Zero Waste Answers For Reader: Yvonne

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Did I tell you lovelies, how much I enjoy answering your questions and replying to comments on the blog? So much I apparently have to do it at 4am even when I really should be resting.

Well a reader named Yvonne took the time to comment on the blog with a few questions and I thought why not share the answers with all of you?

So here goes:

Hi there, I have a few questions for you.

1. How is Castile soap compared to soap nuts? And why soap nuts instead of that? (For detergent)

Actually for whites, I still prefer to use the soap and baking soda over soap nuts. I don’t own too much white clothing (mainly my sheets) as of right now, but perhaps when I really minimize that’s all it will be, just black and white. I like soap nuts because they are one item as opposed to my previous detergent which was combining two ingredients and shaving a bar of soap. Castile soap can be found in large bulk plastic containers. Soap nuts come packaged in just a cardboard box. Although if you do want to order soap nuts in larger quantities some companies still use plastic.

To be perfectly honest, I’m still figuring out what my preference is. I wouldn’t recommend using soap nuts for full loads, as in don’t try to cram in all your laundry like I sometimes do because it can’t wash well. But they are entirely compostable.

2. What sunscreen do you use? I love my Japanese sunscreen but they test on animals, plastic packaging, chemicals, etc.

My friend made me a sunscreen that I still use. I’ll try to find out the ingredients for it and let you know. I’m also very brown so I don’t apply much sunscreen and I just don’t lie out in the sun for extended periods of time, if ever. I have actually carried around an umbrella on sunny days.

3. Would you recommend I get a big bottle of Castile soap (tho plastic packaging) and use it for everything : shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, hand soap, dish washing liquid, floor cleaner, etc. or you have better ideas?

I would recommend you try different things and then see what you like. You may not like how castile soap washes your hair. For body and hands, it’s fine. Laundry detergent, like I mentioned before I was using that combined with baking soda. Floor & window cleaners, you could just use vinegar and water. Dish washing liquid, you could use it but just cut it with borax so that is heavier for grease. For me I use either straight grated homemade soap bar in hot water or I mix the soap bar with borax in a glass container (like Frank’s Hot Sauce) that can be poured out.

4. What are materials that can be decomposed?

I’m not sure what materials you want to know about. Organic food waste can be composted. Cardboard. Coffee grinds. Soap nuts. Wood. In terms of clothing, cotton, linen, silk, wool, hemp. Some people think fabric made from bamboo is too, but I recently discovered it’s not nor is eco-friendly. If you’re breaking down clothing, it’s best to cut it into very small pieces. Otherwise, I’d recommend finding an organization that does textile composting or repurposing.

5. How to decompose?

We have a program with the City of Ottawa that picks up our organic waste, but if you have a space in your backyard you can create your own. There are lots of online resources on this. There are also bins that you can buy that can be used for composting. Not sure where you are located though. We’re moving to the country so we’ll be building our own. There is also the option of creating a vermicompost, which is a worm bin but that takes special care to create that one.

6. How did you deal with all the plastics, or unnecessary items in your life before converting to this lifestyle? 

About 5ish years ago I stopped buying plastic water bottles or any drink in plastic bottles. I wasn’t that aware at the time so I would still consume a lot of goods that were in plastic just like most people. I was literally no different than anyone else. When it’s normal to create garbage, you don’t really think twice about doing it. But when you’re not creating any garbage everything becomes magnified. As in, you notice a lot quicker and a lot faster. For example, it’s automatic for me to scan a room and the environment particularly events, restaurants etc. I do it out of habit now whereas before it wasn’t a habit. It took time for me to make these adjustments.

In terms of all the other items, I’ve moved and travelled so much that I am used to getting by with very little material possessions. I think it would be about 10 years ago that I decided that anything I purchased would have to be arts-related or a creative tool. I did only large shopping sprees for clothes once a year. Still now, I try to be selective with anything I buy. I’m looking for quality items I only need to buy once or that I can easily repair.

