sooner than the nearly 25 minutes of cooking time that will still be left, as they’ll likely cook faster than this.

WONDERFUL. Enjoy and let me know if you end up trying it!

Smoothie Bowl 101!

I’ve been on the smoothie train for awhile now, but only within the past few warmer months have I gotten on the smoothie bowl train. And it’s a great train to be on. It takes you wonderful places. Corny metaphor but it’s 7:30am and I’m currently enjoying my peach banana mint bowl topped with all the deliciousness I’m about to tell you about, so whatever.

If you’re an Instragram user (which you most likely are because that’s pretty much how you’ll find this blog currently), I recommend utilizing #hashtags. Search for #smoothies, #smoothiebowl and look around at some of the beautiful bowls people are posting. Maybe even follow some people to get those images constantly on your feed as reminders and recipe inspiration. My goals for the blog this week are to get up a resources page for you guys with some food blogs I follow, educational films to watch, Instagrammers to follow, books, articles, all that jazz. But first I gotta give a serious shout out to one of my biggest inspirations in the smoothie bowl game, a friend of friends who somehow ended up in my network and has an Instagram called @the_wholesome_bowl. She’s an art student who took her passion for food and art to the next level and makes some incredible and delicious bowls. AND she recently came out with a recipe book that I definitely recommend. It has 30 or more smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes, and then salads, soups, bean salad deliciousness, beautiful raw desserts. Plus she has Clean eating 101 with a fantastic grocery list. Support local artists and buy it here to get a PDF on your computer right now and start making yummy things.

And now: SMOOTHIE BOWL 101

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I used to think that the toppings for these were too expensive and that buying all the fruit you need for these would be really expensive too, but it’s not.

1. You’ll need a high powered blender. These can be expensive. I have the Nutribullet, which was $90 and I’ve gotten a ton of use out of it since I bought it last year (one of my current roommates recently asked me if I just blend all my food, which, to be honest, isn’t far from the truth). I use it as a food processor as well and it’s still going strong. I recommend looking on Craigslist in your area for a blender if you don’t already have one. I say high powered because the trick to affording fruit is buying frozen fruit and this can be a little difficult for not-so-good blenders. The Ninja is an amazing blender that is more expensive than the Nutribullet, but still less than the Vitamix or other top of the line blenders. My boyfriend has it and I’m mad I don’t, but now I just make him make me smoothies with it 🙂 Do some research and make an investment in a good blender.

2. Frozen fruit– this tends to be cheaper than fresh fruits and actually work better for getting the right consistency of smoothies, and makes it really easy for you in the morning. Just buy fruits that you like and experiment with different blends, you can’t really go wrong.
Recommendations:
FROZEN BANANAS– I use these in almost every smoothie. Buy a bunch of bananas (3-5 per week if it’s just you), peel them, break into chunks, and stick them in a Tupperware in the freezer. These give an awesome texture to smoothies and they don’t overpower everything in the same way they do when not frozen. PLUS, when your bananas are getting browner than you’d like, you can freeze them and have no waste cooking
Strawberries– fresh or frozen works, always a great choice
Frozen raspberries
Frozen blackberries
Blueberries– fresh or frozen
Mango– fresh or frozen depending on season. I’ve been buying fresh mangoes lately because they’ve been relatively affordable
Pineapple– I usually go for frozen, but fresh works great if you wanna go through the effort of hacking up a pineapple
Peaches– fresh or frozen, again, depending on season
Frozen dark sweet cherries
– Fresh ginger and mint are wonderful to add in, too

These are usually my main choices that revolve based on what I’ve bought that week (this week is bananas, peaches, strawberries, and you can make about 6 different combos there!), but head to your frozen food department, pick out 2 or 3 different options and see what you can create!

