Managing Our Waste At Home

I had always tried my best to sort compost, waste and recyclables, never paying attention to the packaging material. I did not take notice and also did not care. Our products came as they were and disposed of when done with. The garbage was put out every week, sometimes overflowing and it was gone; out of sight and out of mind.

Back in July of 2018, our local paper released an article about our Island Waste Management System and  how well our Province, Prince Edward Island, is doing in disposals. Recycling rates were good and composting. I think on PEI we are very fortunate that we have such a great system for disposals.  Right after I read it, I thought, we can do better. Our family of 7, 5 kids at the time aged from 1-9, produced a lot of waste.

When I talk about waste, I am referencing to plastic garbage. Compost for biodegradable products like food and box board. Recyclables in our Province range from #1-5 as well as paper and returnable beverage containers for refunds. Items that are 50% metal or more are also recyclable.

I started to research in what to do in order to cut back on the waste, and soon found out that we are all swamped in mountains of plastic from land to sea. I knew about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but I did not know how serious the problem actually was. Turns out as well, recycling is not the answer to our plastic crisis. It only allows a product to have a longer life, but is destined for the same place all the other garbage goes to eventually; in turn using up more resources for reproduction until it reaches that point.

Animals are being trapped and tangled in plastic material as well as eating the particles. This causes a great deal of harm for the animals as they end up filling up on plastics instead of a regular diet causing malnutrition, stress, suffering and/or possibly death. The whole food chain is being effected.

The Micro-plastics and Chemicals found in everyday products were an eye opener too. From micro beads to sparkles, I try to avoid those as much as possible. Body products which are manufactured with so many ingredients and chemicals are usually considered Hazardous Waste, so why are we lathering ourselves in them? If it is not good for the environment, why would it be good for us? (Our family have switched to fragrance/parfum/scent free products with the exception of some essential oils that got handed over to me).

So I found myself keeping all sorts of empty containers and got myself to Bulk Barn. My container collection grew and I switched to using cloth bags and cloth produce bags, knocking many plastic packaging out of our house. Collecting glass jars and asking family and friends for theirs if they did not want them. Our 5th child, Thomas, was switched out of disposable diapers to cloth diapers. Even compostable material was decreased in our home such as paper towels and many box board packages, as most of our grocery items come from Bulk Barn, which is package free when I purchase it. My dozen cleaners downsized to a handful of environmentally friendly options. Local businesses are supported as well such as The Farmer’s Market. The list goes on and continues to grow.

I’m still learning as I go and finding new recipes and plastic free finds. I have spoken to local farmers and small businesses about plastic free options. I am learning to let go of what I can not change. We certainly need help from each other and the companies responsible for the waste crisis. Our Island is small and in Summerside, there are not many options for shopping plastic free. I make due with what I can find. Charlottetown definitely has more options (more stores) and just recently there was an amazing announcement. Charlottetown is going to have its first zero waste store in the Fall of 2019, Unpacked.

