I know we have all been craving spring this month, but the rain just won’t let up! Ugh. I’m over it and my green thumbs are starting to itch and I want to plant some herbs and flowers soon. Oh well, it is just not meant to be, and as a result, I have had a fair amount of time inside this month to work on some projects for Cedar Coast clients and myself including getting my kitchen back in line.
Do me a favour. Walk into your kitchen pantry and take a look around. What do you see? Packages I bet. A lot of plastic and cardboard packages of food. I’m not sure when it became normal for our food to be stored in plastic bags or cardboard boxes with little plastic windows, as if they need a little peak of the outside world, but here we are.
I can go on and on about the potentially harmful nature of our food products being snugged up against plastic for months on end, but truly the science isn’t that great to create a great argument against it that will stand up to heavy criticism. However, I do advocate for plastic free kitchens for another irrefutable reason. Pollution. Soft plastics are one of the most difficult items to be recycled because they are often an unknown amalgam of resins. For instance zip style sandwich bags are two different types of plastics which contaminate eachother when melted down, and therefore cannot be recycled. Many municipalities just don’t even have the option to recycle them, depot or roadside.
According to Stanford University “One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 Kwh of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil, 98 million BTU’s of energy, and 30 cubic yards of landfill space.” which is fantastic, but I’m talking about the plastics that cannot or will not be recycled such as those for coffee, pasta, croutons, chips etc. Not to mention produce bags, bulk food and spice baggies and non-paper tea bags. In fact the use of single-use plastic packaging, has grown from 120,000 tons in 1960 to 12.7 million tons in 2006.
So the solution I’ve come up with is a plastic free kitchen conversion. It can be done within a day by myself, or if you’re feeling up to the task, over a weekend or week if you’re up for it. These conversions include the audit of your pantry and grocery needs and removal of plastic food containers and packaging. Finally, the replacement of harmful plastic storage containers for day to day leftovers and fridge storage. I bet you would be surprised to know that majority of your dry goods can be purchased in bulk such as granola, pasta, protein powders, spices, baking ingredients, candy, snacks and even bath salts. Organic and conventional options abound! Very very few things are packaged in our home simply because I changed the way I shop and how I store things. And once the system was in place, I never really noticed a difference.
The first thing you will need is a plethora of glass containers of varying sizes. This is where an audit of your pantry comes into place, so you know just about how many of each size you need. My favourite place for jars is Ikea.
They have a variety of sizes, styles, and means to fasten (twist lids or wire bail.) These jars will be the vessels for you to store your pantry goods. This is a list of all the items we purchase in bulk form from our local grocery store and now (just recently opened near me) Bulk Barn.
There are several ways to transport your bulk items too and from the grocery store including light-weight mesh bags which can hold both your fruits and veggies and larger bulk items like seeds, nuts, and granola’s. Secondly there are thin linen bags which are great for powders or finer grains like protein powders and rice. And since you are going to ask, no I don’t find that my powders leak through the fabric.
Next, you want to recycle or donate your existing stockpile of plastic tupperware. You know that drawer in your kitchen where you can’t find a lid for 50% of the containers and nothing completely fits? Yeah. That drawer. When I go into a client home I donate the entire pile and start fresh.
Depending on the size of your family and their needs, you will need to buy 2-5 sets of new glass containers. Deciding what you need will depend on the number of family members you have, whether they take lunches with them to school or work or if they eat out, and how much food preparation your household does. This is key because I store my half-used peppers, onions and various leftovers in these same food containers, so you are going to want enough to cover both needs because you are NO LONGER GOING TO USE PLASTIC WRAP!
How exciting is that notion?! Okay, so well, maybe not that exciting for everyone, but it still is great for me after all these years. We will talk about plastic wrap options next, but hold tight.
So which containers should you buy? Well I love the Anchor brand round containers. Normally you can buy them at stores like Canadian Tire, Bed, Bath & Beyond and other home stores. They are ALWAYS on sale, so if they aren’t wait a day and they probably will and they are on sale for 4 sizes for $6.99! That’s a steal!
So we’ve got bulk food containers, leftover and lunch food containers, and vegetable/fridge food storage containers covered. Next we can move on to plastic wrap, zip-bags and bread bags. These can all be replaced by reusable options which may or may not be plastic based depending on your personal preference. To me the importance falls on not creating as much waste and less about exposing my food to plastics. However, I don’t like to microwave or heat my plastics, so I have only two of these kinds of items.
