Zero Waste Wedding Planning Progress

Even though the wedding isn’t for another nine months or so, we’ve gotten chest deep into wedding planning. One of the main reasons why I haven’t been on blogging about zero waste in Hawaii.

So for the last couple of weeks I have been consulting both mine and Waiemi’s mom about how the wedding should go and what we will need. We have since managed to half our wedding size and located our venue for both the ceremony and reception. Our plans have changed dramatically since I last posted in April.

  1. We are no longer having our wedding at Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo. Instead, we have chosen to move the ceremony and reception to Waimea at Anna Ranch Heritage Center. It is much more cozy, flexible, and fits our img_0830ideal wedding after much contemplation. We also decided to go with a rustic theme that was eco-friendly.
  2. We have settled on a late morning ceremony with a noon reception so everyone can drive home safely in the daytime.
  3. We have managed to incorporate zero waste into our wedding planning in the form of biodegradable, compostable paper goods and utensils. Here is a picture of the cups I ordered off of Amazon that are 100% plant based and compostable. How cool is that?! (I have provided a link to the product so you can check it out for yourself).

As the other package comes in, I will post another blog about the products we bought. So far we have managed to get a majority of the wedding planning done and I huge chunk of me wants to get married soon because I am so excited and amped from wedding planning.

Decorations are coming along. Because we decided to have the reception in Anna Hall, there isn’t much need for decorations so I decided that simple mason jar succulents and repurposed wine bottles would be perfect for the decorations. There will be an incorporation of a lot of twine lace and burlap, but it will be perfect. I can’t wait!


If you have any ideas to help with a Zero Waste wedding, please check out Our Wedding Page here on the blog to see what we already have planned and you can comment your suggestions below this blog post.

Breakfast Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is a really good breakfast recipe that can be meal prepped over the weekend. You can add whatever you want into the bell peppers as long as you have bell peppers, eggs, and some form of greens. This recipe is for two people because I made it for Waiemi and I for a week’s worth of breakfasts.

10 servings
35 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 large bell peppers (I used both red and yellow) – $5.50/lb @ Downtown Hilo Farmer’s Market
  • 10 eggs – $3.00/dozen @ Target
  • 1/2 cup of chopped spinach – $3.99 @ the Locavore store
  • 1 onion – $3.00/2 onions @ Downtown Hilo Farmer’s Market
  • Salt and pepper; to taste

I added potatoes, bacon, and cheese to ours. If you add cheese, add some in the mix and some on top.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut bell peppers in half and remove seeds. Place peppers on a baking sheet and bake for 5 mins.
  3. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Remove peppers from the oven and spoon the mixture into each pepper. Sprinkle the top with cheese and place back into the oven for about 25 mins or when eggs are set.
  5. Serve eggs immediately.

You can store the peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days, Reheat in oven or microwave.

***DO NOT PUT PEPPERS IN A PLASTIC CONTAINER!!!! The smell will never leave the container no matter how many times and how hard you wash it. Trust me. Use stainless or glass.

 


 

This was a really good recipe. I especially loved the bacon and potatoes we put into ours. If you decide to put bacon, don’t forget to cook the bacon a little bit first. We bought frozen potato medley with bell peppers and onions, so we had extra veggies. We also used the toaster oven since mom’s oven was broken, it worked just as good, just had to do two batches.

It was super convenient for breakfast throughout the week. The only thing I regret was not putting it into the toaster oven to reheat rather than the microwave, it got a bit runny. Also, next time I want to add more potatoes and bacon. Yum!

Composting Can’s and Cannot’s

Here is a list of things you can compost and what things you should not compost. For detailed information about composting, check out the United States EPA website.

Can

  • Fruit and vegetable waste
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • UNBLEACHED paper
  • Tea bags
  • Disease-free houseplants
  • Hair (unbleached and undyed), fur, and nail clippings (unpolished)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cardboard
  • Yard waste
  • 100% Natural fabrics like cotton and wool
  • Dust sweepings and vacuum dirt
  • Sawdust and wood shavings
  • Hay and straw
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Dryer lint

Cannot

  • Bones
  • Meat
  • Feces
  • Cheese and dairy
  • Plastic-lined cartons
  • Cooking oils
  • Disposable diapers
  • Heavily coated paper, like magazines
  • Disposable feminine products
  • Metallic wrapping paper or glitter
  • Fleece or any other non-natural fabric
  • Plastic of any kind
  • Stickers
  • Any toxic chemicals
  • Coal or charcoal
  • Soiled cat litter

 

When things successfully compost, it will turn back into dirt and you will be able to use it for gardening or give back to the Earth. Common sense says don’t put anything plastic, chemical, or animal-based into your compost pile, otherwise your compost will have a bad smell and be too toxic to grow anything with. Use your best judgement when you encounter something not on the list. Good luck!

