Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Garbage Challenge Rockstars!

It’s been two and a half months since Jane and I began our three-month garbage challenge. During this time we’ve limited ourselves to one modest bag. And that’s it. All waste generated outside the house is brought back for disposal, recycling or otherwise.

To keep within the confine of our modest bag we have become mindful of what we buy, avoiding products with packaging as much as we can.

Once you become mindful of packaging, it is mindboggling the amount of plastic attached to products. Plastic lining, protective seals and produce stickers comprise most of our garbage. Despite this, our garbage bag isn’t overflowing. If we scrunch down the plastic we can accommodate about a third more. The secret to our success?
  • We avoid packaged foods and buy veggies and fruit, as well as bulk dried fruits and nuts, cereal, rice, pasta and flour. We use plastic bags for the bulk foods but save them for recycling.
  • No junk food.
  • We buy our organic cheese from Global Cheese in Kensington Market, and engage in lovely chats with people who love cheese. We also get more for less than what we normally pay for aged organic cheddar.
  • No plastic bottles. We bring our stainless steel water bottles when we are out and about and I drink tap water from a glass at work. Jane, who loves her coffee, brings her thermos with her. If she forgets it, she either asks for no lid or requests a ceramic mug to drink in the shop.
  • We use cloth bags, eliminating the need for plastic ones. We don’t put our veggies and fruits in plastic produce bags – unless they are biodegradable.
  • We tend to prepare lunches and snacks at home to take with us to work. Less packaging and less expensive. But when we forget occasionally or are lazy, we buy takeaway in recyclable containers or ask for no wrapping.
  • We are blessed to live in a city that has an organics bin program, enabling us to divert a good portion of our waste to city compost. A part of our organics is placed in our backyard compost. Toronto also has a comprehensive recycling program, which was recently expanded to include plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam. Please click here for guidelines on how to properly prepare these items for recycling.

Keeping our garbage to one bag in three months hasn’t been the impossible challenge that some of our friends predicted. It’s actually quite doable, not to mention conceivable that we can keep our garbage down to four modest bags per year, something that Jane and I are prepared to do.

I don’t know about you but I love a good challenge. It motivates me and keeps me focused. I challenge you to challenge yourself to reduce your landfill-bound garbage. You will likely find that you will eat better and save money while you’re at it.

Charitable Gifts

The Gift of Light – Solar Aid
Here’s an interesting charitable gift from an organization fighting global poverty with renewable energy.


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1 comment:

Janer said...

Congrats Cheryl and Jane!
An awesome example of Acting Locally!