A couple weeks ago I ran into Joan, one of our well&tight members, at our local coffee shop. I watched on in envy as she pulled out her reusable cup and filled it with coffee, while I held the disposable one I keep vowing to stop using. We started talking about her plastic free month and everything she was learning in the process. I quickly got on board and asked her to share all these incredible tips in a blog with you.
Do you have a service or message to share with our community? Feel free to contact us and we’ll try to organize a blog post together.
Plastic free learnings from Joan: The idea of sustainability can be very daunting. In a world built around plastic, fuel and waste it can seem like we are too far away from any real threshold to make a difference. Change is hard, but like exercise we can start small and as a community build to make an impact. Here are 5 things you can do this month to help kickstart sustainable living in 2019. Pick one and start today. Take it easy on yourself if you slip and keep moving forward.
Liquid and dry goods refill programs.
Recycling is certainly better than sending plastics to the landfill however the process itself produces harmful emissions that damage wildlife and the air we breathe.
Bulk Barn allows you to bring your own reusable containers to fill up on all the dry goods your home needs. I make a weekly trip to stock-up on baking supplies, rice, quinoa, oat bran, nuts, nut butters (freshly ground on demand at some locations) cereal, dog treats and healthy snacks for the kids. Bring your glass jars and empty tins and have them weighed by an employee when you arrive. This allows them to calculate the proper weight of the product you are purchasing. Alternatively they sell great glass jars and storage tins for a reasonable price to get you started.
For household cleaning and personal care I visit Saponetti at Bloor and Brock. They sell all natural laundry detergent, hand soap, household cleaners, shampoo, conditioner, dishwasher liquid and tabs, toothpaste… the list goes on. You can bring empty containers or place a small deposit on their glass jars to bring home your purchases. They also offer online ordering and delivery in Toronto via electric car. You put your empties out on your front porch and they leave you with new mason jars to refill your household containers. A few of my favourite products are the unscented liquid laundry detergent and the cedar and sage shampoo.
Bring your own produce bags and shop local fruits and veggies.
Shopping local not only reduces the transportation fuel needed to bring the food to your table but it also helps to promote agriculture in our area.
When you head to the supermarket this month try to choose local produce with no plastic or styrofoam wrapping. Instead of the plastic produce bags pack them in your own reusable produce bags. If you forget your produce bags you can usually grab some brown paper bags from the mushroom and herb area of the produce section. Brown paper can compost in your green bin so it is a better option.
Eat less meat.
Reducing our meat consumption is great for our health and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I personally started small with meat free breakfast and lunch options and very soon my body stopped craving meat with any meal. There are lots of delicious and easy meat free recipes in the well&tight recipe bank. Here are a few to get you started: Spelt pancakes, Overnight oats, Hearty vegetable stew, Falafel salad
Use reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
For years I threw my coffee cups in the recycling bins but have recently learned they are paper coated in plastic and as a result end up in the landfill.
This is a straightforward one but I find myself out needing a caffeine fix or some water and I have forgotten my cups at home. Keeping mugs and bottles in my purse, the car and at my desk helps to ensure I am covered. Reusable bamboo or metal straws are also great to have on hand for iced coffee or juice. My kids love using them too!
Download the TO waste app.
This is a great tool to educate you and your family on where packaging and waste belongs.
You will be surprised with what you can and can’t throw into the green and blue bins. I find I make smarter buying decisions when I know where the packaging will end up. The app will also remind you when to put out your bins for collection.
Good luck and if you have any questions or tips to share I would love to hear them. I am on Instagram as @joanmacalpine or look me up in the Well&Tight Facebook group.
Joan MacAlpine is a Home Planner, PM and Decorator here in Toronto. She specializes in helping you navigate the overwhelming process of turning a house into a beautiful, functional home.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org