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DIY Zero Waste First Aid Kit

By Kim Robson:

For many years, I’ve always kept handy two tins of Burt’s Bees Wise Woman Comfrey Comfort Salve — one in the medicine cabinet and one in my purse. These days, it’s been rebranded as Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment, but it’s still exactly the same formulation: a soothing blend of sweet almond oil, olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, vitamin E oil, lavender oil, and comfrey leaf and root extracts. It’s perfect for all sorts of minor owies including scrapes, scratches, burns, insect stings, bumps and bruises.

But, if I were the parent of a small child, I’d have a small arsenal of first-aid essentials handy in the home and in the car. And, since we’re Green Moms, we’re going to show you not just how to put together a sweet little nature-based first-aid kit: we’re going to make it zero-waste, too.


First, what to put it all into? This is going to depend largely on how much stuff you choose to include. Personally, I can’t bring myself to throw away those clear plastic cosmetic zip pouches that often contain a gift pedicure set. They come in handy for travel, keeping leakable items separated. You could also use a travel toiletry organizer, a small vintage lunch box, a Tupperware container, a shoe box, or just a canvas tote bag or gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

Knowledge Is Power

You’ll want to include a basic first-aid manual and have a working knowledge of how to administer it. Kids who are old enough should be schooled on the main points. Reread the manual from time to time as a review. Add a list of emergency contact phone numbers including poison control (800-222-1222).

Be familiar with basic wound care: clean the wound thoroughly, let it dry to air, apply antiseptic as needed, and wrap with a sterile dressing. For minor scrapes, you can simply wash with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, rinse thoroughly and let air dry. This can be just as effective as using alcohol wipes or other antiseptics.

Zero-Waste Containers

Hold ointments, powders and salves in small glass jarsor metal tinsthat can be washed and refilled as needed.

The Essentials

In glass jars:

In metal tins:


Check your kit regularly. Refill or replace missing or expired items.

Make sure your babysitters/caregivers know where the kit is and how to use it.

Traveling? Pack the first-aid kit in your checked luggage, as some items may not be permitted in carry-on bags.

About Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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