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zero waste toiletry kit

What’s in a zero waste toiletry kit?!

I’m spending the week at the beach and thought what a perfect opportunity to talk to you about what’s in my zero waste toiletry kit. I’m travelling light this trip, because let’s be honest, on a beach vacation I want to either be in my bathing suit or my pajamas. My personal care routine is just as minimal as my travel wardrobe while visiting the seaside.

zero waste toiletry kit

Quick Zero Waste Toiletry Checklist:

  • Bamboo Toothbrush
  • ZW Toothpaste
  • ZW Deodorant
  • Safety Razor
  • ZW Sunscreen
  • Hairbrush

Zero Waste Toothpaste and Bamboo Toothbrush

I’d say the very basic foundation of a zero waste toiletry kit would be a great zero waste toothpaste, whether homemade or store bought, and a bamboo toothbrush. I use the zero waste tooth paste carried in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop and a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush. To learn more about why you should switch to a natural and ZW toothpaste, check out this recent blog post of mine here!

zero waste toiletry kit

Zero Waste Deodorant

Plastic free deodorant is a must for zero waste travels, especially for hot days at the beach! Many zero waste enthusiasts use DIY deodorant recipes, but I am a huge fan of the PITS natural & vegan deodorant that comes in a glass jar. It’s the first natural deodorant I’ve found that is effective for hot sweaty days in Georgia.

zero waste deodorant

Stainless Steel Safety Razor

I made the switch from disposable plastic razors to a stainless steel safety razor a couple of years ago, and it has been one of my absolute favorite ZW switches. Not only do I not have to worry about tossing plastic razors on the regular, but in my opinion a safety razor gives a much closer shave. I take my safety razor when travelling, but that’s a personal preference. Totally optional!

Zero Waste Sunscreen

I currently use a zero waste sunscreen from Butterbean Organics. It works great, and it comes in a little metal tin that can be reused. Is there a ZW sunscreen that you really like?? I would love to hear what sunscreens you have experimented with. An added bonus, if you’ve found an effective ZW sunscreen that’s also vegan! I’m running low on my Butterbean sunscreen and would love to try out some other brands.


My hairbrush that I carry in my zero waste travel kit is made of *gasp* plastic. I just wanted to point out that when transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle, you don’t need to toss every single item of plastic in your home!! My hairbrush works just fine, and I plan to use it until it’s absolutely worn out. I will be happy to hunt for a more environmentally conscious hairbrush after!

Not Pictured

For this week’s trip, my toiletry kit was pretty minimal. My accommodation’s here included shampoo and soap. However, on any other trip I would’ve probably brought a few slivers of my shampoo and soap bars in a re-purposed Altoids tin. I also normally travel with makeup but again, not much need for makeup when most of my time is spent at the water! Also, if it happened to be the week of my cycle I would’ve brought my Diva Cup. Not pictured, although I did bring it with me in my purse, my plastic free, vegan lip balm. My lips are a little chapped from spending so much time in the sun. I’m so glad I brought it on my trip!

What’s in your zero waste toiletry kit??

What personal care items do you bring when travelling zero waste?



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zero waste deodorant

zero waste deodorant

For the past several years, I’ve been hunting for a good, natural deodorant option that actually works. Perhaps my pits are just extra smelly, but I’ve really struggled with finding one that’s effective. My hunt for a natural deodorant started long before my hunt for a zero waste deodorant. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to find a both natural and plastic free deodorant a few months ago. But we will get to that later. So let’s talk about why I decided to switch to a natural deodorant first!

Why Go Natural?? 

There’s been much debate in the past few years over the safety of standard deodorants. And to be honest, there still isn’t a clear answer as to whether or not standard deodorants are dangerous or not. Recently, many researchers are discussing the theory of breast cancer being caused in part by the use of deodorant with the ingredient aluminum. Doctors have stated that most cancerous tumors are found in the upper fatty tissue quadrant for those with breast cancer, and this location generally comes in quite a lot of contact with deodorant and antiperspirant products.

It’s a correlation but not necessarily cause and effect. Much more research and studies need to be done to make a clearer conclusion about the effects of deodorant. However, until then, I’d rather be certain to keep my body safe from harmful chemical so I believe it’s best to find a natural deodorant that works for your body. In my opinion, the smaller the amount of chemicals in your body, the better!

Which Natural Deodorant Is Right For Me? 

