N.O.W. idea #12: Make Something “Packaged”

I made way too much from scratch when I first converted to this Near-O Waste lifestyle; granola, BBQ sauce, ketchup, hamburger buns, biscuits, yogurt, lotion, deodorant, and even hair gel, all to avoid packaging. Over the past year I’ve learned that DIY is not always the best option. I’ve found alternatives for many of the things I used to make, or decided to do without them.

But I still have my laundry list of DIY favorites, all made with bulk ingredients, fresh produce, and/or returnable/recyclable packaging. Here they are, in order of (least to greatest) time commitment:

Body scrub: Honey and sugar are a perfect pair.

Toothpaste: There are lots of recipes out there, but I just mix (roughly) equal parts coconut oil and baking soda in a jam jar, then add a splash of peppermint extract (not essential oil). I add a little more coconut oil if it’s too dry and a little more baking soda if it’s too gooey.

Guacamole: Smash 2 avocados and mix with one minced garlic clove, the juice of one lime, and kosher salt and chili powder to taste.

Ranch dressing: I will only make this using cream cheese from our local bagelry (they pack it into my jar). It’s quick, easy, and delicious.

7-minute Salsa: Combine 5 medium tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, 1/3 of a small onion, one bunch (or less) cilantro, juice of one lime, and salt to taste. Immersion blend until smooth. Serve with bulk tortilla chips (and curse the twist tie on the cilantro)! This recipe is a little on the watery side. I don’t mind because it’s much faster than chopping, but if you’d prefer a thicker consistency, chop away!


Hummus: I “speed soak” chic peas then use them in any given hummus recipe (I always skip the tahini). Aside from the soaking time, it’s a pretty quick process.

Butter: You will need whipping cream in a glass jar, a stand mixer, a colander, a measuring pitcher, and a wooden spoon. I use a cookie dough scoop to form pre-measured tablespoons, then freeze them in a glass dish.


Tortillas: I make twenty-four every couple months and freeze half for future meals. If I’m not up for making them all at once, I’ll make the six I need for dinner and freeze the other eighteen balls of dough. Then I can thaw, roll, and cook in smaller (faster) batches in the future. 


So… are you up for making one of these “packaged” items at home?