Zero Waste Wedding

 
All photos, Corey Chattmann. Hair, Beauty by Mermaid.

Our wedding was as zero-waste as it gets: thrifted clothes, no rings, vegan hot dogs at a local sit-down restaurant after. It was, however, zero-guests- just me, my husband, and the officiant (a guy working that day took blurry photos via iPhone). That was perfect for us, but when my sister got married last month, she wanted a big party with all her loved ones. She is so sweet and friends with everyone and deserved the best wedding ever. My sister tried to reduce as much of the environmental impact as possible, and all 300+ guests had an amazing time celebrating. Thanks to her careful planning, and tireless hard work on the part of her and our family, the wedding came in well under budget- it didn't even cost half the national average- and stayed low waste, with most of the trash going to recycling. 

As Lindsay pointed out, having a simple, cost-effective, eco-friendly wedding isn't easy. My sister would have avoided a lot of stress if she hired somebody else to do everything. But it wouldn't have been as memorable- people are still talking about how perfect everything was, proving that a green wedding can be beautiful and wonderful. Here are the steps we took to lessen our footprint, along with tips on throwing a zero-waste wedding for a crowd.


Invitations


Paper invites aren't necessarily the enemy of zero-waste, as long as they are thoughtful, breathtaking, and printed on quality paper. My sister chose thick, FSC-certified black paper with minimalist black and white foil stamping on a single, 4x8 card. Recyclable and non-VOC, the small format allowed more invites per sheet. She collected RSVPs, food choices, and song requests via Anrsvp.com, with a Google Voice number for non-Internet users.


Attire


The couple chose simple, ethical rings, including a sustainably sourced recycled wooden band. My sister originally wanted a vintage Dior gown from Etsy, but settled on a dress from Allure Bridals. I enjoyed going to fittings with her, and the dress was gorgeous, so I wouldn't deny anyone the experience of shopping new with family and friends for that perfect white gown. There are other ways to make a wedding eco-friendly. For accessories, she wore secondhand Jimmy Choo's, my mom's vintage pearls, and a veil handmade by my mom. Instead of buying new suits, the groomsmen wore what they already had, as did most family members. My mom and I rented jewelry for the occasion, and Beauty by Mermaid did my hair water-only.


 

Venue


Finding a venue that let us do our own catering was tricky. My sister and brother-in-law wanted a place that reflected their style and our hometown. The venue they chose was uniquely Cleveland- the former Baker Electric Motor Vehicle and American Greetings factory, with century-old hardwood floors, exposed beams, freight elevators, and metal track doors still intact. Now a mixed-use art studio, workshop, and office building (the Pussycat Dolls recorded there), we were free to wander the galleries during the reception, while a repurposed jukebox printed designs by local artists. My sister had the brilliant idea of using a friend's pedicab for a memorable entrance / getaway vehicle, and the creative industrial space was actually cool with it!


 


Decor


My sister re-used items from friends' weddings and purchased other items, like silverware and table signs, secondhand. She selected cotton / linen tablecloths and napkins instead of polyester, which we washed, air-dried, and spot-steamed on tables to save energy. The couple decided on useful, reusable favors, glass tumblers designed by my aunt with the bride and groom's names and wedding date. Everyone loved them- we used them for water and cocktails during the ceremony, but people kept saying they were perfect for bourbon :)

Instead of paper backdrops or streamers, my sister re-used a giant pallet hand-nailed from reclaimed wood and a light canopy left behind from previous weddings. My stepdad, a carpenter, did a beautiful job on wooden signs for the head table and gift table. We hand-lettered reusable copper tags in lieu of escort cards, strung across a wall in the venue. The bride put sprigs of organically-grown lavender at each place setting, and instead of sprayed floral centerpieces, used a few local orchids floating in vases with candles and hand-painted glass candleholders. Setup and cleanup took only a few hours.

