Since our travels began on September 2nd 2014, Guillaume and I have been trying to “green” ourselves, starting with our greywater. I’d love to be able to say that all of the products that go down our drain are 100% biodegradable, so I’ve begun switching out our chemical products for biodegradable alternatives. The challenge? I use A LOT of products.
Our Greywater Set Up
Guillaume and I do not have black water, as we use a composting toilet. Our greywater is the “waste” water coming from our shower and kitchen sink. In a campground, it doesn’t matter if it’s grey or black, waste water drains into the sewer. When we’re off-grid, we use a 15 gallon portable greywater tank, which we can dump at any appropriate place. Until now, the appropriate place has always been the sewer because of the products we use. I’d like that to change.
10 PRODUCTS FOR GREEN GREYWATER:
This list contains all of the products I would like to replace in my tiny house. The products in green are the ones in which I’ve successfully found a biodegradable alternative.Toiletries: 1) Shampoo* – 365 Lavender Blend / oily + normal hair 2) Conditioner* – Acure Lemongrass + Argon Stem Cell 3) Body Soap* – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap – Lavender Shaving Cream – Men’s Aftershave Deodorant – Men’s and Women’s Toothpaste 4) Acne Cream* – 100% Pure Spot Treatment 5) Face Wash* – Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash / Oily & Combo Skin Face Lotion 6) Body Lotion* – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Lotion – Lavender Coconut Eye Cream 7) Toner* – Acure Facial Toner / Balancing Rose + Red Tea Cleaning Supplies: 8) All Purpose Spray* – Method All-Purpose Cleaner – Cucumber 9) Dishwashing Liquid* – Ultra Dishmate – Natural Almond Toilet Cleaner Laundry Soap Beauty Products Primer Blush Bronzer Foundation Powder 10) Mascara*– 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Black Tea Ultra-Lengthening Mascara Eye shadow Eye Liner Eyebrow pencil Nail Polish Nail Polish Remover Perfume – Men’s and Women’s *Packaging claims product is biodegradable *Website claims product is biodegradable ————————
Where do you find biodegradable products?
It’s actually very simple. You can shop online or you can go to a health food store. Whole Foods is a great resource, and usually they have at least one staff member dedicated to help you choose natural products.
How can you tell a product is biodegradable?
Ah yes, well you need to be a chemist. Not really, but this is a little tricky. You could do a massive amount of online research to learn how to decipher ingredient lists, trust the employees at your local health food store or pick products that have “100% biodegradable” or “readily biodegradable” written on the container. This last suggestion will limit you because many products do NOT add the biodegradable categorization to their packaging, even if the product is biodegradable.
My method? I tried my best. That’s all anyone can do. I researched online. I asked my health food store staff. But mostly, I took preference to products that were labeled as biodegradable.
Do biodegradable products really work?
The easy answer is: Yes. The longer answer is: You need to find the right product for you. I’ve found some biodegradable products to have a displeasing smell or texture. I had to stop using one shampoo because it actually made my hair feel greasier AFTER the shower. But, for the most part, I’ve been happy with the products I’ve chosen. Like anything, it takes time and patience.
1). Some biodegradable products are multi-purpose, like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. They boast that you can use this soap for 18 different things! As a tiny houser, this is a total win.
2). Home remedies also work! White vinegar and water, mixed together in a spray bottle, is an excellent affordable cleaning solution. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer.
3). Biodegradable products are more expensive, but there are affordable products as well. Choose products with simplistic packaging. Companies that care more about what’s inside rather than on the bottle are usually going to gain my respect. You can also look around at your local farmer’s market. Often there will be at least one booth for natural soaps, lotions, etc. Ask them if their product is 100% biodegradable.
4). Read the directions. Many natural products are concentrated, therefore you can buy a smaller bottle and it will last you as long as a large chemically-enhanced bottle (another win for tiny housers).
3). As a bonus, many biodegradable products are cruelty-free, vegan, manufactured with renewable energy and contained less cancerous materials.
How do you know the Honest products are biodegradable? I’m looking all over their website and haven’t found any mention of it and there are definitely some unpronounceable ingredients listed. I’m just starting to learn about this stuff so am curious as to how to find out… Thanks!