Yet again, I am trying something new on the Cedar Coast blog: a green business profile. From time to time I come across amazing people doing amazing things and have thought “Man, I want to share their story! It’s so inspiring!” So when one of my good friends made some changes in her life towards environmental sustainability I jumped at the chance to share her story with you. So here we go!
For many years now I have been a self-admitted hair addict, with my partner in crime being my stylist and friend Savannah Falk. As some of you may remember in my posts A Hairy Situation Part 1 & 2 & 3 Savannah was a wealth of information about product do’s and don’ts, so when she told me she was making a huge leap towards sustainability in her business I couldn’t turn down to opportunity to share her story with you.
But a bit of back story first. Savannah and I met back in 2009 in North Vancouver. I was having a bad day and walked down the street to a hair salon in my new neighbourhood (I had just moved to North Vancouver) and begged for a hair cut. My go-to vice for bad days has always been to cut or colour my hair (I blame my sister 😉 ) Savannah was the one who obliged (or pulled the short straw, I am not sure which) and got to work on her very first Heathers-in-a-crap-mood-chop-it-all-off haircut, the first of many. Over the years I have had as many hair colours and I did jobs, and more cuts than I did boyfriends. Savannah has been there for every step of the way!
So when she called to discuss this big change of hers, I was delighted! Turns out all those years of griping about pollution and talking about the environment had paid off: she was going sustainable!
Savannah told me she was converting her product line completely to Monat (that’s pronounced Mo-Nate because I kept mispronouncing it myself LOL). “So what’s the big deal?” I asked her since I had done a great deal of research on hair products this past summer and had found several brands that I loved. What made these ones different? Well for one, this list of Monat “No’s” is straight from their website:
Monat comes at their product ingredients largely from a personal health perspective, but as I have same on more than one occasion what is good for you is usually good for the planet. As we discussed in previous posts, phthalates, parabens, phenoxyethanol, fragrances, PEG and sulfates all wash down our drains and into our waste water systems. Despite our best efforts at treatment facilities, these chemicals are still discharged into our marine ecosystems. What may be considered”safe levels” of these chemicals for humans are now found to be dangerous and harmful for marine animals and their ecosystems.
For years Savannah has bugged me about how often I was my hair, damaging it and washing my colour out along the way. She would tisk tisk me for needing to come in every 6 weeks for a colour because I was basically washing it all down the drain while damaging my hair and scalp. Savannah posted this amazing picture and caption which highlights the health and strength of her hair now that she has been using Monat. She needs to wash her hair less and less and experiences less and less breakage every week due to her infrequent washing. This not only does this cut down on water consumption but also her overall need for product which reduces packaging and plastics.
[I’ve used] “curl cream” this is day 2, post sweaty workout, I dried my sweaty hair and twisted my hair into approx 6 “zulu knots” and let it sit while I did my makeup! Took my hair down and light diffuse to break the curls up and look and the curl and volume!!!
In addition to embracing a product line which is both good for her clients and for the planet, she has joined a new salon called Joy Hair Studio in North Vancouver which is a Green Circle Salon member. Additionally, Joy is committed to philanthropic work, meaning that partial proceeds from every service is donated to local initiatives which help those battling mental illness. Located in Lonsdale Quay, Joy is easy to get to via public transit with buses and the seabus terminal located within the same building which can cut down your style oriented carbon footprint even further.
Green Circle Salons aim to be as close to zero waste as possible by recycling foils, diverting hair clippings from landfills, recycling tubes and aerosols, collecting and remediating chemical products, and by participating in traditional recycling and green waste products. In total Green Circle Salons have diverted almost 2.3 million pounds of salon and spa waste from landfills around North America since 2009.