 


Food


This was probably totally crazy of us, but my mom made all the food with my stepdad, me, my aunt, and grandma as sous chefs. The menu was Korean BBQ- bulgeogi, Korean fried chicken, pulled pork, rice, and seven vegetables served Chipotle-style. To reduce packaging waste, we made our own Yum-Yum sauce (poured into reusable squeeze bottles) and soy sauce, buying giant slabs- over 200 pounds- of meat from a restaurant supplier, sliced at home. My stepdad barbecued everything using grills my uncle built from repurposed materials. We bought the veggies in bulk, close to 400 pounds transported on dollies, and cooked them with my mom's Nu-Wave cooktop to save energy.

My mom and I did a cookie bar, which included macarons on thrifted platters and cake stands. Family friends helped us make cake balls and donut pops, and one fried chicken on-site in the freight elevator :) The donut pops were the biggest sources of trash- there's no composting those little plastic sticks. My stepdad and stepbrother handmade a gorgeous cake pop stand using scrap wood. Guests stripped the dessert table bare before dinner ended!

The groom purchased kegs and his parents provided the wine bottles, which we recycled after. There wasn't really any food waste- there were some leftovers, which we ate. The only area where we really could have reduced our footprint was the hot sauce. We used 25 squeeze bottles, although making it at home was a false choice. You can't deny a room full of Koreans their Sriracha.


How to Plan and Throw a Zero-Waste Wedding


  • If digital invitations aren't practical for your guests, consider using tree-free hemp, DIY plantable papersreusable fabric, or mixed-media invitesCalligraph your own invitations using pretty paper and ink, as my friend Chelsie did, or choose a company that uses plant-based, low-VOC inks, water-miscible solvents, and renewable energy. 
  • Borrow, make, or buy secondhand, choose natural fibers instead of synthetic, and use non-disposable or compostable tableware and decorations. Crochet your own wedding dress. Repurpose a windowpane instead of a guestbook or menu cards. Instead of paper place cards, paint pretty stones or guest names on glasses. Try agate slices, vintage books, or vinyl records as centerpieces, and turn old wine bottles into table runners and numbers. Give useful favors: I love these sake cups, handmade by the groom's mom.
  • Skip the caterer and do a potluck, picnic, or barbecue. This is standard for French weddings, where the food is way better than catered dishes sitting out all day. Use kegs and serve bulk wine if you can, with real glasses or mason jars, and fabric cocktail napkins. Have guests bring their own jar if necessary.
  • A green wedding doesn't mean skipping flowers. Services like Repeat Roses recycle wedding and event flowers, delivering nationwide. French people often cut flowers from their own gardens; one zero-waste French blogger told me her friends picked all their wedding florals from a nearby field. Use potted plants, as my brother-in-law's mom did at the rehearsal dinner, grow your own, or buy organic, local, and seasonal.
  • We didn't ask for gifts, and didn't take a honeymoon, and I don't regret it. However, your decision in this area is nobody's business but your own. Don't feel guilty if you want to register or get away together. If you have all the stuff you need, consider skipping a registry or including a charity, but it's also nice to pick things for your home as a couple, secondhand or not. I firmly believe travel is important for people to be well-rounded. You could ask family and friends to package gifts with reusable, non-disposable materials, like fresh flowers instead of bows, handmade cards, or canvas shopping bags and wicker laundry baskets. I usually give money in a handmade paper and wood roll, like the kind used at Indian weddings.
  • Hold the wedding in a mixed-use facility, garden, backyard, arboretum, conservatory, repurposed barn, etc. Chelsie, mentioned above, got married on the edge of a cliff found while hiking- how zero-waste is that? 



For more photos, visit Corey's Instagram. A former fashion photographer in Laguna Beach with clients like Wilhelmina NY and Ford Models LA, now Corey travels worldwide capturing weddings. His special for 2016: A complementary stylized couple photo shoot with the chance of it appearing in the Allure Bridals blog; plus, the travel cost will be waived for the first three weddings booked for 2016. For more information, visit his website.

