going on 11 Months | What’s new?

Tomorrow is the 17th of December. I’m 11 months and going strong. Let’s just dive right into it shall we?

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1) SOAP NUTS

My friend gifted me these soap nuts that are meant for laundry. (I love her). 4 nuts are good for 10 loads. She gifted me 8 nuts, so a total of 20 loads. I do our laundry every 2 weeks so  this will last me almost all year. Here’s some info about them with some links on where to buy in Canada if you don’t know: http://www.orgownic.com/soapnuts.htm

And more links to buy some in Canada HERE. Or order where my friend orders: well.ca

Will I switch back to my homemade laundry detergent? No. Once again, another thing I can’t believe I didn’t know about sooner.

 

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2) REUSABLE BEESWAX WRAP

To replace plastic wrap. I ordered a giant flat from Life Without Plastic and then cut them into three. 1 large and 2 small pieces. You can simply wipe these down and keep reusing them. Life Without Plastic delivers with no plastic packaging and they use paper tape. Also, this is the same place where I also get my Binchotan charcoal water filter. I am not super pumped that they are in the States, but the other place that is Canadian, No Plastic (https://noplastic.ca/) didn’t sell them.

Everything stays fresh. They are easy to use and super durable feeling.
This is the company it’s from Abeego, and their care instructions.

 

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3) BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH

I ordered these in April from Senzacare on Amazon and I love them. It feels way more normal to be brushing my teeth with wood. It didn’t even take long to pull the bristles out. I just used tweezers. The next ones I’ll order though will have a kids size. We’re currently finishing off my son’s plastic toothbrush and then we’ll switch to bamboo toothbrushes completely. I ordered 12 and split them with my friend.

4) REUSABLE RAZOR

I love this razor. I’m so comfortable using it now. It comes with 5 extra blades. I haven’t changed the blade yet since getting it in June so this will pretty much last me a few years before having to spend money for it.

 

zero waste ottawa toothpaste

5) TOOTHPASTE

My old toothpaste was only 3 ingredients. This one has more, but by choice. I was told by a natural medical professional that coconut oil and baking soda were great for my teeth – just not together (because it counteracts) and that I should brush first with the baking soda and second with the coconut oil. Then I heard about Xylitol, a 100% natural sweetener, being great to use as toothpaste because it helps prevent cavities so I went to work creating a new toothpaste.

Toothpaste Ingredients:

  • xylitol
  • baking soda
  • himalayan sea salt
  • cinnamon

You don’t need all of it, you could just use baking soda and xylitol – I was experimenting with flavours and cinnamon actually is great for your teeth.

Right after that, I swish with my mouthwash.

Mouthwash Ingredients: 

  • Coconut Oil
  • Peppermint Oil

If I’m leaving the house or am still getting my kid and things ready to go, I (sort of) oil pull and spit it out in my compost or outside. If I’m going to bed and am lazy, I’ll put a tiny bit on my tongue and coat my teeth. Doing this part helps to seal your teeth.

Think of the toothpaste as your shampoo and water – opens up your hair enough to wash out all the oils and pollutants and the mouthwash as your conditioner – closes up your hair and seals it all smooth to help prevent dirt and crap from getting in.

So there ya have it. Have any of you made any changes?

going on 11 months zero waste ottawa
P.S. I’m also not perfect and ordered some stuff from Amazon that came in plastic that is not included here because it went to my parents house and that garbage stayed at their place. What I would do in the future is mail the packaging back with a letter. Thanks to my new buy nothing challenge, I may not get a future chance.

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!

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– Dream Greener

Getting rid of unwanted items

I woke up this morning at 4:30AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I did what any normal Mother would do at this hour and started cleaning. Not right away of course, I mostly tried to force myself to go back to sleep, but when that didn’t happen I started cleaning.

Anyway, I decided that it would be a good time to go through my kitchen items and get rid of things I don’t need or want, which involved mainly duplicates of things and plastics. Since I’m trying to live a plastic free life, this is a small baby step to get there. There is a great facebook group in Ottawa called Freecycle Ottawa which is where the majority of my unwanted articles go. Other times, I post on Kijiji where I scour the ads looking for people that are in need of things.

So much of what we have in our homes never gets used and ends up in storage, either in the basement or in our closets. My parents are hoarders. Organized hoarders, but hoarders none-the-less. It’s nice because once in a while I’ll be needing something and I know that I can probably go to them and they will have it, but I look at their home with all of the unused things inside of it and it motivates me to continue down my own path.

