my zero waste survival kit

Contrary to what you might think, zero waste living has been fun. It's been making me feel awfully good. Reducing your trash is good for your soul as well as the planet, it seems.

How do I go about my daily business without accumulation trash? Truth is, some days I don't. Some days I fail miserably and the contents of my failure get placed in my trash jar for all to see:

This is two month's worth of trash. In my defence, the jar may look full but it's all squashable stuff: netting used to hold a pork shoulder together, from farmers' market; synthetic thread from clothes, receipts I didn't get time to refuse, ear bud, fruit stickers, chocolate bar wrappers from moments of weakness.

All other days (which to be fair to myself, are most days) I fly through with no trash accumulated whatsoever. Here's first a poorly illustration of my utensils and below it a list for those who prefer words:

Dental care

I use a homemade paste or toothy tabs from Lush. My toothbrush is made from bamboo and natural bristles and is compostable.


I use a homemade paste or an alum crystal. The homemade paste I concocted with things I had in the pantry. I wore it during a recent trip to Cairns and I swear I didn't smell, not a smidgen! It's amazing stuff. See recipe down below.


I use wooden bristle brushes and cloth napkins instead of disposable sponges and wipes. I make my own bench spray and I use Ecostore dish liquid in their new sugarcane packaging.

Plastic wrap, Deli items

I use beeswax wraps. My favourite are Gingham & Wax, made in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

Takeaway coffee

I use an old jam jar. Best 'reusable cup' I've ever had.

Takeaway sandwiches, snacks

I give the sales person as cloth napkin to use instead of their disposable wrapping.

Produce, grocery shopping

Use cloth bags and old plastic mesh bags (the kind that oranges often come in) which I've saved over the years.


I take my own containers. The butcher weighs them first to zero the scales, then adds my desired contents.


I buy unpackaged olive oil soap from my local farmers' market and BYO my own container to fill up on their liquid castile soap.

Recipe for homemade deodorant

Equal quantities coconut oil, cacao butter and bicarb soda (I used 3 tbsp of each)
10 - 20 drops essential oil (I used lemon and wild orange)

Slowly melt all ingredients except for essential oil in an enamel pot. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add essential oils. Stir well and pour into glass container. Allow to set in the fridge, stirring occasionally to avoid ingredients splitting or settling into different levels.

I keep the paste on my bathroom bench. It stays pretty solid unless you're in a tropical climate.

Got any questions, comments, tips or advice? Sharing is caring:


  1. Thanks for the list Maria. Going zero waste is my challenge for 2016 (scarily close now, isn't it!), and I am definitely getting some of those things - like beeswax wraps - to make life easier.

  2. Hi Maria, thanks for your motivating posts and candid honesty (weak choc bar moments! I seem to have loads of Can you tell me, does the deodorant paste 'flake' and how do you apply? Just with your fingers?

    1. Hi, thanks Antonella! Nope the paste hasn't flaked for me. I just warm it up in my hands and apply with fingers. It is easily absorbed by skin.

  3. Congratulations! I am amazed!
    You've inspired me to watch what goes into my bin from now on. Really like your butcher idea.

  4. This is a great post - I love the illustration. Living zero waste can be fun, right?! :)

  5. Is there anything i could use in place of cacao butger. Thats hard for me to find.

  6. Survival Things Our Great-Grandfathers Built Or Did Around The House

    People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.

    These guys were the last generation to practice basic things-for a living-that we call survival skills now.

    Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did Or Built Around The House.

    Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800s for up to three years?

    Because this is what will happen after the next SHTF event.

    Click here to watch the video and spread the knowledge.



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