Paris to Go

Little Black Book: Paris Beauty and Style


When I moved to Paris, I focused so much on visas and language and things that I forgot about what was really important- namely, finding a cheap place to rip the hair off my body. It took me two years to get a doctor, three years to finally take an appointment at a salon. Simple tasks, like dropping shoes off at the cobbler, filled me with unremitting anxiety- not the "anxious delicacy" of Jane Austen letters but cold sweat, break-into-hives, stomach-churning anxiety. I was the definition of white people problems, and I'm not even white! "Will they judge me because I'm foreign?" I wondered. "What if they ruin my stuff?" Record Pressing scorched my favorite dress. Baechler ripped my coat sleeves to pieces. Only a year ago, the receptionist at Clarins looked at my face, yelled, "We don't treat spots here!"and shooed me out the door. I know how important it is when you move to a new city to find your "people," so here's a petit tour des trustworthy adresses parisiennes. For my Paris arrondissement guide, click here

CARNET D'ADRESSES






  BEAUTY



Les Petits Soins

http://www.petitssoins.fr/

I have yet to get a facial in Paris, but friends swear by the chain's outposts in Oberkampf and the 7ème. Full-service spa treatments for a decent price. 

Charme d'Orient

http://www.charmedorient.fr/

Pretty hammam offering Oriental sugar waxes and zero-waste hair and skin treatments. Book an appointment online for a henna sunless tan, traditional massage, or clay mask with natural ingredients like pure argan oil, gram flour, and rassoul. If they're booked, L'Institut d'Artois can take care of all your waxing needs. Ask for an Américain or intégral if you prefer a Brazilian; maillot échancré if you just want a trim.

Dupleix Coiffure

https://www.treatwell.fr/salon/dupleix-coiffure/#tt=6

My favorite Korean salon for sleek blowouts and rejuvenating scalp massage. Offers lissage Japonais (rebonding).

Saravy

http://www.saravy.com

One of Paris' only Aveda salons, a favorite of ELLE and Vogue magazine editors. Read about my Saravy experience here.

La Clé du Barbier

http://lacledubarbier.fr/

My husband's regular place in the 5éme- they use old school methods of shaving, including zero waste-friendly straight and safety razors.

Living Room Paris

http://www.livingroomparis.com/

Looking for a non-toxic balayage? Paris' original dry cut salon is as zero-waste friendly as it gets, offering ammonia-free color enriched with grapeseed oil.

Stella

http://www.beauteindienne.com/scbi/

Nothing short of legendary, the Centre de Beauté Indienne is the best place to get your eyebrows threaded for only 7 euro.

Le Labo

https://lelabofragrances.com/fr_fr

Refill and decant your perfume bottles at the Marais or Saint Germain shops for zero waste, vegan, cruelty free fragrance (if you love refillable beauty products, Oh My Cream carries Ellis Faas).

Joelle Ciocco

http://www.joelle-ciocco.com/fr/

I hate to mention this, because everybody does and she's so pricey, but she really is the Dr. House of skin- as opposed to, like, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, because Ciocco is mean. The biologist consults and customizes a holistic routine after a lengthy interview, including questions about the kinds of shoes you like to wear and whether you want kids or not. She's one of those geniuses who can tell everything you've eaten for the past month just by looking at your skin, and she's heavy handed with extractions, which I respect- I feel like a facial isn't any good if it doesn't bring tears to my eyes.

WARDROBE



Cordonnerie des Belles Feuilles

http://www.cordonnerie-belles-feuilles-paris.fr/

Express work from a master- shoes look new in two or three days. He'll chastise you gently for not taking care of your stuff, a song-and-dance dynamic I find reassuring.

Minuit Moins 7

http://www.minuitmoins7.com/

The official cobbler of Christian Louboutin. I didn't trust MM7 at first, because all the girls at the desk are young and pretty. I prefer my cobblers elderly and wizened. Nevertheless, they do an amazing job on all shoes, including other designers- see below for their price list.

Imprimerie du Marais

http://imprimeriedumarais.fr/

Emboss or silkscreen anything at the go-to printery for Paris' best fashion houses- I'm probably wrong, but I think this is the house Raf Simons used for the Sterling Ruby fabric in Dior and I! Someone told me that and I can't remember who.