3. Toppings! This is where you can have a lot of fun and get a lot of variety. Now, some of the toppings I am recommending are a bit expensive. However, if you’re buying them in bigger sized bags (8oz, 12oz, 16oz), they’ll last you several months, as you’re only really using about a tablespoon at a time. AND if you want to be super eco, you can get a lot of these bad boys in the bulk section at Whole Foods or a specialty food store near you. Alternatively, if you buy them in the big resealable bags to start out, you can save those and reuse them at the bulk food supply next time.
Recommendations:
Chia seeds– I didn’t understand the hype around these for about a year after learning about them and buying them. My first 7oz bag lasted me like 8 months, but now I’ve gone through 16oz in the past 3 months. These suckers are so nutrient dense, loaded with protein, fiber, Omega-3s. And they’ll give you a TON of energy if you start regularly incorporating them into your diet. Stay tuned for chia pudding recipes coming up, which are so good.
Hemp seeds– largely the same deal as chia seeds, but offer a nuttier flavor
Goji berries– loaded with antioxidants, fruity and yummy (raisins and other dried fruit are a great, cheaper option)
Raw/unsalted pumpkin seeds- listed as one of the healthiest foods in the world, these are loaded with all kinds of nutrients like zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, etc
Shredded coconut
Granola- any kind. Bear Naked has amazing options
other fresh fruits– berries, kiwis, passionfruit (<— sooo good)
Cacao nibs– caffeine boost! Make sure to buy at least 65% dark chocolate
other raw nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews
a protein powder (I personally don’t enjoy this chalky texture in my smoothies and other toppings tend to add enough protein)
acai powder– again expensive, but lasts long and loaded with antioxidants and energy

Keep it simple with a few things in the beginning and then expand as you learn more and get more creative!

4. Blend-ins. You need some kind of liquid to make your smoothies blend generally.  I tend to use water, but almond milk or any other kind of milk is a great option. You can just add a few splashes and then add more if it seems like it’s not blending well enough. For tropical smoothies, I loved loved loved using pineapple juice (Peach, avocado, kale, ginger, pineapple juice is one of my best creations to date. Avocados give smoothies a really unique and awesome creamy texture and flavor).

5. Green smoothies! These can be hard to get the hang of, especially if you’re like me and don’t really use any measuring devices for your smoothies. I just pour in amounts of fruit that I desire that day and it turns out a little different each time. Adding a green to your smoothies is a great option to pack in some additional nutrients. I prefer chard over anything else, but you can experiment with different greens to find out what you like best. Other great options are spinach and kale. A rule of thumb that I actually only learned very recently is that a 60% fruit to 40% greens ratio is ideal for flavor and nutrients (i.e. basically 2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of greens and 1 cup of liquid, but you’ll learn how to eyeball things for your taste preferences). Again, greens are just one other option.

There is a free online PDF of a green smoothie crash course here with some great recipes to get you started!

I’d love to hear about what you’re blendin’ up. You can tag me in your photos on Instagram @eco_corinne

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Personal Waste Audit

If you want to reduce the amount of waste you make, how can you do that if you don’t know what you throw away?

The first step is auditing your own waste. I learned about this at my university through the sustainability club I was involved in. It’s intended to be a Zero Waste Challenge where you carry around a gallon size freezer Ziploc for a week and use it as a receptacle for everything you can’t recycle or compost. (I was bad and am not currently in a living situation where I can compost or have a place to easily take my compost, so I threw away my “compost” because I didn’t want my bag to smell like rotting fruit). You’re supposed to attach it to your backpack so you don’t forget about it and also as a conversation piece to let people know what you’re doing. I did not do that because I use public transport to get to work and, not to stigmatize the word, didn’t want to look like some crazy trash lady. So I carried around my waste bag in my backpack. Or if I didn’t have my backpack and waste bag, I would just put my napkins or whatever in  my pocket/purse.

This is an incredibly useful exercise, as it retrains your mind to be aware of what you thrown away. I would catch myself reflex reaching for the trash can. After a few days, I trained myself to stop using paper towels because they’re so wasteful and what are sweaters for? But that’s a seriously ingrained habit– grab paper towel, throw it away without thinking.

