Save Money With Zero Waste

November 25th 2020

Host Kimberly King joins Frederika Syren to discuss how much money you can save by going zero-waste! As we look forward to the future, we all need to be more mindful of the world we want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren. One way to keep the Earth cleaner is to eliminate some of the waste we create, and some people have even become zero-waste families. Learn all about how you can get rid of some of your trash, and help sustain our world for future generations and save money while you're at it. Frederika is an environmental activist and writer who founded the website zerowastefamily.com. Tune in and learn more!

00:00 Speaker 1: The advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of Mother's Market and Kitchen. Mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition.

00:11 Kimberly King: Hello, I'm Kimberly King, and welcome to the Mother's Market Podcast, a show dedicated to the truth, beauty and goodness of the human condition. On today's episode, with the holidays here, it's time to get rid of the stuff we don't use and try to reduce the waste. Find out how you can limit your daily garbage output and save money at the same time. But first up, Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2011, she founded the website zerowastefamily.com, where she shared her family's journey of living zero-waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband, James and their children, Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary "Zero Time to Waste," and we welcome them to the Mother's Market Podcast. Fredrika and James, how are you?

00:56 Fredrika Syren: We're good, thank you for having us.

01:00 KK: Great to have you here. Why don't you fill our audience in a little bit on your mission before we get to today's show topic?

01:05 FS: Okay, so our mission is that we're trying to inspire and teach other people how to reduce waste, especially when it comes to having families and children, because reducing waste when it's just a single person, that's easy. Reducing waste when you have three children, that's a whole different ballpark. So that is what we're trying to do with our website and YouTube and on social media.

01:29 KK: That's so great. And again, that you're with your kids, teaching them into the next generation. Today we're talking about money savings tips from a zero waste lifestyle, and you have so many great tips, so I wanted to just start off right now. Let's talk about it, because we're... Everybody can save money.

01:48 FS: Absolutely.

01:49 KK: So you've got... And yours are very practical, some things we don't even think about, some things... Let's just start from the very beginning, just like the song says. You talk about leaving your car at home and walking, that's such an easy tip, but we don't always do that, if we can.

02:04 James: That's right, that's right. Getting out, using your bike or walking, not only gives you... Helps your health, but it saves mileage on the car and gas, and it's great for the planet.

02:17 KK: So it's good if you can... Or carpool or something. But that's great, I love that you walk and bike and you're getting out and about. Let's talk... And you take your whole family, by the way, it's great, with the kids, and they're all hands-on. What about brew, coffee? I've had your coffee, James, and it's amazing. You need to open up your own shop.

02:39 FS: He's darn good.

02:39 James: That's right, that's right. When we went on the zero waste journey, I think one of the unexpected benefits we had is how much money we saved. The more we focused on reducing our waste, the more little pockets of ways to save money we uncovered. Coffee is a great example. Whenever we go out and about, whether it's out to the park or the beach with the kids or just out for the day, we oftentimes will bring a thermos of coffee, and it's so much cheaper to do it that way. Not only zero waste, but it does save you a lot of money when you add up all those little coffee trips over a year or two years or extended out even further.

03:18 KK: That is my next challenge, is to not go by the coffee shop. I'm gonna go by your house and go grab some of that fresh brew. Let me back up a second, because I know we featured you on the show before on the Mother's Market Podcast, but for those of you who aren't really aware, let's go back and talk about what is zero-waste.

03:34 FS: So zero waste is that, it's... No one can go completely zero-waste and not have any waste overnight. So our journey took 13 years, and it is just reducing your waste, consciously thinking about what you're bringing into the home. You cannot reduce what you need and you refuse what you do not need.

03:57 KK: I love that. You don't even own a trash can.

04:00 James: We don't, we don't.

04:01 KK: That was one of the first things I noticed when I went over to your beautiful home with your garden, and I'm like, that takes 13 years of practice.

04:09 FS: Exactly, exactly. And then just to figure out the things that becomes waste, and when we started on this journey, the things that are waste, okay, how can we find an alternative that is not wasteful or can we just say we don't need it at all? And that is basically just what we did, and it's like... It was a learning curve and we end up with a lot more recycling and less trash in the beginning, and then we figured out even how to reduce the recycling.