“We further serve our salons by coaching them in making green changes to the operations of their salon such as LED lighting, renewable energy, organic tea and coffee, eco-friendly cleaning products, and installing water saving faucets” – Green Circle Salons
Investigation into the ingredient lists of Monat products raised very few overall concerns for me. Yes their products contain fragrances and some surfactants which are considered irritants to some, but in the grand scheme of things Monat products strive to make healthy/green performance oriented products not just green cleansing products. This is leaps and bounds ahead of many other salon grade products and companies which don’t even attempt to make changes to their ingredient lists. Can Monat do a little better? Yes, and I assume that through their active research and product development they will be constantly striving for improvement.
Savannah has taken such fantastic steps towards making her business responsible, ethical and environmentally sustainable proving that effective change is possible within the beauty industry. Between using Monat and through the services at Joy Hair Salon, Savannah has began to eliminate and divert much of her businesses pollution and waste which would either go into our water systems or into municipal landfills. She isn’t a “die hard” environmentalist, super crunchy or a hippie, just a normal person like you and I who wants to make a difference in her life and the lives of her clients by providing healthy hair products which are good for them and the planet. We should all be a little more like Savannah shouldn’t we?
Want a green stylist in your life? Contact Savannah to purchase the whole Monat product line via her website, on Instagram or at Joy Hair Salon and by traditional means 778-836-5171 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for reading you guys!
As some of you may have noticed in the past couple of weeks I am trying something new on Cedar Coast: sharing environmental and climate change oriented news. This is because I feel that our primary media sources do a poor job of reporting on the subject. As a result, from time to time I am going to share links with you guys that I find fascinating. Let me know what you think in the comments sections as it will help me tailor the content as I go.
Several years ago I received a set of these amazing reusable zip bags from It’s Sew Kara, a company in Courtenay and Victoria BC Canada. Two years later, these well-used bags are still going strong in our kitchen. When I heard that Kara and Cheryl had created a new product, I was so excited to get involved with their project.
This new project was their first line of Beeswax Wraps. These wraps are made from 100% cotton fabric inundated with melted beeswax made locally in Comox Valley.
If you are like my husband asking “what are they for?” don’t feel left out. These handy wraps are designed to replace disposable plastic food wrap. The beeswax wraps are reusable, washable and should last 6-12 months (I would like to see plastic wrap do that!)
My pack of three includes one large wrap, one medium wrap and one snack pouch which is about the size of a traditional zip style sandwich bag. When I opened the package I was greeted with the wonderful fragrance of beeswax and was delighted by the pattern that was chosen for me. Although fairly rigid when I first pulled them out, they quickly became malleable with the heat of my hands yet without leaving a waxy residue behind.
These wraps are fantastic for bowls of leftovers, salads (who wouldn’t want to take one of these bad boys to a potluck?!) cut veggies and fruit and snacks. So far I have used them for all of the above including wrapping my wedge of Parmesan cheese in one where the existing waxed paper wouldn’t suffice.
Cleaning is a breeze too. Just some gentle soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps) and lukewarm water to clean them up. Hang to dry or like me lean them up in the dish drying rack (mine are still quite firm.) According to Kara and Cheryl, their wraps will show signs of aging eventually, but that is not the end of the wraps. To “refresh” them you simply place them on a baking sheet on parchment paper and bake in the oven at 180º F for 1-2 minutes to redistribute the waxes.
I feel as though this goes without saying, however I should remind my readers that beeswax wraps of any kind are not tolerant of heat. So do not (I repeat Do Not) put them in the microwave or on hot surfaces like a glasstop stove unless you want some hot melty waxy mess to clean up.
Although I feel like my regular readers are aware of the perils of plastic wrap on human health and the health of the environment, I think it is worth discussing yet again.
Plastic’s traditionally are softened with a chemical called phthalates which makes them malleable during production. And in recent years, governments across the world have sought to eliminate the most harmful of them from our food storage products like water bottles and plastic wrap. However, eliminating BPA and BPA’s, if I may summarize a great saying in the stunning documentary film Plastic Oceans, that
“eliminating BPA and BPS from our lives is like arresting Al Capone and expecting that all organized crime will be forever gone.”
