Carmen LeBlanc has always been passionate about sustainability. The Moncton, N.B. woman has attended workshops across Canada to learn more so she can reduce her ecological footprint and educate others to do the same.
When LeBlanc launched her blog, Tiny Adventures Journey, she tried to find ways to improve every facet of her life to align with a low-waste lifestyle.
“It isn’t my goal to be zero waste, because let’s be honest, we’re human and we’re imperfect, so I would rather aim for something achievable, which is low waste,” she says.
LeBlanc started by looking at her laundry habits, which made her realize how far off she was from reaching her goal to reduce what you have to throw out when it comes to doing laundry. But she had no idea what the solution might be to reduce her waste.
“When doing laundry, there is so much packaging when it comes to
the Bounce sheet, plastic containers for laundry soap, use of fabric softener, etc.,” LeBlanc says.
She began looking for lower-waste solutions, and that’s when she found soap nuts.
At first, she was skeptical but bought a small bag to replace her laundry soap. She was pleasantly surprised.
“I think a lot of people are unaware that soap nuts exist as a method of washing clothes, and how efficient and sustainable they are,” says LeBlanc. “I especially love the fact that they are safe and chemical-free, so there’s no risk of our pets getting into it and getting sick.”
Soapnuts are a berry shell that naturally contains a cleaning agent that works like detergent. They grow on the Sapindus mukorossi (soap berry) tree in the Himalayas. They are available from a variety of retailers across the East Coast.
They’re simple to use, LeBlanc says.
“All you have to do is pop some fresh ones into a breathable cloth bag, included when you purchase the soap nuts, put it in a container or jar, and add some warm water,” she says.
“Let the soap nuts soak for one to two minutes, and then throw them into your washing machine with your dirty clothes. No mess, no garbage, no fuss. And you can use the same soap nuts for up to six loads, so you’re also going to be saving money, too,” she says.
“They also do not have a scent but work miraculously to remove the stink from damp towels, sweaty men’s work clothes, and more. And of course, best of all, they are zero waste.”
Besides using soap nuts instead of traditional detergent for washing clothes, LeBlanc offers a few other tips for low waste washing.
Low Waste Tips:
Wash your laundry in bigger loads, to red:uce the number of times you need to fill your washing machine with water
Stop using fabric softener
Use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets
Keep the lint for a variety of purposes (bedding for hamsters or other small pets, fire starter, etc.)
The biggest tip she has regarding zero-waste washing is to get away from keeping a second option “just in case.”
“I’ve been there, and you will always find an excuse not to use your sustainable method if you keep going with your old habits,” she says.
The best way to start a new habit is to let go of your old one. Finish using up the washing detergent that you have, and then don’t purchase any more, she adds.
Learn more at www.tinyadventuresjourney.com