Styrofoam-crazy

30 05 2014

Sorted through three big bags worth of styrofoam that my family and I (mostly me) have been saving for a long time today. I know it’s an accumulation of many months, maybe about one or two years’ worth of styrofoam, but it really did make me think about the amount of waste we produce that ultimately ends up in the landfill — waste that can be diverted or replaced for more sustainable options. I mean, how many take-out containers are styrofoam? Is that really necessary? There are biodegradable containers available, and yet many restaurants still use hard-to-recycle styrofoam instead (it’s probably less expensive, right?). The other thing I noticed is that a lot of styrofoam we have surprisingly comes from other kinds of product packaging — fruits, noodles, meats. I remember watching a news report about a grocery store in Vancouver that tries to eliminate waste in their packaging, plastic and styrofoam, mostly, and I thought it was a great idea. I wish we had more places like that around.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to settle for hoarding my stupid styrofoam until the next trip to the Burnaby Waste Depot.

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Life without Plastic

11 05 2013

For my last post for my Earth Day week, I had a bit of a hard time finding something I hadn’t already posted before. I thought I had written about Life without Plastic, but it turns out I haven’t, which is odd because LwP is amazing.

Even before I finished Slow Death by Rubber Duck and read about all the dangers of chemicals in our everyday products such as plastic, I was already very wary of using plastic products. I convinced my mom to throw out our plastic containers and got a new set of glass ones. I saved glass spaghetti sauce jars and re-used them for bulk food. But there are other items, I hadn’t even considered.

Life without Plastic is exactly what it is: a shop as well as a blog that provides information and products made without plastic. If Slow Death was the diagnosis, Life without Plastic is the prescription. There’s a ton of stuff on this wonderful site that I want to buy, like cellulose tape, many things which are exactly the kind of everyday things that we use. Sure, the price may be a bit more expensive (as expected), but I don’t think it’s too unreasonable. I also like that LwP is small, a Canadian company, when there are so many American and foreign companies out there that I’m not sure I can trust or not. Every now and then, they get new products, which make me quite excited (even if I don’t need them, like a new water bottle). I’m just excited at the possibilities and coolness of these new technologies.

http://lifewithoutplastic.com/

Hope my Earth Week resources are some help to those looking for alternatives. And of course, if I find any other awesome things, I’ll be sure to share them here. In the meantime, have fun saving the earth!





David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

10 05 2013

I’ve been trying to do make my own products instead of buying ones in the store filled with chemicals and things I can’t even pronounce. Making your own stuff, like soap, for instance, is cheap, easy, and really fun. On David Suzuki’s website, there’s a blog called Queen of Green, which has short news articles, tips, information, and recipes to make your own… whatever, really. From soap to deodorant to toothpaste, the Queen of Green is a reliable place to start looking for stuff you might want to create at home.

I’m itching to make more of my own soap sometime, but I’d also like to try my hand at dish soap and toothpaste as well. What are you all interested in making?

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/





Homesteader’s Emporium

9 05 2013

The Soap Dispensary provides refills on just about any liquid soap (among many, many other fabulous things). I like to think of Homesteader’s Emporium as a sister store to Soap Dispensary. There, you can find tons of urban gardening, DIY food preparation and preservation tools (like sausage making, cheese making, canning), and even bee-keeping and chicken-keeping tools. Like the Soap Dispensary, Homesteader’s also offers different workshops and classes, many of which seem really interesting.

I dropped by Homesteader’s in December when I was looking to buy bokashi mix. I met with owner Rick Havlak, who was very friendly and knowledgeable about it (also, he’s a pretty handsome fellow, so that’s another reason to visit). Although the store was empty, it has more to do with the location than the fantastic products Homesteader’s offers. Situated just outside of Chinatown/the Downtown Eastside, it’s not a very popular location for the average person, which is a shame. Still, the shop itself is very welcoming, and it’s worth it to visit because it’ll definitely give you ideas about what you may want to do and how to live a greener life.

http://homesteadersemporium.ca/





Recyclepedia

8 05 2013

This is one of the most useful little things I’ve used — and it’s based in BC (nothing is ever based in BC).