These two phthalates are just two of thousands of harmful chemicals found in plastic products. Additionally, a study by Liberte Environmental Associates and Biotech Research and Consulting found that within the state of Washington through government authorized industrial discharge permits
Metals, PAHs, phthalates and PCHs can be attached to permitted levels of effluent suspended solids in proportions about 33,000 to 6,250,000 times greater than safe levels for organisms. Additionally, PAHs, phthalates and PCHs may also be contained in authorized oil and grease discharges at levels about 400 to 670,000 times greater than presumably safe levels.
The researchers went on to describe the effects of bioaccumulation of these harmful chemicals to local fish species such as Chinook salmon and how the chemicals retard the fishes abilities in growing and developing normally contributing to their populations steady decline. Additionally, we are already very well aware of the harmful effects that bioaccumulation has on humans and fetal development, including hormone disruptions, kidney damage and infertility.
So on that dreary note: let’s discuss what positive steps we can take to eliminate toxins from plastic from our environment.
First and foremost the easiest and most obvious step is to stop buying plastic wrap. It is literally the first place to start because if you have it in your kitchen, you will use it.
So your next question is “What do I do with the half onions or peppers?” We personally use a combination of Anchor brand glass food storage containers, our beeswax wraps from It’s Sew Kara and parchment paper/elastic bands or butcher twine. I have yet to ever have a moment in my kitchen where I cry out “man I wish I had plastic wrap” in literally 4 years.
“But what about microwaving food? What about splatters?” you say. I say use a plate. Yes a plate. Get a spare plate out, flip it over and use that to cover your bowls of soup or pasta leftovers. The last thing you want to do is heat plastic wrap with your food (especially oily foods) because they are more prone to leaching that way.
“What about meats and cheese?” Well we use both parchment paper and our beeswax wraps to store those smellier foods. The envelope style wrap I have is now dedicated to my cheddars and does a great job in keeping the crusty edge at bay. As for meats, if we are marinating, I just choose to do it in a Pyrex container with a lid. Easy peasy.
I know it’s kind of a tough love mentality, but once you take a convenience item out of your life it really does force you to get creative and use the existing items in your house. For example, we don’t use paper towels in our house (a paperless kitchen post is on its way by the the way). We use bar mops. Yep. Good old fashioned washable cotton bar mops. Seems embarrassingly simple right?
Anyway everyone, I really appreciate you all taking the time out of your schedules to read our little blog. If you like what you read, please show your support by sharing this post with your social media and by visiting our partner It’s Sew Kara!
A great article outlining a new study on global emissions.
North American’s have a weird fetish, and most don’t even know it… Halloween, the ghoulish, frightful fall spectacle which has it origins in Celtic traditions has morphed through history into a equally frightful capitalist holiday. If you think that is a harsh assessment of the holiday consider this: Americans will spend approximately $6.9 billion dollars on Halloween this year on costumes, decorations and candy. That’s all well an good many will say, and it does contribute to local economies which is undeniable, it does have an environmental impact. So to guide you through this ghoulish season, here are my suggestions to environmentally-friendly celebrations.
I think we can all agree, we have seen our fair share of Pirates, Black Cats, Supermen, 80’s Aerobics Instructors, and Vikings, so one can assume that there are numerous repeated costumes in circulation. So head over to your local thrift store, community buy & sell Facebook groups or Value Village for secondhand costume pieces. I especially recommend asking around your group of friends for hand-me-down costumes that perhaps their children have outgrown and swap costumes between all of you.
Alright, so I admit that this one is going to be unpopular with the kids, but stick with me here! As a true Canadian child, I remember having to wear my parka underneath my costume, or work it around an umbrella, complaining I was cold or wet or tired to my parents and how my pillowcase full of candy was too heavy. So why not host a costume party at your home for your friends and family and their kids? It is warm, dry and an opportunity to play games and visit with everyone! As a result you can avoid the seemingly endless wrappers from those “fun sized” chocolate bars by serving fun Halloween themed appetizers, punch and deserts! Instead of gift bags full of chocolates and candies, opt for more useful take-away’s like Halloween themed pencils and erasers.