So here’s what my trash for the week looked like. I included the recycling, too, because reduce first, then recycle:
IMG_0720IMG_0722I’ve got a bunch of paper towels/napkins, some food packaging, some sandwich wraps, used tin foil, a plastic envelope from something in the mail, a paper wristband, clothes tags with the plastic thingies, individual salt and pepper packets, a candy foil, some other small stupid and random packaging elements, a styrofoam take out container, a pizza box, 2 tin cans, and 2 beer cans.

So let’s break it down.

Paper towels/napkins: First, some facts
•  To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are consumed.
•    Every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone.
•    Decomposing paper towels produce methane gas, a leading cause of global warming.
•     Paper was the largest contributor to municipal landfill waste in 2006.
•  The average person uses 2,400 – 3,000 paper towels at work each year

As I said, this week of waste auditing definitely helped shed light on my own waste patterns. Probably all of us use paper towels every time we go to the bathroom and maybe paper napkins when we eat at home, definitely when we go out to eat. I’ve started air drying my hands or drying them lightly on whatever clothes I’m wearing as long as it won’t be visibly wet. For eating at home, use cloth napkins. I bet you’ve got some dish towels laying around that want to be put to use. I got two of these 100% certified organic Fair Trade cotton People Towels for free for a study I did at my university (about behavior change and I FAILED at trying to kick the paper towel habit a few months ago, but here I am). They’re not expensive and they’ve got really cute designs, plus they are super small and can fit into a pocket or purse. I’m trying to train myself to remember to always have this on me to use in place of napkins and paper towels

Food packaging: The worst. Food packaging is a noteworthy contributor to waste streams because food is the only product class typically consumed three times per day by virtually every person. That turns into a lot of waste, especially because individually wrapped products usually aren’t recyclable. This is where buying in bulk comes in. Instead of buying a small bag of trail mix from Trader Joe’s every week, you could get some mason jars (or even save a jar from pasta sauce…I find that glass jars are pretty easy to come by without buying them) and fill them up with your favorite snacks. Whole Food’s bulk bins have a pretty extensive selection. Wegman’s is a magical place if you are in the Northeast.
Another solid way to reduce the amount of food packaging you throw away is to buy as little processed food as possible. This is good for you and the environment. For example, there are these fig bars that I love and eat most days as a snack for work. I got like 30 packs at Costco that come in a big cardboard box…in 6 different smaller cardboard boxes…all individually wrapped. They’re convenient, but probably no less convenient than finding a recipe online to make them once a week myself.

Sandwich wraps/to-go eating: This is hard one. Sometimes you just need to get a lox bagel before work. But then you end up with like 7 napkins, a paper bag, a receipt, and a sandwich wrap…maybe even 2. If you are eating out or taking out, you can ask for no bag and take just one  napkin (or keep your trusty cloth napkin on you). If you want to take it to the next level, you could try to plan ahead when you know you’ll be getting food to go and see if a place will wrap your sandwich in a cloth for you (some places are weird about taking things behind the counter so you could just have them hand it to you and you wrap it yourself). I love love love going out to eat, but cooking at home is usually cheaper and creates less waste so maybe it is best to refrain from getting something out unless you’ve planned ahead with your waste-bustin’ tools. The other day I really wanted an iced tea, but I stopped myself because I didn’t have a resuable cup for it…cause I didn’t need it.

Styrofoam take out container: Again, the worst. Styrofoam is my arch nemesis. But probably get me a styrofoam wedding ring cause it’ll last as long as a diamond…not really, but this stuff does take forever to break down and you can’t recycle it (even if it has the symbol on it) in most municipalities. So I’m out to brunch and I got this huge, killer breakfast quesadilla that would be a crime not to bring home. But then the dreaded take home box. I know it seems like I’m suggesting you start carrying around a lot of things with you (essentials: water bottle, cloth napkin/towel) and it might be a lot to think ahead about whether you’ll finish your whole brunch and need to bring your own container. Enter: Snack Taxi. I got two of these last week and I’m so excited about them– they’re reusable, machine washable food/snack bags with super cute designs. They come in all different sizes. This might be a good option to keep with you, as they’re small and foldable and useful for bringing home your leftovers (depending on what it is), but certainly useful for having that bagel handed over the counter to you so you can walk back to your car or to your destination to eat it without having to create waste!