04:36 James: And I think the way that this really connects with money savings is, is that we've had so many companies that work so hard to make our life convenient. They pre-package food and they package things up so that it's easy to deliver, and that's great for making our life convenient, but not only does it come with a lot of packaging, this is where a lot of times grocery stores and other companies really make their money. And so as you really take a step back and think, well, how can I do this myself? How can I buy these second-hand or how can I make something on my own? Not only does it really reduce the waste, but it really translates into big budget savings as well.

05:19 KK: And on that note, James, can you tell me, tell our audience quickly, how do you... You weren't really on board at first, is that right? What's your back story? And it really did come down to dollars and savings, wasn't it?

05:31 James: Yeah, yeah. So I... Fredrika loves... One of the things that Fredrika is really good at in our family is proposing challenges for the whole family to take on, whether it's maybe let's not go into a grocery store for a month and see how that works, or let's not use any electricity on Saturdays for the next couple of months. And so each of these little challenges were a lot of fun and started to teach us how to navigate this. But at first, I think I was a little resistant to it, for sure. I was... Had busy working life, and so, some of these things at first felt like they were going to be taking a lot more time, whereas I started noticing that as we started doing these things and weaving these into our lives, we were really saving a lot of money and I think finally, I kind of turned the corner and really kind of dove full force into this and realized that actually a lot of these things can save time and money.

06:35 KK: And that's great, and I love that it's your firsthand knowledge, and you've kinda had to twist his arm a little bit, but show him... And your challenges are great because not only for you guys, but obviously you're teaching your kids as well for these challenges, kids love challenges.

06:48 FS: Yeah, and I wanted to say that it is the one thing, the benefit that James noticed was that obviously that we saved a lot of money by not buying all these things and reducing our waste came with lot more money in our pocket and that meant that James and me can spend much more time with our kids, and that is what matters to us.

07:06 KK: I love that. You talked about the unplugging electronics. How can that save money? And what are some steps?

07:15 James: Yeah. So, a lot of electronics will draw a little bit of electricity all night long, and so really unplugging those from the wall at night, really helps save a little bit of energy, which does really add up over time.

07:32 KK: That's great. And again, that's something that we can all do. Just unplug. During the pandemic, I know restaurants were closed and it was just kind of takeout orders, but don't eat out so much is one of your messages, and you knew that well ahead of the pandemic that we've all gone through and then baking or just making your own food, baking your own bread, and you have an amazing garden, so I wanted you to touch on a little bit of all of that.

08:00 FS: Well, I have to say this, it's funny because when the pandemic happened and the lockdown happened, people... A lot of our friends around us, were like panicked, its like, "Oh my God," and they were the friends who were dependent on the restaurant...

08:11 KK: Yeah.

08:13 FS: To provide their food, and here we are, we're already cooking and baking our own bread, and our daughter is 13. She looked out in the garden and she goes, "Well, we have all the food, so I'm not too worried about this."

08:21 KK: That's great.

08:22 FS: And so I don't think we suffered a whole lot during the pandemic because like baking and cooking and we grew, we grow most of the food in our own backyard, so we had all the food that we needed, so like cooking is, I think it has been a dying art, and people think they don't have time to cook, the fact is cooking some pasta and frying up a chicken, it takes 10-15 minutes, anyone can do it.

08:46 KK: And you know what's nice is that you do offer these recipes on your social media, on your YouTube, you've done challenges, so we'll get to that in just a little bit, but talk to me a little bit about your garden, it's sustainable. Rows and rows, and again, I think you are way ahead of the curve.

09:01 James: Right. So we live on a standard city lot here in San Diego, just 10 minutes from downtown, so we have just a 7500 square foot lot, but we really grow in the front, the side, and the back. We've got about 400 square feet of growing boxes, and we focus on growing all year round, which is nice here with the climate in San Diego, and we really focus on a garden where you're eating out of the garden constantly. Every day, every week, and so we really try to plant in a way that allows us to constantly year round, eat out of the garden.

09:36 KK: I love it. What are some easy things to plant for people and what are the most difficult things to plant or keep growing, if you don't have a green thumb?

09:44 FS: Well, I will say potato, so actually one of the easiest things to grow and people think that you need like really big fields to grow a potato, that's not true, you can actually grow potatoes in a pot and they love it. Potatoes are super easy. You put in one potato that has some isle sprouts, and then from that you will get up to 20 potatoes, which is... And they don't need a whole lot of... They need some compost and little bit of water, and that's it. I would say that lettuce and kale is another one that will keep on growing and broccolis are easy to grow and they will give you a lot of food for one little seed. I would say that the hardest one to grow, and especially here in San Diego is tomatoes. People love growing tomatoes, but tomatoes are finicky, they need a lot of love and touch, and you have to research a lot on how to take care of tomato, so as you would... The tomato plant won't die and you will actually get all those tomatoes, but once you get that figured out, tomatoes are worth it.