Alright, so perhaps you’re kids would host a coup if you announced the end of trick-o-treating, and if that is the case I suggest that you forego the plastic bags or buckets for treat collection and make a fun kid-friendly DIY project. This project was created by Punkin Patterns using canvas and cotton fabric and- I suggest that you swap out the conventional canvas for upcycled fabric and/or use felt made from recycled plastic materials (sold at Michaels.)
Or if you are like me, and trick-o-treated using a household pillowcase, you can follow this adorable tutorial by Thirty Handmade Days. If you do not want to forsake one of your own household pillowcases, I suggest you pick up a few from your local secondhand store. Give it a hot wash and you will be good to go!
Package Free, Strategic Trick-O-Treating
This option takes a little planning a lot of cooperation between friends and neighbours, but if done right it can be one of the best Halloween waste solutions! This suggestion is the organization between friends and neighbours in your area to pre-make homemade treats or waste-free giveaways to hand out to the children who’s parents are part of the arrangement. Then you and your children then only go trick-o-treating to the homes who are participating in this arrangement. My suggestions are things like candied apples, rice crispy pumpkins, date bars and these adorable mandarine orange pumpkins by A Designer Life. Truthfully this suggestion would work best with young children under 6 who are less influenced by their peers and have less stamina and therefore don’t want to go to 20+ homes in an evening.
This is an excellent solution for children who have food allergies as well because you can notify your friends of said allergy and they can accommodate them! The key here is to make it safe though, so don’t put an APB out there on your community Facebook group for the whole neighbourhood, because even though we think we may know our neighbours well, we might not.
Alright, last but not least, this is an easy one! If you have local farmers markets or pumpkin patches near you, make the effort to buy one from there. The ones at the supermarket come from unknown locations, and therefore may have large transportation related carbon footprints. We picked up our pumpkins from a local family farm Aldor Acres. Not only did we only drive 4km to the farm, but we know that our money is supporting local families and economies.
Alright Guys! That’s it for now, but if I think of any other ideas this weekend will be sure to update this post!
Hi guys! Just a quick post for you guys this morning!
I often get asked by clients and readers about where they can take items which can be recycled, but are not accepted in municipal curbside pick-up. Well part of the problem as been solved! In addition to numerous local recycling depots around the lower mainland, London Drugs has announced that it will be hosting recycling stations in many of their stores now in Langley, Surrey, Richmond and Delta. Items now include styrofoam (even meat trays), plastic bags, overwap including grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags and outerbags for bottled water and diapers.
Want to learn more? Check out the link below:
So it is official! Cedar Coast’s first episode on Health Wellness & Lifestyle TV is on the air!
I am really excited for this opportunity and to share my passion for environmental sustainability with Canadians. I will be also posting the digital version on our website later this month for my readers who don’t have cable (like me! whoops!) In this episode I discuss with Tammy-Lynn how University and College students can go back to school a little greener this semester. If you want to know more you can look at the full blog post here for my top 10 tips!
I would really like to thank the staff of HWLTV and Tammy-Lynn McNabb for making this process so enjoyable and exciting! I am looking forward to working with them in the future.
If you would like to see the episodes yourself, have a look at the stations and times here on the HWLTV site.
Thanks for the love and support from my readers and clients! This has been a very strange month for me, but I couldn’t be more pleased for my budding little company 🙂
Happy Thursday Everyone!
Sometimes when I am researching a topic or issue for the blog or a client, I question myself if I have gone too far or not far enough? Finding that personal balance of comfort and sustainability is essential. However, there are somethings which I have come across that make me even balk at the idea of. As the saying goes “to each their own” but somethings still make me go “ummmm…. no thanks…” I spend such a large amount of time online researching my topics and scanning through facebook groups, I sometimes see the most bizarre comments or suggestions to live more sustainably, without the tongue-in-cheek answers that I would expect. So here are some of the stranger things I have read in the last 6 months which will be sure to make you cringe, laugh and cry, and what you can do instead if you’re not that committed (they did for me.)