Pizza box: Who doesn’t love pizza? Unfortunately, pizza boxes that have any food grease on them (which is pretty much gonna be the case) aren’t recyclable 😦 Not sure what to recommend here, but I’ll certainly give it some thought. Just wanted to inform you to stop contaminating the recycling with them. If you can, rip off the parts that are grease stained for the trash and recycle the clean cardboard parts.

Tin cans: Many things that come in tin cans can be bought in bulk, such as beans. These take a little more effort, as you have to soak them. But there seems to be a theme within this post that reducing your waste takes some forethought. (Aside: an especially good way for reducing waste is to plan your meals for the week before you shop so you know what to buy and how everything will fit together and be used.) Plus, many tin cans are lined with BPA, a plastic that is a hormone disruptor and linked to other things that aren’t good, but the amount in cans may not be high enough to cause damage to the body. WHO KNOWS. But what I do know is that even though (rinsed) tin cans are recyclable, you can do better than that, right? Again, reduce, reuse, then recycle. Also, you can make really cute plant pots from tin cans and many other cool things.

Beer/soda cans: I’m somewhat of a beer enthusiast. These cans are recyclable as well, but the most sustainable option would be to get a glass growler and get fills of beer at your local microbrewery(ies). Fresh beer, supporting local business, aww yes. I don’t want to tell people how to live their lives, but if you’re a soda drinker, especially a diet soda drinker, consider doing some research. Everything, beer included, in moderation.

Hopefully these tips were useful for you. I encourage you to do your own waste audit and see what your weekly waste looks like. I did this without really actively trying to change my habits from a typical week, but it certainly helped my habits evolve in the right direction even in that short week. I’ll be doing this again in another month or so to see what has changed and if I’ve made any progress in reducing my waste.
(Disclaimer: I’ve been in the sustainability game for awhile now, having majored in Environmental Studies and been involved in sustainability clubs throughout 4 years of college, so don’t get discouraged if your first trash pile is substantial)

Edamame Pesto Recipe

This is another of my favorite, easy go-to recipes. It’s so good that I lick it right out of the blender/eat it on a spoon. Plus, it is a pasta sauce that you can feel good about slathering all over.

This is from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. It’s a wonderful cookbook that focuses on reducing calories, fat, but most importantly: number of ingredients. And it’s all plant based. It’s $3 used on Amazon. Definitely worth it.

Ingredients:
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 cup packed basil leaves
– 1 (14-ounce) package shelled edamame, thawed
– 1/2 cup vegetable broth (see my money saving, green TIP below)
– 2 tbs lemon juice
– 1 tsp olive oil (usually I use more for flavor and to get my blender blendin’)
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tbs nutritional yeast (optional, see below)

Add all ingredients to blender and blend. That easy. Add more vegetable broth and/or oil if it’s too dry or stiff. This will be a thick sauce though. Then, add a hefty serving to pasta with sauteed veggies of choice (I usually go for red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms).

So, my tip on vegetable broth: I used vegetable broth pretty often when I cook. But sometimes not often enough to be able to use up the full carton before it goes bad (I generally buy the 32oz close-able carton versus a can… not anymore. Enter vegetable bouillon. You can get cubes or a paste to store in the fridge. You just add the specified amount to water, mix and you’ve got your vegetable broth! It stays good for longer, so you’re not wasting product and all the packaging every time you need to buy it. That’s why I prefer paste over individually wrapped cubes.

A note on nutritional yeast: I was first introduced to this about a year ago when someone made me a vegan baked ziti. They had used nutritional yeast in place of parmesan and I’m sitting in anticipation of eating like “yeah right.” But lo and behold, nutritional yeast does add a unique cheesy and nutty flavor. You can choose to leave this out of the recipe– personally, it doesn’t add much. But I’ll be sharing some vegan cheese recipes coming up, so it’s a crucial ingredient for that. You can find it at Whole Foods, Wegman’s, any specialty health food store. IMG_0712 IMG_0716 IMG_0717  IMG_0719Enjoy! As always, let me know if you try it and what you think! (Sorry for blurry last picture. As usual, I was just excited to eat)

Time is Your Most Precious Resource

That’s what being zero waste and moving towards a more sustainable life is all about. Slowing down, being mindful (sorry, I hate that buzz word too, but I might be starting to get it), making time for what’s really important, getting rid of what isn’t.