Here are some things I learned along the way
  • Small changes are best. Trying to change many things can be chaotic and stressful. This takes time!
  • Organizing and changing spaces in the home will be frequent until the space is utilized for your use and purpose.
  • Do not cut out products unless you have a better solution to replace it With. Example: Packaged food, you will be hungry! Lots of kids snacks are packaged. Don’t cut those out until you can provide similar nourishment with no or less packaging.
  • If you make a purchase and realize later you could have done better, don’t worry about it! Lesson learned! Keep moving forward!
  • If you can’t find a better way to get your item without packaging, don’t sweat over it if you need it!
  • Can you cut back on some items? Can you live without it?
  • Do not throw out items because it is plastic or wasteful. Use them until worn out or donate/sell to someone who can use them.
  • Make a list of things you want to improve.
  • Keep a record of the changes you made so you can look back at the good you’ve done, what you have learned and what else can be improved. Sharing this to others can be inspirational!
  • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Rot. We should strive for these R’s, in this order.
Select the highlights to see what we’ve done each week!
October 13-19, 2019.
-Quiet Thanksgiving, it was also Chris’s Birthday. Paper decorations, did buy cake and will reuse the tray (they make great containers and other uses). Bought a turkey, the only other source of waste. New clothes for Chris were needed, and also some sweet treats from Bulk Barn. We spent tge day and evening working on puzzles we had put away for years. Now that the youngest child is older, we can use them with little messy distractions!
-Compost cart is only half full every two weeks. I think we need to work on food waste, but its mighty difficult with 5 kids. Normally I would do my best to eat leftovers and portions of snacks from the kids, but I decided to do intermitten fasting. So I guess smaller portions are best for the kiddos. Still composting without compost bags. I need to set up the hoze soon to clean out the cart though!
-Thinking about a buy nothing November Challange, only what is essential.
-Finally sewed the cloth bag for recyclables that are refundable!
October 6-12, 2019.
Laundry washing in near waste free way!
Waste bin not getting picked up, marking 8 weeks since last pickup.
Zero Waste Night Market
September 29-October 5.
-Re-organizing the home a bit, decluttering cupboards and pantry. Setting up donation boxes.
-Thinking about the future and what I can add to be beneficial.
Re-purposing Cloth
-Just came back from getting groceries and guess what I found at Sobey’s. Clay cat litter, which on PEI is compostable. I have been buying (once) clay cat litter from Walmart, by which I try to not buy from Walmart all together. So happy to purchase this product from a local, Canadian company! Compliments, unscented cat litter. Look it up.
-Things are looking up! My mom bought me a new tablet, as mine quit entirely on me. I know will be able to do so much more via videos and be more present again with those on the same journey and just starting!
September 22-28, 2019.
-Quiet week
Waste bin not going out this week, marking 6 weeks since last pickup.
-Where I am at, currently
-Bought some meat from Sobey’s in butcher paper. Compostable on PEI.
September 15-21, 2019.
Adventure time with Thomas, waste free as much as possible
-Write up on Hurricane Dorian at our home. Tip storing water before the storm, skip the plastic water bottles!
September 8-14, 2019.
-Update on my face complection. Long story short, I was trying to find the right soap to clear up my skin with no luck, turns out I need medicine. Been at this for months looking for answers!
-Update on my page for School Supplies 2019-2020.
-Packing kids lunches for school, plastic free
Waste bin did not go out this week. Marking 4 weeks since last pick up.
September 1-7, 2019.
-This week really flew by! My tablet starting to work again, but I do not feel like I can rely on it much longer. Will be looking at getting a new one down the road.
-Compost cart went out this week without compost bags for our household scraps. Pretty smelly and lots of bugs! This week I moved the cart to a more shady area (Though come to think about it now, hurricane Dorian took down those trees offering shade, will have to think about an alternate place)
-Huge haul from The Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday.
-Blanched and froze some string beans from my mother’s garden. Saved the larger beans to collect the seeds for planting next year. Peas too!
August 25-31, 2019.
Waste bin did not go out this week. 2 weeks since last pickup, and household garbage still inside, filling up the waste can
– Looks like my tablet is done, touch screen is not working. I will be posting less as I don’t use the computer very often. I also can not access my pictures, so no pictures on any posts for the time.
– I did make some mustard pickles this week! Yummy! 7 jars, should last the year.
Buy Nothing August Challenge is complete. I am very happy with what I have accomplished.
-Crystal Green Farms at the Farmer’s Market will allow me to use my own bags for produce, and they will reuse the plastic bags I refuse! Yay!
-No coffee for me for almost a week, feel good. Chris’ first day Sept 1. (Though I think we will gladly have one now and then at a sit in location if the time comes.
August 18-24, 2019.
-We are done with compost bags for our compost bin in the house! Just going to dump our compost in the green bin outdoors now.
-Quitting coffee at home. Just because.
-Packing up some boxes for donations.
-Update on school supply shopping (clothing).
-Update on Buy Nothing August Challenge.
Reminder link on how to order take out plastic free!
August 11-17, 2019.
Finished School Supply Shopping, next are items the kids need like clothes and shoes.
-Updates to my Buy Nothing August.
Waste bin going out this week. 8 weeks since last pickup.
One blue bag of recyclables for the month.
Cloth diaper routine
August 4-10, 2019.
Fruit fly tap
-Revive your markers when they run dry!
Compostable items, knowledge is a good thing!!
July 28-August 3, 2019.
-Sometimes we get fooled into thinking something is plastic free!
Waste bin is not going out this week. We have not added to it for 2 weeks. The household garbage bin is only half full. This marks 6 weeks since last pickup.
Reusable snack bags, support local!
-A picture of what the checkout lanes look like plastic bag free! After PEI plastic bag ban
-Taking on the Buy Nothing August Challenge. This will exclude groceries and needed items such as school supplies and second hand clothing for the kids.
-6/7 of us now on the shampoo bar. Goodbye to 2 more plastic hair product bottles!
July 21-27, 2019.
Popcorn snack, waste free!
Take care of your appliances!
-Created a page on Facebook called Managing Our Waste at Home. Here I feel I can reach more people and share our journey with them. That is important to me.
-Cleaning glue residue off jars.
Last pick up of strawberries, unless there are some at the Farmer’s Market next weekend.
Gearing up for school supplies, another challenge I set myself up for back in June.
July 14-20, 2019.
-Continuing this page, obviously. Started a new page as well called Zero Waste Movements. Basically its going to be pictures of everyday things we do to cut back on waste, with a brief description and or links.
-Went to our local splash pad park with the kids today. Brought our reusable water bottle by which the kids drank it until empty. I asked the shop which is in the park to refill it with tap water, an it was no problem! I even asked if we could bring our own cups for slushies instead of the plastic cups they offer, was told yes! Score!!
Change focus! Lol!
Yogurt in the making.
Takeout Pizza. Brought my own container.
Ask for change from your local farmers!
Waste bin did not go out this week, marking 4 weeks. We cleaned up the garage last weekend and I had some old garden trash to add, filling our cart faster than normal. It will probably go on week 6, unless there is nothing added between now and then. Household trash is emptied, won’t need to empty them again for about 2 weeks.
Family fun away from home
July 7-13, 2019.
-My last week basically for posting weekly updates on our family’s movement with zero waste on this page. Creating a new page for our up to date changes. Something a little different. I’m not sure if I should continue adding to this page . . . Maybe start a new year above this one? I’m not looking to make more work for myself, lots to do here already, but I do want to do something new.
-Cleaning up litter at the park
-Went to the local Berry stand and got us some fresh picked Strawberries. Its been about 3 months since we had berries (I stopped buying the plastic container ones from away). I brought a bowl with me (just like if I were going to a u-pick) and got the farmers to dump their wooden crate of berries into the bowl, they could reuse that wooden crate for another customer. I was overjoyed! The kids were so happy. Need go to back to get some more!!!!