Colorium

http://www.lecolorium.com/

Accidentally bleach your favorite shirt? Want to change a pastel dress into something jewel-toned? Hidden in the 20ème, this maître teinturier will refresh or repair cherished items. The impressive roster of designer clients includes none other than Dior.

Philippe Emery

http://philippe-emery.fr/

Seamless repair work and alterations; quick turnaround. For a great embroiderer, though, go to Linge Au Coeur.


By Joseph

http://www.byjoseph.fr/


Grand Opticien is the worst. When it comes to your eyesight, you need the personal touch of this charming opticien lunetier, owned by our nice neighbor. Instead of overloading clients with a litany of options, they tell you flat-out what looks good, and what makes you look like Mark Mothersbaugh.

La Clinique du Jean

http://www.lacliniquedujean.com/

Repair beloved jeans, or get a not quite right pair tailored, shrank, or enlarged for a bespoke fit at this legendary Paris institution. Pickup and delivery offered with an unbeatable one week turnaround.

C'est Ma Robe

http://www.cestmarobe.com/

Got an invitation to a formal event, but don't want to disrupt the sanctity of a faux-capsule wardrobe? Every amazing vintage and designer dress from this rental service looks like it came from Natalie Joos' closet. If that's not your style, try L'Habibliothèque.

Sequoia

http://www.sequoiapressing.fr/

If you must dry clean, this perchloroethylene-free "pressing ecologique" (they use silicone  instead) will return garments to you in your own garment bag, with your own hangers.


 TOUT LE RESTE



Yuzuka

http://www.yuzuka.fr/

Tea and inexpensive massages in a clean, calming environment next to the Eiffel Tower (Charme d'Orient and Maison Caulières- I saw Isabel Marant there once- also do great massages).


Ostéo / Kiné

Anne Ziegler and my friend Jo are the best osteopathe and kinésithérapeute in Paris, respectively. Jo won awards all over the world, and Anne was featured in French Vogue. I broke my toe recently and Jo had me walking around Paris in heels in no time.

 Olivier Noack

01 46 36 66 26

Cat slaves, here is the kindest and most brilliant veterinarian in Paris. He put skittish Kar at ease, and though he claims not to speak English, I suspect he speaks perfectly- stacks of American veterinary journals line his shelves. He reads them for fun!

Le Bourdonnec

http://le-bourdonnec.com/

It sounds weird, but this butcher always loved animals, even as a kid. Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec oversees every aspect of the farm-to-block supply chain for the most sustainably raised meats possible. Specializing in aged cuts, the quality is unparalleled (and the reason Blend burgers taste so good). Le Bourdonnec's Rue du Cherche-Midi boutique is like Galerie Perrotin for meat! For all other food, including cheese and organic produce, click here for my Paris market guide and here for the zero-waste shopping guide.

Required reading

Submission (my husband's recommendation)

French people are impressed when you work these titles into conversation, even more so if you read them on the Métro. I like the bookshops Ofr Galerie and Le Monte en l'Air, but not Shakespeare and Company because interactions with the staff lead me to believe they only hire pretentious, self-aggrandizing blowhards. I don't recommend How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, which I finally read and found demeaning. It's like the family (not the grandmother) from Mulan wrote it to teach her how best to catch a man. I haven't lived here long, but I'm pretty sure most Parisienne lives' don’t revolve around men and clothes. 



 

Full disclosure, I haven't had a massage or wax or facial or anything in years, but well-groomed friends assure me these addresses are still reliable. In general, if you ask a French woman where she gets her hair / nails / massages done, and she recommends a hotel, you should never trust anything she says. The jacket my coolest French friends are wearing is the custom monogrammed one from Côme Editions, and everyone is crazy for Majestic Filatures t-shirts and Self Portrait dresses right now, along with classic popovers, tunics, flap pocket blouses, tucked shirts of any kind, overalls, collarless jackets, and 7/8 lengths. Also, it's not beauty or style related, but if you need the best plumber in Paris, it's Hugo Clemens. Email me for his contact information! For the best of Paris' gluten-free, click here.