So, I’m trying to commit to goals and lifestyle changes while working full time and then starting my Masters in the fall, trying to make healthier food, exercise more, share my recipes and tips (I’ve got so many ideas for content already and I’m thinking of more everyday), work on relationships, reading more. How can I make time for all this? An inspiring friend of mine who meditates 20 minutes in both the morning and afternoon every day (another goal, but again time…or at least perceived time) has told me many times, “I just stopped saying I was busy and I found that I did have time.”

How many hours a day do we spend looking at a screen, really (myself included for sure)? I think we can make time to prepare ourselves a good meal and sit down and savor it without distraction. I can think of almost no one I know who eats without watching TV or some other distraction. Try it: put down everything and just sit with your food. It’s so important. We’ve largely lost our connection with the intimate human experience of savoring and sharing food– you can go to the supermarket and pick out any vegetable, any time of year and most people don’t even look to check where it’s from. A good first step is try to try to buy produce that was only made in your country (I make exceptions for tropical fruits and avocados because come on bananas are a staple). You can further scale it down to local, seasonal from there.

Back to time. Healthy, delicious food doesn’t have to take long (cue Rachael Ray…although I can’t remember if she was that healthy). I bring you a recipe today that is so fast– it doesn’t even require cooking– and will give you energy to be productive, saving you more time. Wow, efficiency.

Ingredients:
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1 avocado
– corn
– beans (I used white beans because they were available, but black or any bean works)- sea salt
– pepper, cumin, cayenne, whatever spices you like

You just slice the pepper in half, gut the seeds. Slice the avocado in half, squeeze/scoop each side into each pepper half. Season with sea salt, cumin, cayenne, other spices. Top with corn and beans. Add additional spices. Cilantro or parsley would also be great if you’ve got it around.

I made a raw meal out of this and followed it with half a papaya, seeds gutted, and filled with a passionfruit. That combination is too real. It’s like a dessert.

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(If you’re reading this from the Massachusetts area, I usually shop at Market Basket. Their produce section is amazing and incredibly cheap as produce goes. Plus they try to source locally for things that are in season and they’ve got an organic section. There is not anything you can’t find there… you just maybe won’t find it because that store is massive and always packed.

Upcoming posts:
– My Personal Waste Audit: I collected all my trash in a ziploc bag for a week to see what I usually throw away. If you don’t know what you throw away, how can you change it? I’ll show you my bag and distill some zero waste tips!
– Edamame Pesto recipe
– Tips on being a smart consumer. Tip #1 Read ingredients on everything you buy.

P.S. I promise to start taking pictures with my good camera. I just don’t wanna play around with getting a perfect pretty food shot, I wanna eat it.

Homemade Laundry Detergent- 3 Ingredients

I’ve been making my own laundry detergent since probably October and I really enjoy this simple, more natural, homemade recipe. It’s cheaper than traditional detergent too—or at least not more expensive.

  • One 55 ounce box Washing Soda– $4.99
  • One 76 ounce box of Borax – $5.99
  • One Bar Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap– $4
    These prices are rough estimates (and much more expensive on Amazon than I’ve found in stores), but I know $15 of product lasted me 7-8 months washing a full load about every 2 weeks.

I used to get so itchy, especially at night, but not anymore. I think some of my itchiness was anxiety related, but also likely chemically related to something in those harsh detergents.

