A Note From Allie & Tory
When Tory and I were brainstorming of a new topic to promote on the podcast, we wanted something that would encourage greater community involvement. With the recent UN reports addressing climate change and our need to reduce our consumption of beef, as well as Canada's plan to abolish all single-use plastic by 2021, we decided this would be the perfect topic! We began to see the movement as something that is much bigger than us. Zero Waste is a mindset, we all don't have to do it perfectly! Like Cecilia and Naomi mentioned in our two-part episode, "We don't need a few people to do it perfectly. All it takes is a bunch of people to try it imperfectly".
A few years ago I remember being very easily put off by the idea of composting and separating my waste into new bins found at parks and recreation centres, as well as all these new measures being placed to seem more "environmentally friendly". It was something that became more time consuming and a change I found a bit excessive and pointless. It wasn't until the birth of my nephews that I began to question, what kind of future they would have if I didn't begin to change my mindset. It is a challenge, no doubt, but after awhile it become as natural as the way it used to be before. We encourage all listeners to try it, to try to be open-minded and practice it however you see fit.
Before jumping into the zero waste week, Tory and I wanted to research and chat with some enthusiasts on tips to gain inspiration for the week ahead. We had previously heard about Nada's Groceries through Daily Hive a few months ago and decided to check out this store . It was interesting to us how a business could adopt the lifestyle as well as promote it, not only to aid people who were already in the movement, but also give access to others who wanted to try it. The store's motto "Just Food" was appropriately named, as we walked around we saw fresh produce, bulk items and even local favourites like Earnest Ice Cream and Vancouver Coffee Roasters.
When it came to our zero waste week Tory and I experienced challenge within our first few days as mentioned in the episode, but later expressed a new found awareness to how wasteful we can be in our everyday life. When it came to the end of our challenge we adopted some tips that helped us on the journey!
1) REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Sometimes it's all about the choice to refuse eating out for lunch. There's a lot of waste that goes into many fast-food chains. It can help to develop the mindset that unless you have your own containers (and that the establishment you're at won't mind putting the food in them) that you refuse to go, and keep that money you were going to spend for a rainy day!
2) Create a Waste-Free Tool Kit
If you're like me, and your day to day routine doesn't really allow the opportunity to prepare meals in advance, create a little waste-free to go kit. These are things such as reusable straws, hot cup, cold cup and maybe a reusable cloth or some beeswax paper. I found as soon as I set up this kit, even with some things that I already had around my house, the challenge became significantly easier. When it came to washing the items, I often just rinsed them out in the bathroom with a bit of soap I kept with me. After the first few times, it just became a normal routine.
3) Learn How to Address Waste Free
Probably one of the hardest thing out of this week was informing people that I had my own cup, straw or container with me (Drive through was the most problematic). I never wanted to burden people with addressing something that would change their routine out of making my order. Tory made the best suggestion with this issue: if you already have it out and put it on the counter (with the lid taken off) instantly, there is less conversation about it. If you're worried about this issue with a container, quickly mention it's for your kid's field trip lunch or leave a nice tip!
4) Re-Organizing your Recycle Bins
With learning more about TerraCycle and Earth 911 of where to properly recycle your plastics. I came up with the same strategy of re-organizing my bins at home. Just using some containers I already had I started to organize a recyclable that is accepted and gets picked up, a compost, a garbage, a bin for paper recyclables, a bin for cans and bottles for the bottle depot, a bin for products that are specialty recyclables that I can take once a month to get properly recycled such as Styrofoam, Chip bags etc. This change may seem excessive, but the most incredibly thing i gained from it is how little I actually have to take out my garbage now. The challenge of this only came within the first few days of having to think twice of where I was placing all of my waste, but at the end of the day I began to feel the new found sense of pride of responsibility for my deposable products.
5) Make your Own Household Products
Pink Solution. Thats it. My sister, who is also a mother of two young boys has sworn by the that and the book The Organically Clean Home by blogger and mother Becky Raphinchuck. With this she has been able to make her own detergents, surface cleaners and veggie spray mentioned on the episode. There are so many products out there but with reducing consumption of buying new cleaners every-time, you can reduce the extra waste not to mention the money in your pocket!
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Links to What We Mentioned This Episode
Allison Shields is a Creative Writing student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is a co-host of the ILYD podcast and runs the blog for the podcast.