10 Biodegradable Products for Greener Grey Water

*All products in this video are listed below*

Since our travels began on September 2nd 2014, Guillaume and I have been trying to "green" ourselves, starting with our grey water. I'd love to be able to say that all of the products that go down our drain are 100% biodegradable, so I've begun switching out our chemical products for biodegradable alternatives. 

Our Water Set Up

Guillaume and I do not have black water, as we use a composting toilet. Our grey water is the "waste" water coming from our shower and kitchen sink. In a campground, it doesn't matter if it's grey or black, waste water drains into the sewer. When we're off-grid, we use a 15 gallon portable grey water tank, which we can dump at any appropriate place. Until now, the appropriate place has always been the sewer because of the products we use. I'd like that to change.

Tiny House Giant Journey's Hook Ups (bottom left of trailer - blue grey water tank)

THGJ Grey Water Set Up

THGJ Grey Water Set Up

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10 PRODUCTS FOR GREENER GREY WATER:

1) Shampoo* - 365 Lavender Blend / oily + normal hair
2) Conditioner* - Acure Lemongrass + Argon Stem Cell
3) Body Soap* - Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap - Lavender
4) Acne Cream* - 100% Pure Spot Treatment
5) Face Wash* - Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash / Oily & Combo Skin
6) Body LotionDr. Bronner's Magic Lotion - Lavender Coconut
7) Toner* - Acure Facial Toner / Balancing Rose + Red Tea
8) All Purpose Spray* Method All-Purpose Cleaner - Cucumber
9) Dishwashing Liquid* - Ultra Dishmate - Natural Almond
10) Mascara*100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Black Tea Ultra-Lengthening Mascara
*Packaging claims product is biodegradable
*Website claims product is biodegradable
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Where do you find biodegradable products?

It's actually very simple. You can shop online or you can go to a health food store. Whole Foods is a great resource, and usually they have at least one staff member dedicated to help you choose natural products.

How can you tell a product is biodegradable?

Ah yes, well you need to be a chemist. Not really, but this is a little tricky. You could do a massive amount of online research to learn how to decipher ingredient lists, trust the employees at your local health food store or pick products that have "100% biodegradable" or "readily biodegradable" written on the container. This last suggestion will limit you because many products do NOT add the biodegradable categorization to their packaging, even if the product is biodegradable.

100% Biodegradable Label on Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Do biodegradable products really work?

The easy answer is: Yes. The longer answer is: You need to find the right product for you. I've found some biodegradable products to have a displeasing smell or texture. I had to stop using one shampoo because it actually made my hair feel greasier AFTER the shower. But, for the most part, I've been happy with the products I've chosen. Like anything, it takes time and patience.

Shopping Tips:

1). Some biodegradable products are multi-purpose, like Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. They boast that you can use this soap for 18 different things! As a tiny houser, this is a total win.

2). Home remedies also work! White vinegar and water, mixed together in a spray bottle, is an excellent affordable cleaning solution. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer.

3). Biodegradable products are more expensive, but there are affordable products as well. Choose products with simplistic packaging. Companies that care more about what's inside rather than on the bottle are usually going to gain my respect. You can also look around at your local farmer's market. Often there will be at least one booth for natural soaps, lotions, etc. Ask them if their product is 100% biodegradable.

4). Read the directions. Many natural products are concentrated, therefore you can buy a smaller bottle and it will last you as long as a large chemically-enhanced bottle (another win for tiny housers).

3). As a bonus, many biodegradable products are cruelty-free, vegan, manufactured with renewable energy and contained less cancerous materials.

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HELP ME GREEN MY GREY WATER! 

Okay my green friends, if you have a biodegradable product you'd like to recommend, please comment below!

Let's produce more enviro-friendly products and create less sewage.

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — October 30, 2014

Filed under: Biodegradable   Cypress   Giant Journey   Green   Grey Water   Lifestyle   Products   Tiny House   Tumbleweed  

Erin & Pete's Tiny Farm House

Many tiny housers fantasize about being completely self-sustainable or “living off the land” but never have the resources to reach that goal. Enter Erin and Pete, a tiny house couple with a drool-worthy 40 acre dream.

With backgrounds in wildlife biology and forestry, the duo spent several years traveling and living on the road. When they finally decided to settle down, they returned to their home state, Michigan, and began the search for their forever home. Erin remembers one open house in particular with an enormous basement. “If we live here, we’re gonna fill this basement with stuff we don’t need,” she recalls saying to Pete. The couple had been considering a tiny house for years, but it was only in that moment that they decided to make their dream a reality.

In May 2012 Erin and Pete bought Tumbleweed Fencl plans (now known as Cypress) and began their build with little to no experience. Two years later, the build continues at Erin’s mother’s house, over an hour drive from their apartment.

“We make the trip almost every weekend to work on the house,” says Erin, “But we have to be done by winter.” With the exterior complete, the tiny house just received a heavy dose of wool insulation - a necessity for Michigan winters. Erin hopes to have their interior cedar panelling up in the next few weeks, as long as the weather is compliant. 

