Bin of Returns

This is our storage bin for items to be brought to recyclable facilities, hazard facilities, and the farmer’s market.

Batteries, razor blades, writing utensils, elastic bands, Brita water filter, beauty products and cleaners.

Batteries: Sobey’s has a drop off bin.

Writing utensils: Staples has a recycling program .

Hazardous material: Waste Watch drop off centre.

Elastic bands and egg cartons: Donated to vendors at the farmer’s market .

Brita water filter: Send back to vendor (Brita).

 

 

Waste Cart

It has taken 8 weeks for our household to fill our black waste cart. December 16th to February 13th. This includes Christmas, Jack’s Birthday and family party, My Birthday, Julia’s Birthday and party as well as the rest of the household waste.

Our indoor garbage bin gets emptied between 10-16 days. As a reminder, we do not keep meat packages in the house. We have a extra large garbage bag that stays in the waste cart outside, and that is where the meat packages go once they are emptied. Straight outside. Our indoor bin gets dumped into that bag as well. I believe waste (plastic) needs to be contained so the garbage does not get blown away from the wind or out of the garbage truck as they drive down the road. Litter needs to stop and this is one way to help. Contain the garbage as best as you can. We can fit two of these extra large garbage bags in our waste cart.

Also, by waiting until our cart is full before taking it to the road side to get picked up, we are saving fuel and time for the garbage company. One less stop and time saving. Less fuel being wasted on a nearly empty cart and less wear and tare on the truck.

I am looking forward to see how long it takes to fill our cart this time round, as we will not have the extra Holiday and celebrations. Though, 2 more Birthdays are coming up in March and April as well as parties, but I am confident they will not create much waste.

Also, next week on the 20th, it is blue bag day. We will only have 1 blue bag of recyclables to go out. I just started to make yogurt at home, so that will cut out 4 yogurt containers a week. Yay!! Though, I have been saving those containers for some other use. They are still great for taking to Bulk Barn to purchase powdered products and coffee. As well, next time I make homemade play-doh, those yogurt containers will be perfect for storage. The small containers I used to use for play-doh are being used for school lunches.

Later this week, I will be emptying our blue bag to see what it consists of. Getting a visual will help decide what can get cut next.

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 cup milk, warm
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla

Use a stick of butter (2 Tbsp) and coat a 12 piece muffin pan liberally. No Pam spray needed!!!!

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips together and mix evenly.

In a large bowl combine butter, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add dry mixture a little at a time (3), gently folding until combined. Over mixing will result in flat tops. A little flour remaining or clumps are okay. I over mixed mine a little by accident. 

Fill them right up!

Bake in preheated oven at 425 for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 for 14 minutes. Let cool in pan until cool enough to handle and place the muffins on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container once cooled completely. 

No sticking and easy to wash. Butter for coating!

Unbaked Cherry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup Graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup softened butter, not melted
1/4 cup white sugar

1 package of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

Cherry pie filling (a can or about 2 cups worth if buying from a bulk store. Though I find less than those amounts are better, more like 1 1/2 cups)

Begin by mixing the graham crackers, softened butter and sugar together. I personally find that if the butter is super soft, it mixes better, but if it gets melted, the mixture is too wet, resulting in adding more graham crumbs causing the bottom layer of the cheesecake to be dense and thick. This happened to me this time round. oops. Press the mixture into a pie plate or a cheesecake pan like I have. Allow the sides to rise to give a slight curve to hold the next step.

Oops. Blurry picture. Will replace with a better one next time I make a cheesecake.

Next beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the heavy cream a little at a time. continue to beat for several minutes. The less beaten, the more runny the mixture (not good), the more beaten, the thicker the mixture (yes!).

Yummy!

Pour the creamed mixture over the graham crumbs and smooth out. Refrigerate until firm, 4 hours or overnight if you like. Less time may result in runny cream cheese mixture. (extra step to keep the mixture firm)

Add cherry pie filling and chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!!!

