ra-Ra-ra-ra-ra (Part Two of Five)

Photo: cosmo.ph

Our house is under renovation, and majority of my belongings are in boxes. When the renovations are over, I’ll be able to take a look at my things with a fresh perspective, and have more courage and determination to get rid of the things that only take up space. Less but better.

In my attempt to clean out my junk, I saw some things I’ve asked people to buy abroad in bulk because they were cheaper: sheet masks, electric toothbrush heads, and tampons.  In hindsight, it may not have been the smartest move, especially since I’m trying to reduce my stuff and go zero-waste. I’m wondering if it would be a waste to just throw them away, or use them, go for the greener alternative, and then never buy them again.

I have yet to come across a blog post that tells you how to transition from being relatively green-minded to hardcore zero-waste. Many people write about the 5 R’s, give lots of practical ideas, and then suddenly they can fit a year’s worth of trash in a mason jar.

While I’m not fully ready to do that, to begin the lifestyle transition, I can start reducing what I have and refusing what I don’t. Aside from getting rid of the things I don’t need, I need to take a look at the things I use and see if there are friendlier alternatives, especially for the disposables.

Do you know that feeling when you want to eliminate temptation so you end up giving into it? My most common encounter with this feeling is when there is food I shouldn’t have (chocolate) staring at me in the eye. The most effective solution to get rid of the food is to eat it, and then “never again”.

That’s the same feeling I have with my non-environmentally friendly stock.

Here are some examples:

1. Sheet masks
I have a slight obsession with skincare products, and I have been looking for friendlier alternatives to my weekly sheet mask regimen. I initially looked for how to reuse a sheet mask, but it seems like everyone is against it because of bacteria buildup and whatnot. Its advantage over other products is that it “traps” the essence or serum on your face.

My skin looks slightly better a day after using a sheet mask, but I don’t think it’s worth the environmental harm the packaging will ultimately cause, even if sheet masks are supposedly biodegradable.

Solution: Use up all my sheet masks, never buy (or accept) them in the future, and stick to sleeping packs or heavy moisturizer.

2. Electric toothbrush heads
Electric toothbrush heads clean teeth better than regular toothbrushes do, but they are made of plastic. Zero-waste people have been using biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes as an alternative to the deadly plastic toothbrush. I might hop on this ship – once I’ve finished up my two-year supply of electric toothbrush heads.

Solution: Keep you posted

3. Tampons
I can’t think of a worse single-use product I use regularly. Tampons are notbiodegradable, and neither are the plastic applicators that come with it. I tried using tampons with biodegradable applicators, but had several bad experiences with them, so I had to stick to the status quo.

I recently started using a menstrual cup to reduce my waste. I’m still trying to get over the learning curve, so there are still some pads involved, but I’ll make it eventually!

Solution: Finish up my supply of tampons, get over the learning curve of the menstrual cup, and stick to the cup! Reduce waste!

These three items are things I use almost daily. If I am able to reduce what I have now and choose the greener options next time, I can ultimately reduce my waste, and get a few steps closer to having a year’s worth of trash in a mason jar! You can do it, too!

If you have other small steps on reducing waste, or if you know any zero-waste blogs that document the transition to zero-waste, you know where to share it. The first person who comments with a concrete example of reducing waste (with photos!) get a couple of sheet masks from me (meet ups only)! You can send the photos to berns [dot] esguerra [at] gmail [dot] com.

PS - I have stocks of Nature Republic tea tree, aloe (my fave!) and royal jelly


  1. Hi bernalou.com - Sent you an e-mail with photos of a trip to Tim Horton's that my friend denisedalusong.com made last week. We brought our own plastic container for donuts and refused plastic straws! Hope 2 win for better skin.

    1. Hi Marielle! Got your email. Congratulations! You are second to none and have won the contest! Enjoy the win for your skin!

    2. Thank you! Hope you have more contests soon!


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