The first are bags for storing my bread and buns. We, and when I say that I mean my husband Steve, bake our own bread and buns and therefore need something to store them in and preserve them. We have a three pack of Bread Armor bags which have lasted us now 3 years. Once you use them you just simple wash it out and reuse!
There are options which are both plastic and fabric to replace zip-bags such as these from Russbe and Evercoast Handmade. I mostly use the fabric-fox bags, however for some slightly messier items like celery and peanut butter or whatnot, I prefer the plastic ones. PS. Did I mention that the Russbe bags are dishwasher safe? Yeah they are! You’re welcome 😉
“But what about the bowls?!” You cry. Fear not. If you have the desire to cover your bowls of salad or leftovers with plastic wrap, they make a reusable analog for you. I am a fan of CoverBlubber. Though I don’t personally own any, I did use my lovely Mother-In-Law as a guinea pig and purchased her a set of these intriguing BPA free rubber covers. Sue thought they worked fairly well, though were a tad bit tricky to spread over wider bowls with one hand or wet hands. Fair enough!
Although they are super strange to look at, they do make a great alternative to plastic wrap. Thanks for taking one for the team Sue!
I personally use Beeswax Wraps made by Evercoast Handmade to cover my bowls and find them very easy to wash and reuse! Plus they smell amazing, so who doesn’t like that. Both the CoverBlubber and Beeswax Wraps are not microwaveable, so please don’t try it. My preferred method of covering something to be microwaved is simply just putting a plate over top of the bowl or plate to keep the steam in.
Plastic utensils? There is an easy replacement for those as well. Try bamboo utensils as an alternative which are safe for all surfaces like Teflon and ceramic so you don’t have to worry about scratching anything. We also own some silicon covered spatulas and whisks which have lasted a very long time.
Well, there you have it! There are some very simple ways to reduce the amount of plastic you generate or consume in your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be a transition completed all at once, but a refreshing one once you do! But remember to try and donate the items you are discarding in order to keep them out of the landfill for as long as possible and to give someone who could use them access to quality goods.
Environmental sustainability in the home is a learning experience and a goal to work towards. I read earlier today someone rebuking the movement to ban plastic straws saying that straws were just a minuscule portion of plastics found in our oceans, and I agree. However, I feel as though the straw has become a sort of mascot for the movement to do away with one-time-use plastics in general. Straws are a great example of how we as a society have normalized the amount of time, effort and resources to create an object which has a use-life of less than 15 minutes. One-time-use plastics are a financial weight for companies to carry without any value added, meaning they swallow the costs of plastic stir sticks, straws, cup lids, cutlery, takeaway containers etc and are expected to not pass that cost on to their customers as “its just the cost of business”. But making these changes as a whole is in many ways a teaching opportunity.
So, is this system perfect? No, absolutely not because many people cannot afford to transition to an plastic free kitchen all in one go or at all. But for those of you who can shouldn’t let that stop you from generating unnecessary plastics, because as we normalize this new kind of sustainability it will become second nature and the new normal for younger generations.
So, off you go! I challenge you to make one change in your kitchen this week, and don’t forget, Cedar Coast is more than just a blog! I do kitchen and pantry conversions for those of you living in Vancouver and the surrounding area of Metro Vancouver, Kelowna and the Sunshine Coast! If you are interested in becoming a client of Cedar Coast Sustainability, contact me today!
Happy Earth Day Everyone!
Earth Day is this Sunday and I wanted to share with you guys an activity idea to celebrate all things green: Upcycling. Upcycling is taking something that was destined for the landfill and reinventing it into something else! This spares you and the planet from A. the need to buy a piece for furniture & B. saves something that would have been thrown out.
Traditionally people think of planting a tree or picking up trash from a beach or park on Earth Day. Though amazing in it’s self, it makes conservation feel like a chore. So I think this is a great activity to do with children because it shows them that there is more to sustainable living than just reduction and cleaning up the environment.
As although you may not need a nightstand or a new piece of furniture, I think you should check out my Pinterest board on DIY & Upcycling ideas for Pinspiration! There I have pinned some of my favorite easy upcycle ideas.