So sorry there are so much to ask. But I’m really interested to live a zerowaste life, now starting little steps : Castile soaps , tote bags, reusable water bottle. 

Starting little steps is the best way. I’m really proud of you.

For your bacon cravings. Please watch these documentaries : cowspiracy (environment), earthlings( animals – highly highly recommended), forks over knives (health) And see if you still feel hungry looking at meat/bacon/eggs and dairy.

I don’t eat meat right now although I have slipped up as I have written in my previous post. I prefer fruits and vegetables over anything. I also could never kill an animal. I have already watched all of the documentaries on meat and I know that I hate what happens out there. I don’t support any of it. Agriculture takes up so much resources and creates a ton of waste.

However, I have learned about more humane ways and have gained a respect for the farmers that genuinely treat their animals well and use their animals to help grow the land how mother nature intended. They let their animals run free, roam forests, play and eat grass, seeds and berries.

There are really great documentaries and books by Michael Pollen that talk about how animals are vital to the growth of plants and what the best practices are for farming. I do not in anyway advocate slaughter houses or any of the major meat corporations out there nor do I eat any of that, but I do recognize the value of animals. Especially knowing people from different cultures and parts of the world who live off of the land and who really take the time to use every part of the animal. Some of these people consider the animal sacred and it is just part of their tradition.

The thing is, I can’t stop people from farming animals but I can take the time to understand the difference between terrible conditions and humane ones. Much like supporting fashion, people should know the difference between factory slave-laboured clothes and eco-sustainable fashion.

My preference is vegetarian but I think if anyone is going to eat meat, it’s wise to support the people who practice it humanely because getting the world to eat only vegetables and no meat, just like getting the world to make zero garbage, is going to take a long time to change. Educating yourself is the only way to make informed decisions and have thoughtful conversations with others rather than just believing one way is the only way and the best way and defiantly demanding everyone follow because of x, y, z.

My goal with everything is to be accepting of others and their choices yet at the same time, I need to be true to my values and discover what works best for me, my son and my lifestyle, whatever it may be at the time. As with zero waste, I’m still learning how to be a vegetarian and because I consider myself a student of life, I do accept insight on the subject. I’m just not one to follow the crowd because someone tells me it’s the right thing, I really have to figure it out on my own and let my heart be my guide.

The feels, ramblings and doing alright

You guys.

I was cranky today.

And I wasn’t cranky because I am constantly picking up garbage off the ground either. Seriously guys, one thing you can do to be better to the environment is not litter. And if you see litter, pick it up. My son is the best for this: MOM! Look! Garbage! Let’s put it in the garbage can. If a three year old can do that, so can you.



I’m a sensitive soul. I have way too many feels. I want a lot of things to change in this world. I want to accomplish a lot and at the same time I want to hide away in my hole and see no one and do nothing. I want to wake up to the sunrise and fall asleep with the sunset. I want to sit in quiet, quiet silence and watch carrots grow and listen to dragonflies or waterfalls. Or waves in the Philippines and the wind through palm trees.

I realize how different I am.
I am a proud weirdo. A misfit. A black sheep.
I’ve been ever since I came to Canada when I was 4.

The things that get my heart going are when I get asked to speak to a group of students about not making garbage. My soul soars when I find someone who is living a nomadic lifestyle and then I yearn for the same. I get excited when I know someone has planted a garden and is giving food away for free. Or is living off the grid.

I’m weird because I cringe when a friend tells me that they just got accepted for a mortgage and that they will be buying a house. It’s not that I am not happy for them, but because I can see that they want it only because they think it will make them happier. And will make them feel successful. Because that is what society tells you is success.

But all I can see is how much debt it creates. And how unnecessary it is. And how unhappy people become. And how much stuff they try to buy into their lives to make up for their unhappiness.

But here is where I take a deep breath and let go. Let it all go.

My life is not their life.
My idea of success is not the same as most.
I must be accepting of everyone as they are and be non-judgemental of their choices.

