DEAR GREEN PRESCRIPTION, You mentioned in an earlier column about making versus buying toiletries such as deodorant, mouthwash, and toothpaste. How do you do this? — CLEANING GREEN

DEAR CLEANING, The truth about DIY green swaps for toiletries is either depressing or uplifting, depending on your perspective. Because you will be shocked when you realize how easy and thrifty it is to be a greener cleaner when it comes to hygiene. Moreover, there are so many recipes for toiletries in print and on the Web that I can’t do them all justice here. But I will offer my experience switching to homemade deodorant, because that’s my own latest personal triumph. Here’s what I have learned: Essentially, if you can get a decent amount of baking soda to stick to your pits, you will pass most people’s smell-o-meters. Mixing said soda with equal amounts of plant fats like shea and/or cocoa butter will both help it stick and condition your underarm skin. Adding a few drops of essential oil, like tea tree or lavender helps with sniff tests. Be warned though: While DIY hygiene is fast, cheap and low waste, each body is different and some folks have sensitivities to some of these ingredients.

DEAR GREEN PRESCRIPTION, What’s the deal with toilet paper? Do I have to give it up to live a zero-waste lifestyle? — PAPER WASTER

DEAR PAPER, While I acknowledge that die-hard zero wasters would advocate that you eschew the Charmin, there are some thoughtful ways to reduce your reliance on TP without completely abandoning it. First, seek paper that is a) post-consumer waste recycled, b) chlorine-free, and c) wrapped in paper instead of plastic. For example, you can find the very reasonably priced Marcal recycled toilet paper in bulk at places like Sam’s Club if you don’t feel like shelling out for Seventh Generation. Then try to use less paper in general. Even a few less sheets per use will gradually add up to less paper waste overall. Finally, you might consider a bidet toilet attachment, which can help significantly reduce your need for toilet paper.

Lisa Botshon is a professor of English at the University of Maine at Augusta, where envelopes are routinely reused. The child of back-to-the-landers, she lives in a household that is skeptical of her zero-waste efforts.

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