So to show you what is possible and inspire you, I am going to show you step-by-step how I transformed trash to treasure in the name of Earth Day. In the spirit of all things cottage chic at the moment, I upcycled a boring 70’s throw back to a creamy white and glass-knobbed nightstand duo worthy of Joanna Gains (at least I think so!)
Fortunately I had the wherewithal to document most of my steps except a “before” image prior to my husband cutting it in half- now that part doesn’t yet make sense, so let me explain! This gem of a table was gifted to me by the neighbour who was cleaning out her home and found out that we were decorating our guest room.
First off I started with a four-legged side table like this which it ended up with two tables like this!
If you wanted to complete a similar project, I suggest the following tools and materials:
So, next I will outline the project steps.
And there you have it! The finished product are these adorable matching side tables which saved a beautiful piece of furniture from the landfill! So on this Earth Day, think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be all about planting a tree or picking up litter on the shoreline- although those are great initiatives as well!
Happy Earth Day Everyone,
It has been a while since I’ve written for Cedar Coast. Some of you may have seen on my IG and Pinterest feeds, I’ve been transitioning to a focus on consulting rather than blogging. And beyond that I’ve been working for Photography By Marlow. Many side hustles for my side hustles haha.
Anyway, it is Wasteless Wednesday and I wanted to share with you guys some helpful information about some amazing local stores you may or may not know about which can help you drastically reduce your household waste and recycling. First off I want to say that I am not affiliated with these stores or have received compensation for writing this from any of these stores. I just want my readers to succeed at their journey to a greener life through waste reduction!
My focus today for wasteless Wednesday was refilling my detergents. So I thought I would share with you guys three amazing stores from the Eastern Fraser Valley to Vancouver who sell bulk soaps, detergents, shampoos and much more.
I personally go to the Chuckling Duckling Farm store in the ever so dreamy Fort Langley (#100- 9188 Glover Road, Langley BC.)
I personally buy the Live for Tomorrow brand dishwasher powder and Sapadilla brand counter top cleaner and dishwashing liquid in bulk, refilling my own old containers. Nope, you don’t have to pay for the weight of the container. They have shampoos and conditioners, shaving supplies for men and women, clinics and classes for special events and more.
Our next Fraser Valley store is All things Being Eco at 7388 Vedder Road in Chilliwack. They have a substantial bulk section of soaps, oils and detergents in addition to organic women’s and men’s clothing and eco-friendly gifts! If you’re out that way I suggest to add this to your shopping stop!
And last but not least I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Essentials store in Vancouver at 3718 Main Street. This gem of a shop was like a harp song from heaven when I first walked in. Soaps, shampoos, hygiene products, food staples like flour and teas and so much more can be found at this unassuming shop in the Heart of Vancouver.
As always! BYOC – bring your own container. These stores happily tare the container so you are only paying for the product you purchase not the package, and some of them even give you a discount for doing so.
So there you have it! I finally got back to writing and you have some awesome stores to check out!
World’s largest collection of ocean garbage is now twice the size of Texas
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Happy Wednesday Everyone!
Whether you are a cat person or a dog person, you know that our fur babies come with a certain level necessities: food, accessories, grooming tools, litter, toys, treats and more. So how can we make their routines a little more green? By shopping a little smarter and putting in a tiny bit more effort, you can make leaps and bounds in your pets sustainability.
Switch out your pets toy’s with some sustainable alternatives. Rope toys will be the easiest item to find for your pooch. Many of these are hemp, jute or organic cotton. Jute is a renewable fiber resource which has a very small environmental impact since it does not require irrigation or fertilizers to grow. As for hemp, there is growing demand for other aspects the plant in North America, meaning that there is a surplus of the stems and stocks available for textile use. Both jute and hemp are some of the oldest fibers in the world and are known for their resiliency and strength. Additionally organic cotton requires 71% less water then conventional cotton and cannot be fertilized or treated with harmful chemicals during growing or in post-harvest manufacturing. As always, look for pet toys made in or near your country to reduce their transportation-related carbon footprint.
If you are into DIY check out this great tutorial on how to make easy rope toys out of upcycled t-shirts and sweat pants! And as always, supervise your pets with their toys to avoid unnecessary accidents!