Because I too once believed in having a fancy car like a Mercedes, a nice condo or house with a big backyard, a family of 4, vacations every year and everything I ever wanted to buy just be within reach. I too thought I needed to fit in, dress nice, look pretty. Get my hair done, nails did and have sexy heels on and have a colour coordinated walk in closet.

Yes. Really. I was all of that once too. In a previous lifetime.

But when I am sitting still, I remind myself that even though those things may look good on the outside, they will never make me happy. That’s why I’m here now. Because I was on that path to all of those things and I felt miserable.

Of course I do want a relationship that is secure and committed but I remind myself that I do have a family now, even if it is not what I imagined. What this space is giving me now is the room to work on making myself happy first. Working on making myself happy is making sure I am taking care of myself. And reminding myself that where I am now is actually where I wanted to be 5 years ago, with the added bonus of extra love from a beautiful, incredible wide-eyed, nature loving, toddler.

I remind myself that the things I want most in life are:

1) Zero debt. I have one credit card that I am still paying off but it is a few thousand dollars. Ok, like $6,000. But that’s pretty good considering that is all the debt I have. I promise you, I will not have anymore.

2) Time with my son. And while I work really, f’in hard to provide for him and I cry sometimes (ok a lot) wondering if I’m being a good parent or if he’ll have a good life and especially when I have to stress about finding a babysitter (like this weekend where he needs to be somewhere overnight for just under 24 hours at someone’s house who is not family that I need to pay) or whether or not I can even afford to put him in swimming lessons – through all of this stress – I remind myself I get to be home with him. Every day. I wake up to his face and we wake up slowly. Really slowly. And eat really good food every day. On rare days I have to rush off but 90% of the time I’m with him doing whatever we want.

He’ll be almost 4 soon and I get told: he’ll be starting school soon! It will give you a break, they tell me. Well, I have no clue yet if I want put him in school. And to add that to the list of the already weird things I choose, is putting me further outside the norm of society. I’m ok with that because there are beautiful families who homeschool their incredibly bright, happy children. Even on the road. Like Our Open Road, who inspire me all the time with their family of 4.

3) The flexibility to work where ever, whenever and accept work or decline it. No matter what that looks like. Be that here where I am in this city now, in an ecovillage, in my tiny home or in a van moving across the country to connect with everyone that has reached out to me on here. I’m being serious here. I started creating a map. With a timeline. Holler at me if you want me to come say hi. I promise you it will be within the next 3 years.

4) Inspire and help others.

5) Live within my means. Consume and own only the things I need.

When I look at this, I think ok, I’m good. I’m doing really good. Because aside from not being debt free yet, I’m living my dream.

And I know I’ve said all of this in previous blogs before, but I need to remind myself every now and then. I need to be responsible for my own happiness. And that means I need it written down for me to see in plain sight.

Because anyone who is different knows it is hard. It can be hard to look around you and have no one else that not only remotely looks like you (because honestly everyone I know doing anything like traveling in a van, living on a boat and making zero waste videos are all white people), eats like you, is zero waste like you but is also a single parent as well.

I just needed to remind myself today that this little zero waste, self-employed, veggie eating, black sheep with a gypsy heart and a homeschooler in the works, is doing alright.

Going On 9 Months | 8 ways to Grocery Shop Update

a dream lived greener 9 months zero waste ottawa

Hey lovelies,

October 17 marked the beginning of my 9th month. I could have had a baby in this time period.
But instead I chose to give birth to a whole new me.
Well, I’m not a whole new me, but I have changed. In reality we all are changing. Every day. Our skin cells are different then they were yesterday. You know, science stuff.

I am constantly evolving as a zero waste minimalist.

So the real reason I’m writing is to do a check in with myself. How do I feel? Great. What would I change? Cheese coming in plastic and being so expensive. Seriously though. I make farmer’s cheese every once in a while, but as much as I’m complaining right here, I don’t really care too much and wouldn’t care for cheese if….