10:42 KK: Which... Thank you for pointing that out because I know so many people that are frustrated and are like, "Ah, another bad tomato plant" or something, but you do, you have to really understand... Are these... The potatoes, are those year-round?

10:54 FS: Yeah, potatoes are year-round because potatoes, they like it cold or warm... I mean I grew up in Sweden, so you grow potatoes all year round pretty much. So even in the snow you can grow them, so they are totally fine growing all year round and tomatoes are the ones that are not a year-round vegetable, but we did figure it out last year how to grow them all year around.

11:13 KK: Oh, that's great. Let's talk about composting right now since we're in the garden. Tell me about composting because that is money savings, but it's also there is an art to it.

11:22 FS: Well, composting I was saying is like everyone should compost because compost is wonderful, people think that like some rotting food is not so sexy, but I'm telling you that compost is the most sexy thing on the planet.

11:34 KK: [laughter]

11:37 FS: Because compost reduces...

11:37 KK: Really?

11:37 FS: Your waste and compost like... So put it this way, food that goes to a landfill, becomes methane gas, which is actually a very poisonous gas that causes global warming. Food goes into compost becomes pure nutrients, I mean for the planet that we need.

11:53 James: That's right, that's right. In fact, one of the first things, if you really want to reduce your waste at home, getting your food scraps out of the trash, would actually cuts down for most people their trash by about 20% or more.

12:07 KK: Wow.

12:08 James: So, it can be a big reduction in trash and if you divert that into the soil, it can actually really help your garden and help the planet.

12:17 KK: Wow, and I love that. And you talk about that too on your social media, you have a YouTube channel, and so for those that don't understand composting or wanna get into it...

12:27 James: We've got a great Beginner's Guide where we go through the different types of composting and what's really easy for just people who have never done it before. What's the easiest way to start composting?

12:39 KK: Thank you. And that's gonna be great for people like myself. So let's talk a little bit about Bella, Noah and Liam, your kids, and you have been doing some recycled kids craft now that they've been home, or if they were home during the pandemic and all... You started this a while ago, you were always doing crafts with them and being creative.

13:01 FS: Yeah, we have always done a lot of craft because our kids didn't go to daycare, because I was a stay-home mom taking care of them at home. So doing arts and craft has always been part of something that they enjoy doing. But our kids are just fanatic on actually doing recycled material crafts and very little guidance. Our daughter, she has built the most amazing things just from cardboard papers and things that you finds in people's recycling bins and that's her favorite thing is to go and scatter through all the recycling bins and figure out. And it's always like, What can we make with this? That's always what they ask us, which I think, our son... Well, I don't know how many rocks and sticks we brought home because he's gonna make something with it, so we have a whole collection of that.

13:48 James: And I think it's so easy to buy toys for kids and you get them from the grandparents and you bring them home and the next thing you know, your house is just overflowing with toys, and it doesn't actually make the kids any happier or any more creative or inspired to play, and what we actually found was that when we dramatically reduced the number of toys in the house, it actually not only saves us money, but it actually starts to drive their creativity to say, "What are the things that we can do and construct and build?" And of course, that always takes some guidance from the parents as well as to what to do, but once you really unleash that creativity, there's things all around that they can kind of play with and construct and do. And it's quite a lot of fun.

14:38 KK: I love that. And you even talked before I think about even recycled crayons, putting that together, melting them and then having a whole array of crayons.

14:47 James: That's right. Of course, when you think about all those crayons that you get at restaurants or in different places over time, what happens to them? Right? So many of them just get discarded and go in the trash can, so number one, we try to always bring crayons with us when we're out and about, so we don't have to create that waste, but if we do get crayons, we always hold on to them, and then about every, probably twice a year, we have... We gather up all the crayons and sort them by color and put them in these small muffin tins and we'll just melt them down in the oven, and they become brand new crayons and the kids actually love to do it, and sometimes mixing different colors creates really unusual looking crayons and they have a lot of fun with it.

15:29 KK: That's so great. And I love that they're really, not forced, but yeah, you take away the toys, and a lot of times kids only like the boxes that the toys come in.