From experience, I can tell you that the best way to find a natural deodorant you like, is to try several different kinds. I tried a few natural but not zero waste deodorants in the past and didn’t like them because they weren’t strong enough for my pits. I would be quite smelly by the end of the day, not cool! I’ve also tried some others, and they’ve made my skin burn probably due to a skin allergy. Do some research on your own and purchase a few different kinds to find your best fit! Everyone’s body is different and you might find a deodorant that is compatible with your skin but might not be a great pick for someone else.

BUT let’s talk about my favorite zero waste and natural deodorant, that we just recently started carrying in the shop. At the beginning of the year, I ordered myself a jar of the Elevated Pits Natural Deodorant. I wanted to try it out myself before sharing it with you guys in the shop. Like I’ve stated before, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to natural deodorants so I wanted to make sure it was something super great before carrying it in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop. This deodorant is the bee’s knees. It comes in a glass jar (yay zero waste) that you can reuse infinitely or recycle. It’s made in the USA, vegan, and MOST importantly in my book, it works!! This deodorant has been able to withstand my stinkiest of days (knock on wood).

DIY Deodorant 

If you’re feeling really spunky, you can try making a natural, zero waste deodorant on your own at home. I know lots of zero waste bloggers that have experimented with DIY deodorant recipes. Nadine from The Zero Journey uses 1/4 cup each of coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch or arrowroot powder. She also adds lavender oil for a little scent and says it’s a really great, effective DIY recipe! You can read more about her zero waste bathroom routine here. Also, My friend Eva over at Kind Planet has a zero waste deodorant recipe on her blog, you can find it here. Another option is to just do a quick Google search. There are lots of recipes for homemade deodorant online! They generally have coconut oil as the base due to its antimicrobial qualities. DIY deodorant is a great option if you have a tighter budget. Let me know if you do some deodorant experimenting, would love to hear what works best for you!

 Have a wonderful chemical-free day guys! 

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making the switch to zero waste toothpaste

zero waste toothpaste

Alright, so you’re on your zero waste journey, and you’ve got that super awesome bamboo toothbrush. Now let’s talk about when you run out of conventional toothpaste. What do you do about zero waste toothpaste? The health of our teeth is important so it’s essential to consider all the options!

Why Choose Natural Toothpaste?

If you haven’t already, I’d say the most important thing would be to switch to a toothpaste with more natural ingredients, plastic packaging or not. Many conventional toothpastes have some nasty ingredients you probably don’t want in your body. A couple of ingredients in particular I try to avoid are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (A common foaming agent that can cause skin irritation) and Triclosan (A synthetic antibacterial agent and known endocrine disruptor that overtime can negatively affect health). Before I learned about the zero waste movement, I switched to a natural toothpaste. However, when I started trying to reduce my household waste, I decided to hunt for a not only natural but also plastic free toothpaste alternative.

DIY Toothpaste

One common option for zero waste and natural toothpaste is to make your own! I have not experimented with DIY toothpaste recipes, but I have several zero waste blogger friends that have. You can learn more about their experiences and recipes here! DIY toothpaste is a great affordable option, and the toothpaste recipes usually contain simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store without plastic packaging, like coconut oil and baking soda.

Amanda in a Waste-Free Land: Homemade Toothpaste

Gruenish: Make Brushing Teeth Fun For Your Toddler

Zero Waste Wisdom: Recipe: Toothpaste

No Harm No Waste: Zero Waste Toothpaste

Ready Made Zero Waste Toothpaste

If you are, like me, not interested in making your own toothpaste from scratch, don’t worry! There are two great zero waste toothpaste options in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow online shop. I know a lot of zero wasters love coconut oil/baking soda toothpaste, but I really wanted something a little more complex for my teeth. After scouring the internet, I finally found a wonderful toothpaste and tooth powder to bring to our little eco shop.

Our zero waste toothpaste comes in a glass jar with metal lid and is made in the U.S. It contains zero artificial flavors and is fluoride free. Ingredients include: distilled water, calcium carbonate, xylitol, orange oil, guar gum, and grapefruit seed extract. This is really a wonderful option for the non zero-wasters in your family, because its texture resembles conventional toothpaste. I love that this toothpaste is not only plastic free but also vegan!