And although cats are typically less needy than dogs, they also enjoy a good play! Look for toys stuffed with organic catnip, hemp or cotton fabrics which are dyed with non-toxic chemicals. I love this hemp mouse toy by From the Field.
Sleeping is a huge part of our pets lives, in fact cats can sleep 16 to 20 hours per day. In that case it is even more important for your pet to have a good place to sleep. These universal pet beds are made from 78 recycled plastic bottles in the US. Durable and washable, they will withstand a lot of abuse and will be more resilient than other beds.
Feeling crafty? Well check out this no-sew DIY dog bed project from Miss Frugal Mommy. To green it up a little further, I would personally use thrifted fleece blankets or fleece blankets which are going unused in your home (why waste a brand new blanket on a dog or cat?) Just be sure to launder them thoroughly on hot. Additionally fleece is a great option because when it is cut, it doesn’t fray at the edges, which means no flyaway threads.
All dogs are going to go, and it is our job to clean up after them (as good citizens) but don’t hermetically seal your dogs business in a plastic bag, make sure it can compost away with these corn-based baggies from BioBag. Another note about compostable poop bags is that they aren’t all created equally. Some bags need a composting facility which brings the waste to a certain temperature to break down. Most backyard composters won’t reach that temperature. Plus due to potential health risks, pet waste should never be used on edible garden spaces, only on ornamental plants. If you are interested in backyard waste composting, check out Ensopet’s Waste Composting Kit.
Let’s not forget about our kitty friends. Most cat litters are clay based, dusty and heavy. Try an ecofriendly kind like Blue Naturally Fresh litter made from walnut husks! There is also litter made from pine chips, newspaper pellets, wood shavings, coconut husks, and corn husks. The choices are endless! Additionally, I have seen some individuals use shredded paper from their shredders, though I am unsure of it’s effectiveness in odor control.
Let’s face it, the best part of having a pet is spoiling it to pieces. However given the face that our dogs and cats are carnivores, they are subject to that same meat-related carbon footprint. Many pet treats are produced from the by-products from human-destined meats. This means there is a lot of mixing and matching of these by-products like chicken meal or beef meal aka meats unsuitable for human consumption. In actual fact, this eliminates a great deal of edible meats from going to the landfill. As long as these treats are made by quality producers, I personally don’t mind this! Our girls really enjoy freeze dried liver, tripe and raw bones (both the cat and dog!)
Have any green pet hacks of your own? Share your ideas in the comment section below! Thanks again for reading everyone, and have a great week!
Jiminy Cricket! Why bugs may soon be on the menu and to the shelves of Loblaw!
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Happy Thursday Everyone!
I’ve got a confession… I stink… I have been a avid antiperspirant user for 18+ years now and I am not even sure if my body knows how to sweat properly anymore, so the days that I forget to use it, I realize my mistake mid way through the day with a horrified whiff.
So what is the deal with antiperspirant? Is it really bad for you? You will read many articles which demonize the ingredient aluminum, the active ingredient which physically prevents perspiration. However, although there are correlations to health issues like breast cancer and neurological diseases, the science behind those studies are weak and generally unsubstantiated by the larger medical community.
So, why am I ditching the antiperspirant if it isn’t a health issue you ask? Well, for one, I kind of think the body is meant to sweat. Call me a hippy, but I think if the body didn’t need to do it, it wouldn’t sweat. So that is one aspect, and the other is the environmental impact of aluminum sulfate on the environment. We often overlook the origins of ingredients in the products we use. But the basic building blocks of our hygiene routines start in the earth. For example borax, sodium sulfate, boric acid and sodium carbonate (all used in cleaning products) are mined directly from the earth, in the case of Searles Valley Minerals, they are pumped out of an underground lake in the Mojave desert. It’s tailings pond is an enormous salt lake which is extremely dangerous to waterfowl, trapping and killing birds regularly.
But I digress, we were talking about aluminum. Aluminum isn’t like many metallic minerals, you don’t just find a vein of aluminum in the earth, it is found in the mineral bauxite. Bauxite must be processed through heat and electrolysis to render the aluminum. Almost 5% of the electricity used in the US is used simply in the manufacturing of aluminum, or 23.78(45.21tf) kWh/kg of aluminum.