Zero Waste Tips: Part 2

Here are more zero waste tips to transition your home into a zero waste home.

Bathroom

  1. Use 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper. Go for the more environmentally friendly toilet paper that’s individually wrapped in paper or install a bidet attachment to your toilet.
  2. Use an alternative option to commercial deodorant. Commercial deodorant comes in a lot of plastic packaging and they are packed with chemicals that aren’t healthy for your body. Try making your own with baking soda and Himalayan pink salt (recipe here) or use an alum stone.
  3. For shaving, use a safety razor and shaving soap. Also, instead of using shaving gel or cream, try using just regular soap and lather where you need it and shave.
  4. Refill your bottles with bulk shampoo and conditioner. There’s also a no-poo option for those who have short hair. Rinse your hair, massage baking soda, then rinse with vinegar for shine. You can also use a shampoo bar. Instead of hairspray, try lemon water in a spray bottle. To go longer between washes, try cornstarch in bulk instead of dry shampoo.
  5. For body and face soap, find a package-free solid soap. It helps eliminate the plastic packaging when you use bar soaps. To exfoliate, use bulk baking soda. For a mask, use bulk clays like bentonite mixed with water or apple cider vinegar.
  6. Switch from toothpaste to homemade tooth powder in a glass jar. You eliminate the plastic packaging and chemicals. You can find the recipe for a homemade tooth powder here. Also, switch out your plastic toothbrush for a compostable bamboo toothbrush.
  7. Reduce your cosmetics and consider homemade substitutes. Use cocoa powder as a bronzer. Use a homemade balm for eyes, lips, hair and nails. Try to replace disposable pads and tampons with a reusable liner or menstrual cup.
  8. Nail care. All you need for your nails is a nail clipper, stainless steel file, and a homemade balm for moisture and shine.
  9. Forget about Q-tips. They’re bad for you anyway. Do some research for more organic and healthier options to clean your ears.
  10. Other tips. You can also compost your hair and nail clippings, put a jug of water in your toilet tank to require less water to flush, and collect water in a bucket while you’re waiting for the shower to warm up and then use that water to water plants.

Other Zero Waste Alternatives

Along with our older post about Top 10 Ways to Start Going Zero Waste, here are a few more alternatives to every day items in your home that you can switch to on your journey to zero waste.

1 Makeup remover wipes → coconut oil and reusable cotton rounds
Instead of using chemically-filled wipes to wipe off your makeup only to inevitably end up at the landfill, purchase some reusable cotton rounds and coconut oil. It’s a healthier alternative and you can wash the cotton rounds.

2 Wrapping paper → newspapers and biodegradable twine
Instead of buying rolls of expensive (or cheap) wrapping paper for Christmas and birthdays, use newspapers and comics that are laying around the house. For larger gifts, you’ll need multiple sheets and, unfortunately, tape. For gifts that can use one sheet, use biodegradable twine to keep the paper together instead of tape. Then your loved one can recycle the newspaper and compost the twine.

3 Plastic cutting boards → wooden cutting boards
The plastic cutting boards are going to end up at the landfill where it will take hundreds of years to break down. Every single plastic item that was ever made still exists today. If you switch to wooden cutting boards you can upcycle them at the end of their lives and create wall art or something artsy. Bamboo cutting boards would probably be best.

4 Plastic cooking utensils → bamboo cooking utensils
Same concept applies to cooking utensils as the cutting boards.

5 Plastic ice trays → stainless steel ice trays
Stainless steel ice trays are way more expensive, but they last a lot longer. They do require a lever (which if you buy from Amazon, it will come with one) to get the ice cubes out of the tray; and all the cubes come out at one time, but then you can save what you don’t use and refill the tray.

6 Conventional dish soap → bulk castile soap
Castile soap in bulk is cheaper than buying the individual (or big) bottles from stores and you avoid all the plastic when you use a glass jar to fill up on castile soap. At Island Naturals at Hilo Shopping Center, they have castile soap in bulk for under $15 a pound and they come in different scents. I haven’t found out how you get it from the pump bottle to the checkout but I will ask as soon as I get down there. I will post a blog about the many uses of castile soap soon.

7 Plastic dish rack → reusable cloth drying
Instead of using a plastic dish rack to put your dishes to dry, just hand dry them and put them away. Ask someone with you to help dry the dishes while you wash. Dish racks collect moisture and, if they look anything like my mom’s, mold as well. My mom’s dish rack is 100% plastic and there are bits on it that are supposed to hold the plates upright that are broken and she refused putting anything under the far end so water could drain out into the sink so the water just sits there and mold started growing. Not a pretty sight, but I can’t tell her what to do. Don’t be like my mom and her dishes, dry your dishes and put them away. Saves waste and money buying a new rack every few months or years.