Erin & Pete with their tiny house after a snowstorm. Photo credit: Big Lake Tiny House

But what the twosome is really excited for, is the next big move. Recently Erin and Pete purchased 40 acres in Chatham, Michigan. The plan is to move onto the property this summer with the almost complete tiny house, building as they go. The ultimate goal? A fully operational farm complete with: dairy cows, chickens, pigs, bees, a veggie garden, and sugar maple trees (which already occupy half the property)!

The couple also aspires to build a barn for the animals and a structural bath house. “We love to cook.” Erin explained, “A separate bath house will free up space to accommodate a large kitchen.” Plumbing in the tiny house will be minimal, the stove and heater will be propane, and electricity will run off solar power.  

With their outdoorsy backgrounds and ambitious attitude, we bet Erin and Pete will have a cozy tiny house cloaked in a beautiful farm before long!

Look for updates on Erin and Pete’s tiny house here.

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Jenna Spesard is a writer by trade. She is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

Written by Jenna Spesard — May 05, 2014

Filed under: Farm   Forestry   House   house plans   Lifestyle   Michigan   Sustainable   Tiny   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny Houses   tiny kitchen   Tumbleweed Cypress   Wildlife  

Kendra's Walden Fundraiser

After spending a good amount of time in a variety of living areas, Kendra is seeking something more. Whether living urban, suburban, rural or in the wilderness, there's always a price to pay. Rent payments are neverending, and no kind of investment to speak of. To make a home somewhere so often means signing up for a mortgage or non-stop payment. Kendra plans to build her Tiny Home when the sun comes back to Seattle. From there she hopes build a farm, create a community center and continue her passion of working in outdoor education and community healing. She may even start a food truck (or food cabin on wheels), or help you build your tiny home, or your dream. 

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a house on wheels to live and adventure in. I asked for one that Christmas, and awoke to a girly RV toy with little dolls. Dismayed, my tomboy heart deflated a little. "No, like a REAL house, on wheels." I was informed there was no such thing. I then realized I was going to have to build it myself. 

Twenty years later, I was working as an Adventure Guide in Central America, living in a plastic tarp off very little money. I was trying to figure out a way to acquire a homey shelter that could afford me the feeling of home wherever I went. Rent was a taxing idea on so few dollars, and I had college loans to pay off. I recalled my childhood dream, and began searching the internet for images of 'houses on wheels'. I found Tumbleweed, and was romanced by the visions of their economical warm spaces. 

Tumbleweed's Walden 

This spring I will be building the Walden, in Seattle, Washington. Once it's built, I plan to continue working in as a youth educator and performance artist and build a community garden and healing center with my partner. We hope to host events such as concerts, farm days, DIY workshops, summer camps, as well as host getaways for individuals and families. You can be a part of the process! Check out the fundraising campaign here

Thanks for your support!



Written by Guest Blogger — February 05, 2013

Filed under: diy   downsizing   fundraising   health   lifestyle   seattle   share   walden  

Making Time to Build

Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!

Like many of you, I have a lot on my plate.  So when it came time to build my tiny house, I started to wonder when I’d fit it time in to actually finish my house.  Right now I am juggling three jobs, running my blog over at The Tiny Life, writing a book and on top of it, building this Tiny House.  For many of you, children are part of the equation, but there are plenty of people building homes with kids.  So the question in your mind right now might be: how can I juggle everything in my life and build a tiny house? 

Ryan buildingMaking time 

The answer is actually part of what I call The Tiny Life; building a tiny house isn’t fix-all cure that some wish to believe.  In fact, in some regards building a tiny house is the simple part.  In a way it plays into our consumer culture, why go out and buy something in an attempt to fix something.  It is the lifestyle that many find difficult to adopt.  We all know you have to reduce the amount of stuff we have, but along with the small house and the sparse possessions we must bring focus to the life we wish to live in that house. 

It was at the point where I had decided to build my house that I sat down and wrote what was truly important to me, these were things that I felt were worthy of my time.  From there I ordered them in terms of importance.  It was this list that I then took and considered where I spend my energy and time. 

Through this process I realized that some things simply couldn’t be achieved right now because other things were more important to me; it meant that I had to say no to some things, which isn’t a word often in our vocabulary in modern society.  It was surprising to see how things that were a lower priority for me seemed to sneak into time that would be better used for more important things.

So take a few moments, even if it is on the back of a napkin on a coffee break, to write down your top 10 things that are most important to you and then consider how a shift if your time and energy might be needed. With this you will have to learn to say no to various activities.  In this list you can begin to see where building your Tiny House will fit in and what things have to go in order to make the time.  You might find that building your house is lower on the list, which means it will take a few years to complete, and that is okay because you are intentional about it.  In the long run you are able to focus on what is truly important in your life and begin living The Tiny Life. 

 

Written by Guest Blogger — January 23, 2013

Filed under: build it yourself   diy   lifestyle   resources   time management   tips  
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