I didn’t like PIZZA SO DAMN MUCH.

That being said, I’m writing to update you.

A friend of mine wrote me the other day wanting to come with me grocery shopping to see “how I do it.” I was like hells yes come with me! More excited to have someone help keep watch on my son… just kidding. I was actually really excited she wanted to come grocery shopping with me. I like teaching people. Anyone else? We’ll make it a party. And we can cook food after and eat it. And feel amazing and healthy and full of energy.

This is me saying, let’s gorge and go into a food coma.

So.. how do I do “it.”

How do I go grocery shopping? Well in a previous post, I had written about it but I felt compelled to review myself.

Here’s how:

1) Sharpie and a cell phone.
I write in sharpie what the tare of my jar is on the bottom. I’m over the sticker thing. I also know most of their weights off by heart now. Like a mason jar is 0.260 or 0.265. For all the items, I actually just keep a log on my phone now or text myself the list as I’m shopping. I don’t bring a clipboard anymore. The painters tape was just wasteful.

2) I am selective about where I shop.
I used to venture into the big guys. But after one too many frustrations, I now avoid any huge supermarket, like Loblaws, Costco and Walmart. The word supermarket freaks me out. Too many choices that aren’t environmentally friendly, not enough local and I just don’t trust them. I shop at a handful of stores like Rainbow Foods, Kardish and Farmboy for produce. If I want meat I go to the Piggy Market or if I want bread, I go to Bread By Us. See the start of my list of Where to Shop in Ottawa.

3) I buy the same items.
When it comes to (most) meals, I’m a 30 minute meal or crockpot girl and I prepare a lot beforehand. I buy pretty much the same things. It makes life easy and shopping is quick. The stores I visit are small. The items I choose are selective. I’m not staring at 20 different kinds of sauces or pizzas in a plastic in a box in the freezer. It also means I don’t really need to write down a shopping list unless I really want to remember something. I also only buy when my fridge/cupboards are almost empty. I’m a creative girl, I can make a damn good meal with a few small ingredients. And doing this means food isn’t being wasted in the back of my fridge.

4) I rarely buy meat.
I looked at the vegetarian life and thought about becoming one. But I’m really not ready for it, even though I’m practically there. Instead, I just buy selectively from local farmers and buy it when I crave it or just for my son. If I want to buy meat and can’t make it to the Piggy Market, sometimes I’ll buy from Farmboy because they wrap it in paper and the paper is compostable. (We’re lucky in Ottawa we have the Green Bin program that collects compost). It’s cheaper than the Piggy Market except at the Piggy Market they’re sweet enough to put it directly in my containers whereas Farmboy won’t. In 9 months I’ve bought meat about 6 or 7 times.

5) Produce are in bags, bulk items are in jars.
I don’t have a set of cotton bags I ordered online. I see a lot of people have these sets but I’m trying not to be wasteful so I use what I have. My cloth bags are made by my friends, sometimes I use old pillowcases and sometimes I use my cloth napkins to wrap veggies or fruits in. And often, I don’t even use them unless I’m buying green beans or something like that. I’ll just put everything in one bag and arrange them when I get home. I’m not scared about my produce touching each other. I don’t need everything to match. At least not yet…

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6) I avoid plastic.
My friend asked me what I do about cucumbers because they are all wrapped in plastic. This is what I do: I find ones that aren’t. Or I don’t buy them. That’s it. Shopping made simple.

7) I look for produce without stickers. 
I’m tired of saving them in my garbage jar. I want produce without them. Stickers are there for the cashiers to punch in the code, but often they’ve memorized them or I just tell them what it’s called and they look it up. Obviously I’ll still buy them if the stickers are on them, but honestly, sometimes I just take them off and stick them on another produce item.

