Taking down plastic K cups!

Trying these reusable K cup filters. Ground coffee. Dark Roast Colombian. I usually spend $16.00 on a box of coffee for the week. I bought .265 kg (250g) of ground coffee $7.30, hoping that will last the week.  (Update: lasting 2 weeks!) 3/4 fill on container into large order of coffee. Pretty weak. Will try a medium brew. Goodbye to plastic k cup filters for myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update, July 28th, 2018

Medium brew much better! Also lightly packed the coffee grounds. 4 heaping scoops.

My Produce Bag

I have been trying to find and use the right produce bag for grocery shopping. Something light weighted, reusable, washable and durable. I thought about compost bags, but that was a no go as they are not listed as food approved. Pillow cases, but they are much too big! I checked out Amazon and they had a great selection! I had my eyes set on some. Hummed and hawwed, thinking I probably should not have to go buy these.  So I let it go for more thought.

The other day my husband and son, Jack, went looking in the linen closet for an exploration Jack wanted. Chris found his old green duffle bag and much to his surprise found nothing of his inside. Just some old sheets and curtains. I later cleaned out the bag and found some old white rod pocket curtains that used to hang on this house when we bought it, nearly 10 years ago. I knew I kept those for a reason! I just did not know what for back then.

My thoughts were to use these for my produce bags. Though, my sewing skills are very . . . tiny! I’ve put things back together, not pretty though. Haha. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I knew if I did it, it would be by hand. After watching a video or two I gained confidence.


So I cut the fabric to length I thought would be good, keeping the top piece as my drawstring pocket. I started to sew up one side, but realized I had the whole fabric folded wrong and would end up with the seam on the good side. Undo and redo. Then a few times my thread would get tangles or I would sew wrong etc. . .

 

 

 

 

 

After 5 tries and 2.5 hours, I had my first bag!

 

I added a 3′ braided drawstring (yarn) through the pocket, and I was finished! Yay! I do want to add some decoration and colour, but that will come to me in time!  It weighs 26 grams/0.027kg.  I can’t wait to use it tonight and make more.

Looking For Recyclable Packages or None at All While Shopping

As I am cutting back on our waste, I have been more careful about the products I purchase. Recyclable plastics still use resources and energy to make/reuse. Purchasing products loosly takes away from extra packaging. Some examples of my findings:

Reusable bags. Use these everywhere you go. Keep them in the car or by the front door. Where ever you will likely not forget them! I like to stash one in my purse if I know I’m going out for a small grocery run. If I can carry the item with no bag, that is great too! Just keep in mind to tell the cashier ASAP you do not want a bag! 

Royale paper towel and Royale tissues. The packaging is recyclable! Though I came to realise, no packaging is best. You can buy tissue boxes of many brands singly. No plastic wrapping!

Heinz mayonnaise. Glass bottle. I hear glass is better than plastic recyclables, plus glass jars are great for storing other foods or nick nacks. I am sure if we look hard enough, we will find other condiments in jars!

Margarine squares. Parkay brand wraps the squares in paper alone. No foil added! Less is best!

Deli meat. I am going to start bringing in my own dish for sandwich meat. They will slice up the amount of meat you want. No more plastics! After I open the meat package, it goes straight to the garbage anyways and I end up using a zip lock bag to seal what is left. By taking in my own container, two plastics down with one dish. Two plastic habits wiped out.

Produce.  This is still a work on process for me. I am trying to find that right bag to use to purchase my produce that can be reused. I want the lightest I can find so I don’t have to pay for a weighted bag with the apples for example. I resorted to using compost bags. After it is used if would be reused as the next compost bag for my bin. Though, after contacting Al-Pack, the compost bag company, they said their compostable bags are not listed as a food approved bag.  Okay, looking for a new idea. Maybe a brown paper bag for smaller items.  Loose produce for this household includes apples, oranges, kiwi, watermelon, lettuce, carrots, turnip and more. I would like to improve on produce like potatoes. Though most of the package is usually paper, there is still the plastic mesh. This is more ideal than the recyclable plastic bag. Farmers market I suppose might be the right place! Frozen vegetables. We eat a lot of frozen veggies! Or at least, I do! Haha. My next step is to stop buying these, as it is all plastic/recyclable material. Buying fresh and package free is better. Probably more nutritious too. This produce would Include string beans, broccoli, peas, corn, cauliflower and probably more than I can think of at the moment.

