When I knew for sure I would be going to the Burning Man 2015 edition, I started thinking about ways to adhere to the Leave No Trace principle. Being environmentally conscious is obviously a huge concern to me (if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Climate Heroes project I have been leading, managing and photographing for 5 years now). I have become very aware of our impact on our planet and on waste, recycling and natural resources, while living in Montreal, also thanks to my then girlfriend.
After visiting friends in Montreal again briefly this year and becoming more acquainted with plant-based products, or Herboristerie, I decided to give it a go, and what better occasion than for Burning Man 2015 with its Radical Self-reliance and Leave No Trace principles?
I chose to start with two simple things : toothpaste (which I had already manufactured once for my road trip, and sun block. Why? You may want to skip showering sometimes in the desert at Burning Man, but toothpaste is an obvious absolute necessity and having a fully natural one is a no-brainer for me. And sun block is also a vital add-on in the desert under the scorching sun.
But beyond Burning Man, why make your own products? Well, in addition to the obvious reasons about creating less packaging and less waste when you buy bulk and manufacture your own products, I had also found out some time ago that the Fluor dose in a tube of toothpaste is enough to kill you if you eat it all at once (while no sane person is going to do that, it just says that the ingredients in some of the products aren’t always all good for you, nor researched fully, or we discover some of their negative effects a while later. Remember the issue with BPA in water bottles?)
I made my first toothpaste earlier this year, inspired by the recipe from Planet Addict, after she gave me a little pot of it, which made me start thinking that it would be nice to make my own too. Here’s how it’s done in 5 minutes:
- 2 spoons of green clay
- 1/2 tea spoon of unrefined sea salt
- 2 spoons of water (add a bit more if the clay isn’t creamy enough)
- 3 drops of peppermint essential oil (for the fragrance among others)
- 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (for conservation)
Mix and stir all, and it is ready!
I used my first batch while traveling for over a month, and it was great!
This was a bit more complicated to find the ingredients and a bit more exotic to manufacture! You can find the entire article and original recipe (in French) here, but for an English summary, you need:
- 30g of olive oil
- 30g of coconut oil
- 40g of shea butter
- 10g of natural bee wax (or a vegetal wax, if you prefer)
- Put all those ingredients in a bain-marie until it melts.
I had the chance to find some really natural bee wax, and just that smells so good that you don’t want to have that weird chemical smell of another sunblock on your skin ever again! I got it from a bee farmer here in Provence. Bees are one of the most important pieces of the natural ecosystems balance, so you want to get yours from sustainable sources too, and encourage those jobs.
Add 30g of zinc oxide (for a Sun Protection Factor of 30) but be cautious when doing, so, do not breathe the powder.
When everything is mixed well, and when you have a while liquid without any solid parts, add :
- 10 drops of liquid Vitamin E (for conversation)
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil (for fragrance)
I was surprised that the texture remains very liquid until the mix cools down. I therefore added a bit more wax to thincken it, but it wasn’t necessary. My first cream is a bit more solid that it should, and more yellow! Not a problem in itself, but it’s worth sharing so you aren’t surprised, as it will look a lot more watery than you expect. Once it has cooled down in a pot, the cream will become creamy. I recommend you don’t put it in a tube with a small lid as you may have trouble using it later. It is better to use a pot with a wide opening.
Here you go! Some additional products you can do at home and that would be worth bringing to Burning Man to reduce your footprint and Leave No Trace could be:
- – A mosquito Repellent (optional), with essential oils
- – A Dr Bronner Soap, with natural products and oils only, no chemicals! I use it to wash, for shampoo, and it is also suitable to do laundry. A great way to travel light!
- – And you could get crazy too and build an Evapotron for your gray water! Check out this toturial (or video) if you feel like using your hands for something fun!
Have you ever thought of your impact and how to reduce it?
If you’re going to Burning Man, what are the ways you are following the Leave No Trace principle?
See you on the playa!