8) I do buy items in glass or cans, but almost never. 
I bought milk twice because my son is a cat and wanted milk. It’s organic and local and comes in a glass bottle. You return these for a deposit. I do this for yogurt too. The yogurt jar is returnable too. I tried making my own yogurt but I realized I can’t do everything. Vinegar (for cleaning and sometimes drinking) is in glass. Tomatoes in a can for the days when I’m lazy and don’t want to get a ton of tomatoes, cut them and make my own sauce. Tamari (gluten free soy sauce ) in glass because I’m asian. PIckles in a jar (specifically Polish ones because they don’t have weird ingredients) because my son loves pickles and he calls himself Pickles the cat. I think that’s pretty much it that I buy.

This means I don’t spend a lot of time going to the recycle bin either.

I think that’s all for now on that list. Do you have any other questions? Please comment below.

Some people tend to think I’m depriving myself or that I’m missing out. I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I still eat out. I still eat at my parents’ and friends’ places. I still eat pizza. I’m alive, healthy and fit. I think I love my body more now than I have ever loved it in my whole life…. and I have never really loved my body. I’ll credit it to being zero waste because this lifestyle forces you to be conscious and healthy.

Although… you could just skip grocery shopping and just eat out every day at places that feed you pizza, poutine, donuts…

Mmmm.. anyone up for a zero waste comfort food date?

10 Truths About My Zero Waste Life

What’s up lovelies. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy trying not to be overly busy while simultaneously trying to fulfill my dreams, like registering our non-profit (A.R.T. In Action)!!!

Just a side rant here.

I want a life full of meaning. I want to be patient about the things I want to accomplish and not just be in the rat race. I don’t need to blog all the time to try to get my viewership up or Facebook likes up. I’m not trying to be cool or win a popularity contest nor do I need to try to be the best “zero waste” blog with the most tips out there and get public attention for it. This is my way of recording my achievements, seeing my personal growth, writing about my failures and maybe, just maybe, spreading small ripples of change just by being myself.

I’m in business. I get all that competition and money making stuff. I know you need followers and blah fucking blah. I get bombarded by Forbes posts, what you need to do to succeed shit and how to generate more money into your business crap. I know money is a great tool but I also know that money won’t come with you when you die. When Charlie died (read post here) the truly simple things mattered to me and I can say I stopped caring so much about money. I just began caring more about just waking up in the morning. Wow. I opened my eyes up. I’m alive. Or being proud of myself for once again pulling myself out of a dark hole into one of positivity. I’m happiest when I have simple conversations with complete strangers or when I notice a kind gesture out of nowhere.

I’m also an artist. I get that the demons on my shoulder don’t want me to succeed and that everything I create will be shitty to them. I get that people out there will compare, judge and that there are haters and all that shitty nonsense. I get that those demons are sometimes why I just don’t care to post or be sharing all my ish on the internet.

But I am becoming really good at not caring about the negative things people have to say or think, and I am becoming better at accepting the positive love, support and feedback about everything I choose to do. Whatever it is I am doing, I just want it to be true to me and what I value and what makes me feel good. I want to stay on course with whatever the inner wise women in me knows and live a life full of meaning.

This Zero Waste life and this blog is just part of the journey of discovering that. It’s discovering that I actually want to be that crazy person that looks at tags from where things are made and then want to know exactly who is making it and where they got the materials from and how those workers are being taken care of. I want to know the people directly. If it says ‘Made in China’ I want to know who made it. What is his or her name? I may be crazy but it matters to me. If I can’t know this, I won’t buy it. Second hand is better than falling for that trap because when you spend your money, you’re voting for the kind of world you want.

I don’t buy a lot. And I may be saving money (seriously saving) but I want to know that when I spend my money, it’s fair trade and ethical. It’s not just a dumb meaningless item that I don’t need or that will break in a week made from a factory worker in China or the Philippines being a slave to the dollar just because all big corporations want to make money. I don’t want to spend money on something just because it’s cheap. (Watch The True Cost).

