Zero Waste in the Philippines: A Resource List

Zero Waste in the Philippines: A Resource List

Since moving to the Philippines, maintaining a zero waste lifestyle has been a bit more challenging than it would be in the states. Some stores have small bulk dry goods sections, but selection is limited. Many products come in single-serving size plastic sachets. Every time I go to the beach, I see lots of straws, takeaway cups, plastic food wrappers, and more- making me even more motivated to keep on going with my zero waste aspirations! 

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We're Starting a Garment Factory.

I’ve been referencing “big plans” for awhile, now… And I think it’s time to share! I’m co-founding an ethical garment factory here in the Philippines!

As I've become increasingly disillusioned with the ethical fashion industry- "fair trade" factories that pay the same wages as sweatshops, "eco-fabrics" that shed plastic fibers into our water supplies, markups that thickly line the pockets of CEOs while giving an unfair slice of profits to workers- I've had this mantra beating in my head: we MUST do better. 

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When Untouched World reached out to me earlier this year I was intrigued by two facts about this New Zealand-based company: Untouched World has been recognized for the company’s high sustainability standards by the UN, which is extremely unique for a fashion brand, and the company is a pioneer in developing new types of wool and wool based textiles that perform well for everyday/all-climate wear. (Also, fun fact: apparently Obama and Prince Harry are Untouched World fans)! 

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Mud Houses, Pineapple Fiber, Crazy Big Plans: August


Andrew and I have been working hard on our Tagalog skills. I am nowhere near fluent yet, but I know most of the "essential phrases" plus over 1000 words and can put some sentences together (though my grammar is often a bit off). I've spent a fair bit of time in the past few weeks having awkward, halting conversations with anyone who will humor me. Apparently word has spread among the staff (guards, maintenance, etc) in Andrew's and my apartment building that "the American can speak Tagalog" because they've all stopped using English when talking to me. 

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I guess I'm writing about politics and religion now, Damn it.

I guess I'm writing about politics and religion now, Damn it.

I woke up this morning to a flurry of posts on my social media feeds that made me sick to my stomach. While I slept, hundreds of white supremacist terrorists with tikki torches gathered in Charlottesville. Met by counter protestors, violence between the groups escalated and resulted in injury and even death for one demonstrator. The president of my country failed to condemn the terrorists' actions, instead issuing a statement that basically said both sides (white supremacists and peace activists alike) had behaved badly. 

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Matter Prints- More Than Just "Pants To See The World In" Now!

I’ve loved Matter Prints ever since a dear friend in Singapore, where Matter Prints is based, introduced them to me years ago. A clothing company taking traditional Asian garments and turning them into modern, wearable pieces that will last in your closet for decades while employing artisans practicing traditional crafts like weaving and block printing? My attention was caught!

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A Month in Review: June and July

Today, I thought that I’d try a little something different here on the blog. Back in the day, I used to post little life-updates. I miss that. There’s something that is soothing to me about writing down and documenting the things I know I’ll forget about in a month’s time. There’s something comforting in opening up and creating a bit more “closeness” in this online community…

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Mahagedara Retreat: The Most Eco-Conscious “Hotel” I’ve Ever Experienced

Mahagedara Retreat: The Most Eco-Conscious “Hotel” I’ve Ever Experienced

 I’ve traveled to many places where I’ve felt “at one with nature”, but I can’t think of a single location that tops Mahagedara Wellness Retreat and Spa for offering the perfect combination of luxury-level pampering and relaxation and nature immersion.

Mahagedara translates to “childhood home”, and you truly feel welcomed as part of the family from the moment that you step into the beautifully maintained grounds of the retreat.

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Kantala: Vegan Handbags That Aren't Made Out of Plastic + Support Weaving Artisans

Vegan handbags usually fit into one of two categories: “vegan leather” (which is usually made of polyvinyl chloride and other non-natural materials that are actually quite awful for the environment) or cloth/canvas (cute, but not very sturdy and a bit casual for those who prefer a more traditional looking purse. Up-and-coming Sri Lankan brand Kantala is bringing something new to the table with vibrant, woven handbags using carefully sourced, all natural materials paired with traditional shapes.