Greening your routine doesn’t need to be very complicated or intense at first. So if you are reading around on the internet for hints and tips and find yourself overwhelmed, don’t be. Baby steps! Don’t freak yourself out by making some big changes right away. However, if some of the things I mentioned above tickle your fancy, go for it! Don’t let my hesitations or anyone else’s dictate what you do!
Have a great weekend,
So I know I have been a little recluse lately, in part because I had eye surgery, but also because we here at Cedar Coast have been working on a big project!
In a serendipitous moment, I was asked by the producer and host of The Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Show to join her team to film 3 segments for this up coming fall’s episodes! Trust me, I was equally surprised!
So several weeks ago I joined Tammy-Lynn McNabb and the crew at Pomme Natural Food Market and filmed three segments, all focused on domestic sustainability, green living and of course, what Cedar Coast Sustainability strives to do for their clients. Needless to say, it was an amazing opportunity that I feel so lucky to have had!
I don’t know the exactly dates or times yet, but there are three episodes to run in October, November and December on JoyTV in Canada. When I know those details, I’ll be sure to share them with you (with a combination of excitement and embarrassment- I’ve never been one to enjoy the spotlight) Keep an eye out on the website as well for a Media page, where in which I will post my segments for my readers and followers.
Update! So I realised it’s not just on JoyTV, as it is it’s own show which is also shown internationally and nationally on both JoyTV and the One channel www.onetv.ca . So check your TV provider and have a look for which one you have! Otherwise I’ll post the episodes here on Cedar Coast 🙂
Thanks for your support as always and I am looking forward to growing Cedar Coast alongside all of you!
Happy Friday Everyone!
I’ve been a little wrapped up in a few projects this week and last, and I think I over did it a little, putting my back out… So, I’m stuck in bed and since and haven’t had the chance to write to you guys, there is no time like the present!
The other day I was speaking with someone who asked me the difference between compostable and biodegradable materials and it inspired me to write this Essentials post! We hear these terms on commericals, on products we buy and even in municipal literature, but what is the difference between compostable and biodegradable and degradable material?
I’ll give you guys the quick and dirty run down so you know what to look for in the future!
Degradable – this term will normally be applied to petroleum based products (meaning plastics.) These plastics may breakdown into smaller pieces, but not into anything that is biomass or carbon. For example photodegradable plastics simply breakdown under UV raditation into smaller and smaller pieces like sand. The problem is that these microplastics are that in marine environments crustaceans, fish and seabirds can’t tell the difference sometimes between something edible or plastic. As a result it can ultimately starve these animals and or have been found entering our foodchain via seafood. Just another reminder that just because our garbage is “away” doesn’t mean that it is gone.
Biodegradable – this term means that this material can be metabolically broken down by microorganisms- meaning it can be eaten by microorganisms and pooped out as usable carbon once again. This is great, but there are some caveats with this term. Biodegradable materials may take years or decades to breakdown depending on the environment it is placed in. For example, if you are buying biodegradable pet waste bags, but then placing them in a plastic garbage bag which is then buried in a landfill without being exposed to oxygen or water, that little baggie is hermetically sealed and will not biodegrade rendering the effort useless.
Compostable – this term means that this material can be metabolically broken down by microorganisms and pooped out as usable carbon once again. The difference between compostable and biodegradable materials are that the materials must breakdown into CO2 and water without leaving hazardous chemical residues within a reasonable amount of time. That’s the caveat. Who determines what is reasonable differs greatly depending on if the compost is in a backyard composter, out in nature or in a compostinf facility.
So what do we know? Well that plastics are basically going to be around forever in the oceans unless we responsibly deal with them… My suggestion as always is to look for ways to reduce your reliance on one-time-use plastics.