If you’re looking where you can recycle anything from plastics (#1-7), to paint, to furniture, to clothing (new or used), you gotta use the Recyclepedia. Use the scroll down menus to find what you’re looking to recycle and where you live, and recyclepedia will offer a list of places around the area where the item can be recycled. Super awesome and easy!

What’s more, you can download the app to your phone and throw stuff out on the go! (in case, you know, you have a random sofa you no longer use and carry around all the time)

http://rcbc.bc.ca/recyclepedia





Regional Recycling

7 05 2013

Got crap? You know you do. With the new garbage collection rules implementing in Vancouver, you may find yourself with nowhere to put broken, discarded, or simply, stuff you don’t want anymore-things somewhere.

Got stuff that’s past its prime? Have you reduced, reused, and are now looking to recycle? Not to worry! Regional Recycling has one of the most impressive (ie. long) lists of acceptable items they properly dispose of. There are also no fees to pay for recycling items (at least to my knowledge), which is awesome. While you’re there, you can even return your bottles for refund.

I haven’t been here yet, but I have a few items that I plan on handing over to them that are out of commission that I don’t want to throw away.

Oh, and best of all, there’s a children’s play area at the Vancouver location. In the unlikely event your your family outing somehow becomes boring while recycling.

http://regionalrecycling.ca/





SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation)

6 05 2013

The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) is a Vancouver-based organization most famous for introducing recycling to the city years ago. A non-profit organization, SPEC aims to educate and help citizens around Metro Vancouver about environmental issues. I interviewed Marnie Newell, who works as their Outreach and Project Facilitator, back in December about living Zero Waste, as I had met her at a Zero Waste workshop and found her to be extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and engaging. I’d even go as far as to say that she was one of the reasons I became interested in Zero Waste in the first place!

Nowadays, SPEC does workshops and classes, some free, some requiring a small fee — but all are really interesting. Check out their workshops page on their website to find a whole bunch of different things going on in the city. What I like best about SPEC is that they’re not a gigantic organization, but they feel very grass-roots, very connected to the city.

Their website is full of understandable, relevant info about how you can live a greener life. Have a look!

http://www.spec.bc.ca/





Pacific Mobile Depot

5 05 2013

Have recyclable stuff you can’t throw away in your regular blue bins? Dreaded styrofoam, perhaps? Pacific Mobile Depots operates within Victoria and Metro Vancouver, collecting things like soft plastic, batteries, scrap metal, tires, and even small appliances. There’s a small charge on most items, but for some things, like styrofoam, it’s difficult to find any other place that can dispose of it. I haven’t recycled my stuff with Pacific Mobile Depots, but I know people who have, and it seems like a pretty good idea.

Take a look at their schedule and see when they’re coming to your neighborhood, and get packing!

http://www.pacificmobiledepots.com/default.html





Eco/Green Blog week

4 05 2013

Since I missed Earth Day and subsequently, Earth Week, and since I already post eco-tips/links to green happenings around Vancouver, I thought I might as well have a week of blogs around cool, fun green things all three of you reading my blog can get around to doing.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to eat some delicious fries now. 🙂





Slow Death by Rubber Duck — Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie

1 05 2013

While I’m sort of on a roll, posting about green/eco/environmental things, I finished reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck yesterday. And man, is it an informative book.

The book takes a look at the many toxic substances people expose themselves to through everyday things such as personal care products, food, and even something as simple as sitting on your fire retardant-covered couch. At the same time, the two authors, Smith and Lourie, douse themselves (willingly, I might add) with these everyday things to measure their levels of these chemicals before and after exposure. The results are astounding, to say the least.

While reading, I got a large sense of paranoia about everything I touch, everything come into contact with. There’s an extremely summary and helpful hints at what to do as a next step that I will need to re-read and take note of. There are a whole bunch of organizations and groups involved in either the banning/regulation of these toxic chemicals or that provide people with ways to live healthier and cleaner (there are too many to list but I may go into them in detail individually). Anyway, enjoy my fat body as seen through my crappy webcam.

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