15:37 FS: Exactly.

15:40 KK: Let's talk a little bit about working out, and so people belong to gyms, but when you were saving money, you can work out at home in the garden.

15:48 FS: Yeah, so especially during the pandemic, 'cause I did have a personal trainer. We had a personal trainer and then when the pandemic happened, obviously, we haven't been able to go back to her, but we figured out that you can work out on your own. First of all, there are a million online free classes that you can take, just go to YouTube and find... And our daughter, she does work out pretty much every day from one of those videos, and for us, we also, like we said, instead of having a car and driving, we would like make a point of walking or biking, and that would give us exercise, but also we would just as exercise as a family, we go out for hikes a lot, we go out for walks a lot, so just walking around your neighborhood, doing yoga at home, it is all possible, you do not need to pay for a gym.

16:34 KK: That's great. That is great information. This is also interesting, and we have more to come in just a moment, but right now we need to take a quick break. Stay with us, we'll be right back.

[music]

16:49 Speaker 5: Welcome back to the Mother's Market Podcast, and we wanna remind you that if you missed any portion of today's show, you can find us on iTunes by searching Mother's Market or download the show from our website, mothersmarket.com. Click the link for podcast and listen to past shows, plus download our healthy recipes and money savings coupons, all available at mothersmarket.com.

17:11 KK: And now back to our interview with Fredrika and James, and we are talking about money-saving tips from a zero waste lifestyle. We talked about all the tips that you can give all of us, we can all benefit from this. And thank you. It's been so interesting. We last talked about not having to work out at the gym, and you can do this at home. I wanna talk a little bit about your daughter, Bella, who is just darling, she's 13, but she's a fashionista and she buys her clothes second hand. Is that right?

17:40 FS: Yes, she does. She is like, first of all, she's a minimalist teenager, and I don't think anyone ever heard this, but this girl, she has so few things and she prides herself in the fact that she is a minimalist, but all her clothes either she actually got them from a neighbor who cleans out her closet and gives some to our daughter, or she buys them used, and she has something... What is it? A 20 different jumpsuits, all that she collects and they are all used and she just loves and prides herself in that she buys herself clothes used.

18:15 KK: And she is just adorable, as you said, but she's also really positive and just as you said, she's a minimalist, but she teaches her friends about that and her friends about shopping second hand, and I know she and I had a little conversation and that was...

18:30 James: Yeah. It was so interesting at the beginning of seventh grade, she came home and said, "Oh yeah, one of the girls was teasing her that she wears the same clothes sometimes." And of course, this is the age where they get so into fashion and different outfits, and by the end of the school year, it was so interesting that that whole conversation has shifted where friends of hers were saying, "Man, I wish my closet looked like yours, I can actually... You've got such cool stuff and I can actually... You can actually see what's there," and you can just see how it's the same thing with having overflowing toys for the younger kids as they start to get over those, closets can overflow and it doesn't bring any more happiness.

19:16 KK: That's such a great point. I love that and you went full circle, so good. [chuckle] Let's talk a little bit, and you kind of touched about it, about not throwing food away, and then that's in the form of composting, what else... How else can we not throw food away?

19:32 FS: Well, I would say that the most important thing is that we make sure that we don't buy more food than we need. Before we started this, we... I mean, I will go to the grocery store and I would just go up and down the aisles, and I was just like, "Oh, this and this and this." And I didn't even know if I had mayo at home, and I come home and like, suddenly I have three, four jars of mayo. Now, we will literally take... We have to do an inventory of what we have at home. And we really focus on eating what we have, and especially since the lockdown, we really focus on eating what we had in the freezer, fridge and the pantry. And it's amazing because most people have food there and normal people for like, to feed themself for two weeks. You just have to be really creative how you use it.

20:11 FS: But also we need to store the food properly, so make sure to clean out the vegetable drawers where you keep your fresh fruit and vegetables on like every week, we clean it out because that will actually maintain all your vegetables that they stay fresh as long as possible. At the end of the week, we always end up with a couple of things, left overs, and we end up with, you know, a couple of vegetables starting to do their last song and dance, but those are perfect to put into soups and stew, so we are also really good at taking our left overs and reinvent them into new dishes. We have some interesting things like lasagna soup that actually turn out to be one of the kids' favorite food.

20:49 KK: Wow. Do you have that recipe?

[laughter]

20:53 James: We'll get that for you.

20:53 KK: Yeah.