Successful shopping trip
June 30-July 6, 2019.
-Told no glass, so tin can it is at Superstore
Bring Your Own Container!
Waste bin did not go out this week. 2 weeks since last pickup. Started to fill it with broken fence pieces, considered waste in our area.
-Proud of my husband Chris! Chose not to go to take out (Styrofoam containers), after I said I did not want to. Went home and ate what was needed to get eaten instead! He also has been taking a reusable water bottle to work everyday he drives to work!
Brought our own containers to pick up some pizza slices!
Bug repellent, waste free! Trial run, I believe it is working!
New cleaning product, no extra waste added to trash or recycle bag!
June 23-29, 2019.
-This week I will be cleaning up some posts (Recipes) and adding in posts that should be up to date. Not looking at trying anything new, just catching up. This will probably extend into next week as well. I am finding myself falling behind at home, and with school finished this week, my family is going to need me more. I may be posting less or just less content for the next little while until we find a suitable routine. Update, found one.
-Our 1 year is almost up, July 15th of 2018 was the first week of posts on this page. Looking to get creative and do something new to show our progress day to day.
-Created a new page, setting myself up to collect and reuse items for school supplies this coming school year.
-Shopping at the Farmer’s Market, great haul
-Shopping at the 3 main stores for plastic free options
First video, shapping bread loaves
-Working on another dollar comparison list between Sobey’s and Bulk Barn
June 16-22, 2019.
Waste cart going out this week. 8 weeks since last pickup. Yay!
-sending out two blue bags of recyclables.
-Pausing on making bread, last week and this week. Going to see if my skin complexion can clear up. (Thinking its the yeast . . . I don’t know). Next trial will be not eating bread type foods I guess.
-I have made 4 or 5 batches of apple cider vinegar, but I’m pausing that as I don’t know the PH level (need a tester) and I am not sure about its cleaning power. Also leaves windows and mirrors with a film.
-4/5 of the kids like the hazel nut spread I made, so I will continue with it and not buy Nutella. Daniel says he likes it now, but only on the sub buns I make. I will tweak the recipe a little, more chocolate and oil, less salt.
-Second attempt at making bubbles for the kids outside. This one is much better! 2 cups soap, 6 cups water.
-Picked up 9 medium sized mason jars from secondhand store, $4.05. Secondhand and less money than buying new!
June 9-15, 2019.
Goodbye Freezies!
-Dropped off more items for donation, totaling 40 boxes since November. Found more clothing we dont need afterwards. Starting another box!
-Using a mason jar with reused elastic bands for taking coffee from home out and about.
40 boxes donated to our local charity
Plastic free leafy greens!
June 2-8, 2019.
-Trying to make Hazelnut Butter a 4th time!
Waste cart will not be going for pickup, marking 6 weeks since last pickup. It may go at 8 weeks (extra litter pick up and broken toys add to the pile).
-Packed another 5 boxes for donations, basically from bedroom, office and old kids toys. (All in the bedroom being stored away). Total is 38 boxes since November 2018.
-Cloth diapers getting some treatment and getting back on track.
-Meeting with local dairy provider
orange slices for drinks instead of cartons or cans!
May 26-June 1, 2019.
-Continuing to declutter and organize the house. Even though we have donated lots of things I still feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have!
-Got word from our Waste management, IWMC, that this cat litter I found is allowed in the compost! (Post coming soon). Natural clay.
-First collection of molasses from Bulk Barn. Just refilled my old molasses squeeze bottle I already had. Reuse!
-Emailed our local vet to see if they would accept and reuse old medication bottles,(washed Advil/Tylenol bottles) for their patients. No was the answer for safety reasons due to someone misjudging the bottle for other medication; the vet clinic would be held responsible.
-How we have been freezing waffles and pancakes instead of buying store brands.
School lunches today for 3 kids
Transplanted some Maple trees already available instead of buying them to provide shade to our backyard in years to come
-Some plastic free fruit and veggies we buy.
-clearing out saved containers and switching away from storing food in plastic containers where I can at the time. My blue bag is going to fill faster this month. I am learning the effects plastics have on us when storing food in them, this article for an example.
-Trying glycerin soap, package free for me face. My skin has been very sensitive/acne for a long time. Trying to figure out what is wrong.
May 19-25, 2019.
Waste cart will not being going for pickup this week, marking 4 weeks. It is more full than usual due to litter pickups and broken toys bought for the kids from family. FYI, do not shop for toys at the Dollar Stores and similar! So many broke within 30 minutes of play and others in less than 5 minutes of regular use. Cheap toys are made to break, they are not made strong enough.
-Alaina had her First Communion on Sunday. I had a little chat with the Catechism Coordinator about people donating communion outfits to the Church (They are usually use once anyways) so that future families can be loaned them for this special occasion, helping families save money and slowing the demand for new products to be made. I was happy to see the coordinator asking families about donating for future children. Also, I was impressed that the reception held after Communion, included reusable tea/coffee mugs and silverware!
-This week I am still working on my site some more, catching up on posts not yet posted and changing some of the menus around.
-I will also be working on decluttering and reorganizing the house this week. Time is passing so fast and with the changing seasons/temperature/holidays, everything needs to be put back in its rightful place = storage.
Thrift shop score
Repairing sweaters
-Grocery trip update, how it looks now.
Repaired a bunch more clothing items and a Teddy
-Dropped off the boxes I had stored for The Salvation Army, a total of 33 boxes donated since November of 2018.
May 12-18, 2019.
-Met with our local dairy producer to talk about glass bottles for milk and more. Post coming soon, just got to make some extra changes.
-1 Bag of recyclables for pick up, Inventory posted.
-Changing my site around a bit this week.
-Went for a walk and a trip to the park, picked up some more litter.
-Shopping with cloth produce bags
New kind of bar soap, again.
-Daniel’s habitat project for school, The Sea bed
May 5-11, 2019.
-13 boxes total destined for donations. That totals 33 boxes since November 2018. Mostly kids toys no longer used or wanted, some winter items to small for our family and misc. items not used or needed the house. Even though we have gave lots of items away, there are so many toys. I have come to realize that the kids do not play with many toys. The house just becomes a big mess as everything unwanted/not played with lands on the floor.
-I downsized the play-doh toys to about half because those items were never used, just pushed aside to make way with the ones that are used. Having to much just gets in the way of us truly enjoying what we have! I’m sure kids now a days do not appreciate what they have as there are always other options of toys to use and it seems so easy to just go by a new one, creating more waste and wasted hard earned money. We need to realize and stick with what the kids will use and appreciate, not just buying something to buy it for whatever reason.
Waste cart did not go out for pickup. 2 weeks.
Use what you have instead of discarding, product and money spent not wasted; an example is our stash of disposable diapers that have been boxed up since October.
-Using homemade Vinegar to clean residues off glassware!
-trying scent free soap for clearing skin, natural and no fragrance or essential oils.
April 28-May 4, 2019.
-Made a new page public, still working on it to have it completely up to date though. How to Reduce Packaging While Shopping.
-Fixed the backyard slide!
-Talked with the Sobey’s manager, they have changed for the better after reading a post or two of mine!
-Got another 8 boxes ready for donations. Mostly toys no longer played with. I also decluttered the playdoh toys as there are way too many. I am sure it will be appreciated more by the kids and myself for having less to pick up later!
-So many cheap plastic toys are breaking. When choosing toys for kids, choose a good quality even if it costs more. Toys now a days seem to be made to break, wasting resources, our money and kids enjoyment. Stay away from the dollar stores and cheap toys.
-I have about 6 hula hoops that are not hoop shape anymore. Kids don’t want them and I don’t want go throw them out. Must find a reusable option!
April 21-27 2019.