Also be sure to check out our zero waste tooth powder with activated charcoal. This is my personal favorite. Like the toothpaste in our shop, this powder also comes in a glass jar with metal lid and is made in the U.S. Ingredients include: oral cleansing and healing herbal blend, activated charcoal, xylitol, sacred clay, & cinnamon essential oil. You can use the powder directly with water, but I also like to mix it with coconut oil to make a paste. If you do mix with coconut oil, I would recommend spitting not in the sink but in the trash bin so you don’t clog your drains. Added bonus of this powder is that it is great for natural teeth whitening thanks to the activated charcoal!

Natural Homemade Mouthwash

To complete your zero waste teeth cleaning routine, don’t forget to try out my homemade natural mouthwash recipe! I experimented with a couple of different recipes to find a natural mouthwash that I really liked. Let me know what you think of it!

What does your zero waste teeth cleaning routine look like??



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minimalism by choice


Once a person has lived through being a war refugee, they will tell you that they had all of their belongings in one bag, agile and ready to mobilize at any moment. Think of it as a go-bag. I know this because I was that person, and I’ve now come full circle to living and sharing my journey and lessons learned of minimalism and a zero-waste lifestyle, but this time it is my choice. The emphasis here is on “practicing” because it’s a journey, and for each step I’m taking, I’m improving my version of agility, but the work of fine tuning minimalism doesn’t stop, it’s a continuous process of mindfulness, as life ebbs and flows.

Hello, I am Chi.

Hello, I am Chi. If you met me now, you would never know that I once fled Vietnam to avoid political persecution when the North Vietnamese Communists won the decades long civil conflict. I’m in mainstream America now. I have raised two successful Millennials, married my high school sweetheart, and feel like I’ve achieved the American Dream. I’ve always thought that I was somewhat a minimalist and not a wasteful person, to American standards. However, I have discovered the unsettling truth when I left my “other” career to publish my refugee story.

Kick the Clutter for Focus, Sanity, & Serenity

Step 1: Purging from Years of Collecting

My first few weeks of being a full-time and full-fledged author, I sat down to edit years of writings and couldn’t concentrate. I was surrounded with such an obscene excess from years of raising two kids, being married for thirty two years, and pursuing the American dreams that my household gradually and slowly indeed stored more stuff than I can comfortably admit, most of which is no longer needed. I stopped writing and started sorting, purging, and repeated the process from one room to another. It’s a process I’ve always used, but now I do it with hyper vigilance.

I will readily admit that like everyone else, I was busy working full-time with competing priorities that left me too tired to maintain some semblance of minimalism.  I had become complacent and let things go and they eventually got out of control. From this admission, I declared to my family that I’m now on my renewed journey of minimalism, and made a point of not asking them to join or preach about it (by this point, there’s only my husband and I living at home). Besides purging my household and donating it to my favorite charity, the Disabled American Veterans, I have subconsciously been undergoing a zero clothes purchase hiatus for seven months now.

Step 2: Mindfulness & Deliberate Consumerism

Once I mindfully practiced minimalism, I reclaimed my sanity and have serenity in my home office environment. Now, I can comfortably focus on writing. Instead of taking a writing break to work on severe purging of my home, I began to share my journey and lessons learned with others on my author’s page while working on my book.  It became my new found passion to share and discuss minimalism, not only it’s therapeutic personally, but it’s rewarding to have a community with whom my thoughts and experience resonate as I made this lifestyle change.

It’s not only about purging physical goods, but about a mindset change of deliberate consumerism, of only purchasing well-made and functional items that we love to have in our homes, where every piece has a purpose, instead of acquiring the latest gadget, or mindless consumption, which sets us back from achieving our financial goals and freedom, in order to pursue our life’s dreams and purpose.

Step 3: Repeat!

The next phase in my minimalism journey can be compared to peeling an onion. I started with the first pass in one room. I got rid of the obvious excess, followed by the second pass in the same room weeks later, and more get added to the donation bags. Each subsequent pass, more of what I previously held on now became extraneous and donated.

Minimalism Came First, Then Zero Waste

Five months into minimalism, I’m now compelled to live even a leaner existence, minimizing what I send to the landfill that couldn’t be composted or recycled.  I declared to my family that I started my new zero-waste and zero-plastic lifestyle, which proved to be extremely difficult to do, especially with our legacy household inventory. The pet food bags are not recyclable. Their poop bags currently aren’t. The thermal store receipts aren’t, as well as other “green” products shipped to our house with non-recyclable packing materials.