I know you’re like “Woah! Don’t throw numbers like that around at me for a discussion about deodorant!”. But that’s the point I like to make to my readers and clients. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, comes from something and therefore we shouldn’t disassociate ourselves from the simple things in life and take them for granted. Everything in our lives comes with an environmental cost. So where does that leave us? Well, with deodorant which has some major plus’s and minuses including efficacy, scent, and application beyond environmental friendliness.
I highlight environmental friendliness because the active ingredient in most natural deodorants is baking soda aka sodium carbonate, the very same mineral mined from Searles Lake, so it isn’t exactly environmentally neutral though it does require much less processing than aluminum sulfate. However, what I will say is that (all but one) the natural deodorants that I list here have essential oils which have been both farmed sustainably and are organic. In addition, they tend to have ingredients which are non-irritating like benzoates and fragrance.
Nonetheless, the upside of switching to a natural deodorant brand is that many of the do not contain petrochemicals like mineral oil, don’t test on animals and are vegan, so it means you are doing a lot more for yourself and the environment than using contemporary antiperspirants.
I have tried upwards of 5 deodorant brands over the past two years and only just recently found one that works really well for me. But I will give you a run down of the pros and cons of each one, however, I have noticed it has a lot to do with your specific chemistry. What works for some individuals may not work for others, so it is still trial and error.
Let’s start with the deodorant I recommend the most: Lafe’s. This US based company started out small potatoes in the 1990’s and has grown significantly without losing sight of its goals in quality and sustainability. They pledge that all of their products are:
・Proplyene Glycol Free
・SLS/SLES/Sodium Laurel Sulfate Free
・PEG Compounds Free
・FD&C Colors/Dye Free
・Mineral Oil Free
What I really like about this product is the liquid roll on. It doesn’t leave a chalky residue or muck up your dark shirts. Most importantly, it works! The active ingredient is alum mineral (different than aluminum sulfate.) This naturally occurring (and manufactured) mineral is like a salt or crystal in a sense and absorbs moisture and neutralizes odor. It’s smell is fresh and clean and the formula doesn’t cause any irritation (something that will come up here later.)
Pro: Great initial scent, non-irritating and best longevity.
Con: Can only be purchased at Natural Foods retailers and those alike. Pricey.
Our runner up is a Canadian product called Green Beaver. I had really high hopes for this brand since it is produces my favorite mineral sunscreen. The smell (Geranium) was amazing, floral and delicate. I also liked the idea that it was a pump spray, not a rub on product and I thought it might leave less residue, which it didn’t. The Green Beaver had a longevity of 6 hours before I could start smelling myself under scrutiny but after 8 hours I could smell myself without a lift of an arm. That wasn’t good.
Reapplication worked in a pinch, but once stress sweat kicked in, it really couldn’t stand up to any scent I produced. Too bad, because it’s formula contained organic and responsibly sourced ingredients and was made on Canadian soil.
Pro: Great initial scent, non-irritating.
Con: Can only be purchased at Natural Foods retailers and those alike.
Our third runner up was Tom’s of Maine brand deodorant. Tom’s has been a household name for decades and was one of the original natural personal care brands. I used the scent “beautiful earth” although I wasn’t able to pin point what the actual scent was supposed to be. Nonetheless it didn’t offend my nasal cavity, so I went with it. This traditional swipe on type of deodorant is a bit more chalky than I would have liked. It does not contain baking soda to odor neutralizing power but states that they have “odor protection by using hops and zinc ricinoleate, sourced from castor beans and the mineral zinc, to help absorb bad smells and neutralize odor. ”
During the time of this testing period, it was summer, so the Tom’s had a little more work to do than the other brands. However, it didn’t stand-up long term, similarly to the Green Beaver. Within 4 hours I was getting unpleasant hints and I would be forced to wash and reapply halfway through the day. Not exactly ideal in a public restroom on campus or the office. Additionally, the scents mixed together to create a sort of clean laundry gym clothes melange. Not good.
Pro: You can buy it at most large grocery store chains and pharmacies.
Con: Lack luster longevity. Weird smell after a while.