-Easter at home was truly nearly waste free, just a couple tags and one plastic film on a poster. Easter Bunny nailed it this year. He must be feeling the effects of our plastic crisis. (Post to come later)
waste cart bin was picked up this week. I think we could hold off another 2 weeks, but there is no need for that kind of pressure. This will mark 10 weeks since last pickup!
-What to do with tiny pieces of tin foil.
-Made a over night trip to Halifax with 3 kids and Chris. Mainly waste free. Brought my coffee mug which I filled at home and refilled the the next morning at families home we stayed at. No take out coffee for myself. Chris did well not choosing to drink a bunch of coffee on our trip, just 2 (we only have 1 travel mug). He also chose a drink that was in a can, more so recyclable than a bottle. We brought lots of snacks from home, no need for packaged snacks on the road trip. We did get caught up at a food court by surprise. I left some utensils in the van, not with me, oops. Chris got his drink without the cover and no straw. I returned the unused (not needed) ketchup packets to the restaurant to be used. No sense throwing perfect ketchup packets out. We took cloth diapers and reusable wipes too, no disposables!!! I need to write a post with more details, my time for blogging lately is limited.
April 14-20, 2019.
-Chris is kicking the disposable K-Cups!
-Homemade Chocolate Syrup
-Homemade chocolate cake and cupcake recipe
Blue bag pickup today, 1 bag of recyclable plastics. Can’t wait to do a audit on the next month of recyclables now that the K-Cups are gone!
-Another waste free Birthday and party, Alaina’s 8th.
April 7-13, 2019.
Homemade Vinegar with apple scraps!
Waste cart did not go out this week, marking 8 weeks since last pickup.
-Our Green cart needed to get replaced as over the last couple of years, the side of the bin got a crack. Over the winter that crack grew and I decided that it needs a replacement before a huge mess happened or more summertime pests invade.  I was told the metal pieces of the bin would be removed and the plastic part of it recycled. Happy to know it is not going straight to landfill.
-A look at my Saturday routine shopping trip.
Update on the homemade vinegar!
-Still working on the page that shows visually the changes we made with products we bought before less waste compared to now.
March 31 – April 6, 2019.
-Slow week, just tidying areas of the home, collecting my thoughts and journey on Managing Our Waste at Home in a brainstorm format privately and creating a new page with visuals about the products we used to buy compared to today.
-Started to make homemade vinegar, more info to come next week
March 24-30, 2019.
Waste cart did not go out thus week. Still only about half full, marking this 6 weeks since it was last emptied!
-Our oldest child, Daniel, celebrated his 10th Birthday! Minimal waste created! Will be having his Party at the movie theatre on Saturday, which will be very low waste! All the decorations were hung with homemade glue, and the decorations themselves are biodegradable
-Made the best frosting ever! Though, I needed whipping cream which is in a plastic carton. Milk products that are plastic free seems impossible to find at this time in our area.
less waste Birthday and party at the movie theatre
March 17-23, 2019.
Spreadable Margarine
-Blue bag went this week, just one. It was not overly full, which is great! I have been keeping vinegar, laundry and Oxygen bleach containers the last two months, hoping to find some use for them like watering cans for example or if we get a refill station for soaps and such in Summerside. I have a half filled blue bag of these items.
-This week I am de-cluttering some more areas and have more donations, 20 boxes since Nov. 2018.
-Compiling my journey for a project, private for now
-A look at our grocery run now
March 10-16, 2019.
Waste bin did not go out for pick up day, 4 weeks since it was last picked up. Not even half full yet.
Plastic free meat options!
Homemade chocolate pudding
Another take out restaurant success. No plastic brought home!
-I finally got the homemade hazelnut butter right!
March 3-9, 2019.
-Subscription option is available for weekly updates. Here is an example for last weeks updates (ON HOLD, May 23rd, 2019)
plastic free fruit and vegetables
-Bought the online book version of Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson. A great read so far!! Her online blog reminds me of me a little. Scroll to her first posts.
-De-cluttering some more kitchen items not truly needed. Donation box count since about November, 2018 is 15. Closets, big kids room and dressers need a do over soon!
-How do you dispose of deep fryer oil? Compost or waste?
-In need of some medication
Repairing kids items
-Tried the homemade hazelnut butter recipe again (try #2; plan B), still needs tweaking. Next week I will try plan C and if that fails, I have a plan D! Lol. I will post my recipe once I got it figured out.
Farmer’s market Trip
-Can you be waste free eating from McDonald’s?
February 24-March 2, 2019.
-Do we need bottle brushes?
Waste bin certainly did not go to the curb for pickup this week. It only contained meat packages as our household garbage has not been emptied since Feb 12th, marking 17 days. since it is a non windy day, I will collect all waste in the house (bathroom, laundry, kids room) and dump it in cart today.
-Made our own margarine, needs tweaking.
-Tried making hazelnut butter, recipe needs tweaking.
-Kind of having an off week, not feeling very motivated.
February 17-23, 2019.
February 10-16, 2019.
-Made homemade yogurt for the first time, details later.
-Reducing juice intake at home drastically.
Homemade Hot Chocolate Powder
-just emptied our household waste into the black cart, 15 days worth.
waste bin will be going to the curb for pickup, marking 8 weeks since it was last emptied, Christmas included.
Comparison between the grocery store and Bulk Barn in unit prices per 100g.
Valentine’s Day
February 3-9, 2019.
January 27- February 2, 2019.
-I have not given up on the dishwasher.
Switching to potty training!! We saved approx. 570 diapers so far from landfill!
Refuse packaging at the store!
Bulk Barn trip
Waste bin is not going out this week. I just emptied our household garbage, of 10 days, into a new bag in the cart. Cart has not been emptied 6 weeks now. Will be good for the next two weeks. The first full bag has Styrofoam in it, and making my bin blocky full, so I believe our bin will go out next time making it 8 weeks, Dec 19, 2018 -Feb 13, 2019.
School lunches
Supporting the Farmer’s Market
Homemade waffles, goodbye packaging
January 20-26, 2019.
-Dishes are coming out better (started to rinse them well before adding to the washer), but glasses still have a residue.
-Local grocery store is not restocking the Nature Clean laundry powder as they are making changes in the next 8 months. Back to Down East liquid for now.
Bulk Ketchup, no more plastic containers.
-My daughter finally agreed to no more store bought peanut butter, Bulk Barn will do! Yay!!
-No more store bought waffles, will be making and freezing our own. Kids agreed! Yay!
-Julia’s 6th Birthday Party, zero waste as much as possible.
January 13-19, 2018.
-Sunday and our garbage bin in the kitchen still has not gone out to the cart marking 11 days and counting.
Repair and Refuse!
Waste bin did not go out for pickup, marking 4 weeks.
-Our garbage bin in the kitchen has not been taken out for 2 weeks! Will be going out, on day 16.
-We had 1.5 blue bags collected this month. I am positive it would have been 1 bag, but we got a slinky mishap (2 tangled together) and about 2 months worth of plastic berry clam-shells. They were being saved for someone for crafting purposes, but that ended.
-Bought a pound of Shea Butter at the Farmer’s Market. Can’t wait to use it!!
-tried to dye some of my cloth Bulk Barn bags with beet juice.
-Making yogurt drinks in a mason jar is much better than in a blender! Smooth drinking all the way, no foam. And quicker clean up!
-Not very happy with the Nature Clean powdered laundry detergent (probably the dishwasher quality). Our glasses are getting a film as well as the black dishes. I tried adding a little less detergent, which helped, but I find dried on food is not washing like it should. Will be rinsing the dishes off very well to deal with that problem. (Update, our dishwasher has low water pressure, due to issues with the water softener)
January 6-12, 2019.
Less waste tools in the home.
-Trying out the DIY deodorant again.
December 30, 2018 – January 5, 2019.
-Some awesome Christmas gifts waste free or for helping to go zero waste include:
A. Beeswax wraps, they are awesome!
B. A new ball cap with a leather strap instead of Velcro
C. 2 large glass containers, using for dry cereal storage
D. Burlap and steel wire, time to get crafty!
E. 24 muffin pan, suitable for our large family
F. Wooden spatula, I want to get a couple more from the Farmers Market
G. Wool dryer balls
H. My husband got a stainless steel tea ball
Waste bin did not go out for pickup, maybe 1/3 full. That counts two weeks of garbage including Christmas, Birthday and a Birthday Party, mind you, kids have 3 sets of grandparents.