Bring your own bags shopping (yes even clothing shopping-even if it means you have to buy a nice one), stop using plastic produce bags (1.) you wash your produce anyway so you don’t need them for single items and 2.) reusable ones are great for multiples of the same item) and lastly invest in some compact travel cutlery and straws to avoid spur of the moment iced latte and snack garbage!
Cheers you guys,
I thought I would share some wisdom with you from back in the days that I rode horses and cleaned tack (saddlery) weekly. Horse tack is 95% real leather which meant that constant cleaning and oiling was necessary to keep is supple and strong. Dry leather is weak and brittle, just like our skin when it gets dry.
As a lesson in sustainability, taking care of your leather ensures that you’re going to get the most out of your product (shoes, belts, bags, wallets etc). You can avoid nasty VOCs and CO2 emissions that come with cheap petroleum based pleathers if you go for real leather as well.
If you’re like me, you love second-hand leather as it is already broken in and is supple from use while avoiding some of the guilt associated with leather production. Some of my vegan friends and followers will disagree with me here, but I prefer leather to pleather simply because of its longevity. If taken care of properly, real leather will easily out live a faux leather bag. If I am looking for something more on trend, I’ll buy new vegan products like my Eba Tote, but if I want a classic leather piece I usually go used.
Real leather is easy to restore with just a few easy steps. After shopping today I looked in the mirror to see that my favorite Adrian Kliss buffalo leather purse was looking a little tired. This little bag gets a lot of use and was scratched and grubby feeling.
So to start with I emptied it of all my cards and whatnot and then used just a damp cotton rag to wipe any surface dirt away. You could also use leather cleaner or saddle soap if your item is quite dirty like a pair of shoes may be. Second I got out my favorite mink oil which I use on both my leather purses and my leather boots. The container says it’s good for vinyl and pleather as well, but I’ve never tried it. If you’ve never oiled a piece before always try a test patch before to check if it will change the colour of your item. Most of the time it just brings a richness out.
Using an old sock I scooped some of the oil out and rubbed it into the leather in small circles, working it into the edge and seams.
The key is to apply more than you think you should. The leather will soak up as much as it needs, so apply liberally and wait 5-10 minutes for it to soak. Don’t forget the inside of the pockets if yours is unlined in some places.
Next I used a clean lint free cloth rag again to buff the bag removing any excess oil and to work it in one last time.
Tada! Doesn’t it look great? The oil naturally covers and heals over the scratches in the leather and darkens it to its original color (leather dries out it lightens significantly.) I will let it keep absorbing it’s oils for another hour before I put my things back into it just for good measure.
My bag is now ready for another punishing round as my sidekick. Although fashion styles come in and out regularly, I think investing in some signature pieces like this means you can hold on to them for more than just a few seasons, storing them away for future use when the inevitable “old is new again”.
Have a Great Week!
Happy Friday Everyone!
I have to admit, I have been waiting to write this post for MONTHS! I wanted to get it just right, plus with fall just around the corner (I hope) now is a good time to start looking into our wardrobes.
So, just a quick recap. Our first two posts were about understanding our existing wardrobes and how to take care of them in Part 1 and then about shopping within the second-hand economy in Part 2. I got a lot of feedback from you guys about what you wanted to see in Part 3: shopping “new” sustainably and ethically. So here are my personal top 5 favorite sustainable brands for clothing and accessories and where I buy them! Like always, I only recommend brands that I have researched and tried myself. This is not a sponsored post and all the images are directly from the producers.
Other Info and Tips for building a sustainable wardrobe with new items:
The moral of this series is that building a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t have to be expensive or immediate. You can take your time and assemble a wardrobe which both reflects your personality and values using a combination of intentional purchasing (new and second-hand) and simply by taking care of what you own. Fast-fashion isn’t going away any time soon, and although the luring siren song of cheap disposable wears are hard to resist at times, it is definitely worth pushing through.
Cheers you guys!
As always, I just want to remind my readers that these are not sponsored posts, and I do not receive compensation for these articles, I simply share my thoughts and opinions, which are strictly my own.