Claire Sancelot is not your average mom and she is far from your average expat. In a bid to change her life from one of consumption to one governed by the principles of ecology, she, her husband, their three daughters, their helper and their dog have gone from a life of excess stuff to producing less than one bag of garbage a week for their entire household! She records her efforts, tips, suggestions, ideas and thoughts on her Hong Kong Green Home Facebook page and on her Zero Waste Hong Kong website. We are honored to announce that Claire will be a Green Queen guest author going forward! Stay tuned for her posts documenting her family’s zero waste lifestyle.
In this post, I show my family bathroom: what’s in it, what products we use, what we avoid. Every day, we learn more about wasting less. Our life is a continuous journey towards green nirvana.
I have tried to remove all disposables from my bathroom: no cotton balls, no cotton pads, no facial tissues, no wipes of any kind. I do still use Q-tips. As I said, I am a work in progress.
I still need my electrical toothbrush as I am convinced I need it for my oral health but I hope to one day use those recyclable toothbrushes. I have a small bag for my makeup. It is all Mac because the brand recycles all its packaging. If you bring six boxes back, they will give you as free lipstick. How’s that for green beauty?
This is my bathroom, which I share with my three little girls when they bathe. It took almost a year to finish or donate most of my ‘beauty’ products, all of which I though I could not live without. I soon realized we actually just need a few great products that have multiple purposes. I use the same soap from the same pump for my face & hands. In the pink glass bottle is our body moisturizer by Avalon Organics, an organic Australian brand sold at most Park n Shops, Watsons and Mannings at a decent price. I like my bathroom to look pretty so I just refill this pink glass bottle with the lotion and recycle the plastic container it comes in.
All the body soap and hand soap is from the Hong Kong brand Bella Sapone, all toxin-free, organic and made locally. I get the refill bottles that we return to the store once we have finished them. The body wash costs HKD 180 per litre and the hand wash is HKD 150 per litre. We have pumps by the kitchen sink, by the bathtub (made out of plastic so that the kids can’t break it) and by the two bathroom sinks.
By the bathtub, our selection of sponges is from the Body Shop, we use refillable Bella Sapone bottles of body wash (even our dog uses it), kids organic shampoo from Earth Friendly Kids organic shampoo for the little ones, which we get from Tiny Footprints and I use Moroccan Oil parabens free shampoo. As I said, I like to keep it simple and zen.
I want to end this post with some ecological poetry by my personal green hero, whose example I work to emulate every day. I hope it will inspire you.
The Hummingbird Story by Pierre Rahbi, world renowned environmentalist and author
Once upon a time, not so long ago, and maybe not even so far away from where you live now, there lived many animals in a deep, green forest. And they lived in relative harmony, except when one animal was eaten by another animal as sometimes happens in a deep, green forest. But that was appreciated as the story of life and death. And the continuation of life. And in the cycle of things, as they are and as they are meant to be, there was equanimity and peace…
Until one day, a fire raged and raged in the deep, green forest. And all the animals gave chase or took flight to try and save themselves from the inferno. While running away they felt huge despair at the thought of what they were leaving behind… their only home.
When they reached a safe distance some of the animals stopped to look at the raging fire, and noticed a small spot of red in the blue sky, circling back and forth, from a clear, cool lake to the blazing, burning forest… What was it? It was the red-throated hummingbird. And in her beak she ferried a few small drops of water to try to stop the fire. She flew back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth again.
The animals below looked up in amazement. The lion looked up, the elephant, the badger and the bear. They all looked up at the red-throated hummingbird in disbelief.
And the lion roared: “Red-throated hummingbird, what do you think YOU are doing up there with your one drop of water?”
Undeterred by the impossibility of it all, the little hummingbird said: “I am doing what I can.”
For me, the Hummingbird Story means never giving up. Any effort to help is an effort worth making.
Love, Claire x