Black Box Waste

This day is garbage day. Every two weeks the black carts filled with disposable waste are picked up. I can proudly say it took 12 weeks to fill our watse cart! Though I am certain it could have waited another 2-4 weeks as we had to toss a mouldy box of books, which took a good chunk of space in the cart.

Our waste bins in the house are not lined with any bags. Super simple to just wipe out the garbage can’s once emptied. We do not have meat trays and nothing wet goes in the garbage cans to make smells. I buy our meat wrapped in paper (which is considered compostable on PEI, as long as it rips easily). If by chance I have a meat tray/wrapping there is a extra large garbage bag in the waste cart outside it would directly go to.

Once the waste cart is emptied on garbage day, it will sit empty until the household waste needs to go out. I take an extra large garbage bag and start filling it from the house. I set it in the waste cart untied. It will be full after about 2 more fillings from the house. For us, our household waste gets taken out every 2-3 weeks. I can fit 2 of those extra large garbage bags in the waste cart with a bit more room.

I have created a page showing most of what we buy now instead of the wasteful practices we used to buy into. It’s not complete, still a working progress. Take a look here.

  • Much of our groceries come from Bulk Barn and The Summerside Farmer’s Market.
  • By bringing your own containers and cloth bags, much waste is avoidable.
  • Making your own products and switching away from most cleaners helps your health and keeps money in your wallet.
  • Focus on reusables and use what you have.
  • Purchase in compostable packaging as much as possible
  • Purchase in non plastic packaging to stop the support to the plastic industry,  jars and metal containers.
  • Reuse the jars for food storage, vases, dry storage, body products etc . . .  (Glass is grounded up and used as aggregate on PEI for construction, not turned back into glass products).

Refuse unwanted items. Reduce your consumption of purchases. Reuse what you can. Repair your items. Purchase compostables. Recycle what you can but try and keep it minimum. Dont forget to shop second hand and purchase long lasting good quality items.

Editing to add: I strongly recommend that waste gets bagged, otherwise light plastics will be blown around by the wind or scavengers.  Whether it is by dumping the waste in your bin, the truck dumping it out of the bin, the truck driving down the roadways or at landfill, there are lots of opportunities for the plastics to litter the land and water. This is why I choose the extra large bags, I get more waste contained in them, and buying bulk is best. Instead of 8-10 small garbage bags, we use 2 garbage bags. Saves money for us as well.

Zero Waste Night Market Event

Yesterday me and Chris went to our first zero waste markets, which was held in Charlottetown at The Riverview Country Market and Cafe. Hosted by the Market, Urban Daisy and Forest Child Natural Beauty. Little did I know, it was an outside event and we were not dressed for the outdoors, oops! Next time, pack a coat just in case! Chris’ mom came down to our place to watch the kids with help from our niece as well. That’s right, we got away child free! Thank you Jean and Bailey! Xx

Sad to say, I did not take any pictures of the market, too busy going from vendor to vendor and holding our mugs of hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Yup, I packed mugs so we did not need a disposable, even if it was a paper cup. But I did take pictures of our products when we got home. It was so nice to finally put faces to names I knew from other online groups and companies. Some of the vendors put in a lot of work into what they make and truly recycling products into new fashions. I met up with the owners of Unpacked, which will be opening in Charlottetown next month, the Island’s first zero waste store.

First off was my new bamboo toothbrush. The Bristles are made of castor bean oil and the whole toothbrush is compostable. I heard of some people using the stick as a fire started once the brush has come to the end of its life, which I am told it should last as long a regular toothbrush before it needs replacing. Moonsnail Soapworks is where I got the toothbrush, $7.50. I also bought toothpaste tabs/bites which are fluoride free, but also plastic free. LUXE Beauty Bar sells it by the ounce, which in turn is about $6.00 for a couple weeks. May be pricey, but compared to other savings made in the long run, it makes up. Also, like I said, plastic free. I tried these out when I got home, and I was surprised with the toothbrush. Works great, does a great job cleaning and the size is perfect. Also, the bristles are so soft. The toothpaste bites, will take some time getting used to, but I’m down with that!

Chris bought a safety razor!!! He has been looking for quite some time and never seen one for sale until now! It was a pricey purchase, but in the long run, no more buying disposables. I’d say it will pay for itself within a year. (Sorry, also can not remember the vendor’s name, I try to find out)

This vendor, Nellie and Gabe really astonished me. Everything she sold was handcrafted by her and mostly came from products she recycled into her own new product. This bracelet is made from hemp, and the beads are reused from her thrift shopping trips. Can not get much more zero waste there, two thumbs up!

Chris convinced me to buy this sea sponge from Freckles and Porcelain. I always used to use the plastic bath sponges, but mine become unusable a while ago. Since then I just wast with my hands or a facecloth, but I found I could not scrub or reach areas very well. I thought someday I would find a loofa sponge, but I have not seen any for sale as of yet. So, sea sponge it was. I used it today and it works well and is so soft!

Great event, looking forward to more in the following months. I encourage you all to go to events in your area and support your local shops, they are counting on you.

August Blue Bag of Recyclables

We are super lucky on PEI to have a great recycling program. Though, I am not sure exactly what really gets “recycled”. I believe the more we can cut out the better!