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Chai Overnight Oats

Chai Overnight Oats

Overnight oats has been my thing ever since I started attempting to live a more zero-waste life. It's easy to get the ingredients completely zero-waste (bring a cloth bag to the grocery store and fill it up with oats in the bulk section- usually grocery stores with small bulk sections at least have staples like oats and rice), it's cheap, and it can be made so many different ways!

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Reasons I thought about quitting blogging (and why I’m still doing it)

I’m frustrated with many aspects of blogging (as you have probably noticed from my tone on Instagram lately), and I wanted to be completely honest and share those with you. I have seriously considered quitting blogging in the past 6 months over the reasons listed below, and have decided not to. I’ll also be sharing how I plan to position my blog moving forward in this post.

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Marie Hell

I'm so thrilled that Marie Hell is radically transparent and actually willing to give consumers the information they ask for. As a blogger, it is usually incredibly difficult for me to pry information out of "ethical" brands to share with you, and I think that it speaks volumes of Marie Hell's integrity and the company's intentions that they are so confident in their transparency. 

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These Women are Walking Across Asia to Bring You Stories of Fair Fashion

veryone, meet your newest ethical fashion related obsession: Walk Sew Good. Made up of two smart and sassy women, Megan and Gab, team Walk Sew Good is currently walking across southeast Asia to gather positive stories about how your ethically-made clothes are produced and the affect that ethical business practices have on the people who make your clothes.

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Bunosilo will make ethical clothing just for you!

Based in India, this brand offers a colorful array of apparel and home goods made from primarily natural fabrics, with a price point ranging from about $20 to about $100. Your Bunosilo product will be made especially for you, upon ordering (you'll be able to choose the correct size and input any special custom requests at checkout), and will arrive on your doorstep in eco-friendly packaging, with your name on the tag! 

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Invigorating Green Tea Scrub for An At Home Spa Day

Invigorating Green Tea Scrub for An At Home Spa Day

Andrew knows exactly how to help me calm down and relax, and he specializes in planning day-long, elaborate scavenger hunts, building blanket forts, and planning DIY "spa days". He often surprises me at the end of a long trip or a hard day with a spotless bathroom equipped with candles, cucumber water, fresh flowers, and a variety of homemade, zero-waste and all-natural bath and body products- like DIY bubble bath and tea soaks! His latest creation is a green tea sugar scrub using Numi Tea's Matcha Green Tea Powder

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Is Ethical Fashion Elitist?

We often make blanket statements like "If we all changed our consumption habits, we could change the fashion industry!". But are we really asking everyone to change their consumption habits? And is that fair? For me, the answer is "no". At this point in my life, the vast majority of my friends, and the people I spend the most of my time with are not well-to-do and it seems ridiculous to encourage them to buy a $22.00 pair of organic and fair trade underwear when they are just trying to get by and cover rent and food for the month.

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My Friends Are Garment Makers: When "Fashion Revolution" Gets Personal

The longer I'm here in the beautiful Philippines, the more personally connected to the cause of "fashion revolution" I become. In just a few short months, I've befriended women in the garment industry, met local, small ethical fashion businesses and listened to their struggles to survive and "make it" without compromising on fair wages, and have even gotten the inside scoop on the big fast fashion manufacturing factories here. 

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Zero Waste Hair Care

This post is brought to you in partnership with Numi Tea. I'm compensated for my work for Numi, a company that values all the workers + voices that bring Numi to you! 

Hi, I'm Hannah and I haven't purchased shampoo or conditioner in plastic bottles for 6 months! Establishing a zero-waste hair care routine that worked for me took a little time (and several failed attempts at the "no poo" method), but I think I've cracked the code! Here's what I'm currently using to keep my scalp clean and happy: 

1. Shampoo Bar

After trying a few shampoo bars that were a bit more "clean" with their ingredients but didn't work well for my hair, I settled on the bars I found at LUSH. My favorite is the Seanik bar, but I've tried a few others as well that were all great! I'm really happy with this option, even though there are a few ingredients that I could do without, because LUSH shampoos are available locally here in the Philippines (so I don't have to ship a tiny bar of soap across the ocean), and because they are SO easy to purchase completely packaging-free! 

