Check out our notes on Zero Waste Ways at Home with Bea Crisostomo of Ritual on package-free, non-toxic home cleaning, and Gio Espital of Elmntm on composting, from our MUNI Meetup at Batala Bar last September 30, 2017. 🙂
When we think of pests like cockroaches and rats, we’re hard pressed to think of their purpose in the planet apart from annoying us. But here’s something to think about:
We are all nutrient cyclers, and cockroaches are one of the fastest ways to compost.
– Bea Misa Crisostomo, Ritual
Decomposers are a vital part of the food chain that makes it a cycle. So we actually need them, plus they’re practically impossible to get rid of completely (cockroaches are so resilient, they outlived dinosaurs).  Nevertheless, we really just don’t want them in our homes.
So what can we do to make our homes less attractive to these pests?
To answer that, we turned to Bea Misa Crisostomo, owner of Ritual, a plastic-free general store, showcasing mostly home and kitchen essentials and agri-based products, that allows customers to refill their own containers, and have options for non-toxic, zero waste home cleaning.
Bea shared about how edges are where life begins. Edges are where the ocean meets the shore or where the tree meets the ground. In our homes, edges are between the refrigerator and the floor, or where the wall meets the floor, places that are frequently shadowed, collecting moisture, and gathering dust and debris.
By design, edges become the most fertile environments, most susceptible to life, and this is why pests are most comfortable along these edges. By focusing on cleaning these edges, we can have hope of a pest-free home.
But what do we clean with in a zero waste home?
Here’s a tip: We don’t have to buy a different cleaning product for every area of the house. Most homemade cleaning products are made using the same ingredients so we can buy less items and then buy the items we do need in bulk.
To help guide us in green cleaning, Bea shared 4 fundamentals.
- The Alkali group includes baking soda, borax, and lye. Base things emulsify fat or grease, making them a powerful cleaner. Baking soda and borax are also abrasives which are great for scrubbing. Here are 5 easy home uses for baking soda.
- The Acid group includes vinegar and citrus juices. These are corrosive and are great for cleaning mineral deposits and mold from glass and smooth surfaces. So more than sawsawan, regular white vinegar could have more purposes in your home as a cleaning agent. You can make your own concoctions and neutralize the smell by adding esential oils.
- Biodegradable scrubs like escoba (broom), loofah and even trapo are the last material to keep our cleaning routine zero waste. Many cleaning tools today have plastic components, and Bea invited us to reconsider these other options instead.
- The sun is one of the best (and free!) natural disinfectants. Drying things out in the sun ensures there are no damp spaces and edges that molds and pests can thrive in.
Aside from buying in bulk and making our own cleaning products, one of the other ways we can reduce household waste even more is by composting biodegradable kitchen waste. There are several methods of composting and deciding which one is best for you depends on the amount of space in your home and the amount of biodegradable waste you produce.
Gio Espital of Elmntm shared about Bokashi composting , which is an anaerobic Japanese composting method that uses fermentation or pagbuburo. This method is a viable option even for people who live in condo units with limited space with a compost kit he shared.
With this method, compost is contained in a bucket, allowing you to compost without exposing all that waste for pests like cockroaches of flies to multiply. Furthermore, unlike others that only allow you to compost fruit and vegetable peelings, food waste from fish and meat can be composted in this method.
5. Practice Bokashi composting by following these steps:
- Put a handful of Bokashi rice bran into the bucket.
- Add in biodegradable kitchen waste (better if without excessive fat or grease).
- Add more Bokashi rice bran and mix it with your waste. Make sure to close the lid tightly afterwards to avoid getting air in.
- When you fill up half the bucket, press the waste down to prevent air from going through the gaps in your waste.
- Once the bucket is full, allow it to ferment for 2 weeks, away from sunlight.
- After allowing it to ferment, you can drain the Bokashi juice into a 250ml bottle, mixed with 1 tablespoon of molasses or brown sugar, and allow to sit again for 2 weeks.
- Your bucket’s contents can then be buried in soil for another 2 weeks, and then your compost is ready to mix with soil for growing other plants.
- To use the Bokashi juice, use 1 tablespoon mixed with 1 liter of water, and use this to water your plants. Best to do this between 6-8AM and 4-6PM when the stomata of plants are open, making them more receptive to absorbing these nutrients.
The discussion and decision on which is the best composting solution for you is a tricky one and highly dependent on personal preferences and circumstances, but hopefully, getting meetup attendees more acquainted on the process made them more open to exploring these possibilities, and continue learning about the best ways to apply sustainable practices into their lifestyle.
Zero waste living can be intimidating, and it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. The most important thing is that we continue to learn, connect with a supportive community, and proactively introduce positive changes into our daily lives.
For more tips / resources, or to share your own insights, please join the MUNI Community Facebook group. You can also sign up for our mailing list, and subscribe to our event updates to get insider info (and Early Bird discounts) for when we release tickets.
Save the date for the next MUNI Meetup happening on November 11, 2-6PM tackling Zero Waste Ways in Business!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mina Yu is an inquisitor, writer and entrepreneur who takes environmental degradation as a personal and professional challenge. She inherited her mom’s sewing subcontracting company and is hustling to grow it into an ethical fashion label. When not preoccupied with this, she also explores minimalism, sustainable living, and the inner workings of her puppy’s brain.
Jen Horn is the founder of MUNI, and sustainability & community engagement consultant. She enjoys being in, on, under, or near the water, eating veggies, witty remarks and sarcasm, and learning about link between psychology and pro-environmental behavior. She works to strengthen the Force and use jedi mind tricks to help the world triumph over apathy, single-use plastic, among other things we don’t need in the world. Follow her at @nomadmanager.