Avoiding packed in plastic products is a great move! Look for compostable alternatives. Bulk Barn or other zero waste stores. Refill stations are truly beneficial! The only refill type product I buy is from the Farmer’ Market for laundry soap and a cleaner. $1.00 refund for bringing back the empty container so it can get reused. The next closest refill for dish soap is in Charlottetown, an hour drive away, by which I rarely travel to. (Need to work on that, as my dish soap is running low!) If need be, buy items in bulk amounts and in a recyclable container for your area. Maybe a container you can reuse for the garage or garden etc . . .

We have cut out much in our recycling bag! It used to be 2.5-3 bags a month of recyclables from this household!! Here are some earlier posts showing what was in them.

November 2, 2018. Two blue bags that month, started our journey in July of that year. Remember, the pics in this link shows only 1 blue bag worth out of 2! It’s a lot!

February 19, 2019.

May 20, 2019.

Here is this months check up on our blue bag.
Milk cartons, Cat food cans and lids, sunscreen bottle, coffee cream containers, Draino (clogged bathtub), few soup cans and other few items. 
Full bag. Since this picture, 3 cans and a milk carton added. Picture taken Aug 12.

Reviving Dry Markers

This bin is our dry marker storage until I take it to Staples for recycling. That’s right, Staples will send these to Terracycle for recycling into new products. Check it out here. Another company that will take back markers is Crayola, but from what was shared to me and my own looking, Crayola burns them to make fuel. Check it out here.

I seen a tip from another group member on Facebook about wetting the dry markers to bring them back. I tested it and it works!! In the main picture (above), the markers in the bin did not come back, but the rest did!

I took a cup of water, wet the end of the marker and stood it up to let the water drain inside. Right away it was working! The kids were thrilled as we were running low on markers.

The left side marks are the before strokes. The right side (3 lines each) are the after strokes.
Julia used the markers to make a picture.
Lots of colour
Jack too, made a picture.
Lots of colour
These pictures and test were done July 7, 2019. Today is August 5, 2019, and those markers are still in use!

Repurposed Clothing

I got to meet a lady I have had talks with online today. It was so nice to meet her! Heather is retired and repurposes clothing into bags. Her business/volunteer/donating is called Bits and Pieces. One can find her bags at local shops. I have personally seen them at Bulk Barn.

Heather donated to me some bags, an Owl one I admired. In return I gave her a couple loaves of my freshly made homemade bread and a jar of fresh homemade yogurt.

I am humbled and can not wait to put them to good use!

Love this one!
This bag is cute. Velcro fastening and the flower pattern on the handle Continues inside the bag.
This Jean bag is wonderful!
Cute stitch there.
These are at my local Bulk Barn 
Also at my local Bulk Barn .

My Improved Grocery Trip

The past 4 weeks have been very pleasing to me! I have found ways to avoid plastic packaging and stick to no bags, recyclable, box board or my own recyclable/cloth bags. I shop at my local Bulk Barn and Grocery store, Sobey’s. Occasionally Wal-Mart and Summerside Butcher Shop.  I would like to expand to our local Farmers Market!

Here is how I am doing now.

Produce with no plastic
Corn
Broccoli
Carrots, beans, tomatoes, lettuce and apples
Berries and fruit
The kids and I love berries! plastic containers, but at least they are recyclable! We do have a blueberry bush and a Mulberry tree. Someday I want a big patch of berries, different varieties. Maybe an apple orchard too! Depending on what everybody eats. There are 7 of us! ☺

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cucumer (not wrapped in plastic) and a single red onion, no mesh wrapping for a bunch of them!
Bulk Barn take in
Almonds, pistachios, cashews, choc. Covered almonds, some candy treats for kids, gummy worms, garlic powder, chocolate chips, rice, summer savory, recently bought ground coffee.
Some items need packaging improvement
Sometimes we are just stuck with plastic.

Popcorn (switching back to our popcorn maker and seeds, last boxed stuff), pads (looking for a change) kraft dinner (don’t eat much of this)
Chips
Meat and hotdogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon and sandwich meats
Recyclable packaging
Clothes hangers, the recycle label is there, small, but there! Check them over if you are tossing!
Canola oil, vinegar, cooking oil, popcorn seeds, and curry sauce
Milk and chip dip
Yogurt drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


All I did to start, was to choose a recyclable container or boxboard over waste plastic. Next was to purchase them singly or with my own containers or light cloth bags. This means to switch brands sometimes or look for a larger quanity of that item. For example, Cashmere toilet paper. The small packages (12) are packaged in waste plastic but larger quanities (24+) are packaged in recyclable plastic!) Reuse containers and mason jars!

House-hold changes

I switched to dryer balls instead of bounce sheets for the dryer. Though, once these balls wear out, they go to the garbage. Oops. Lesson learned. Meanwhile, I will find another solution! Another thought, I really want a proper clothes line! Sometime in the future!

 

 

 

Cotton rags for the kitchen and bathrooms. We always turn to use paper towels for any messes and cleaning. Not anymore. Once they are used and dirty, they go in a pillow case and once my stash is almost used up, into the washer they go with bleach.

I turned a Tide detergent cap into a holder for small hair accessories.  These little cups could be used for all sorts of storage in the bathroom, kitchen, garage, you name it!

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Update, February 1, 2019

Waste cart has not been picked up since Dec 19, 2018. Will probably go out Feb 13th. That will total 8 weeks to fill the waste cart.