Re-purposing Waste into Natural Beauty Products – Barbara Lee with Trashy Beauty

a Green Gab podcast with Marla

Barbara Lee of Trashy Beauty, a fellow podcaster with Trash Talking with Eco-Warriors, is a self-proclaimed environmentalist, entrepreneur, and zero-waste evangelist. Barbara Lee’s mantra is, “We use trash to make people beautiful.”

World Travel and Barista Beauty

After traveling to several third world countries and working on various conservation projects in South America and the Caribbean, Barbara Lee returned home to the shocking reality of the voluminous waste problem here in the United States. Working as a Barista in New Zealand, Barbara Lee witnessed great amounts of spent coffee grounds dumped in the trash daily. Having lived a zero-waste lifestyle in San Francisco the shock was intensified when she moved to New York City and witnessed the over-fueled consumption of the Big Apple.

Seizing the opportunity to make a difference, she started Trashy Beauty, a beauty company designed to inspire people to rethink what they throw in the trash. The first step of her ten-year business plan was collecting coffee grounds locally throughout the city and turning them into an organic facial scrub.

Barbara Lee declares that the idea was not about building a business or making a living from the Trashy Beauty company, but rather to use it as a vehicle to change the way people think about the amount they consume, what they throw away and their daily lifestyle habits that affect the planet. Stating her mission as a self-proclaimed Environmental Advocate, Barbra Lee declares, ‘If I could get just one person to change their habits of how they’re living within the planet and with Mother Nature then I’ve done my task.”

Marla sees a perfect synergistic triangle between Barbara Lee’s mission and her own; the desire to educate and activate change regarding what goes in your body, on your body and Marla’s expertise as to where your body lives. This per Marla is a “win, win, win!”

One Bean, Many Benefits

Born and raised in Hawaii, Barbara Lee was infused with the immense

importance of stewarding the fragile beauty of the environment. It was an easy decision, therefore, to develop natural beauty products from repurposed coffee grounds that would have otherwise be sent to landfill. Coffee has a whole host of benefits, from disease prevention to cellulite, acne and wrinkle reduction. Adding coffee grounds to beauty products unleashes these benefits and is good for the face, body and planet.

Walking her talk, Barbara Lee shares that over the last ten to fifteen years she has transitioned to using only all natural beauty products, removing all parabens, petroleum and other nasty things. Her organic coffee ground body scrubs for example, are simply made of spent coffee grounds, organic sugar, sweet almond oil, dead sea salt, and essential oils.  Trashy Beauty believes in keeps things clean and simple even down to the complicated process of researching and implementing affordable, biodegradable, compostable low impact packaging.

Trash Talking with Eco-Warriors Podcast

Another major purpose for the Trashy Beauty company is to direct people to the podcast site, Trash Talking with Eco-Warriors, that feature fresh voices working toward sustainability and conservation. The podcast primarily interviews women who work in the sustainability, conservation, and green business fields that are trying to make the planet a greener place. Pioneers such as Sharon Rowe, creator of Ecobags, the first reusable shopping bag in the US that started in 1989 at the first Earth Day Festival in New York.  Marla gives a shout out to the Everyday Green Home Podcast viewers as well to keep a lookout for an interview with Sharon Rowe of Ecobags coming soon – stay tuned and check our feed.

Barbara Lee also hopes to mitigate the false impression that conservation is only about volunteer work or the financial struggle of working for a nonprofit. Her hope is to open people’s eyes to the many companies that want to do something good for the planet and to inspire all ages to consider pursuing a career in the conservation field. She reminds everyone “it is never too late to make a change.”

Because there are so many ways to tackle the issue of conservation, the podcast provides a platform where people can get answers to questions, learn what’s happening in the world, learn how to consume less, be mindful of wasteful packaging, discover new trends and dive into subjects such as carbon offsetting, and micro plastics.

Getting Started – Doing Something    

Barbara Lee, who maintains a full-time job as a Tech recruiter restates the fact that she is not looking to monetize the Trashy Beauty project, but is looking to provide value to her community and hopes to inspire others to follow her lead. She encourages people to listen to podcasts such as Eco-Warrior and The Everyday Green Home Podcast, read books and blogs, talk to people, travel internationally and address tough questions.

While “living green” goes beyond simply looking for the recyclable symbol, the important thing to do – is to do something. Marla encourages people to start with simple things like taking your own bags to the grocery store, shopping at thrift stores or places that repurpose furniture and appliances.

Barbara Lee’s last tip and personal plea is for everyone to “stop using straws!” A reusable straw is a six-dollar investment that is life changing and planet saving.


Trashy Beauty Web Site

Trash Talking with Eco-Warriors

Sustainable Mind Podcast




Join Marla and Tony on The Everyday Green Home Podcast on iTunes and get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life!  Get in on the gab for why green matters.

For more information, Marla at or Tony at 

I’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information.  Thank you and have a blessed day.