Those who know me, know that 2 of my biggest passions include essential oils, and waste reduction. Here is how our family uses essential oils to reduce our waste.
I love that in doing so, I am reducing my family’s toxin load by using only all natural products in my home, as well as reducing our ecological footprint.
Part of what started my journey to the essential oil lifestyle, is wanting to start making my own products. I wanted to eliminate chemicals from our home, but did not enjoy purchasing ready-made, over-packaged products from the health food store. These were costing too much, both in terms of money, as well as waste.
The first DIY project I wanted to try, was toothpaste. I figured that was an easy enough place to start! I needed some essential oils to flavour it, so I headed off to the health food store. I was disappointed to discover that health food store brands of essential oils were not safe for internal use – and since my kids were going to be brushing their teeth with it, I knew I needed a higher standard than that. That’s when I discovered dōTERRA essential oils, which are 100% pure and safe for ingestion. This started my journey to DIY-ing almost all of my personal care and home care products!
Ways to Reduce Waste with Essential Oils:
Homemade Cleaning Supplies
I used to recycle tons of cleaning spray bottles. I would simply use up what was in the bottle, toss it in recycling, and then go buy another one. It always seemed so incredibly wasteful, considering they were still perfectly usable. Not to mention that re-buying bottles of cleaning spray was expensive (as I was purchasing the more ‘natural’ versions from the health food aisle).
Making my own is simple and inexpensive. I started by simply re-using an old cleaning spray bottle until it finally stopped working. Then I went out and purchased a heavy-duty, industrial spray bottle from the hardware store. I’ve been using the same one for years, and it still works as well as it does the day I got it.
To see all of my DIY cleaning recipes, click here.
While not just an essential oil, I also love this OnGuard cleaning concentrate. ONE bottle of this concentrate, replaces EIGHTEEN 16-ounce bottles of cleaning solution. I just add 1-2 tablespoons of concentrate to a spray bottle, and fill the rest up with water.
A bottle of concentrate will last me many months. When it’s empty, I rinse it out, and it is 100% recyclable.
Just make sure the bottle is clean and put the cap back on (to make sure the cap also gets recycled – if you don’t replace the cap, it is too small to be picked up by the sorters and likely will end up in a landfill). I love that I only have one small bottle to recycle, rather than multiple spray bottles.
Buying ingredients in bulk for homemade products
When you make your own products, you can purchase your ingredients in bulk. It means less packaging waste overall. For example, I purchase vinegar in large 4L jugs. While it does come in plastic, I can make multiple bottles of cleaning spray from this one jug of vinegar.
I also purchase things like baking soda, washing soda, Borax, etc. in bulk. I can make multiple batches of laundry soap with this – again, reducing the overall amount of waste/recycling I create.
Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe:
1 bar of soap, grated (I use my food processor)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
20 drops of your favourite essential oil
I even purchase dish soap in gallon sized jugs. I simply add all natural/unscented dish soap to a recycled squeeze bottle, and add a few drops of my favourite essential oils for scent. This bottle can be refilled many, many times with one jug of dish soap. I also use the same dish soap for cleaning – washing floors, walls, tubs, etc. We even use it as bubble bath!
A great way to reduce waste is by finding products that serve multiple uses. It means you are purchasing less packaging overall.
Essential oils are extremely concentrated. One 15 ml bottle contains approximately 250 drops ~ this means you will get hundreds of uses out of a single bottle of high-quality essential oils (poor quality oils require you to use more, as they are mostly synthetic and not concentrated). The oils shown below are part of our Home Essentials Kit. This is the kit that I recommend for beginning your journey to detoxifying your home and creating your homemade products. It’s the kit I started with as well! And it includes a diffuser so you can stop purchasing plug-ins, scented candles, etc.
Re-purpose empty bottles
Empty essential oil bottles can be re-used and re-purposed! I often use empty bottles to make custom diffuser blends – blending together multiple oils so they are ready to go for the diffuser, rather than having to reach for multiple bottles each time.
You can also make your own linen sprays, hand sanitizer sprays, body cooling sprays etc., simply by adding a spray top. Use your empty bottles to create custom sprays by adding a few drops of essential oil in some kind of carrier. Typically water mixed with an emulsifier, like witch hazel etc.
Homemade Personal Care Products
Similar to the cleaning products, making your own personal care products also helps you to reduce waste. Think of how many of those products you purchase month after month, and then throw away (or hopefully recycle) the packaging, only to go purchase more. Making your own products not only reduces your waste, but allows you to begin simplifying your home. You will notice that many of the products you were purchasing, you didn’t really need. When you use simple, homemade products, you realize that one product can fill multiple needs.
I make my own:
Toothpaste (tooth powder)
Toothpaste/Tooth Powder Recipe:
Baking soda (enough to fill a small jar)
OPTIONAL: enough coconut oil to make it paste-like
20 drops essential oils (I like 10 drops each of wild orange & peppermint)*
*please only use oils that are safe for ingestion since you’ll be putting them in your mouth
Hair Spray Recipe:
1/2 cup hot water
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vodka (or real vanilla extract)
2 drops of your favourite essential oil.
Directions: Dissolve sugar in hot water, add remaining ingredients, pour into reusable glass spray bottles.
After sun spray
Recipe here: Crock Pot Soap
I no longer purchase things to make my home smell nice. No more plug-ins, scented candles, wax melts, etc. I simply diffuse essential oils. The hallmark of zero waste, is using one product that has multiple uses. As you can see, essential oils serve many, many uses. And because they are so concentrated, they last a very long time.
Over the Counter Products
Again, one of the goals of zero waste is to have one product that serves multiple uses. It reduces the overall number of things you need to purchase, along with all the packaging waste that goes along with that. Our essential oils are also our medicine cabinet and our first aid kit. We no longer purchase any sort of over-the-counter products, we simply reach into the oil box and find what we need. Essential oils and basic things from your pantry can keep you healthy and well. We make our own throat drops with honey, coconut oil, and essential oils. Sore throat sprays. And cuts, scrapes, sore tummies, ear discomfort and more, can all be supported with these natural remedies.
These are just some of the ways my family uses essential oils to reduce our waste. As you can see, the options are limitless! Any time I would purchase something from the store, I started asking myself ~ can I make this myself? And the answer, almost always, is YES! It’s just a matter of having a good selection of essential oils, and some very basic ingredients on hand (most all of which can be found in your food pantry).
If you’re ready to venture down this path, I highly recommend that you choose a high quality essential oil. One that is 100% pure, ethically sourced, and therapeutic grade. The brand that I use and trust (as you can see from the photos), is dōTERRA.
I spent a great deal of time researching brands before making my decision. I knew that if I was going to begin this lifestyle, that I wanted the highest quality ingredients possible. There was no sense in replacing our products with homemade versions if they were not going to be as healthy as possible.
In doing so, I had lots of people begin reaching out to me to help them get started on their own essential oil journey. I would love to help you get started as well! Check out my essential oils page to read a little more about my personal journey, and how you can get your own starter kit to begin your DIY, healthy, low-waste lifestyle.
Share some of the ways that essential oils help you reduce your waste!