Paris to Go

A Tale of Two Blowouts

  

J'ai peur des coiffeurs. The dentist? Pas de problème. No iatrophobia here, either. In my lifetime I went to the hairdresser, at most, once every two years. My mom cut my hair and tweezed my eyebrows until middle school; I was out of college before anybody touched my head again, each style more traumatic than the last. There was a period when the only haircut anyone in Cleveland did was Flock of Seagulls. Another stylist gave me what is perhaps best described as "pre-pubescent Golden Girls." Mixed-race locks are tricky. "Don't take this the wrong way, but... are you black?" one stylist asked me, confused. "Your texture is like mine, only, not soft." She wasn't wrong. If I'm not careful, my hair easily veers into Louis XIV territory.

It's been awhile since my last water-only update, and instead of boring cross-cultural comparisons, I decided to be your anthropological test bunny, examining the coiffures endemic to each country. There is, after all, no more faithful representation of humanity than its hair salons. "Brushing" in France is what a blowout is to Americans. Whereas blow-dry bars exist even in my Kraft Ranch-dipping, LeBron-loving birthplace, Paris has nothing of the kind. Rather, many women I know have standing appointments- a fact learned when my friend Claudine announced she found a new, cheaper salon than the one she visited for years, and the money saved on weekly styling could buy a bottle of whiskey.

Pre-blowout natural texture

In Cleveland, I did a banana hair mask and asked for water-only at the shampoo bowl. The stylist complied. "Probably ten years ago, someone would fuss about it. Today, we all know there's bad stuff in products," she said, pointing to her ponytail. "I wash my hair every two weeks- that's why it's up now." 

There's no denying she did a good job. She didn't flinch when chunks of banana flew out of my hair. She even complimented the cut, which I did with a safety razor in the bathtub. Still, I couldn't help but think I looked like My Pretty Pony. It was sleek and neat, but it didn't look touchable. I felt that, at any moment, I could be kidnapped and carried to Midnight Castle.


Blowout #1: Test-driving an Asian version of "The Rachel"

Finding a stylist in Paris was... intimidating. Maybe I'm overreacting, but some seemed like bullies. One pulled a grey hair from my scalp. "Your face is too fat for long hair," another pronounced. Finally, I found Saravy, one of four Paris salons carrying Aveda products (UPDATE: if you prefer a Korean salon, Dupleix Coiffure is amazing! I had a great blowout there for an amazing price- and my scalp felt squeaky clean). The interior was serene and calming. I arrived ten minutes early for my appointment, and Saravy, the eponymous owner, offered me a pot of mint green tea with fresh fruit.

French coiffeurs take pride in their consultations. They look at your clothes, face shape, and lifestyle before attempting a cut. I slipped into a silk robe and went to the sink, where Sandra, my stylist, elevated the footrest via remote control. Images of sunrise above a seaside mountain played on the wall. She massaged my scalp with water and started brushing. "I've never seen an Asian with curly hair!" she exclaimed.

I told her I lived in France three years, and that my French should be better by now. Sandra agreed. "I love the show Orange is the New Black," she said, curling my hair around a brush, shaping it with her fingers. "If I went to America, and asked for a wavy blowout, could they do it?"

"I don't think so. They only iron my hair. I prefer this. It's more natural!"

 
Blowout #2

I love the result! I feel like I'm finally in on the secret for perfect French girl hair. It's age-appropriate and matches my outfits. Best of all, Sandra didn't try to make me buy stuff or pressure me into unwanted treatments. For her, straightening was unthinkable. I made another appointment right away.