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

I really do use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning EVERYTHING! Even though the no-poo method didn't work well for me, I still occasionally wash my hair with a baking soda paste if I feel like there's any buildup. I make sure to condition with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse, too! 

3. Tea Rinses

Sometimes my hair needs a little extra help. Between constantly being exposed to super-intense sunlight here in the Philippines, and the inevitable scalp-sweating that is causing me to experience a bit of dandruff (not normal for me!), my locks are taking a bit of a beating. I try to pamper my scalp every once in awhile, and one of my favorite ways to do that (because it's easy and I don't have to mix up multiple ingredients) is with tea rinses. Tea is naturally an astringent, which means that it helps break up excess oil on your scalp and in your hair follicles, and different types of tea have different benefits as well.  

Numi Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is supposed to lighten and condition your hair. I first read about this in an herbalist's book when I was a teenager but didn't try it out until recently... I'm attempting to even out my unfortunately half-tone hair (the result of recklessly deciding to have my hair dyed- never again!). I'm not certain if it's just the time I've spent in the sun recently or if the tea is doing it's thing, but my hair is gaining some lighter streaks! 

Numi Mate Lemon Green Tea
The anti inflammatory properties of green tea help minimize dandruff, and invigorate your scalp. This one's my favorite. 

Numi Golden Chai Black Tea
The Caffeine in black tea helps to stop hair shedding by counteracting the hormones that cause your hair follicles to shrink and "kill" hair strands. You can use any black tea but this one smells SO amazing. 

To treat yourself to a tea hair treatment, steep 2 tea bags in a few cups of water. soak your hair with the mixture, and then wrap your head in a wet towel and let it sit for 30-45 minutes before rinsing out. If you try it, let me know how your hair reacts? What zero waste routines work for your hair? 

Zero Waste Kitchen Solutions from SuperBee

This post is in collaboration with SuperBee. I was not compensated for this post, but I was sent a free set of wax wraps to try. 


Plastic cling wrap and paper towels were two of the very last non-eco-friendly items still in our kitchen as we made the transition to a more zero-waste lifestyle. Andrew especially had a difficult time giving up the convenience of these two single-use, everyday products (how many 90’s-era kids didn’t grown up using paper towels constantly?).

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Finally, however, we cut ourselves off and stopped buying plastic wrap. For lack of a better alternative we started simply putting everything in glass jars in the refrigerator, but that’s not always ideal… It’s a bit difficult to fit a half-eaten sandwich or a block of cheese in a jar!

Enter SuperBee wax wraps. After trying to make my own wax wraps (and failing miserably- that’s another story for another time), I discovered this lovely, small and ethical company based in Thailand.

SuperBee wax wraps come in a variety of sizes and styles, and are made with only locally sourced and natural/biodegradable materials: 100% cotton, OTOP-certified pure beeswax, organic coconut oil, and tree resin. They’re easy to use, easy to clean, and affordable!

More important, still, than creating products that make zero-waste living easier for conscious consumers, SuperBee is providing good wages.

Going beyond just the bare minimum required by “fair trade”, SuperBee’s employees make 20% more than the living wage calculated by the Fair Trade Association. It’s a number that SuperBee founder Antoinette hopes will grow, as the company grows and more orders come in. In her words, “I believe generosity breeds prosperity”.

The women employed by SuperBee also enjoy the flexibility of bringing their kids along to work when they need to due to school holidays. 

Wax wraps aren’t sticky or messy, as you might assume, and they’re easily washed with warm water and mild soap. Because they form easily around whatever object you wrap, they can be used for everything from storing half an onion to covering a casserole dish!

I’ve mostly used mine for storing cut veggies- since I have a tiny refrigerator in my tiny apartment, it’s necessary for me to have space-saving solutions like this (I can only fit so many jars and bento boxes in there)!

I’ve come across several wax wrap brands, but SuperBee is by far the most transparent with regard to manufacturing, ingredients, and worker wages, AND the most stylish (there are colorful patterns to match any kitchen’s décor, as well as natural and earth-toned sets for the color-adverse like myself)- giving them my stamp of approval.

Check out SuperBee’s beautiful website to learn more about the SuperBee story!