Baby wipes. This is a change I made long ago and I will never go back. I make my own wipes from 1 roll of select-a-size paper towel. I have rectangle containers that are the same size a piece of paper towel. Tear each sheet apart until the roll is empty and stack them in the container. Depending on the roll size/quanity, depends on how much mixture you need. Regular size rolls will need 2 cups of hot water with soap mixture. Large rolls will need 2.5-3 cups of hot water with soap mixture. The soap mixture includes 1 Tbsp baby soap +1 Tbsp baby lotion mixed together per cup of hot water. Do make sure the soap and lotion are combined well before adding hot water or else the lotion will be separated and floating in the water.

Dryer sheets. About a year ago I bought a pack of dryer balls. I used them a couple of times, but stopped shortly after. I don’t remember why! Just over a week ago, I found these on the shelf, and thought I would try them and cut back on dryer sheets. They work perfectly! No static. Even with towels! I have not used dryer sheets for more than a week! Less garbage! Less buying too!

Meat bags. Those thin white bags the cashiers pack your meat into, another waste! I take reusable thermos bags (hot and cold) to the cashier. I have one for chicken products and one for beef products. One bag per meat type, no contamination. If there ends up being a leak, these reusable thermos bags wipe down very easily! Keep them with your other reusable bags for the next shopping trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulk Barn. I am very excited about this! I started putting my baking ingredients into mason jars or any other jars that can be used for storing. Ingredients already in a container from the store (baking powder or cocoa) will continue being used as I can take them to my local Bulk Barn. Yup! Take your container there, pre weigh, fill it with the ingredient and pay for the product weight only. I learned this two weeks ago! Baking ingredients, treats and chocolate, grains and even some chips such as Party Mix. Dog food and bird seed and so much more! Good bye packages.

Update, August 13th, 2018

So, as for the deli meat, I asked my local grocery store, Sobey’s, if they could put the deli meat I wanted in my own container. I was told I had to use their bags provided. I talked to the the manager (boss) of the deli meat department about my question/choice and was told the CFIA does not allow them to accept customers dishes to package food. So now I feel stuck in having to buy the prepackaged meat in plastic, or get it from the deli counter, packaged in plastic. Why can’t they weigh the amount I want and place it in my dish without handling my dish? Or washing their hands/ change their gloves after handling my dish. Sanitizing the counter space touched by my dish. There must be a way around this whole packaging system. Yes I do understand the sanitary reasons for the department, but like I said, if the area is sanitized atfterwards, like it should be kept anyways, no big deal!

 

 

Managing Our Waste

I have been trying my best to recycle and properly dispose garbage items properly for quite some time now. We are a large family of 7. I would say we go through a lot of household/family products.

Just this year, Waste Watch Management released an article about garbage disposal and recycling, how well our island is doing and how we can still do better. I like hearing how we can do better, as there is always room for improvement.

So I turned up the heat for my household. I make sure I rinse my recyclables well, actually scrape out and wash food jars (peanut butter). From reading the article that I mentioned earlier, food left in containers will contaminate the whole load of recyclables during processing. All that work gone to the landfill. I remove all covers and even the plastic ring found under the cover that usually stays behind. I check everything before I put it in the waste bin for a recyclable symbol. Furthermore, I am paying attention to the items I buy. If the product is in plastic I try to find the same item in recyclable packaging or even boxboard/cardboard/paper. For produce, I don’t use the little thin bags anymore. Bringing recyclable bags for shopping, or just carry the item(s) after purchasing helps put a stop to plastic bags (even though most are recyclable, it helps to not have to add them to the pile).

This day in our area was waste and blue bag pickup. Our waste bin was 3/4 full. Pretty good I think. That was approximately 1 bag a day (that was my aim). We also have 1 child in diapers. I sent out 3 bags of recyclables and 1 bag of paper. I think we can still do better! The main reason the garbage can gets empty is because of odors. So, by rincing out packages (meat) there is nothing to get smelly. That is my goal for the week. Make sure the garbage bag is very full before getting taken out to the waste bin.

I am just going along the best I can and doing what I think is right. If we can improve our garbage disposal it will make a big difference.

 

Update, August 15th, 2018

Waste bin collection day: 4 garbage bags instead of 14ish, 2 diaper bags, 2 blue bags, cardboard and a small bag of paper. I cancelled our flyers today as well, less paper to toss out! Most flyers are availabe online anyways, and I really only look at two or three.

Update, October 24th, 2018

Waste bin collection day: 3 garbage bags. 2 blue bags. 1 paper bag 2 months worth. Cardboard.

Point Prim, Prince Edward Island

Photo by Marie Shartner Gilchrist.

Me and Chris drove here a few years ago on our yearly road run adventure celebrating our anniversary.

On our honeymoon, we drove to Ottawa. First time for me to be that far from home! After that we drove to Quebec city. Stayed at The Château Frontenac. Beautiful! Next came Toronto!

I loved out journey so much! I am in need to further explore this journey we took to better refresh my mind on specifics! haha.