Our fourth contestant was Adidas Cotton Tech Aluminum Free Women Deodorant. When I first purchased this product I was pleased to find it at Save On Foods, where it is next to impossible to find women’s deodorant. The cotton scent is also very pleasant, however, I wasn’t sure what cotton was supposed to smell like so the moniker isn’t great. I suppose the closest description would be that it smells like clean laundry, not bad, but not great and I worried about the amount of fragrance which was used.
This product had one of the worst rates of longevity. Within several hours I was stinking up a storm on public transportation and I felt terrible for everyone around me. I spent the day at school constantly worried about my odor, eventually succumbing to shame and washed my underarms three times throughout the day. Terrible. Just. Awful.
In addition, it caused a great deal of underarm irritation, which was probably worsened by my constant washing. But I wasn’t sure which came first: the itching or the washing. Nonetheless I give this product a D-, and it would be the worst on the list if it wasn’t for the next ridiculous product.
Pros: Can be bought at the grocery store.
Cons: Literally everything about it. Longevity, irritation and smell.
Lastly is a little pot of disappointment called Schmidt’s. Look past the trendy label and alluring promise of Bergamot and Lime scent and you will see what a joke this is.
Now, most of you know by now that I am fairly diplomatic when it comes to my product reviews (more or less) but this product was stupid. This little pot was $12.99. It comes with a tiny little plastic spatula (better suited to a Barbie kitchen) which I was not sure what the intention was. Was I supposed to ladle it on to my skin? Nope, it is just to transfer it to my palms according to the instructions on the back. You are meant to warm the hard, chalky paste in your hands for a minute prior to trying to smear it into your underarms.
The first attempt on scooping the paste from the jar resulted in the spatula snapping in half and leaving its embedded end in the center of the white blob.
I then subsequently had to scoop it out with my fingers which meant it all ended up under my nails. I warmed it as directed and tired to smear it on my underarms where 50% of it promptly crumbled off on to the floor, 30% of it stayed on my fingers and 20% ended up where it should be.
After washing my hands, I noticed my underarms beginning to itch. And itch. AND ITCH. It was horrible. Even after removing it with a facecloth and soap, I was left with irritated underarms for a week. After a little research I read that baking soda based deodorants can be very irritating to some individuals and can cause over-drying as well. So perhaps that was the issue with this product.
Pros: Cute Label.
Another point I want to address is the notion that one needs to “detox” their armpits to increase the efficacy of natural deodorants. The idea is that antiperspirants have been clogging up the glands in your armpits and therefore you must remove the toxins which have accumulated there with a mask. To provide you all the a great baseline, I humored this idea and went for it despite the fact I couldn’t find one lick of evidence to support it. Many of these detox recipes call for activated charcoal and bentonite clay. I fortunately have a face mask of both those ingredients by Sukin, and applied it for twice a week for two weeks like directed by various natural gurus. Did it make my natural deodorants more effective? Nope, not at all but my pits were silky smooth and blemish free haha.
What have I learned? Well for one that everyone’s chemistry is different and the bacterial on our skin varies from person to person. When speaking with a sales woman from Pomme Natural Foods about it, she insisted that what works for one person may not work at all for another.
I hope I have shed some light on the mysterious and at times aggravating world of natural deodorants. Whether you’re looking to change due to potentially harmful health issues of antiperspirants or because you want to avoid petrochemicals or looking for a vegan option, than perhaps one of these would work for you! Personally, I would start with the Lafe’s.
As promised, I decided to post climate and sustainability related news to the blog from time to time. Have a read over this little piece.
The North Pole Has Gone Above Freezing in The Dead of Winter, Stunning Scientists. According to recent measurements, the region is sitting 30º Celsius above normal temperature (2º Celsius)
Such extreme warm intrusions in the Arctic, once rare, are becoming more routine, research has shown.
Happy Thursday Everyone!
January was a crazy month wasn’t it? I feel that normally it is pretty quiet for me, but this year it has been the polar opposite. I have been working on several projects and collaborations, working with clients in person and online and some general chaos in our household.
Unfortunately we lost our sweet elderly cat Diesel last week which has impacted us all greatly. We adopted the scraggly old cat several years ago anticipating he would only live out 6 more months of his life with us, but we wanted to make those last months his best. Two and a half years later, Diesel far exceeded our expectations on how much his life would impact ours and lived to the ripe old age of 16 or 17. He was forgiving, loving and a gentle giant. We were lucky to spend that time with him and we will miss him so much.