I like the French blowout better because Americans are always trying to make me look like someone else. They're always saying, "Why don't we do Victoria's Secret hair?" or "Why don't we try a Taylor Swift bob?" French stylists, in general, seem to prefer the natural texture and color of hair, which may be why Parisian highlights are barely perceptible. French women cut their hair more often, I'm told, so they can air-dry or wear their hair messy, and it still looks nice. P.S. Yes, that's a new t-shirt, $3 at Volunteers of America. Somebody poured bleach on my old ones, resulting in gaping holes, so I went to the thrift store and replaced them in seven minutes... I'll explain later.

Saravy

29, Rue Saint Sauveur
75002 Paris

Paris to Go

Zero Waste, Plastic Free Alternatives Master List



Below are DIY projects, recipes, and plastic-free recommendations for common household items. This is meant as a reference, not to encourage shopping. Most plastic-free items today seem tailored to the sort of customer who drinks from a mason jar, attends "flower potlucks," and pays $250 for decorative twigs to festoon their reclaimed wood farmhouse table. If you already have plastic versions of these items, by all means, use them first, then make your own or hit the thrift store. Online shops like Buy Me Once or upcycled / reused marketplaces such as Kuttlefish are also good resources.


Arts, Crafts, Office Supplies



I save packing materials and reuse them, but when shipping things to the US or packing fragile items, clothes and sheets always keep glass and liquids safe. This last trip, my husband brought back a suitcase full of beer wrapped in socks and underwear and nothing broke! Vintage papers, notebooks, stationery, and arts and crafts supplies can be purchased at Au Grand Magasin in Paris 11ème.

Household



People make fun of parents that buy wooden blocks and handcrafted toys for their children, but my brothers and sisters and I always had fun with them (if I'd gotten the metal pedal or wooden soapbox car I always wanted, I'd be a better driver today). Perhaps the problem is the kids are boring, not the toys. My friends buy plastic-free thrift store toys for their children, who are happy, creative, and well-adjusted. You might also consider joining a toy library or organizing a toy swap.

This goes for everything on the list, but borrow or buy household items, including electronics and appliances, used where possible. For example, when he met me, my husband took one look at my seven-year-old flip phone and gave me his old smartphone. If buying secondhand isn't realistic, maintain and repair items instead of buying new, which is something I think everybody does anyway. I re-use a crate to hold recyclables, and a large glass jar for compost scraps.


Personal care 


  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Beauty
  • Birth kit
  • Birth control: Not that I'm advocating or detracting from any form of birth control, it's a personal decision whether you use plastic of not, but some use a fertility monitor or practice natural birth control instead of hormonal options, others opt for an IUD
  • Bug repellent
  • Breath mints / gum
  • Breath spray
  • Blush / Bronzer: Beetroot powder (make your own, or buy a lead-free version) or cocoa powder
  • Concealer
  • Cough medicine: My doctor always said dark chocolate was the most effective cough medicine, and he's right! He graduated from Oxford and Cambridge with honors so it's not like he's some quack or anything. For homemade cough drops, click here.
  • Curlers: Rag or pin curls
  • Deodorant- baking soda
  • Dry shampoo- cocoa powder, cornstarch
  • Eyeliner: Kohl / kajal (not Middle Eastern or Asian, which can contain lead), cobalt ultramarine powder, Fat and the Moon eye coal
  • Eye shadow: Turmeric powder, spirulina, clays, sage powder, or cocoa works; click here for DIY
  • Hair dye: Nettle leaf, black walnut hull, sage, and henna color brown tones. Beet powder, hibiscus, rosehips, and saffron give a red tinge. Lemon, quassia chips, turmeric, and chamomile dye blond hair or highlights. Click here for instructions.
  • Hairspray- lemon / lime juice or sugar water
  • Hair ties
  • Heating pad: Fill a cotton bag with rice and warm it up.
  • Feminine hygiene- switch to a cup, natural sponges, or washable pads (for DIY instructions click here) and, though tampons are not ideal, reusable hemp tampons. Period panties are intriguing, but so far I could only find ones made of plastic.
  • Floss- siwak
  • First aid / medicine
  • Hairbrush- wood and natural rubber
  • Lotion or lubrication- DIY mango butter, bulk oil, especially olive or coconut. Note: If your doctor or veterinarian recommended KY Jelly for thermometers, do not substitute.
  • Mascara
  • Nail clippers / file: Stainless steel, bamboo, or glass
  • Nail polish remover: Best to skip vernis ongles, but some soybean oil removers come packaged in glass
  • Perfume: DIY or refill your Le Labo bottles in-store (cruelty free) 
  • Q-tips / cotton pads- I've never used Q-Tips- don't your ears get clean every time you take a shower? Try a hemp washcloth to remove makeup, or reusable cotton rounds. 
  • Razor / shaving cream- safety razor and unpackaged soap
  • Shampoo: water only, soap, clay, rye flour (for fine hair), gram flour (thick hair), bulk
  • Straightener: 6 ways to straighten your hair naturally
  • Sunless tanner: Henna, cocoa powder self tanning lotion
  • Sunscreen 
  • Tissues: handkerchiefs or Hankybook
  • Toilet paper: soap and water, recycled (packed in paper), or family cloth
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste- siwak, bamboo, and baking soda
  • Tooth whitener: Turmeric or activated charcoal
Ellis Faas, Fat and the Moon, Elate Cosmetics, and Kjaer Weis are the favorite makeup brands in the zero waste community right now.