I want a life of meaning. I want fairness and equality and rights for all humans. I want the oceans to thrive and I want trees not buildings. I want a better world for my son. I know we’re so far from it but I do believe that we’re on the way there. And for me I don’t always know what I’m doing or how to do it but this is my journey to figure out what a life of meaning looks like for me. It’s about discovering my truth, what my values are and owning it. Even if I’m not perfect.

So today I put together 10 TRUTHS ABOUT MY ZERO WASTE LIFE in case you all thought being zero waste was about being perfect.

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#1: We eat fast food, rarely, but we eat it.
I can count on one hand the amount of fast food we’ve eaten since February. One time my son wanted a cheeseburger for a bedtime snack so we went to Wendy’s and got one. They made it directly in our bowl without waste AND without a fuss or a weird look. My first job at 14, was working at Wendy’s so yes, I know what those burgers are made out of. Did I care more about the joy on his face getting a cheeseburger before bedtime and then seeing the sky turn pastel pink and blue on the way home after? Yes.

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#2: We eat really good food from time to time.
Anthony’s on Wellington is our swanky pizza place of choice. Fresh ingredients. Hot stone oven. Dope servers. Zero Waste. We don’t buy a lot of material things but we enjoy conversations, good company and good local food made right. T. Harv Eker taught me to put 10% of my money away for ‘play’ and to make sure I spend it every month. I can assure you, eating food at a restaurant is definitely play when you home cook meals 95% of the time.

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#3: Food waste sucks and I care.
I care so much I pick the sad lonely bananas that are not in bunches. I pick them because they will get thrown out. I pick fruits that look shitty. I find the things that are probably going to go bad soon. It’s another step in my zero waste life. It sucks knowing that the majority of what farmers produce won’t get sold because they look ‘ugly’ or don’t fit the standard requirements. If you don’t know the deal, watch Just Eat It or if you want some hope, check out this campaign: The Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign.

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#4: I still paint but not as often. 
I don’t buy separate canvases that are wrapped in plastic anymore. I also don’t buy Dollar Store canvases or paints. I really try hard to avoid that place for anything except I did buy work gloves there for my 3 year old son so we could pick up garbage together. Instead I buy loose canvas and build the frames. I also have so much paint supplies from being a hoarder that I don’t need to buy any. But if a client wants to commission me and use something specific, I do charge them for the supplies and remind myself that these supplies will get used, if not by me, but during the free art workshops we will do for youth. I also remind myself that I am in the process of learning and making changes. I’ve been painting for more than half of my life, do you know how hard that is to just let go of? I will, however, guarantee you that in 3 years time I will have used up every single last drop of my supplies and that I will be sourcing and making my own eco-friendly paints – if and only if, I am still choosing to paint by then.

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#5: Friends are the best
I live in an apartment with east facing windows that don’t receive much light because of the trees, so I can’t really grow anything except for maybe herbs and some plants I have now. That’s why friends are the best. I receive bounties from friends gardens which often consist of vegetables and herbs which I can then make my own oils and teas out of.

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#6: I freecycle and donate but it often sits there for a long time.
I keep adding to this pile of stuff. I’ve literally had so many piles of stuff I’ve lost count and don’t feel like I made a dent in my things. I have 3 rooms in my apartment. It’s not that big but why do I feel like I have so much stuff that won’t go away? I try to Freecycle it and no one ever comes. Then I contemplate selling some stuff off and then don’t want to bother posting it because by the end of the day I hate computer screens. Then I end up just bringing it to the thrift store, but that always takes a while because I keep wanting to add to it because I still haven’t gone through everything a million times. A vicious cycle.

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#7: I want more play dates that involve cleaning up garbage.
I went garbage picking with my son, two friends and their children. I loved it. My son and I often go out while we ride or walk and bring our garbage gloves with us. We talk about it a lot because I feel like it’s important. I also get saddened by the amount of littering that happens in Ottawa, but when I see a group of us getting together like this, it gives me hope.