-About 460 diapers have been diverted from landfill! Yay cloth diapers!
December 23-29, 2018.
-Surprisingly, after Christmas, we only had 1 bin of waste! We tried to have no waste packaging or the smallest amount. Santa did pretty good too.
-Between visitors’ Christmas gifts and a Birthday + party, we filled 2 more bins of waste.
-All inclusive, our Xlg garbage bag in the waste cart outside, is only about half full. We can fit 2 of these bags full. Wednesday this week will mark two weeks since it was last picked up. Hoping to go 6 weeks between waste pickup.
December 16-22, 2018.
-Switching to a chemical free dishwasher powder in a box board package.
-Switching to a chemical free laundry powder in a box board package.
Waste bin contained 1.75 Extra large garbage bags. It has been 6 weeks since I put the cart to the road. November 7-December 19. I definitely would have kept it for another two weeks, but with Christmas around the corner, I wanted to be sure there was room in the cart for the extra hassle. I have no idea what to expect waste wise. Hoping the cart does not go to the road for another 6-8 weeks. Time (and waste) will tell.
-Also 3.5 blue bags of recyclables (2 months worth).I’m excited to see what next month looks like for recyclables as we have removed yogurt drinks and laundry detergent bottles. There will be 3 dish washer detergent bottles and that will be the end of those!
-The kids (3) have a Christmas flea market at school where they pay $1.00 for a gift they choose for someone they want to give it to (toys and such are donated to the school). The school has volunteers set up to help wrap the items for the kids as well. This year, our kids will be taking a cloth bag and placing the gift in that instead of wrapping at the school. Then once home, they get to colour some packing paper I have saved with Christmas colours and wrap the gift. Our own Christmas wrapping paper.
December 9-15, 2018.
3 lists comparing before less waste to present time.
December 2-8, 2018.
Advent Calendar!
-Yogurt drinks are done in this house. I believe that knocks out about 130 bottles a month!!! Caps and wrappers too!
-Making homemade yogurt drinks. The kids like to call them smoothies, so hey, Sure!!! Will post more details later!
Waste bin will not be going to the road again. I finished filling one extra large garbage and just started the second. Probably another 4 weeks until it is full, time will tell. Another stop the garbage man does not need to make!
-Dawn dish soap is finished. I wanted to switch to a product more natural. Down East is working, my hands do not get that drying out feeling after washing the dishes. No complaints about the new soap.
November 25-December 1, 2018.
-Catching up on housework this week.
-More de-cluttering. Donating lots of small/clothes not used as well as coats and snow pants. Tidied my chemical cleaners out of our house! They found a new home(s).
-Basic cleaners are now Dawn and Down East dish soap, 10% vinegar, Finish dishwasher soap (couple times a week) and Down East laundry detergent. Very happy!
-Will be switching away from Dawn dish soap as I think it is a culprit to my super dry hands along with the cool dry weather. Coconut oil is not doing the trick!
Then and Now Part 2 product comparison is complete
-Found a block of beeswax at the farmers market!! $5.00! They have Shea butter too! 1 pound for $25.00 or a half pound for $15.00. Will find out their source and packaging at another time. I have been wanting shea butter for a long while!
-My daughter and I will be making plastic free Advent Calendars too! Will share that soon, by Dec 1st I guess. (Ah! Better get a move on!!)
November 18-24, 2018.
Less waste birthday party success!
Waste bin did not go to the road today as my large bag is not full. Maybe half full. One less stop for the garbage man saving time and fuel.
-Spread peanut butter on sticky glue residue on containers and let it sit overnight, wash and the residue is gone!
-Saved some clothing from crayon in the dryer. Here is how!
-So far we have kept 225 disposable diapers from the landfill by switching to cloth diapers. Reusable liners too!
-Creating a new Then and Now chart, to show where we are now with products.
November 11-17, 2018.
-Recently I had an amazing idea to make digital scrapbooks for the children. My plan years ago was to make scrapbooks for the first 4 or 5 years. With 5 kids, that would be 20-25 books! Add the costs and prints and supplies. Crazy amount of dollars, supplies, time and space. So far in the last 9 years I have made 7 or 8 books of the 18-22 I should have completed. Cost and supplies have held me back and now I am happy about that! I can move forward with waste free scrap booking right here on my site!
-Zero waste 2nd Birthday party for Thomas planning.
-Made my own make-up.
November 4-10, 2018.
-I really need to take some time to tidy my surroundings.
a. PantryDone
b. Yard work-Done
c. Clean out rooms and donate what is not used/needed-Slow going
d. Clean out baby items for family-Started
e. Kitchen countersDone
f. Tidy top cupboardsDone
-I have changed my cleaning habits by using warm soapy water to clean surfaces and if I feel they need disinfecting, 10% acidic acid vinegar for cleaning purposes on hand. I have read washing with soap removes 99% of germs/bacteria and vinegar will disinfect 99% as well. So by removing bacteria first with washing then a second go over with vinegar, you are left with a clean surface. Other sites have stated vinegar is a good solution to use against e-coli and salmonella.
Waste bin contained 3 garbage bags including 1 for meat. I will be doing something different now. No more bag in my house waste bins. Nothing yucky goes in it anyways. I have large garbage bags, and secured one to the waste cart outside. I will be dumping our garbage in that. This week, it was about half full. I believe it will take 4-5 weeks to fill a large garbage bag.
October 28 – November 3, 2018.
-Removed the Purel and Lysol from our Kitchen area. Hand washing is more effective, cost effective and less plastic usage. We decided to wash the tables and counters with dish soap and water. What ever germs are on those are no different than the ones on the dishes (more so on the dishes). No one has been sick from residue on dishes. Kitchen cleaners are overrated.
-Removed the drying rack out of the second sink to give more space for having a clean sink to use for washing surfaces. Also having the rack in the sink inconvenienced me from washing that part of the sink regularly (lazy I guess to move it momentarily), so now my kitchen is actually a lot more cleaner. It also allows for more space for dishes to sit after washing, before they get dried.
-Continuing to hand wash dishes rather than the dishwasher. The dishwasher is used on busy or overwhelming days.
-I saved some Oasis juice bottles and covers to use for our canned juice. I can fit 4 cans easily in one of these containers. having a few different kinds of juice (apple, orange and a fruit drink) will allow 2.5-3 weeks in between buying a new boxes of canned juice. Less shopping, money saved and no plastic waste. Someday I will upgrade the Oasis containers to something more permanent.
-Since October 7th, we saved approximately 144 diapers from going into the landfill. 24 days worth! I have also been using virgin coconut oil as a cream for baby. Working quite well! Still loving the homemade liners! Only 1 went to the garbage, as a newbie. Also the Diaper Genii pail got sold and sent to another home. No excuse to toss a dirty liner. Just clean it and get it done.
-That time of year as well with the colder weather, vapor barrier is going up on the windows. Big drawback, but it has to get done.
-Switched cat food cans from Fancy Feast to Wiskas. #1. Larger portions. #2. $.45 per 100 g instead of $.89 per 100 g. #3. Our cat was not eating enough of Fancy Feast brand, I was worried about her health.
-Going to learn how to use a sewing machine and make more cloth bags!
-A start to my cloth bags for Bulk Barn!
October 21-27, 2018.
-Still working on de-cluttering our home, little by little.
Got the go ahead on cloth bags for Bulk Barn. Project for next week with a friend down the road.
-Made Roasted Chickpeas. Me and Julia like them. They are best when warm from the oven.
-Tried to make a DIY foundation/powder. Need more research!
-Making fresh playdoh for the kids this week. They go through it fast!
Grocery store comparison to waste packaging and friendlier packaging.
Waste bin contained 3 garbage bags. One of those bags for meat packaging. Also some roof shingles. . .
-Where my inspiration originated.
October 14-20, 2018.
-Trying to de-clutter our home room by room. Donations and selling.
-Found a 100% good condition mop handle across the road. Neighbors moved out and it was at the side of the road for trash. Just needs a new mop head.
Honeyed Tomato Paste, DIY.
Mended a broken slipper instead of tossing it!
-Made my own deodorant with this recipe
-2 blue bags and 1 bag of paper. Cardboard too.
-Happy with cloth diapers.
-A updated comparison between grocery store and Bulk Barn.
-Switching to canned juice instead of plastic containers!

