No Weekends Missed at the Market

Another farmer’s market trip on the weekend!

Kale, apples, rainbow carrots, raspberry jam, garlic, 1/2 lb. Bacon (buying less as I dont eat it and the kids themselves not been wanting any lately), micro greens, bean sprouts and corn shoots. The corn shoots are delicious!! Tgey have a sweet taste to them! The containers can be brought back for reuse and I can bring my own container which the lady will fill up at home and bring back to me the following week! I’m so happy with the options! I also bought some wheat grass. It is great for smoothies and great for cats to aid digestion and cope with hairballs. Sparta likes to eat our Christmas decorations and has hairballs now and then, but also gets sick once in a whike. I am hoping the wheat grass will help sooth her.

Since I started going to the farmer’s market well over a year ago, I have not missed one weekend! Dedication to support local, eat local and strive to zero waste!

Eating Out at a Family Restaurant

This weekend we went to Boston Pizza. We do not eat out often, and I’m a little rusty with bringing our reusables, for the kids.

Kids drinks cake with straws and some covers. I saved them and will put them in my purse for the next time we dine out. I did this a couple months ago when we went to Pizza Delight. I still have the covers, waiting for the time to be reused.

There were some chicken strips leftover from the kids meal. I just wrapped them up in a napkin and took it home. The kids had it for school lunches.

Thomas’s 3rd Birthday

Thomas turns 3 years old today!

  • Cloth diapers since October of 2018
  • Temporary glasses
  • Gates off the stairs
  • Potty training very recently with success
  • Speaking sentences
  • Huge vocabulary
  • Loves the outdoors
  • Loves horses and cows, especially when we go for a drive

We kept his Bithday gifts minimum and Thomas had a great day!

  • Created a playlist on youtube with songs from Baby Shark. Played, sang and danced along with that.
  • Homemade decorations throughout the house
  • Picked up a cake from Sobeys and used my own container.
  • Local jigsaw puzzle as a gift
  • A singing Baby Shark toy. Almost bought a plush teddy just because, but thought about a baby shark toy would be more fitting! Thomas loves baby shark
  • Picked up some candy from Bulk Barn
  • Collected $5.00 worth of coins for Thomas to put into his money can
  • A few suckers, he loves them
  • Grammie and Grandad dropped off some surprises  too.

No need for a bunch of toys as we already have so much. He can start using Lego now and we have many many puzzels for him to work on! Not to mention, Christmas is coming. We tried to make the day special and I believe we succeeded. 

Farmer’s Market Trip and a Little More

This weekends haul from Downtown Summerside.

    • Apples from Brady’s Farm. So good and juicy! I bring my own bag and refuse theirs. Although, the paper bag provided is welcomed to be returned for reuse!
    • Broccoli and carrots from Crystal Green Farms were bagged, but I asked for them unpacked and the farmer will reuse the bags. Actually, all veggies bagged can be unpacked or you could call/message them before market day to arrange the items packed in a paper bag for pick up.
    • BBQ sauce from High on the Hog. I have been wanting to make my own and have not yet, so here I am supporting local!
    • Eggs.
    • Micro greens from Our Old Island Market Farm has containers of micro greens which can be returned and/or I can give my own container to be filled for the following week! This is much their norm to cut waste and reuse.
    • Vinegar Hill Bakery will bring goods in paper bags instead of plastic bags if you ask for your order the day before the market!
    • One Stop Healing makes lotions for many uses and more. You can bring her a container which she can fill from the workshop and bring it back to the market the following weekend with the product you chose.
    • Turnip.

Coconut culture in the glass jar for making coconut yogurt. One step closer! From the health food store on Water street.

  • South Shore Soaps bar soap I bought from the Three Oaks Craft Fair.
  • A couple puzzles for Thomas and Chris to enjoy as well from LIL’ Buddy Puzzelz at the fair too.
  • 3 Pj sets to split up with the girls at home from Frenchy’s. Was looking for pj’s for Jack, no luck.

Great weekend supporting local!

Making Our Own Fresh Orange Juice

Nothing like having a glass of orange orange juice; freshly squeezed!  I feel like I’m not getting enough Vitamin C so I decided to start having fresh juice available.  Though, it reallymstarted when me and Chris were making drinks. Bahama Mama is my favorite alcoholic drink. I did not want to buy a jug of orange juice, a box of aluminum cans would be too much. So, making my own juice would work. I took the same idea with pineapple juice. Skip the cans and go straight for the fruit!

Peel and core and pop into the blender with a bit of water. After the fruit is blended, strain through a cheese cloth. Lots of yummy fresh juice! We did the pineapple first, and next was the oranges. Instead of adding water like above, we added some pineapple juice to the oranges. Blend, strain and taste. We thought the taste of orange and pineapple was pretty close to Five Alive!

This day, I peeled 6 oranges. Blend 2 at a time with 1/2 cup of water each time. Blend, strain with cheese cloth and stir in a container. At first I was storing the orange juice in a reused sunflower oil bottle, but Chris felt that the kids (Thomas) was too young to have a handle on it. If it dropped, lots of sharp pieces of glass. So, I found our juice jug and stored over a liter of orange juice in it.

The kids are not a fan, it does not have any added sugar of course. Thomas will have some and Jack is so-so. I want to experiment with adding other citrus fruits and see what flavors we can come up with!

 

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.

