My first Zero Waste Workshop Experience

Today’s blog post in about what to expect during a Zero Waste workshop and my experience and take on it. In a nutshell: Loved it!

small bottles of oil for beauty products
Getting familiar with the benefits of different oils

Disclaimer: Words, pictures and views are my own. I found this workshop myself and I was kindly gifted a participation ticket in exchange for this blog post. This is a collaboration with Bottega Zero Waste.


Background

I am very interested in how to reduce my footprint and believe that we all have to start somewhere in changing our habits on how we consume products for our everyday life. I know many are too as my post on my kitchen pantry re-organisation to help you declutter and go zero waste shopping was featured in an article on EATER.com back in January following the success of Marie-Kondo Netflix Special.

Anyway enough about my blogging achievements 😉

A very tangible and immediate benefit of reducing waste is that it reduces the undesirable task of sorting each item (recycling/non-recycling), taking the bins out, and remember buying bin bags most aren’t even recyclable (black bin bags). A good approach is to REDUCE waste in the first place and if you have ZERO or LESS waste then no need to think about sorting out as much. I personally hate dealing with my waste, it kind of make me feel guilty as well that we produce so much everyday waste in this side of the globe. But someone said:

“We don’t need an handful of people living Plastic-free/ a Zero Waste life perfectly but millions doing it imperfectly.”

As a millennial, I have bathed in this society of hyper-consumption without questioning the impacts of our everyday actions on the planet. With plastic pollution in oceans and climate change, I feel we kind of need to step up and think about how we could minimise our footprint without compromising our basic needs but by just doing things a bit differently.

Moreover, our local council as recently implemented a 4 colour-coded bin system with a biweekly collection. Thus pushing everyone in the local area to recycle better and reduce our waste (and their cost I guess). There are pro and cons to that as the supermarkets currently still offer most products heavily packaged with plastic, carton thus creating lots of recyclable waste filling bins/containers very quickly. Therefore one needs to be creative on how to reduce waste while the supermarkets catch up with the rest of us. I mean the bananas come in plastic bags in my local supermarkets! Isn’t that crazy?

Thinking about alternatives to consume and reduce waste takes time and creativity, but I found a fun way to learn about ideas to reduce your waste thanks to ZERO WASTE WORKSHOPS.

Bottega Zero Waste Workshop Studio in London

What is a Zero Waste Workshop ?

It is an experience at a given location which would typically take a few hours where you learn ideas how to reduce waste. It can be focus on creating your own products in refillable plastic-free packaging, so that you do not rely on single use containers with bizarre ingredient list (I am thinking cosmetics here), but it can also be knowledge that you learn then apply during your everyday life while shopping to make better choice and think ZERO first.

Chaired by a ZERO WASTE expert, she/he will give you all the tips and tricks to achieve this on your own and at home. Typically, Zero Waste Workshop involves learning new knowledge but also practising that knowledge and making your own products which you can take home and use at your own convenience. I think it is the perfect way to gain ideas to reduce zero waste without spending hours on the internet trying to figure out how. It is a great taster but could also be an opportunity for someone who have some experience under their belt to further their knowledge and meet like-minded people.

Our Zero Waste Expert, Marta, explaining the benefit of making your own Oil Cleanser as make-up remover.

Choosing a workshop

There are many types of workshops that focus on specific areas of everyday life like Bathroom Products, Grocery shopping, Beauty products, Household Cleaning products, General Decluttering etc. You can find some workshops on event ticketing website such as www.eventbrite.com, inquire at your local Zero Waste Shop if they have any upcoming events or if they can recommend any. Some have recommended to join local facebook community groups as well as people share tips and events on them.

The Zero Waste Beauty Workshop from Bottega Zero Waste

I had the pleasure to participate in the Zero Waste Beauty workshop chaired by Marta from Bottega Zero waste on Saturday 21st of April 2019. I found the event by browsing on eventbrite looking for interesting workshops and I was intrigued by the Beauty aspect. Reducing and having less beauty products is something I have streamlined over the last few years but I still ended up with empty plastic containers, what if I actually created my own product in a glass container that I could refill whenever I needed? That sounded brilliant!

A few paintings are exposed on the walls

Marta’s workshop in Stockwell, London is the perfect place for a workshop. Her studio is on the ground floor and the upper floor is occupied by artists and even the downstairs studio is decorated with a few paintings. It has those large industrial windows letting the natural sun come in.

We were welcomed by a very well organised set-up and each of the participants had a dedicated individual area to create our beauty products including a napron to protect our clothes from any spills.

There was a local street cat who wanted to get into the workshop so he kept giving us the sad eyes by the entrance door (he got pet generously before and after the workshop).

The neighbourhood cat wanted a bit of attention

On the day we got to create three products: Bath bombs, Aloe Vera Moisturiser, and an Oil Cleanser to remove make-up and/or clean the skin.

Every recipe took us about 30-45min to complete, we were given clear instructions on a little leaflet and we could choose our favourite scent of essential oil to perfume our creation.

Bath bombs

This recipe was the first one we made and required the bath bombs to set for an hour before we could remove them from their silicone mold.

The recipe was provided to each participant as reference
Mixing Dry Ingredients First
Measuring precisely
Mixing both
then when the right consistency is reach, push them in their containers
They need to rest and dry while we get busy on the other recipes

Aloe Vera Moisturiser

The consistency of Aloe Vera is surprising

Aloe Vera is great for skin and even sensitive skins typically supports the hydration provided by aloe vera. I choose to add sweet almond oil and ylang ylang essential extract known for relaxing purposes.

All done and placed in its glass container

Oil Cleanser

Did you know that cleaning your skin with oil won’t make it more oily? This is because the naturally produced sebum on our skin through the day will be absborb by the oil cleanser because oil attracts oil. Basic physics fact. We were advised to mix castor oil with the oil of our choice and a few drops of essential oils. It really makes a difference in having so many choices of oil and essentials oils and be able to ask questions regarding which one is best for your own skin type.

Learning about the ideal oils for each skin type

Using the products

That is why this experience keeps on giving,

I have used the cleanser, and find it really works in removing my make-up and I have now little left. I would need to buy the ingredients in bulk to create my own or check my zero waste shop for some castor and sweet almond oil. I think I will continue in making this one for sure.

The aloe vera is lovely to use and feels fresh and light on the skins. Great for the summer! The little baths bombs await my next hotel stay as we do not have a bathtub in my home.

My very own homemade bath bombs!

Conclusion

I absolutely loved the concept and how the workshop took place. It was a relaxing, chilled experience on a sunny Saturday afternoon where you get to learn about the different components and bringing some products home. It motivated me to look for more recipes online and keep by using the products at home, it emphasize. I am already interested in how to create your own cleaning products like dishwasher tabs for example and floor cleaner and how to create your bathroom toiletries products like toothpaste, shampoo etc. This is a revolution!

Botega Zero Waste offers a variety of Zero-Waste Workshops (Soap Making, Beauty, Bathroom) and more are coming. You can also find DIY recipes, and handmade products to shop on the website. I am particularly eye-ing the organic reusable cotton pads to remove make-up which can be wash in the washing machine.

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