I kept track of the items I couldn’t recycle or compost. Not shockingly, a lot goes to the landfill, even though I’m quite conscientious about it, mostly because of the said “legacy” purchased household items. Most products are packaged in plastic containers like clothes and dish detergents, yogurt containers, etc. Albeit, some are recyclable as post consumer product materials. Read more about my lessons learned from my first 15 days of zero waste here.

My Simple Zero Waste Switches

  • Plastic Tupperware >> Mason Jars & Stainless Steel Containers – Plastic containers leach harmful BPA into food and water.
  • Plastic Toothbrushes >> Bamboo Toothbrushes – This is a greener, compostable, farm produced alternative.
  • Say No to Plastic Straws When Eating Out
  • Carry a Stainless Steel Water Canteen
  • Carry a Stainless Steel Food Container When Eating Out for Leftovers
  • Use Cloth Napkins and Kitchen Towels instead of Disposables
  • DIY Skincare & Household Cleaners
  • Bringing Mason Jars & Cloth Bags for Grocery Shopping & Farmer’s Market Visits
  • Husband Maintains Garden, Hunts, Fishes, Cures & Pickles
  • Conscious and Deliberate Purchase of Selected Natural Fibers Clothing

Freedom in Minimalism

Even though I don’t wish to be live the austere, monk like lifestyle, I embrace the freedom of the one bag, go anywhere, at anytime ready state, and not be holden to material goods. Now, I can. I do what I love, writing about my refugee experience and minimalism, my lessons learned, and its benefits to me thus far.

I’m doing this because I love how it makes me feel. It has nothing to do with how anyone lives their lives. I started this journey to reclaim my sanity and serenity, not making a statement or a protest; I’m not making an apology for it. I most definitely not judging those who do not share my point of view and lifestyle. I’m happy, content, feeling sane and finding serenity. This is enough and sufficient for me, and I hope that my experience resonates with you. I wish you well in your life’s journey and that you will also find peace and happiness.


Bio: Hoàng Chi Trương is the author of TigerFish, a memoir of coming of age in America as a Vietnamese refugee (The book will be available March 30, 2017).  Prior to writing, she served as the GIS Chief to the California Office of Emergency Services from 2013 to 2016.  Her current mission is to advocate and bring awareness to the issues of refugees in America. Learn more about her writing at

Also, please check out Hoàng Chi’s latest article for Huffington Post on What it Means to Be a Refuge!

Connect with Hoàng Chi and her community at these Social Media platforms:

Twitter: @chibeingchi



Facebook: (Author Page)

Facebook Group for Minimalist + EcoConscious Living:

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beginner’s guide to zero waste

beginner's guide to zero waste

One question I get asked quite often, is how do I get started with a zero waste lifestyle? I’ve whipped up a beginner’s guide to zero waste to help those feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. From mason jars to bamboo toothbrushes, I’ve got the basics of zero waste covered for you right here. I’ve included links to zero waste articles and products you might need in your journey throughout the steps! 🙂

5 Things You Can Do Right Now Towards Zero Waste

  1. Say No to Plastic Water Bottles
  2. Bring Your Own Coffee Mug
  3. Say No to Plastic Single Use Drinking Straws
  4. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
  5. Eliminate Paper Towels, Choose to Reuse Dish Towels Instead.

beginner's guide to zero waste

Ok, you’ve got the basics. If you’re ready to dive further into zero waste, here are some more simple steps towards zero waste.

  1. Switch to using a Bamboo Toothbrush instead of plastic disposable toothbrushes
  2. Start carrying your own Produce Bags at the grocery store, to eliminate single use plastic produce bags
  3. Use Soap Bars & Shampoo Bars instead of plastic bottled liquid soap
  4. Use a Handkerchief rather than disposable tissues
  5. Use Compostable Loofahs instead of sponges in the kitchen.

beginner's guide to zero waste

Are you ready to be a hardcore Zero Waster?! Let’s do this!

  1. Start shopping the bulk bins at your grocery store using Reusable Bulk Bags and mason jars
  2. Use a Safety Razor & Shave Soap Bar instead of disposable plastic razors and shaving foam
  3. For the ladies, switch to Reusable Menstrual Products
  4. Shop Secondhand, instead of purchasing new
  5. Begin Composting at your house (My all time fave zero waste switch!)

Have you started eliminating household waste!? What have been your challenges and struggles? What’s your favorite ZW switch?