October 7-13, 2018.
-Cloth diapering is going very well! Scroll down to check for updates here.
-Want to make more cloth bags for my Bulk Barn trips.
-Made some cloth wipes. I guess I can cut down on the number of homemade wipes I make! Savings!!!
-Going to try a recipe to make my own tomato paste.
Waste bin went out today. 1 diaper bag, 3 garbage bags. One of those was a meat packaging only bag. Not sure if I can do better than that.
September 30 – October 6, 2018.
-Organizing and settling into new routines and storage options.
-A list of Bulk Barn items I am purchasing
Grocery run this time
September 23-29, 2018.
found this link to Staples. They accept pens, markers, highlighters etc . . . And put them through a recycling program! Who new? I even called our Summerside location to confirm!
Found this link for Brita Filters. You can ship them back to the vendor. How many of these have I tossed in the garbage the last 9 years? Probably over 50!
School lunches packed with little waste.
-Goodbye to packaged popcorn. Used last package, now back on to using popcorn machine.
-Goodbye to Downy Fabric Softener. Done.
-Goodbye to Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner. Done.
Waste bin this week contains 3 garbage bags and 3 diaper bags. I have been putting the meat wrapping and trays directly in the black box, saving me from having to take the garbage bag out more often because of odors. But I wonder if they should be contained in case the wind takes them. . .
-Gone through more diapers this past week than usual. It is on my mind, cloth diapers. I just don’t know how, so I’m slow to switching. It is just one child in diapers, then we are done with them. Hats off to those families who use cloth diapers!
Recycling K-cups when possible.
-Washing dishes by hand much more. Less dishwasher use = less detergent used = less amount of waste.
-Making sure I rinse my dirty recyclables before I drain the sink so I don’t use more water than needed. Let them air dry on counter before adding to the blue bag.
-Switching to cloth diapers!
-going to secure a garbage bag to the black bin, so I can put in those meat trays and packages. When its full or garbage day, i can tie it up and drop it in the bin. No loose garbage to fly away!
September 16-22, 2018.
-Reusable juice boxes, made by Rubbermaid, leak. I have to return them. So for now, back to single use juice boxes for the kids at school.
-Removed plastic mixing bowls and plastic spoons from my pantry and counter as well as my plastic cutting board. I will use the cutting board for crafts and such, not kitchen use. I don’t want to throw it out. My plastic bowls have lids, so I can use one for soaking stained clothing and such.
-Returning to my DIY pancake mix
-Made 5 batches of playdoh for my girls’ kindergarten class. Sent in a tin can. No plastic! Should have taken picture.
-I found the perfect Granola Bar recipe online. I tweaked it to suit everyone’s taste. Removing the nutmeg and cinnamon. Use 1.5 cups milk chocolate chips and added .5 tsp salt. Also, Canola oil.
-Making removable/reusable labels for my containers at home.
-I found a toothpaste at Sobey’s which comes in a recyclable container, cap too! Crest Complete, Scope. No more tubes for the garbage!
-I am switching juices from Fruitopia to Oasis, as Fruitopia caps are waste, Oasis caps are recyclable! Too bad such a small issue (cap) stops me from buying that product.
-planning a new list to look at what else I can change to take away from waste, I counted 40 possibilities. Also remove some recyclable items all together.
-I noticed that we are eating much more healthier and more homemade meals. Less packaged, canned, frozen and pre-made items. I love having a jar of nuts and fresh fruit at the ready. I think I may make my own trail mix, another good snack for on the go.
-Part of my grocery run now.
September 9-15, 2018.
-I have finished my long list of before and after products for choosing to go less waste. Then and Now.
Waste bin included 4 garbage bags and 2 diaper bags.
-I am going to start taking out my meat packages to the garbage bin outside instead of keeping them in my garbage bin for 3-4 days. That way, I won’t have to empty the trash bin as often. We will see how I did in two weeks time.
September 2-8, 2018.
-Switching to using the Diva Cup instead of menstrual pads, present time. Goodbye plastic waste pads!! Diva Cup was a success and I will continue using and I recommend it! Takes a little while to get used to the cup and chose a regular routine when using.
-Still working on my home product list, actually, I have not worked on it much lately.
-My husband bought me a bread box!!! Works wonders for our homemade breads!
-Packing school lunches. Selecting containers for snacks and parchment paper wrapping. I bought reusable juice boxes to use instead of buying single use juice boxes.
August 26-September 1, 2018.
-I am currently making a list (private right now) of our home products and groceries and the packaging material they come in comparing to before and after going with less waste.
Waste bin is at the road for pickup with 3 garbage bags and 3 diaper bags collected over the last 2 weeks. Also the broken Keurig machine.
-We are settling into our new less waste routine at home, I am done reorganizing my cupboards over and over again! Though, I am having some trouble with my bread. I thought I would get a second hand bread box to store our homemade bread in, but have not retrieved that yet. Bread bags ran out and the store I was buying from around the corner, closed last month. There are a couple bread bags left for our sub buns, but I have found that paper bags work well with the loaves of bread for 2 days. Paper bags do not work well for sub buns. I am having second thoughts about the bread box, as I can not find anyone who uses them and am unsure how well they actually do work. . . Maybe I can find recyclable bread bags online, like the stores use for their breads.
August 19-25, 2018.
-I made a list, on paper, (which I will put up in the future) of all our household products we buy on a regular basis, yearly. I marked what packaging is waste, compost and/or recyclable. Then I planned out other options that are more environmentally friendly and what packaging those were in. Turns out I cut down on the waste a lot!! Even the compostable and recycling packaging! The main reasons for that are by shopping at the Bulk Barn with my own containers and using my cloth bags for produce at the grocery store. I made more by the way!
-Our Waste Watch Management has a great site to check out individual items for proper disposal. If your not sure how to dispose of an item, check it out!
August 12-18, 2018.
Waste bin contained 4 bags of garbage and 2 diaper bags.
2 blue bags for recyclables and 1 bag of paper.
-Seeking other alternatives to cleaners and diy food products making healthier choices.
-How my grocery run looks now.
August 5-11, 2018.
-Adjusting to household changes and organizing.
July 29-August 4, 2018.
-Reuse a baby powder bottle into a carpet freshener.
July 22-28, 2018.
-Shopping for produce without plastic, just a cloth bag.
-Switching to reusable K-cup filters. Back to ground coffee.
-The kids love playing with playdoh. This recipe is so much better than the store bought!
-Dryer balls instead of bounce sheets.
-A stash of cotton rags in the kitchen in two bathrooms instead of paper towels.
-Starting with a shampoo bar from The Farmers Wife.
-A post I made of determination against waste.   
July 15-21, 2018.

