After seeing the amount of plastic floating the seas during our sailing adventures through Asia, we made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastic in our day-to-day lives. Moving into our new home in Canmore in June 2018 was when we started to get serious. We endeavour to make purchases based on packaging: avoid clam shells for produce and bakery items, when we can; eat English cucumbers that are not plastic wrapped like their European cousins and search out different products to replace single-use plastic.
So how are we doing? Rather well in some areas and very poorly in others.
These are some of the things we do:
- Reusable grocery bags - very normalised to take your own bag these days but sadly, not everyone does.
- Taking our produce loose or in reusable bags.
- Using a travel mug - if we have one then we can reward ourselves with a coffee/hot chocolate. If we don't, then it is just bad planning and we have to forgo that caffeine hit.
- Wax wraps, snack bags and Tupperware containers for our lunches at the ski hill or on the trails. We do not create any garbage - just a couple of things that need washing.
- Soap - just a cake of soap purchased without packaging rather than fancy soap options in their plastic pump packs.
- Shampoo Bar - we are experimenting with a shampoo bar in lieu of liquid shampoo. Yet to find a conditioner that works but the search continues.
- Reusable silicon bags rather than ziplocks - we have tried the plastic reusable bags but they do not last like the silicon ones do - and they are still plastic!
- We don't use Glad Wrap/Saran Wrap - except to wrap fondant when decorating a cake. If we thought harder, we could find an alternative for doing this. And the wrap we use is plant-based. We put things in containers. Recently, we bought some silicon covers that we are still getting used to - but not loving. We will likely just stick with putting things in containers!
- Garbage bags - we use the local paper to line our compost bucket. We are trialling compostable bin liners for the garbage bin. So far, so good... And just a note that in Canmore, we don't have wheelie bins due to bears. Our garbage goes into a community bin therefore the compostable bags are not sitting filled with garbage in a wheelie bin for a week.
We try to minimize the number of containers of cleaning products by reducing the number of different cleaners. We make some of our own, buy powders in cardboard boxes when possible and reuse spray bottles.
We are fortunate to have butchers at our supermarkets so we can buy meat and have it wrapped in paper rather than the polystyrene trays.
And what could we do better? Groan. The list is long. From buying all our dry goods in bulk and our own containers to forgoing Tim Tams because they are packaged in plastic. We have a long way to go but even the small contribution we are currently making is reducing the amount of single-use plastic in our garbage bin. And it is becoming very normal - which has to be a win!
Our favourite products:
Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper - a great Aussie brand. We do get our TP delivered but it comes completely plastic-free and the shipping is carbon-neutral.
Tru Earth Washing detergent and cleaner - a great Canadian brand! 32 washes come in a A5 sized cardboard envelope. We prefer fragrance-free. Our clothes are clean and we don't have the sticky mess of spilt laundry detergent. We don't use a fabric softener nor drier sheets so the cardboard envelope is the only rubbish!
Stasha bags - love these bags. We mostly use them to store things in the fridge and freezer. We have tried different brands but these are the favourites.
Rocky Mountain Soap - we buy unpackaged cakes of soap from this fabulous local business. Their soap is made 5km from our house, it is toxin-free and no packaging. It nails every eco button!
Frank Green reusable cups - Thanks to Hilary and Nadia for gifting us these fabulous take-away mugs. They fully seal so can be thrown into your bag full without disaster and they help keep your coffee/tea warm.
Great Wrap - we discovered this on our trip to Australia last year - reusing potato waste from the production of french fries - right on the Mornington Peninsula!! A great alternative to Glad Wrap...
Our mission to reduce plastic waste will expand to waste of all kinds once we move aboard our boat.