Delicious!
Super easy to make!

Kids Valentine’s Day Cards For School

Regardless if we were choosing zero waste, we always got the kids to make their own Valentine’s Day cards for their classmates. Even I did when I was in school, elementary. I think I can remember 1 year when my mom bought Valentine cards from the store. Awesome!

So obviously, this year was no different. Though, we made much prettier cards with scrapbook card stock I had just sitting around. Usually, we just used construction paper cut into hearts. Also, Julia who is in Kindergarten, received a Paw Patrol book for her Birthday recently, about friendship day, and it had 12 Valentine cards. So we used what we had, completely. The kids understood the reasoning and agreed it was a great move.

Daniel chose to cut his cards into heart shapes.

Alaina chose to make actual cards with her Valentine’s with a simple message. 

Julia used her ready to use cards and we had to create a couple more with the card stock, same as Alaina. A side story, Julia has a friend at school, in a different class and on her bus. But, Julia does not know the girl’s name! She was too shy to ask and forgetful. Daniel and Alaina did not know whom Julia was talking about. Our plan was to send a note to school with Julia to give to her friend, with our contact information so we could set up a play date. Valentine’s Day was the perfect time. Julia sent a lovely card to her friend with the information, and we are currently waiting for a response. We finally found out her name too! Yay!

I took the two younger boys Jack and Thomas, out to play in the snow. We have been cooped up in the house all winter. They had a blast! I dug out a path in the backyard for easier walking for Thomas, he is only 2 and has trouble getting around in the deep fluffy snow. I dug out around the swing set and slide too. Lots of fun.

Did not take long for Thomas to lose his glove!
Swinging fun!

For a Valentine’s Day treat at home, I made chocolate chip muffins with heart sprinkles on top and a unbaked cherry cheese cake for me and Chris. Two thumbs up!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Comparison February 2019.

The last couple of weekends, February 1st and 8th , I took notes of regular prices per 100g comparing Sobey’s and Bulk Barn. I like to compare once in a while just to make sure the price is right shopping at Bulk Barn. This is just a partial of what I would buy. These prices most Likly fluctuate too and are not “sale” prices. I did my best at the grocery store to choose the cheapest/bulk amount to get the lowest price. Keep in mind, big name brands would be more expensive as well as smaller quanities.

Product
Dollar per 100g at Bulk Barn
Dollar per 100g at Sobey’s
Hickory Sticks
1.15
1.26
Pretzels
.51
.70
Sunflower seeds in shell
.49
1.19
Ground coffee
2.75
1.25 (Kurig pods are $7.40)
Hot chocolate
1.03
.94
Popcorn kernels
.30
.23
cashew
2.88
3.50
Peanuts
.66
1.09
Almonds
2.27
3.50
Peanut butter
1.10
.59
Almond butter
2.64
2.35
large Rolled Oats
.21
.33
Shreddies
.95
.83
Cheerios
.97
1.05
All purpose flour
.22
.14
Active Dry Yeast
1.80
3.61
Quick Rise Yeast
1.80
4.59
White Sugar
.18
.14
Dark Brown Sugar
.24
.26
Icing Sugar
.24
.25
Baking Powder
.84
1.46
Baking Soda
.28
.25
Shortening
.75
Fluffo .77
Dark Chocolate Chips
Callets 2.64
Hershey’s 1.44
Milk Chocolate Chips
1.28
1.33
Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
.98
1.20
Cocoa
1.26
1.76
Gravy
chicken .96 and Brown 1.03
7.96 for packets of powder
Rice (parboiled)
.46
.45
Chick Pea
.38
.50
Arrowroot flour
For baby powder .95
Johnson’s baby powder .96

As you can see, some items are more expensive at Bulk Barn, but overall, there is a lot of savings! Also on the plus side is the fact that individuals can avoid plastic packaging. Even more so recyclable packaging too. The cost and amount of energy to recycle plastics is too much. Sometimes the plastics can not be processed due to unforeseen circumstances. Less garbage and less recyclables is a good thing! Not to mention box board. single use compostable, but it takes a lot of energy to produce them. Cardboard too, takes energy and resources to break them down and turn into something new.