Starting out, looking for recyclable options and purchasing without packaging.
Waste bin contained approx 14 bags of garbage, 2 diaper bags.
3 blue bags of recyclables and 1 bag of paper.
-Local Bulk Barn. I gathered a list of items and the prices per 100 grams comparing to Bulk Barn and my local grocery store, keeping in mind what is packaged in plastic, recyclable and paper/box board.

Check out some of these links to other pages on my blog
  • Craft it at home has many DIY’s I have done such as party decorations, repairs, sewing cloth bags, reusable cloth wipes for baby and more.
  • Recipes at home are mostly waste free with lots of snack and treat options as well as home made bread and yogurt.
  • Here is a link that shows what we used to purchase for products before going zero waste compared to present time. It is a visual list (visual works best for me). The page is slowly being updated, most of the work is done. It is huge and I am still in need of adding new products and desire to add more details such as product name, price, reasons for switching and where I get them. (This list would be super helpful for someone living in my area, but also a great tool for anyone looking for ideas to make a switch with a product.).

Once you stop buying and using plastics you notice it even more. In stores, homes, walks, even the overflowing waste bins at the roadside, not to mention the thought about how much plastic there is behind the scenes at stores/businesses, the “public waste” from hotels and such. It can be hard to bite the tongue and not point out what is noticed. We as individuals can help ourselves by reducing and choosing different packages we buy our products in. By sharing what we do, we plant seeds in others so they can make a change when they are ready. Here is a link to a post I made about planting seeds and brief reasonings behind how I shop for plastic/waste free.