Wardrobe



Kitchen


  • Almond milk
  • Bean sprouts
  • Blender- plastic-free, or eat whole fruits and vegetables
  • Baby bottle: glass (that's what my mom used for all of us!) or stainless steel
  • Cling wrap- cloth towels, jars, or covered glass and stainless steel containers
  • Coffee filters- French press
  • Dish rack- I just use a cloth towel, but choose metal drying racks if necessary
  • Dish soap- bar soap or castile
  • Fish sauce
  • Flour
  • Food processor- mortar and pestle, ricer, plastic-free or secondhand food processor
  • Homemade food coloring
  • Ice cube tray
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Meat grinder- have butcher grind meat, then place directly into jars, or use at home grinder
  • Mustard
  • Nut milks
  • Noodle cups: DIY in a mason jar
  • Olive oil
  • Paneer
  • Paper towels- flour sack towels
  • Parchment paper / muffin liners- generally compostable, although I don't use aluminum foil or parchment when recipes call for them. Food turns out fine. My mom uses silicone muffin pans and macaron mats; silicone behaves as a plastic, but can be fully recycled. 
  • Pasta- buy in bulk, or, if celiac, make it fresh. When I have leftover mashed potatoes I make gnocchi out of it- add rice, almond, or coconut flour and one egg or vegan egg replacement (I like chia gel), then form with your hands.
  • Pickles
  • Popsicle mold
  • Quark
  • Refrigerator- click here to store food without the refrigerator, here for a DIY zeer pot.
  • Rice flour
  • Salad spinner- use cloth or plastic-free
  • Slow cooker- bring double-handled pot to temperature, then wrap in wool blanket and place in covered basket
  • Soy sauce- here or here, for soy-free sauce. Vegans can substitute vegetable broth for beef/chicken, or just use coconut aminos.
  • Sparkling water- seltzer bottle
  • Straws- DIY, skip, or buy stainless steel / bamboo
  • Starch
  • Tapioca pearls
  • Tea bags- teapot with glass or ceramic filter, tea ball
  • Tortillas
  • Vinegar
  • Water bottles- secondhand canteen or Klean Kanteen
  • Whipped cream- shake cream and sugar in a jar
  • Ziploc bags- glass or stainless steel containers (good for freezing), drawstring cloth bags. Click here for zero-waste food storage suggestions.

As for exercise equipment like weights, medicine balls, and yoga mats, I have a friend who is doing the Kayla Itsines BBG and she uses a towel and a big potted plant or big jugs of water instead. I walk eight miles a day and up / down seven flights of stairs carrying groceries so I hate working out, but I like plyometric routines and using a chair or table for tricep dips. For basic zero-waste food tips, click here. For everything I own, click here.


Paris to Go