This process of getting rid of things and downsizing has been ongoing for the last year, but I reckon a few more 4:30AM mornings and freecycling will make the process much quicker.

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– Dream Greener

 

The beginning

This will be the first post of many as I document my process of living the life my heart longs for.

My desire to live minimally and more consciously began long before I even realized I had already begun to adopt the lifestyle.

When I first left home at the age of 14, I had one backpack and a garbage bag. Since then, I have moved over 29 times in my life, lived in 2 continents and about 6 different cities. Traveling was (and still is) a passion and because of it, I understood what and how to pack the things I needed into one bag. Now, with a child, we obviously have accumulated more things, but before my son came a long I enjoyed being able to fit my clothes in one suitcase and two decades of my belongings in just a few boxes. My aim is to not only to get back to that, but more…

This blog is not just about me living more minimally. This is a life long journey to live a more sustainable, greener life. This means to me, living a zero waste life. It means becoming incredibly conscious of how I spend my money and on what. It means making my words and my feelings in direct alignment with my actions. I realize now that this may mean that I may not have a lot of people to walk beside me, that I may be lonelier but I know in my heart that if I do not pursue this path, that I will only become more miserable and I will resent myself for it.

Over the past few years, particularly since my marriage ended, I have become more aware of consumption. Years before that, I studied earthships. A few years ago I came across plastic manners, and stopped purchasing anything that came in a plastic bottle. Then I stumbled upon, Zero Waste Home (I love her – a family of four living a zero waste lifestyle since 2008), My Plastic Free Life, Food is Free Project, Tiny House Living, and Trash is for Tossers and many more inspiring stories of people and families living a minimal lifestyle with similar goals of consuming less, living more and reducing their own carbon footprints.

As a self-employed, full-time single Mother of one beautiful baby boy, I realize this will come as a challenge, but I know I can’t keep living the same way I have been and still be happy in the long run.

The truth is I have had dreams of opening up a store with a cafe and a studio, but every time I sit down to write the plan all I can see in front of me is everything I need to purchase and everything that will end up in the garbage. Even though 90% of what we (Dream Love Grow) makes is upcycled, I still can’t shake the feeling of discomfort. I was never a fan of retail – the BUY! BUY! BUY! SALES! SALES! SALES! The pressure of making people waste their money on items that aren’t really useful and that don’t last. I hated it partially because I don’t buy a lot of things. If I do, I try really hard to buy from a thrift shop, a locally owned business or ones that are transparent in their efforts to be sustainable. I don’t buy Christmas presents for people and if I give them anything, it’s a piece of art.

Making art for me has always been a need. It was a way for me to express myself. Over the years, my art form has changed to more digital: video and photos. It meant less canvases and paint purchases. More water saved. Less paint down the drain.

The more time passes, I realize I am changing in every way. I struggle with it, but I am changing. I am in business, but my values are changing.

I live in a city (Ottawa) that I have seen grow into a mini America. The forests I used to play in as a child are now box retail stores. And while the restaurant industry has become more diverse and Ottawa has a culture here that is beginning to emerge, I have been left feeling like I don’t really belong. Being a Mother and having an amazing opportunity to work for myself while taking care of him, has really changed me. I have focused on the simple things: cuddle time in bed, hanging out with Papa, cutting newspapers up, having him help me wash vegetables, reading stories, going for walks outside and looking and staring at the moon and the stars. I am not on welfare. I do not have thousands in the bank but I am rich beyond compare. I have a certain freedom that the typical way that society wants us to be, will never fulfill for me.

I plan on building upon that freedom. I plan to live simply.

I have slowly been taking the steps to move towards this lifestyle and the more that I am aware of it, the more I am becoming consumed with consuming less and focusing on living more. This past year I have:

1) Begun downsizing everything from clothes to kitchen things.
2) Searched for a smaller apartment in order to have less things
3) Got rid of most of my son’s plastic toys and now just have a small box of toys and books
4) Spent less on material items and on clothes
5) Created most of my art work with items and paints already on hand
6) Purchased mostly in bulk from Kardish, Rainbow Foods or in the produce sections at the grocery store, searching hard for products from Canada.

I have not been perfect. I eat out. I still buy items wrapped in plastic. But I know I can and will do better and even though I have been able to save money, I know I can save more money to do the things I love with my family.

I am documenting everything here so that I can see my progress and my change. I may only be one person, but I am enough. I have always dreamed of being self-employed. That dream has come true. I have always dreamed of being a Mother. That dream has come true. I have many dreams and aspirations and I still want to do everything I love, but this, this is my journey to a dream lived greener.