My journey to zero waste
Let me start off by saying, I am by no means an expert or have all of the answers when it comes to reducing waste. I am just an average person who is trying to reduce their personal amount of waste one small step at a time. Likely many of you reading this have far better zero waste habits than I do, and I can't wait to learn from you all.
Think back to Hurricane Dorian last fall. If your freezer is anything like mine, it was filled with all the future meals you said you would make including smoothies. When you have to empty the entire contents of your freezer all at once, you realize just how much waste you really produce. Countless bags of frozen meats, veggies and berries. The single use bags piled up as I threw the contents of my freezer in the compost bin; which would later be a feast for my neighborhood bears.
Here are a few simple things I do on a regular basis, slowly making it a habit. Reducing your waste takes planning. How many times do you get to the grocery store and realize you left your cloth bags at home? Make it a habit to put your bags back in the car after you unpack your groceries. That way you are prepared for unplanned trips to your local store. Should I forget my bags I ask for paper at the Co-op.
My reusable coffee cup. I love my reusable coffee cup, not to mention the amount of coffee cups that no longer clutter up my car. I am always on the go, and having this in the car or purse saves me from that twice a day disposable cup. I leave it by the front door so it's easy to grab.
Swap out take-out containers for a reusable container from home. I leave an empty reusable container in the car for my leftovers. I have a very spoiled little pup who gets only the best of my leftovers. As someone who works in a restaurant I cringe a little when I see the amount of single use takeout containers that go out the door everyday. Restaurants really don't mind, just make sure your containers are clean and they will even package your take out in for you if you ask nicely.
When I go to buy things at the grocery store I purposely look for the option in a glass jar opposed to plastic. I recently bought Heinz Mayo because it was the only one that came in a glass jar. When looking to replace your products, check to see if there is a non plastic option. You don't have to replace everything all at once, but when it does come time to replace your items look for the alternative with more Eco-friendly packaging.
I recently met with a lovely lady by the name of Paula from New Annan Wild Farm Crafts who produces her own beeswax (among many other things) and she sells beeswax lip balm that comes in a cardboard tube!!! You push it up from the bottom. Not only is it a non plastic alternative I have been using the lip balm for 2 weeks now and I love it. It really helps with dry lips in our harsh winter. Another product we will be carrying at Jamieson's General Store.
I have also started using Rose Citron's zero waste toothpaste that I buy in bulk at the Tare Shop in Halifax. You're thinking to yourself, toothpaste? Really? Yes! Really. It's minty fresh, and it comes in a large tub with a pump and I pump the toothpaste into my own container and only buy what I need. Don't worry, you won't have to make the trip all the way to Halifax for toothpaste because we will also be selling this in our dedicated bulk section in May.
A product I started using about a year ago are Bees Wax Wraps. I have 3 ( well... I had 3 until my dad tossed one away not realizing they could be washed and reused, I digress.) These are great cloth pieces layered with beeswax and are easily mold-able to your containers and snacks. They are easily washed in cold water. Not recommended for meats, as you can not wash them in hot water. I do wrap cheese in mine though.
Beeswax wraps are fairly easy to make as I will teach you! Join us Monday February 17th (Heritage Day) at the Tipperary 1pm-3pm. You'll make 3 different sizes that you can take home to start using instead of plastic wrap.
Tickets are available for purchase through Eventbrite
Tickets are $25 and include 3 beeswax wraps and a drink of your choice from the Tipperary.
Well, that's a wrap for this week. Join us next week when we talk about how we are connecting our local community together through suppliers and producers of local products. We might even give you a hint about our location.