7 Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts

It's the holiday season! Which means it's the season of giving. I have a great gift giving guide if you're looking for a comprehensive list of zero waste gifts, but below you'll find a several easy, last-minute gifts - mostly homemade. 

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

1. chocolates:

It's the holiday season and there are sweets at every turn, but I'm not complaining. These chocolates are so easy and delicious to make. They're so much fun and can be whipped up easily before parties. 

Place a couple in a mason jar and tie up with a ribbon to make lovely present. 

recipe for chocolates

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

2. dry shampoo:

Homemade beauty products are a great gift. I love giving consumable gifts because they'll be used up. It's so much fun to have over a group of friends and make a bunch of beauty products. 

Dry shampoo is one of my favorite things to make, it can be whipped up in a minute and is so effective. Plus who doesn't love the gift of sleeping in for a couple more minutes!?

recipe for dry shampoo

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

3. lip balm:

This a great stocking stuffer. Plus it's winter, who couldn't use a handy homemade lip balm. It slips easy into your bag or coat. It takes around 30 minutes to make. You could add a couple drops of peppermint to make it extra festive! 

You could also add some beetroot powder to give it a little tint. 

recipe for lip balm

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

4. lotion

Lotion is a classic present. I am going home for Christmas, and I am teaching my mom how to make lotion. It takes only a couple of minutes to whip up. It's a super simple DIY, but it is so impressive. 

I would add some vanilla extract to compliment the cocoa butter. It would make it smell like chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm.  

recipe for lotion

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

5. sugar scrub

This is another fun easy gift. I would love to pack several of these up for girlfriends. You could include the recipe on the card too. Once they've used the scrub up, they can fill it with more. 

I would definitely make this scrub a little more festive. I would add orange and cinnamon. Cinnamon is an antiseptic, softens and soothes dry skin, and is great for healing acne. 

recipe for sugar scrub

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

6. bulk treats

If you're really in a rush, you can load up a mason jar full of treats. I love to stop at the bulk store and fill up snacks.

IMG_5595.jpg

7. soap

This takes a little bit longer to whip up, but it's a great gift. People are really impressed when you make homemade soap. After you take the soap out of the crockpot you can add scent to make it smell nice.

It also makes six bars or you can double it for 12. That's a lot of gifts you can have on hand. 

recipe for soap

5 Easy Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts Perfect for the office, hosts, teachers or friends from www.goingzerowaste.com

I think homemade gifts have a really nice charm and are really appreciated. Are there any gifts you really enjoy making? 

Zero Waste, Ethical Engagement Rings

As most of you know, I am engaged! I am so excited to start the wedding planning process. After I announced the engagement, I received several emails asking about engagement rings. 

How do you find an ethical engagement ring? Is there such a thing as a zero waste ring? Find out more from www.goingzerowaste.com

There's a pretty high environmental and human rights cost with diamonds and gold. I think everyone is pretty familiar with the concept of conflict diamonds. 

But, did you know that a single wedding ring produces 20 tons of waste?

Mining for precious metals leaves behind toxic waste that often winds up in the ocean.

Gold mines use 182,000 tons of cyanide each year to separate the gold from the stone. This contaminates the groundwater and results in a significant loss of land. The land is stripped-mined destroying it forever.

The cyanide, poisons the ground water, killing fish and making water undrinkable or usable for irrigation. In Indonesia, they just dump the toxic waste water into the ocean.

You can read more about the problems with mining for precious metals here

So, if diamonds, gems, and precious metals present problems - how can you make better choices? 

Thankfully, the second-hand market is RICH with options. Tons of options! 

Justin and I started looking for rings at the beginning of the year. For me, the most important aspect of the ring: second hand and inexpensive.

I cannot fathom spending $1000 or more on a ring. I would much rather go on an awesome vacation! Nor can I imagine purchasing something with an up waste stream of 20 tons!

Justin surprised me with the ring, but we did go out and explore all the cool places to buy vintage rings. Here's what we found.

pawn shop:

The local pawn shop is actually where my ring came from! I had never been to a pawn shop before, and it was amazing. It looked just like a jewelry store. They had so much to offer. Tons of glass counters, mirrors, and attendants to let you try anything on.

They had an awesome selection of modern engagement rings and vintage rings. I've always been drawn to vintage and untraditional stones, but it was nice to see a large selection of both.  

antique stores:

If you love vintage rings, you have to go to an antique store. They typically have a glass counter by the register where they keep both costume and real jewelry. I had more difficulty tracking down help in the antique stores we visited, but they had some very unique rings. 

Lots of amazing cocktail rings. Some of my favorites were amethyst and amber, but they were a little too fun for my taste. I like to keep things pretty simple, but they were pretty to look at. 

etsy:

Etsy is a great option. They have a lot of vintage and antique jewelry, but there's also a lot of really talented artists that make rings. You can chat with the creator about the metal and gems and really get to know the process. 