Part of January’s busy schedule was receiving all of my YouTube episodes of our feature on Health, Wellness & Lifestyle TV. You can see my previous episode and a recap of the products I discussed here. Next I will share with you guys my second episode with Tammy-Lynn where in which I discuss 5 things you can do today to be greener tomorrow.
In this episode I discuss 5 ways to be greener tomorrow with changes today. Many of these ideas are things we have discussed at length, however they are always worth reiterating! Here are the 5 products I recommend in episode 33:
Klean Kanteen Straw Set
There have been headlines lately which report communities, restaurants and bars opting to serve drinks without straws. I personally don’t mind drinking from the side of my glass (we do it at home everyday) but for those of you with sensitive teeth, want to preserve your lipstick or just have a strong attachment to straws, you need to pick up this Klean Kanteen Straw Set
. You needn’t be worried about cleaning them, this set comes with a straw brush for easy cleaning!
Reusable Snack Bags by Evercoast Handmade
Along side of the discussion of banning plastic straws in municipalities, is the conversation of banning plastic bags. Did you know that oil capital of Canada Fort McMurrary banned plastic shopping bags back in 2010? I feel like communities like mine should be following suit, though it is very late. So take it a step further and ditch the plastic produce bags along side the plastic shopping bags. I personally use these flip & tumble bags, but you can always sew your own if you are handy like that! While you’re at it, switch from traditional zip-loc bags to food safe fabric bags like those from Evercoast Handmade (formerly It’s Sew Kara.)
Switch up your laundry routine by switching from those heavily scented detergents and fabric softeners to a healthier and more environmentally friendly options. I loved my Ecos brand detergent and just recently switched to a refillable brand. In addition these Moss Creek Wool Works balls are a great softening options as they naturally remove static and manually move laundry in the dryer to prevent wrinkles. I personally put scented oils on my felt balls to add a subtle scent which doesn’t aggravate my allergies or asthma.
If you get a chance, please “like” and share my episodes after you have watched them on YouTube as I would greatly appreciate it!
Next week I will be discussing a topic which is “the pits”, arm pits that is! Do you know what you put on your skin? How about what those products do to the environment? Next week I will be sharing my deodorant hunt with you guys and what products stink and what ones didn’t.
So yesterday I was asked a great question about the environmental impact of paper towels versus washing and reusing bar mops. Is it really better to reuse them or does tossing a paper towel equal to the amount of energy and water used to wash a reuse a bar mop? I was also asked what the difference is between a dish cloth and a bar mop? Really there isn’t, one is just for cleaning up in general (bar mop) and it’s what they are called in the restaurant industry. But feel free to call them whatever you like.
As for the first question, that’s a complicated one to answer because manufacturing of paper towels and mops vary so differently from place to place. But if you break it down into two factors, water consumption to produce paper towels and compare it to the amount of water to wash towels then we can get a bit of a insight into the issue. I am using information found of the web and from my own personal HE washing machine to do the math here, so this isn’t 100% definitive due to variation in manufacturing, roll size and what not. Just basic numbers to give a general idea with a margin of error.
So let’s start with some paper towel numbers. So it takes 20,000 gallons of water to produce 1 ton of paper towel. If a roll of paper towel is approximately 1/2 lb, then there should be about 4000 rolls of paper towel per ton. That makes each roll consumes 50 gallons of water each in production, which doesn’t include the water needed in the production of the fossil fuels to create the towel nor the fossil fuels to transport it to the store or any of the water needed for its packaging.So, that’s about 1 gallon of water per sheet of paper towel.
In comparison a bar mop in our house can be used 5-8 times before needing to be washed (as long as it wasn’t soaked or used for raw meat etc). So for easy math, let’s say 5. So one bar mop is equivalent to 5 paper towels, but can be used for 5 years before needing replacement. 5 paper towels a day, means the average home uses 3 50 sheet rolls of paper towel a month, 36 rolls per year (the Bounty website actually says Americans use 4 times this amount! I am going with my personal households estimation of use), making that 180 rolls over 5 years. And that is 9000 gallons of water in paper towel use in 5 years.