20:54 James: But yeah, it is almost like a challenge each week to see, can we really empty the fridge? What can... Fredrika sometimes will say, alright, I use something from the freezer and something from the fridge and something from the cupboard for this meal, right, and we're always actively trying to empty things out before we go shopping again. How long can we wait to go shopping again? Sometimes that requires a lot of inspiration and creativity. And there's a website, fridge to food, which you can just enter in a few ingredients and it comes up with recipes that you can cook from that has that recipe. That's not our website, but it's a great way to inspire you to really eat out of your fridge, and that is a great way to save money, right? Because you're not having all of these things sit around, you're not having food go to waste. That's a big opportunity.

21:43 KK: That's great. Can I ask you, you touched a little bit about storing the food, so I know... And we'll talk about your shopping at farmer's markets too, but when you're talking about fresh vegetables, how do you store them in the drawers of your refrigerator, do you put them in anything or is there or do you have any tips for long storage?

22:00 FS: No, I just make sure, first of all that, like I said, that the vegetable drawer is completely clean and we don't have anything that is rotting or going bad because that will affect the rest of the vegetables. And then also, I obviously try to store root vegetables in one drawer and like the fresh leafy ones in one drawer, that way they will also maintain because the root vegetables tend to have a little bit more soil on them when they come in, especially when we buy them, because we buy them at the farmers market or we get them from my garden. And the soil can have some bacteria, so they can affect any leafy things.

22:34 KK: Okay, that's a good point. And then what about storing into your cabinets, if you have to store grains, or how do you best store them?

22:42 James: Yeah, so we... A lot of our dried food we buy in bulk. Oftentimes, rice, beans we'll buy a 25-pound bag of those, and so we store those tightly sealed in the original bag, and then we will put... We have large glass containers that we'll fill up and then store in the pantry to keep that fresh.

23:07 FS: And also for keeping bugs and kitchen moss out of the dried food.

23:13 KK: Yeah, that transfer, that's great. And then you just label them or have your kids label them, that's another challenge probably. I can see that happening. You talked about don't buy more food than you need, and so sticking to a shopping list, is that something important as well?

23:27 FS: Yes, so every week I write a weekly menu, and I even post that actually on our website, on ZeroWasteFamiy.com, where I write... So I will write down exactly what we're gonna have for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner. It didn't used to be lunch because before the pandemic, obviously everyone ate at work or school, but now I do write down. And so I write that list and then I know, like I'll look what do we have at home or what do we have in garden and then I will shop for only what we need.

23:56 KK: Great, yeah.

23:56 James: And I think if you've got... We also have a rhythm to what we eat, which I think is particularly helpful if you've got young kids. So Mondays, we always have some sort of soup. On Tuesdays, we always have some sort of a Taco Tuesday night, Mexican. On Wednesdays, we always have pasta. On Thursdays, we always have something Indian related. And so, that both allows the kids to kind of know what to expect. You don't have to have an argument, "Well, what are we gonna make for dinner?" They know it's gonna be some sort of a soup on Monday, and it also allows you to plan your shopping, right? You know you need something for soup, you know you need something for tacos, you know you need something for pasta, right? And you can do a lot of variations within that topic, but it also helps you food plan.

24:44 KK: Yeah, staying on your schedule, which I love, and then something that you guys also do is, or you have done is talk to your kids about where your meals are coming from. If you said you have Indian food or Italian, or Mexican, you really... Again, another challenge, but you talk about where that food is coming from and the traditions.

25:03 FS: Yeah, so we were very blessed to have friends from all over the world, so our kids have just naturally learned to eat a lot of different cultured foods. So we have a dear friend, her name is Suda, and she is the one who taught our kids about Indian food, and it's amazing because they love going to her house and watch her cook and eat her food, and she taught them about everything about that. So now, whenever they eat Indian, our son, who is 9, he would be like, "Taste like Suda's." So they were like recognize the flavor, but they also... When we started pandemic, we actually would travel with the kids virtually, we would go to different places and we will like pick a country. We did Spain one day, and then we looked up a fun food to make from Spain, so that way we get to travel and try different foods from different parts of the world.

25:50 KK: That's so great. They're so well-rounded, and again, that you're just great teaching them about worldly things. You talked about going to the Farmer's Market. How important is that?