Package free when possible! DIY when possible! Share ideas and solutions with others.

Bulk Barn carries so much. My local store does anyways, and I know there are bigger Bulk Barns and also different types of Bulk stores. My local store carries treats, candy, chocolate, baking needs, dried fruit, nuts, rice of all sorts and beans. Spices, sprinkles, coffee, tea and pasta. Dog food and dog treats as well as bird seed. They have soaps and shampoo bars, soap nuts and washing soda. Honey, Butters and coconut oil. cereals, oats and other grains. There are so many options!! I find our shopping list is small and not a whole lot of variety, but I would like to grow it and let this package free option help me along the way!

Here is a link to my first comparison back in July of 2018.

Here is a link to my second comparison back in October of 2018.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Powder

I asked Chris to help me find a great hot chocolate powder recipe. He does not fail! Here it is. 

I did not follow the exact ingredients, I used what I had on hand. I also cut the recipe in half (sorry hun!).  I am storing the mixture in a large Nutella container. I couldn’t put it in the recycle bin, such a great storage option, and I’m very low on the number of jars I have!

I love this chalk board idea of writing down simple recipes or even notes instead of paper and pen or white board and marker. So much less waste.
All mixed up!
Look at that foam!!!

We always add milk, usually chocolate milk, to the powder. It creates a great froth and helps to mix the powder with the hit water. Sometimes I like to use coffee cream, especially when the best before date is near, to help use it up.

I find the taste, ummm, a little dark. It could use more sweetener in it maybe. There is lots of sugar in it already though. I will keep an eye out for the proper ingredients, mainly the cocoa. I just used our regular light brown cocoa. I know Bulk Barn has 2 more kinds of cocoa.

This recipe was created at home, zero waste.

I also have a recipe for homemade marshmallows, I just have not tried it yet.

Update Feb. 12.

Not tasteful enough for Chris, and I agree, it could be better. So I will try to get unsweetened cocoa from Bulk Barn, my next trip in and see if this recipe is any better.

Handkerchief

Facial tissues. Depending how you buy the boxes of tissues depends on how much waste is created. When you purchase a 6+ pack for example, they are wrapped together in plastic. Some brands plastic is waste while others are recyclable. We must remember that any plastic, even if it is recyclable, is not an option we should choose.

I buy single boxes of tissue. This way I only deal with the plastic liner inside the box. I buy White Swan brand, as it is the cheapest and they use recycled products. It is the cheapest unless other single box brands are on sale. Keep an eye out for the unit price. Though I just had a terrible thought: what if the store just unpacks a packaged of pre-wrapped tissue boxes.

While working at a hotel many years ago, the shipments of tissues we got was a large box that held single boxes, not wrapped in plastic. I sure hope that is the case at the stores today.

Besides which, I started collecting cotton rags (from kids old clothing). I started to use them as handkerchiefs. I only got about a dozen or so, but a good start for myself.

I was doing some research as to how to clean them, but I also learned how to use them correctly as to not spread germs. Though I do agree we need some germs to stay healthy.

Link #1

Link #2

I think the best way, especially if someone is sick, is to store the one time use hanky in a container. Once there is a good amount used, boil it for 15 minutes on the stove. Then wash with other laundry. I think a size similar to disposable tissues are best.

A great thing I noticed about handkerchiefs is how my fingers stay dry. Disposable tissues let the wetness through even if they are 2 ply or 3 ply. That was a reason I always grabbed 2 tissues to blow my nose in the past. Since about October i knocked that habit out and started to grab 1 tissue. Yay. Now I will reach for 0 tissues. Less waste, less resources and money saved.

Now I must collect old clothing and such to build our collection.