Okay, so we got that down. Let’s see how the bar mop does over 5 years
Now my HE washing machine uses 13-15 gallons of water per large load of laundry. My front loading HE washed accepts 18 lbs of clothing, or in a measurement of bar mops, 4 bar mops per pound, so 72 bar mops per load (but I only own 10, so they generally go in the laundry with other dish towels, this is just for the sake of math). With a usage of 15 generous gallons of water per load, that’s 27 oz of water per mop per wash.
So, that’s one mop per day, or 30 per month, so 600 single mop washes per year, and making that a grand total of 125 gallons of water used to wash the bar mops for the year and 625 gallons of water in 5 years.
There you have it. Paper towels 9000 gallons of water used in production (not including packaging and transportation) over 5 years on comparison to 625 gallons of water for the wash and reuse of cotton bar mops.
But wait, there is more! Some of you are going to say, what about the production of the cotton?! It’s a heavy water user! Yep it sure is! It takes on average 350 gallons of water to produce one pound of cotton from seed, to farm to fiber. That is about 88 gallons of water per quater pound mop.
So let’s wrap this up. 88 gallons of production cost plus 625 gallons of washing is 713 gallons of water for the production and maintenance of a bar mop compared to 9000 gallons of water for paper towels over a 5 year period.
Could we talk about the water use of detergent sure! The cost of chemical treatments for both sure! But we would all probably be asleep by the time I finished here. The question was about the overall use of water and the impact on the environment. In that catagory, bar mops win over and over again.
So, even with a generous margin of error, I think we can agree what the numbers tell us.
Something to mull over right?
Happy Tuesday Everyone!
Sorry about my delay on Mix it up Monday! I have been dealing with my neighbors renovating their townhome and it sounds like WW3 in here and I can’t seem to focus. Anyway… I decided on doing our MIUM on a Tuesday!
Today’s swap is a fairly easy one, but I challenge you all to step outside your routine to do this. For YEARS I was buying Ecos brand laundry detergent from Costco. It is $16.99 for a 210 oz bottle and says it does 210 loads. But honestly, for a large load of laundry it required 4 oz, not 1oz, so the label is a bit deceptive. You can also buy it from well.ca for $11.06 right now on sale. There isn’t anything wrong with it, it is great detergent free from harmful chemicals, vegan and palm oil free.
However, I recently ran out of my gigantic jug of it and decided now was the time to switch to a brand which I could buy in bulk/refillable. Introducing an amazing, local, Canadian company: Live for Tomorrow!
I purchased this little bottle at The Chuckling Duckling in Fort Langley where they have bulk soaps, salts, shampoo bars, deodorants and much much more! To use it, I have been using 4 pumps of the soap in our HE washers dispenser. That’s it! 4 pumps!
For the same number of washes and the same price as the Ecos brand from Costco, you get a refillable option which takes up less than a quarter of the space! Look at the size difference! You can also buy LFT products online through their website and at other dispensaries in Vancouver and around the lower mainland!
So if you are still using conventional brands, give a brand like Ecos or Live for Tomorrow a shot. They are just as effective in cleaning and getting stains out, but are biodegradable and are safe for our lakes and oceans. If you want to know more about the detriments of detergents to our oceans, read up on it via my hair care blog (yep, the same detergents used on your hair as your clothes… yuck.) If you aren’t sold on the bulk options yet, don’t worry. Take a smaller step which works with your routine and just try a ecofriendly brand instead such as Seventh Generation, Ecos, and Live for Tomorrow (you don’t have to buy it in bulk, just recycle your container.)
So happy laundry day folks!
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So I have recently had a lot of questions in regards to worthwhile swaps, and what I mean by that is how and which products are worth getting rid of and which are great alternatives. So I am going to introduce Mix It Up Mondays! These will be posts which are quick and easy to read and I will post fantastic alternatives to everyday disposable items with the locations in which you can buy them or links online of where to pick them up!
So for my first Mix It Up Monday I present Ressube zip-loc bag alternatives. These reusable zip baggies are great for wet foods and snacks that traditional fabric baggies can’t handle. In fact, I use them for storing things in my freezer because they have a much higher volume capacity than traditional baggies and take up less room in my freezer than my Anchor containers. Win! For $6.38 for 4 of them, you can’t lose. Plus they are dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to worry about getting them clean. So if you’re not ready to let go of plastic baggies altogether, give these ones a shot!