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#8: I finally composted my first compostable toothbrush.
I got mine from Senzacare back in April (my friend and I split on a 12 pack) and the bristles are not biodegradable so you have to pull them out. I thought I would be too lazy to do that, but I did do it and found it to be therapeutic. I don’t know what to do with the bristles. They may find their way into art work.

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#9: I’m still using my first blade from my razor.
I ordered this back in June (post HERE) and I take really good care of it. I haven’t had to switch my blade yet, although it may be getting there soon. Can you believe that in 5 months I am still using the same blade? I think back on how much money I wasted on razors and throwing out cheap pink plastic things that lasted only a couple of shaves. I’ll never go back.

20150924_104950 a dream lived greener zero waste ottawa#10: I threw out a plastic bag of garbage from 8 months of downsizing. 
So about a week ago I threw out my first bag of garbage from all the downsizing I was doing. It wasn’t very big as you can see up top, but I still felt weird. Do you know how weird it is to go to the garbage bin when you never have to? I contemplated holding on to it but then I felt weird doing that. What would I do? Keep it in storage and waste space? I fought the demons in me saying, “you could do better than this'” or “you didn’t go through it enough, look at that waste,” and “you’re a total fake. People will see you’re not a zero waster.” See? This is why I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I got enough demons in my own head to deal with. But the truth is I’m just going to be super proud of myself for having this one bag be the only bag I’ve thrown out in months.

And hopefully… by the end of this election it won’t be the only thing being thrown out.

Wah. Wah.

Remember to vote kids!

Shopping made not so simple

The downsizing and decluttering continues. My kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe has about 50% less than before. While I am going zero waste, it is a slow process because I don’t want to just throw things out like food, products or containers immediately because they are all packaged in plastic. And of course I still have a garbage, which I am waiting to fill completely to the top and hoping to just have this one and maybe one more before a garbage can is no longer necessary.

I have a 2 bedroom apartment and thought I was already minimal. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to do this if I lived in a house. With a basement. And a garage. I’ll be honest though, giving away all of this stuff, it feels fantastic.

Yesterday I did do a little shopping, which prior to it, I was a nervous wreck thinking of what I was going to buy that wasn’t in packaging. Anyway, I walked into Rainbow Foods (Britannia) and asked if they allowed people to bring in their own containers and they said YES! I was so relieved because it’s so close to my place. Bulk Barn doesn’t let you and The Farm Boy doesn’t let you and it made me sad. Yes Farm Boy does have great produce which is unpackaged, but the salad bar and deli area, you can’t use your own container. They do offer recycled paper to go containers which is better than nothing, but the goal is to try to not have any waste even if it is recyclable.

That basically means making everything yourself is the way to go.

a dream lived greener
Anyway, my first “conscious shopping” trip I just got almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds in bulk. I was actually only there to buy natural almonds which they didn’t have on the shelf at the time because it was being restocked. I wanted to buy natural almonds so that I could make my own almond milk. We ran out of almond milk (which was in a container) but I found an easy recipe except it takes at least 10 hours to make. I could have waited for the natural almonds to be restocked, but I had a friend waiting for me at my place. My son wanted milk so I bought the only thing they had in a glass jar, which was organic pasteurized goats milk.

(No, I don’t want to hear anything about what kind of milk we should be drinking, we normally drink almond milk. Period.)

I’ve been pretty much cleaning out my fridge and cupboards before buying groceries and literally using everything I have but I’ll be going out tomorrow to do some more grocery shopping with my new reusable bags Brandi made me. I’ll be sure to tell the cashier I don’t want a receipt.

Here are two places in Ottawa that allow you to bring your own containers. Oh, and Benji’s a  Vietnamese restaurant near Ikea is a good place to go to eat. They only use cloth napkins and don’t give you a plastic straw. Not sure what they do about coffee or tea though if you want milk and sugar. It’s most likely packaged. Maybe you should just bring your own?

If you know of any others, especially deli for cheese or meat, comment below, we’d love your suggestions!


– Dream Greener