Getting involved is always a great way to know your consumption and make an informed choice. Being an informed consumer is the most powerful thing you can do! 

eBay:

eBay has been the ideal second-hand marketplace since it's emergence in the late 90's. However, I would be pretty skeptical of high-end jewelry unless it was coming from a very reliable source with great feedback. 

pre-loved:

Did you know a lot of jewelry stores have a "pre-loved" section? The jewelry has been cleaned and inspected by a jeweler and is sold around 50% off the original price. My mom has found some fabulous deals on estate jewelry in our towns jewelry store back home. 

ethical companies: 

If you can't find something that you're looking for second hand, then look for an ethical and sustainable company. A lot of new companies even used recycled metal! I'm also really interested in these smog diamonds

But, some of my favorite ethical companies are: Fair Trade Jewellery Co., Melissa Joy Manning, Bario-Neal, and Trumpet and Horn.

They make some truly beautiful pieces for all budgets too. 

Have you ever bought vintage or second-hand jewelry? Do you have any favorite ethical companies? 

Zero Waste Periods: Period Panties and Cloth Pads

This post was crafted with Luna Pads.

Have an eco-friendly, zero waste period by switching to cloth pads or period panties. It's better for the environment, your health, and it's super frugal! Learn more about this zero waste menstruation option at www.goingzerowaste.com

There are so many ways to have a healthier and less wasteful period. Last time we talked about menstrual cups, but menstrual cups aren’t for everyone or for every situation. In fact, a lot of people wear panty liners with their cups too. 

If you don’t feel comfortable inserting anything you should check out Luna Pads. They have a huge selection of pads, panty liners, and my personal favorites - PERIOD PANTIES.  They’re magic. Magic, I tell you.

It’s organic cotton underwear, honestly, some of the most comfortable underwear I’ve ever worn. They have multiple layers of 100% cotton fleece stitched into the lining of the crotch making them super absorbent.

Have an eco-friendly, zero waste period by switching to cloth pads or period panties. It's better for the environment, your health, and it's super frugal! Learn more about this zero waste menstruation option at www.goingzerowaste.com

These are great for light days and spotting. But, for heavier days, you can add an insert into the underwear. This is a game-changer, and not just because I really like multifunctionality. This unique two-part system makes it so much easier if you have a long day ahead of you. You don’t have to switch out the entire thing, just the insert. It's really adaptable no matter your flow.

The also carry pads specifically for postpartum

how does it work:

Cloth pads work similarly to disposable pads. They have wings that snap together and they absorb your flow throughout the day. They don't have adhesive like disposable pads. I was initially worried that it might move around, but it didn't. It was locked in place all day and all night! 

After the pad is full, rinse it and wring it out under cold water. If you’re doing laundry right away you can throw it in the wash.

If you’ll be doing laundry a little later, hang it to dry. You don’t want it to mildew up your laundry.

They say the pads can be thrown in the dryer, but I really like hang drying. It saves energy and makes your clothes last a little longer. 

Have an eco-friendly, zero waste period by switching to cloth pads or period panties. It's better for the environment, your health, and it's super frugal! Learn more about this zero waste menstruation option at www.goingzerowaste.com

better for you:

"Disposable pads are made primarily of bleached wood pulp or viscose rayon, made from wood cellulose. What makes these products perform so effectively is the use of high-tech chemicals such as super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs) surfactant-laced gels and leak-proof plastic backings. The long-term health and environmental impact of these ingredients is contentious and largely unknown, but they pose the risk of cervical cancer, endometriosis, infertility, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, immune system deficiencies, pelvic inflammatory disease, and toxic shock syndrome." (Source)

Luna Pads are made with organic cotton. You never have to worry about fillers. You know exactly what will be up against your body. Plus they are wayyyy more comfortable than disposable pads. 

better for the environment: 

20 billion pads are thrown away annually in the US alone. Beyond just creating a lot of waste, think about all of the production that goes into making pads. Think about turning a tree into a fluffy synthetic pad. Think about how many chemical baths it has to go through.

How do you dispose of all that waste water? Why not just avoid the whole situation in the first place? By switching to a reusable, you're saving all the resources used in the creation process. It goes beyond just the end result of being in a landfill. 

And, Luna Pads has thought about the whole process. Even their packaging is 100% compostable. If you need to have the products shipped to you, they're really conscious about that. But, they will be in a Target near you very soon. So, you might be able to go the store and just pick them up! 

(I get so thrilled when I see eco-conscious and zero waste become mainstream!)

Have an eco-friendly, zero waste period by switching to cloth pads or period panties. It's better for the environment, your health, and it's super frugal! Learn more about this zero waste menstruation option at www.goingzerowaste.com

better for your wallet: 

The average period goes through 20 pads a cycle. Over five years the cost will range anywhere from $225 (generic) to $480 (organic). That is a lot of money. 

Luna Pads last 5-10 years. They have these awesome starter kits  already prepped at a discount. The regular starter kit costs $75. Leaving you with at least $150 savings. Think about all the chocolate or mason jars you could buy. 

beyond you:

This is probably my favorite aspect of this company. For every pad, pantyliner, diva cup, and starter kit sold, they donate an AFRIpad to girls in Uganda. AFRIpads are also made in Uganda, providing valuable jobs to the women there. 

Have any of you tried cloth pads? Do you have any tips or reccomendations?