8 Nonstick pan → cast iron pan
Nonstick pans don’t stay nonstick forever and what do people do with their no-longer-nonstick pans? Toss them. Cast iron pots and pans last a lifetime and they have a nonstick surface. A good health benefit they have: iron leaching. Might sound dangerous but you do need iron in your diet to remain healthy. However, they are fairly high-maintenance as well as very heavy.

9 Conventional cleaning supplies → white vinegar
Somehow white vinegar is supernatural. Not only is it made from natural ingredients, it is also a massive all-purpose cleaner. Straight vinegar or mixed with some water will replace just about every cleaner you have under your sink. I will post a blog about the benefits of white vinegar soon.

Making these little changes could make all the difference for the environment.

Zero Waste Tips: Part 1

Here are some zero waste tips to incorporate around your home. Let’s start in the kitchen, the heart of the home.

Kitchen

  1. Use alternatives to paper and plastic disposables. Put down those paper towels and drop those plastic sandwich baggies! Look for alternatives to those products that can only be used once or twice and then you ship them off to the landfill. Use reusable rags that can be washed in the washing machine (hang dry these guys to save electricity). Instead of plastic lunch containers and baggies, use stainless steel containers. Cling wrap and aluminum foil can be swapped out for beeswax moldable wraps. Take a look around your kitchen and see what can be replaced with a sustainable and reusable option.
  2. Buy in bulk or at the counter. Bring your reusable bags, jars, and bottles for dry goods, wet items, and liquids. If you know a place that will happily use your containers, don’t forget to bring them with you. If you’re not sure if your store will allow it, ask. It never hurts to ask. Reusable bags are good for small, dry goods like grains, nuts, and potatoes. Jars are good for meats, fish, butters, and cheese. Bottles are good for oils, shoyu, and castile soap.
  3. If you cannot find it bulk, find a supplier or make it yourself. Bring your jar to the ice cream shop (Ask if local shops will be able to fill your jar). Take a pillow case to the bakery for bread. That way you don’t take home the plastic bag. Bring your own bottles to wineries and breweries. Or if you can’t find certain things in bulk, make it yourself at home like salad dressings, jams, juice, or hummus.
  4. Shop the farmers market. Most vendors will take your egg cartons back and they’ll let you use your own reusable bags. Your veggies will also most likely be free of plastic and stickers.
  5. Learn to love tap water. Ditch the plastic bottles of water. If you live on catchment, invest in some heavy duty filtration system. As long as you boil the water, it’ll be safe to cook with. That and get your drinking water in bulk. See if you can get glass jugs, it’ll be heavier, but less waste.
  6. Use bulk alternatives of natural cleaning supplies. Castile soap can be used as a dish/hand cleaner, baking soda can be used as a scrubber with a compostable cleaning brush. Purchase dishwasher detergent in bulk.
  7. Turn your trash can into a big compost keeper. Use the tiny composter from the stores as your trash can.
  8. Reinvent leftovers before they go bad. Use what recipes you have and only keep those that can be achieved with zero waste in mind. If you don’t like to eat the same meal twice, spice it up a bit and put your own twist on leftovers so it doesn’t waste.
  9. Invest in a pressure cooker. It halves the cooking time on most dishes.
  10. Some additional tips. Reuse single-side printed paper and receipts for grocery shopping and errand lists. Use your lettuce cleaning water as water for your plants. Open your oven after baking to warm your home in the winter.

Zero Waste Cleaning

A lot of cleaning supplies that we purchase from the store are packaged in a plastic container and filled with chemicals. Here are some easy tips to reduce waste from your cleaning routine.

Multipurpose Cleaner
In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and 2 cups water. If you want a scent, add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil. Shake well before using.

Homemade Scrub
You can eliminate commercial bleach scrubs and plastic packaging with this recipe for sinks and countertops. Thoroughly mix 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup coarse salt in a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Put in a container with a shaker lid. For extra whitening, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Cleaning Rags
Avoid using paper towels when cleaning, save money and use fabric squares from old socks, sheets, towels, or shirts. Cut them up and sew the edges, so they don’t fray and break apart in the wash.

Floor Cleaner
In a bucket, add a couple of drops of dish soap and warm water.

Stainless Steel Cleaner
Put a small amount of olive oil on a rag and rub onto stainless steel until shiny.

Room Spray
In a spray bottle, add filtered water and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil.