REDUCING HOUSEHOLD WASTE IN CANADA LITTLE BY LITTLE
Reducing household waste has been on the top of our budgeting agenda this year because we noticed that we have far too much garbage leaving our house each week.
If you just stop for a moment and think about ALL of the containers in your kitchen that should make you want to consider reducing household waste.
I know that’s sort of how it went down for us when we began cleaning out our kitchen using the Konmari method of organization last week.
Every cupboard we opened we found more and more plastics, containers, bottles, bags and general junk that couldn’t be recycled that we knew would end up in our landfill.
It’s amazing what you learn about the way you live when you become mindful of what is happening around you. Too often we are so busy with work, parenting and life that we race through our day and forget about other things that matter such as our environment.
This year we committed ourselves and budget to a no-new shop year which means we plan to reduce how many products we buy unless it is 100% needed.
We also decided that whatever we needed to buy that we would always check second-hand shops first to see if we could find the items we needed for less.
Although not everything you find at thrift stores may be a bargain there are plenty of money-savings to be had especially when they have 50% off or other promo days.
I also believe that buying and selling used online is a great way to reduce household waste because you are using what is already out there instead of buying something new. It may not be good from a business perspective but if we all do a little to help the environment it’s worth a shot.
You also have to keep in mind that many companies today are offering eco-friendly products or are working their way into the environmentally mindful way for consumers.
This way they offer the best of both worlds and stay on top of keeping up with consumer demand. I also think it’s responsible for companies to take charge of worrying about our planet and how they can contribute to a better world now and for in the future. Again, we all must do our part.
In the news recently you may have been made aware of the plastics pollution that is happening all over the world. It’s the photos that have people realize how harmful plastics and other household waste impacts our environment.
We should also be avoiding “single-use” products such as water bottles, plastic bags or straws. They also say that it is our responsibility to recycle all materials properly, and municipalities need to improve their waste-management systems.- Plastics Pollution Global News
Another part of our plan for reducing household waste is to stop buying plastic water bottles and to enjoy water that comes from our taps which is perfectly safe to drink.
I think most of us have it in our minds that bottled water is the safest water to drink because it comes from natural springs or a facility but who really knows how ‘real’ that is.
Nearly 80% of waste of all waste on our land and in our oceans now consist of plastic debris- Norwex Canada
Plus, just because companies like Nestle Waters Canada offers 100% recyclable water bottles that doesn’t mean the bottles end up being recycled.
More and more bottles keep showing up in our waters and that should be a warning to consumers that we need to rethink our mindset about reducing household waste in Canada.
Reducing Household Waste Is Next Level Generation
More than ever in Canada we need to consider reducing household waste which may seem a bit harsh on the budget at first but you’ll find that over time it’s not as pricey as you may think.
I’ve compiled a list of ways we plan to target reducing household waste in our home and we hope that you consider adopting some of the same practices.
Keep in mind that reducing household waste is a process so you can’t expect it to happen over night nor are you expected to be perfect at it, nobody is.
As much as someone wants to say they’ve bagged the environment thing from all aspects I’m doubting that is a reality. What is real is doing our part to reduce, reuse and recycle what we have as a community, country and world-wide.
Let’s have a look at what we came up with. I’m excited and I hope you are to join us on this journey to reduce household waste.
We don’t use many straws in our house but when we do up in our cupboard is a huge container of plastic straws. Not any more. We are replacing them with stainless steel straws and biodegradable paper straws.
Using reusable food storage containers instead of plastic baggies is a big deal to us especially now that our son goes to school.
We purchased affordable bento-style lunch boxes from Amazon for our son that seem to be working well and they come in various colours.
We ask him which colour he’d like each day. His school was asking parents to eliminate sending packages and plastic baggies to school and to opt for bento lunch boxes if possible.
There are also reusable silicone baggies you can buy that are a reusable option as well just eliminating them.
Another option is to buy glass or stainless bowls with silicone bowl covers to store leftover food or even to freeze foods for later use.
Just remember you won’t be able to eliminate everything but sourcing the better options is better than doing nothing at all for our environment.
You may find over time that what you thought was being mindful is replaced by another product the more you learn about reducing household waste.
Reusable Shopping Bags
You can now buy reusable shopping bags and reusable produce bags that you can bring along on your grocery shopping tip. What I love about them is that you won’t have plastics to dispose of and they are cost-effective.
The Mesh Reusable Produce Bags are also double-stitched so you won’t have to worry about them breaking on you.
I found this brilliant product by Abeego wrap after one of the parents at my son’s school mentioned that she uses it at home in place of plastic wrap.
The best part is that Abeego is self-adhesive so just you just use the pressure and warmth from your hands to shape and mold the product around whatever you are wrapping.
It also comes in various sizes and although the price point may seem high at first you have to think long-term with products such as this as well what goals you plan to achieve from reducing household waste.
When you are done with it you simply wash it in cold water along with biodegradable dish soap and hang it to dry.
Abeego saves honey bees by saving food. Did you know the average household throws 1 in 4 produce items into the trash? Imagine the positive effect we would have on honey bees if we took good care of the fresh food they supply us with.
Abeego is all natural. Every ingredient used comes from the earth and will return to it without a trace.
Abeego is zero waste. “Waste” is actually a resource. From day one we adopted a waste free commitment so we make amazing twist ties and fire starters with the excess.
Abeego lasts. Planned obsolesce should be obsolete. Beeswax is valuable so we make Abeego durable. You’ll add to your collection before replacing tired wraps.
Abeego uses minimal energy to produce. Primarily people powered, except our awesome waxing machine that has tripled our output using the same amount of energy.
Another great tip is to use silicon mats instead of tin foil when baking and I can attest to how well they work since we have about 5 of them.
Shampoo and Soap Bars
A popular retail store in Canada named LUSH is where lots of people go to buy package-free and fresh hand-made products such as soaps, shampoo, bath bombs, perfumes, hand-cream and more.
Mrs. CBB has a LUSH solid perfume that she has been using off and on for about 10 years now so it lasts a long time. Lush also sell loads of package-free products called ‘Naked’ to help consumers make informed decisions about what they buy.
Every year, millions of tons of packaging ends up in landfills. And the best way to reduce it? By getting rid of it completely! Browse through our shops or online and discover a huge selection of naked (or unpackaged) goodies to choose from including bath bombs, bubble bars, reusable knot-wraps, shower gels, body lotion and more.
Homemade Health and Wellness Recipes
There are also plenty of websites such as Wellness Mama that offer recipes for making homemade soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, shaving cream and more under the Natural Home page.
Related: The Many Uses of Vinegar to help clean up your Budget.
The premise around making homemade health products is that you are not only saving money but you know what you are putting in the recipe plus eliminating or reducing packaging.
For the ladies using a Diva Cup or reusable menstrual pads may be a better option as opposed to plastic applicators or non-recyclable pads. If you are good with a sewing machine you could even make your own cloth pads to save even more money.
I had no idea how easy it was to make remineralizing toothpaste that was fluoride free and perfect for kids.
- calcium powder (you can use cleaned powdered egg shells!)
- diatomaceous earth (optional, contains trace minerals and silica. UPDATE: A reader noted that DE can be abrasive and is not needed with the baking soda, so if you don’t have DE… no worries!)
- baking soda
- xylitol powder – this ingredient is not completely necessary, but just keeps it from tasting bitter
- coconut oil to achieve desired texture
- Optional ingredients: essential oils for flavor (mint, cinnamon, and orange are all good), myrrh, and trace minerals
Opting for BPA-free biodegradeable Bamboo toothbrushes also eliminates the need for plastic toothbrushes and they are pretty nice looking as well.
Source: Cascades Canada
When it comes to toilet paper there are plenty of options out there so read the packaging carefully to find one that suits your family.
Eco-Friendly Cloths instead or 100% Recycled Paper Towel
Using organic, bamboo reusable kitchen towels that are absorbent is a great option to eliminate paper towels if you prefer to go that route.
You can also use old t-shirts to make cloths by cutting them up which I’ve done many times because I’m a t-shirt kind of guy so there’s no shortage of them around our house.
Bulk Grocery Shopping
You may not agree with prices when it comes to bulk grocery shopping at places like Costco BUT there are lots of deals to be had. As a grocery expert we shop started shopping at Costco a couple of years back and do not regret the decision.
Shopping at places like the Bulk Barn is a great option because they allow you to bring in your own reusable containers instead of having to take more from the shop. They often have specials and coupons that will help to reduce your budget costs even further.
Oh and buying your spices in bulk is far better because they will be fresh and you get the option to buy as much or little as you want.
A huge way to reduce household waste is by gardening vegetables and fruits because you eliminate the middle man and that means less packaging. Once you harvest your products you can freeze them or use canning methods to preserve your produce to use throughout the year.
If you don’t have the space to garden or no green thumb buying from local farmers markets is another option because our Ontario farmers will do the work for you.
Consider wrapping gifts or Christmas presents in brown paper, newspaper or fabrics instead of buying gift wrap
Another popular website to shop is Norwex Canada where they offer an array of products that address the growing concerns of harmful chemicals, plastic pollution and environmental issues.
This is where I say you do what works for your family and lifestyle but consider the impact to our environment now and for the future of our children. Every little bit of reducing household waste is a part each of us owes to the world we live in. It’s a beautiful place so let’s keep it that way.
Discussion: How do you plan to reduce household waste in your home? Share your comments below.