So what’s wrong with regular detergent?
“Because laundry-care product manufacturers are not required to list all laundry detergent ingredients on packaging, it can be difficult for consumers to make informed choices. The term “fragrance” alone may refer to a combination of several hundred laundry chemicals including many that are hazardous. Laundry detergents are often derived from petrochemicals and contain synthetic fragrances, even when advertised as “fragrance-free.” Most companies add optical brighteners to detergent formulas—additives that emit blue light, making whites appear whiter by tricking the eye. By design, optical brighteners stay in clothes after washing, which may cause skin irritation. They also decompose relatively slowly and can be toxic to marine life. Fabric softeners are also designed to stay in clothes and not fully rinse out, which means lingering chemicals come into contact with skin.”

This means:
– Largely, ingredients aren’t listed on detergent bottles.
– Many of them contain surfactants that are derived from petrochemicals (substances obtained by the refining and processing of petroleum or natural gas)– not something you want on your skin
– chemicals in detergents can create oxygen-depleted dead zones in aquatic environments, kill aquatic life, possibly disrupt the endocrine systems of humans and animals, and persist in the environment and break down into additional toxic byproducts
– “Problematic” levels of 1,4-dioxane, a potential carcinogen, were detected in original formula Tide detergent
– The plastic containers that liquid detergents come in aren’t recyclable or resuable, leading to a large volume of packaging going to the landfill. The ingredients in this formula come in cardboard boxes that are recyclable or easily break down.

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I encourage you to do your own research regarding this recipe, because one shouldn’t just assume that natural is always better. I’ve done my own research on homemade laundry detergents and this is the one that I decided on and have stuck with because it works for me.

A note on Borax, which is an ingredient I use: some sites warn against using it. However, many of them are referring to the use of boric acid, which is not what you’re using. And the primary warning when you search on Google says:

“According to 20 Mule Team Borax’s Material Safety Data Sheet, borax is a potential health hazard and should not be ingested: Sodium borate and boric acid interfere with sperm production, damage the testes and interfere with male fertility when given to animals by mouth at high doses.”

Again, it’s not boric acid and normally you don’t eat laundry detergent, especially in high doses, nor are you a lab rat, so I think we’re set. Here is an article breaking it down so you can explore this info on your own.

Borax is mineral based, meaning that it is mined and has some impact on the environment. Apparently, 20 Mule Team Borax is “extracted in California at a mine that has been lauded for it’s environmental standards. It is considered to be one of the cleanest running mines in the world.”

I’ll be searching for an even better laundry recipe, but this does the work for now. Baking soda I believe can be used as a replacement for Borax, but I’m not certain if it’s the same quantity ratio. Here are some other homemade recipes if you want to explore.

FINALLY:

Ingredients:
– Box of washing soda
– Box of Borax (both of these can usually be found in the laundry detergent aisle)
– Bar of castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s peppermint, lavender, whatever scent you like)
– optionally, tea tree oil, lemon essential oil
– cheese grater

To make this, you need 2 parts each of washing soda and Borax, 1 part of shaved soap (i.e. 2 cups and 1 cup, but this can be scaled up for however much you want to make). I don’t recommend adding more soap for extra scent or washing power—I tried that and there was too much for the water to dissolve so my clothes had sticky, non-dissolved soap pieces left on it at the end of the wash 😦

I shave the soap using an old cheese grater, usually just shaving off however much I need for that batch. One bar of soap can make you 2-3 batches of the recommended amount above.
So you measure out your 3 ingredients into an air tight container and shake. I like adding ~10-20 drops of essential oils into the mix for scent and because of their antibacterial properties (tea tree and lemon are great for cleaning). Eden’s Garden is a great place for cheap oils that don’t sacrifice quality (the make your own 6 pack is a real steal, or the top 6 set because there are TONS of uses for these, which I’ll cover in another post eventually).

Then, you just measure out ½ to ¾ cup of detergent for each load. If you’re like me and wait 2 weeks so you can fill up the whole washer, sometimes  I use a whole cup, especially for big stuff like sheets and blankets. If your load of laundry isn’t huge, maybe closer to half. Experiment and see what works for you.

Lastly, you can get yourself some reusable lavender laundry bags (get ’em at Trader Joe’s) in place of dryer sheets—eliminate waste AND smell wonderful.