Grocery Trip This Week

Now and then I like to share our shopping products. This time around, I did buy multiples of items as they were on sale, such as the flour, we go through quite a bit. The first picture is our most wasteful trip, regular grocery store. Not everybody in this house has cut back all plastic waste packaging. Together we are working on it, I can not control everything. Just like we as individuals are on a slightly different path on the zero waste journey, so are our family members. I got to give respect and patience to those, as they do great in other areas of the zero waste practice.

Sobey’s trip. I started to purchase Nutella again, unhappily.  But I found it available in glass jars. We reuse the jars for drinking glasses or for starting new plants from our Christmas Cactus. Still looking for the right recipe!
Flour was on sale, grabbed a couple bags.
The Summerside Butcher Shop. Everything wrapped in paper as requested.
Superstore trip. Dishwasher detergent in box. Sandwich meat in my own container and some casseroles in my own containers to take to a family potluck.
Bulk Barn trip. Lots of goodies in the pic. I did pick up some peanut free chocolates for Halloween, wrapped in foil; better than wrapped in plastic (no to new/recycled plastics).
The Summerside Farmer’s Market trip. Barnsoap and lip balm in a tin can from The Farmer’s Wife. Apples and carrots. Bacon and hot dogs. Eggs and an Aloe Vera Plant! Also stopped at Staples for white paper, wrapped in paper.

Latly I have been thinking about how Bulk Barn recieves their products. For example, cornstarch. I can buy it in compostable packaging at the grocery store. Does Bulk Barn get it in paper bags or plastic bags? There are some unknown factors that I want to get to the bottom of. I realize that even though I can get cornstarch in a box at the grocery store, the pallet of that item is probably wrapped up in plastic anyways. Food for thought!

 

Refundable Recyclable Reusable Bag

I have had a plan for months to cut out blue bags for one part of our waste sorting. The types of recyclables that you pay a deposit for, in return recieve a small refund. On PEI aluminum cans for pop, juice and liquor are refundable. Also, juice cartons, kids juice boxes, and sport drink containers. All of which are single use items unfortunately. We have cut back much of these items, keeping in mind aluminum has a higher probability to be recycled compared to the other cartons.

I’m not sure why, but I have always stored these items in blue bags. Any bag would due! As of late, I have been using boxes to store these items. I get the box back to reload once I visit the recycling depot. My master plan was to sew cloth bags to house the recyclables destined for the depot. Once emptied, the bag can be washed, unlike the cardboard boxes I have been using.

Our refundable recyclables include pop and juice aluminium cans. Once in a while the kids will bring home a sports drink bottle or other plastic drink container. We reuse them for a while, but eventually they must go. We do not drink much juice. We have cut down from over 2 litres a day to a cup a day each basically. And not everyday either. I do not drink juice or pop, Chris rarely drinks juice, and Daniel will have a pop once a week or so. Our bag used to fill up within a month, now it takes 2-3 months to fill, which is great! Reduce what you can.

I grabbed a piece of old sheet that I have already took pieces from and made 2 good size bags, basically large pillow cases. So easy! I made a pocket around the top to put in a drawstring to close the bag once full. The drawstring was a narrow piece of another sheet of different colour I cut and used. At first I used the same sheet for this purpose, but the drawstring blended in too much.

Cut to size, Thomas is helping.
Sewing machine is set
Two made, that’s all I need.
One full, the other not so much.
Drawstrings cut.
Tied into a straw, the tap is there to stop the drawstring from slipping off while pushing it through the bag pocket.
Ta-da!

 

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.

Washing the Laundry

Washing clothes can be next to zero waste. There are options available to help homeowners switch away from jugs of detergents.

  • Find a refillable option, such as Down East laundry detergent. You can easily contact this company to find the nearest location to you. All you got to do is bring a container, get it tared at the store, fill up with as much detergent you need and pay for it. No waste created. The closest store to me is in Charlottetown at Riverview Country Market and Cafe.
  • Buy powder detergents in box packages. I believe most packages come with a scoop, usually made of plastic, but it’s much less compared to a whole plastic jug! I opt for Tide unscented. I use it for cloth diapers solely. I found the product at Atlantic Superstore.
  • The laundry detergent I do use comes from a local maker, The Farmer’s Wife. It’s called Laundry Soap. All you need is a cap full per load of laundry, 1 bottle will last us 3 weeks for $14. Once the jug is empty, I return it for a dollar discount and the jug will get cleaned and reused! You can find the Farmer’s Wife at The Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s or order online here.
  • Fabric softener can be switched to Vinegar, and it does not leave a smell on your clothes! I find I do not even need to use it myself.
  • Washing Soda helps with boosting detergents as well. I mainly use it for towels as they are more dirty than clothing.
  • Borax is used for cloth diapers in my home. It helps stop mineral buildup on the diapers, otherwise they become liquid proof and carry a bad smell.
  • Oxygen Bleach is much better to use instead of Clorox. It is more natural and not so harsh. I mainly use oxygen bleach for cloth diapers as well, just to help pull the dirt away. Sometimes I will use it for some towels or sheets, if they are really in need of a good cleaning.
Regular everyday laundry. Washing soda and laundry soap. I am reusing an old cap from another detergent jug for my scoop with the washing soda. It equals out to hold 1/2 cup which is what is directed on the box. The laundry soap is measured by it’s own cap, nothing more is needed.
Ingredient list if anyone is interested.
Cloth diaper cleaners. Borax, I use a half cup per load. Oxygen Bleach, the one wasteful container I do use. I can not find its form in a powder box form. Currently I am reusing some containers as buckets. The cap there measures to a 1/2 cup. A full cup is directed in the instructions. Tide unscented powder cones with a scooping it’s own, not sure what I will do with the scoop once the box is empty.