26:04 James: Yeah, Farmer's Market is really important to us. Number one, it supports your local farmers. Number two, the food's much fresher because it doesn't travel as far. Third, it's one of the best ways to buy food zero waste. So often, at stores these days, even organic food they feel the need to put stickers on them and put plastic around them, and so often at the Farmer's Market, you can get food, just food, which is nice, and very often it's as cheap or cheaper than buying organic food at your local organic store.

26:39 KK: That's a great tip. One thing I remember that I've done so many times is don't go shopping while you're hungry. [chuckle]

26:47 FS: No.

26:48 KK: Then you're gonna buy, buy, buy, right? So, any tips on that? Just don't go shopping when you're hungry.

26:52 James: I think that's a pretty smart tip, that's right.

26:54 KK: [laughter] Right. And you talked about growing your own food, is there anything in your garden that we didn't talk about that you're growing that's unusual or easy to...

27:03 James: Well, I think that one of the wonderful things about growing your own food is it just allows you to have a greater variety of foods in the meals that you eat. So we are growing three types of kales and four different types of lettuces, and if you're gonna make a soup or a salad for dinner that night, how often are you going to go have three or four different types of greens in that salad? You're probably not, because if you're buying three or four different types of greens every week, are you really gonna eat through all of that? Right, or is it gonna go bad in the refrigerator? Whereas for us, because we're able to pick out of the garden on demand, we can bring just such a greater diversity of vegetables into our indoor daily diet. And I think, to me, that's one of the great benefits of having your own garden, besides the fact that it's fun and it tastes better, and it's a great environment for your kids to learn about the biology and growing and science, but it's a lot more nutritious as well.

28:07 KK: So my next question is, when are you gonna open up a restaurant? [laughter] [28:12] ____ The food is good, it's nothing like fresh, right, and that's...

28:16 James: That's right.

28:17 KK: Yeah. Switching gears little bit, I wanna talk about reusable diapers and menstrual products. That's interesting.

28:23 FS: Yeah, so we actually... I remember when I brought home the cloth diapers, when our son... Our first son was born in 2011, James looked at me and go like, "Okay, well, maybe when they're awake and we're home", I'm like, "No, we're gonna wear like cloth diapers all the time." All the time because when our daughter was born 13 years ago, I wanted to do cloth diapers, but everyone talked me out of them, said its gonna be too much work, you're never gonna have time, and it might not save the planet that much, but when I did a research, I realized that that was actually not true at all, and I was like, "Well, I'm gonna try." So I went to a place in Encinitas that sells cloth diapers and I said, "Please teach me about cloth diapers, are they hard?" and they're like, "No, let us teach you." And I went home with the cloth diapers and realizing that cloth diapers really isn't that hard, it actually doesn't take more time than driving down to Target to buy some cloth diapers, and of course, cloth diapers do not contain any plastic when they pick chemicals, and it saves you tons of money.

29:22 FS: So I cloth diapered both our boys, so for, I don't know, five years about... We had someone in cloth diapers, and when I was done with the cloth diapers, I sold them second hand because they have a great resale value, so I get almost all the money back, so it's amazing, not only did I save tremendous amount of diapers from going to the landfill, but also saved us tremendous amount of money.

29:45 James: Yeah.

29:46 KK: Wow.

29:46 James: I think I was very resistant to this at the time, and I think there's no topic that I've gotten more questions on than this one because people think this is so much work, and once I really kind of jumped on the bandwagon here, I realized that the technology has really evolved in cloth diapers, just like everything else in the world. They're very easy to use, they're very well-designed and very easy to use these days. You do put a very small disposable liner in there so that when you have a really messy diaper, it just goes into the toilet, and so it's not nearly as messy as I thought it was, and you just have an extra tub of laundry to do every week. And so it isn't nearly as much work as I thought it would be.

30:27 KK: Wow, that's admirable. [chuckle]

30:30 James: And boy, at one point, years ago, I added up the number of diapers we prevented from going into the landfill, I forget what that number was, but it was a big number.

30:38 KK: Wow, right then and there. I mean, that is probably half of your savings, I would imagine.

30:43 FS: Yes.

30:44 James: That was a big savings.

30:44 KK: Crazy.