We choose our journeys and decide when we are ready to make a change. Are you ready?
Chris and I

11 responses on “Managing Our Waste At Home”

  1. Hi Rachel, heard you on the CBC last night! Very inspiring! What do you do for things like handwashing soap, Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant…..all very bad containering (I just made that word up)…do you have a list of all of the things that you buy at the bulk barn…I would love to do what you do (with the containers)…also, I find it very hard to stay within my budget at the bulk barn…I’m tempted to bring my kitchen scale after buying $20 worth of parmesean cheese…..
    Again, you are an inspiration, I will follow your blog and share any tips/ideas I have or come up with as well!

    1. Bathroom items has been a bit tricky. I was more so concentrating on the kitchen area. My hands and face get pretty dry and I found the dove bar soap was best for me. It is the shea butter kind. But, they come in packages of 3 or 4 wrapped in plastic. I tried one kind of hand soap from a lady at the farmers market, still dry. I tried 2 other kinds from Sobey’s in a single box, one being the Caprina, currently using. I find it a bit better. The problem though is having to buy this soap to test it. If they don’t work out what do I do with it!? I feel I am creating waste. I don’t want to buy The liquid hand soap, but I got The soap pumps and I don’t want to just get rid of them. I was thinking maybe I can make my own liquid hand soap. But that is down the road for now.

      I use a shampoo bar. If you look at the Farmers markets you will probably find someone there selling them! I warn, it takes weeks for your hair to adjust! It will get oily and flat for a while. I did a baking soda wash in the shower after the 4th week and that seemed to fix it quick!

      We were using the Pro crest toothpaste. Whole thing is waste. As I was scouring the shelves at Sobey’s, hoping for an alternative of some kind, I found one row of crest complete toothpaste in a #5 recyclable container and its cap is recyclable! I was excited as to at least this might have a chance to get recycled rather than be trashed at home. I think a key point is to make sure the container is washed out so there is no contamination at the recycling plant.

      No alternative to deodorant yet. I have seen posts about making your own, but I did not venture down that path.

      I stopped buying disposable razors. Just the disposable blades. Not perfect, but less waste.

      I don’t use shaving cream. Just soap. My husband does use shaving cream, the can is recyclable as long as its empty. (But is it?)

      I still use baby shampoo and Bodywash for kids. I don’t know of any shampoo bars that are tear free.

      make up. I don’t use it a whole lot. I have not looked for alternatives yet.

      Menstrual pads. I switched to Diva cup! Gladrags would be handy or a washable pad for spotting.

      My list of products I buy are listed in the September 9-15th link on my managing waste page. Here is a direct link.

      Though Bulk Barn store is listed as well as other stores, mainly Sobey’s. Look at the baking and pantry section, that will be where most of the Bulk Barn items are.

      I did make a comparison list back in July about prices per 100g between Sobey’s and Bulk Barn. Most items are cheaper at bulk Barn. But keep in mind those prices will fluctuate! Also keep in mind we are trying to buy products not in a package. I think popcorn kernels was one of the items which was cheaper at Sobey’s. But, I can avoid the container all together at Bulk Barn. And Yes, the container at Sobey’s may be recyclable, but I am trying to avoid those too as recycling takes a lot of energy for processing. Here is a link to my comparison.

      In the beginning I brought in whatever clean container I had. I learned which ones best suited the amount I needed and were easy to fill. Small opening containers are hard to fill compared to large opening containers. For me yogurt dishes are perfect! I accumulate 2 or 3 per week, so I have a large stash to take with me. When I get home, I just pour out the products in the containers used at home in the cupboards and wash the containers for next weeks trip. If you know you only need a little, bring a small container or keep in mind to fill it halfway. That is another great thing about Bulk Barn. You take only what you need! Just don’t dump out the product from your container after you filled it. You take what you scoop in!

      Haha! I think I just wrote another article!! Hope this helps!

  2. Hi Rachel
    I watched the article on CBC last night about your journey and I think it is wonderful what you are doing. It must be a lot of work with all those little ones running around. I have tried to keep my waste from our home down as well. I am writing to let you know about another way we can help the environment and our families with products that are free of harsh toxins. I use Young Living Essential Oil Products that are all plant and oil based. The benefits of these products have been amazing for my family. And they are not hurting the environment. If you would like more info you can check out my website
    http://www.getoiling.com/empoweredbyoils

  3. LEE VALLEY (Google it !) has been an excellent source of minimal-packaging on items for over 30 years for me. They are online, mail order or pickup-in-store. Their reusable bags last “forever” compared with typical supermarket multiuse bags. When i buy multiple small items i leave with one of their paperbags just like we took groceries home in the 1950s.

  4. You are speaking my language!!! I swear I could have written this whole blog myself…..it’s been a year since we’ve made similar changes in our home. Thanks for sharing your successes!!!

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