30:44 FS: Yeah, and when it comes to the menstrual pads and the cups, I use a Diva cup, and we use menstrual pads that are reusable cloth, because the fact is that most menstrual pads and tampons and things like that, contains a tremendous amount of chemicals, and this is something you do not wanna put in your body. So, and also... But then we do dispose them and they go to landfill and they will stay there for like thousands of years, so when I'm gone and my daughter is gone and my grandkids gone, those menstrual pads are still gonna be there. So, switching that, that was super easy, first I was little bit like hesitant or nervous about how this was gonna work, and then I realized, "Oh my God, this is so easy", and I know our daughter was like, "I don't know, mommy. Can we just talk about this and this is embarrassing?" And now she's like, oh, she would never have it in any other way.

31:32 KK: Wow, you have a great advocate there and you guys are really teaching them everything. Washing clothes in cold water, and I'm curious to know about soap nuts, I'm not know what soap nuts are.

31:45 James: [laughter] When Fredrika brought home these little soap nuts and said, "Hey, we're gonna use these to do our laundry now", I looked at this little brown nut and I said, "She's nuts!"

31:52 KK: [laughter] And you were waiting to say that.

31:56 James: How are these things ever gonna get our laundry clean? I mean, when I grew up you know, laundry soap looked like Tide, it came in a big plastic...

32:04 KK: Smelled strong.

32:04 James: Disposable box and smelled like perfume and the clothes come out and the smell, it you in the face with the smell. But, we gave it a try and you put a little bag of these soap nuts and they grow naturally on trees, they're enzyme-based, and so you basically just put it in with your laundry and they do a really effective job cleaning them. They just come in a cloth bag or a paper bag, so there's no waste in terms of like, normally when you're buying soap, it got things cleaned and it's even gray water safe, so our wash machine will go out and irrigate the trees in our yard, and it's also safe for that.

32:44 KK: Yeah, that's true. I didn't even think about that part of it. Wow.

32:48 FS: People do question if they actually do work, and I can tell you that I have used them on cloth diapers. Poopy cloth diapers. And they passed the test.

[laughter]

32:58 KK: There you go. First-hand knowledge. And then hanging dry, is that how you dry your clothes?

33:02 James: Typically we do, that's right, depending on the weather. But yeah, we're lucky here in San Diego instead. We've got a lot of heat here, so a lot of times we're able to hang dry our clothes year-round.

33:13 KK: Sunny and 70s usually, huh? One of my last questions is about making your own cleaning products, and this I know is so important as well for environmentally and let's talk about that.

33:23 FS: Yeah, so cleaning products. If you store bought cleaning products, are really, really expensive, they come with chemicals and that is really, really harmful for your pets, for your children and for yourself, and as soon as you do clean them just to clean a floor, you will stay inhale the fumes of that. And also, I think that the stores and the manufacturers have done a really good job to convince us, "We need 10 different cleaners to clean our house." The fact is you can clean your whole house with a lemon or vinegar and baking soda and it will be sparkling clean and it will be disinfected, so you can save a tremendous amount of money by making your own home cleaners. And actually on our website, we have lots of recipes, and I even use essential oils to make it smell really nice and fresh. What I noticed the most when we switched from that, was that one time we went to an Airbnb and they have obviously cleaned with Clorox or something like that, and our kids were literally hanging out of the window screaming that they were gonna die from the chemicals, because they thought like, "This is bad." And we had to air out the house because that's how sensitive they are to the smells now.

34:35 KK: I remember that story. You told me.

34:37 James: That's right, that's right. And I think that a lot of people have started to move to more natural cleaning products, but those typically come, as Fredrika said, you don't need all the variety that these companies like to market to you that you think you need. They almost always come in plastic, and we calculated the savings from making our own household cleaning products, we save about $500 a year just on this category alone. And when we think about the math on something like this, we always look at a 10-year time horizon, so if we think about saving $5000 over 10 years, if you can bring five or six or 10 types of those things into your life, that makes a huge difference over that sort of time frame where you're saving real money and can make different choices with your life.

35:24 KK: That's so great. Yeah, you're making the choices to save the planet, going green. And then of course, in your pocket book as well. This has been such great information and we thank you so much for your time, some great advice, but we really appreciate your knowledge, your passion, and we look forward to having you on again. But in the meantime, you can always get more information on James and Fredrika. The website is zerowastefamily.com, and just loaded with recipes and great advice. And again, you see the lovely family as well. We look forward to your next visit.

35:55 FS: Thank you.

35:55 James: Thank you.

36:03 S5: Thanks for listening to the Mother's Market podcast, and for shopping at Mother's Market.

36:07 S1: The advice and informational content does not necessarily represent the views of Mother's Market and Kitchen. Mother's recommends consulting your health professional for your personal medical condition.