Buying Bulk Without Plastic

I’m continuing on my mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life.  One area that has stumped me until fairly recently was buying in bulk.

Bulk Spices from Community Natural Foods

A few months ago I discovered that Community Natural Foods allows people to use their own jars for bulk items. You simply bring the empty jar to customer service or any cashier to have it initially weighed (they write the weight on the lid). You can then go ahead and fill it and check out, where it will be weighed again. Since we buy a lot of our organic spices from this health food store, it works really well for us. They also accept cloth bags for bulk and encourage you to bring your own containers to their cafe. Read more in BYOC – Bring Your Own Container.

I recently noticed an ad for Bulk Barn Foods promoting Plastic Free July, offering 20% off all purchases made with reusable containers or cloth bags between July 11 and 24. They even have a Reusable Container Program where you can learn more. Good for them! I don’t typically go to Bulk Barn but I think I will check them out now.

It’s time that all grocery stores make the switch to offer plastic free alternatives. If you agree, mention this to your local store manager. I know I certainly will.

Wisdom from the Honey Bee

I recently attended a speaking event called “Lessons from the Humble Honey Bee” through an organization called Ladies Out Loud (details below). Guest speaker, Lori DuMont, was informative, entertaining and truly inspiring!

While Lori covered interesting facts about bees and beekeeping, it was the life lessons we can take from them that I want to share with you.

All jobs are important

  • Whatever you are doing, whether you are the queen, worker or drone, your skills and tasks are vital to the community.

The queen bee works for the colony

  • No matter what your position, always work for the benefit of the group.

Look to the future to prepare and thrive

  • Prepare diligently and methodically for harder times.

Success requires a non-partisan, informed democracy

  • Share wisdom and communicate effectively with each other, always with the focus of benefiting the whole.

Your 1/12 of a teaspoon counts!

  • Each individual honey bee provides about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, it still counts!

As we watch what is happening around the world, it can feel discouraging. Will our efforts make a difference? The humble honey bee says YES!

Every little thing we do helps to make the world a better place. Keep going!

Biographies

Lori DuMont is a teacher, pianist, bibliophile, gardener, and honeybee enthusiast. She lives in Airdrie with her husband and two young children.

Ladies out Loud is for women who are interested in learning, who want to be inspired by other women, and who like to have fun and chat about anything and everything (website).

ABC Bees is a pioneer Canada-wide for beekeeping education and innovation. They are Alberta’s only educator of beginner, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping skills. (website)

No More Plastic Food Wraps

I’m on a mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life. I replaced plastic water bottles with metal ones long ago. That was easily done. But what about the plastic wrap we use to store food in the fridge?

I’ve discovered a number of alternatives that work quite well.

Casserole dishes with plastic lid. While I realize it still has plastic, it’s not a single use item and can be reused over and over again. It is airtight and works well for storing raw meat as well as prepared foods and leftovers. It even works in the freezer.

Casserole dish with glass lid. These are great for food that need to be covered while cooking (and eliminates using tin foil) and also works for storing foods. It is similar to what my grandmother used to do – place food in a bowl and cover it with a plate.

Organic Reusable Food Wraps. I use the Etee Food Wraps which are made with organic cotton fabric, beeswax, coniferous tree resins, soy wax, jojoba and essential oils. They are bio-degradable, reusable and cling to bowls just like plastic wrap. They are not recommended for raw meat but they work great for everything else.

After a recent dinner party, I was grateful that I had all three solutions readily available for an easy cleanup… and no single use plastic!

Today Is The Day We Decide

There are many things I love about my husband. One of them is his constant focus on doing the right thing with regards to the environment.

We recycle and compost everything we can, as many people do. We also donate and reuse household items so as not to throw them out. If an item is no longer useable, my husband takes the time to find out how he can still recycle the materials (e.g. metal, etc.)

Just this past week our gas lawnmower, which was over 20 years old, finally gave up. After asking around my husband realized it would be just too expensive to repair and he doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to do it himself. He decided the best choice of action was to give it to someone who can repair it and buy himself a new one.

He came home with a push lawnmower.

Yes, they still make them. Good choice honey! I’m so proud of being married to someone who cares so much about our environment.

That said, we both realize that there is still much we can do to protect our beautiful world. There is much we can all do to help our environment.

Today is the day we can decide to do better.

This is the biggest thing David Suzuki has ever done. Around the world, more than 110 nations recognize the right to live in a healthy environment, but not Canada.

Together, we can change that: http://www.bluedot.ca/join-us

Sustainable Architecture

View this brilliant idea for greener urban development. Encouraging news for future environmentally friendly cities!

Counteract Too Much Sitting

Many of us sit long hours each day. The result is lower back pain, stiff necks and strained shoulders. The expression “sitting is the new smoking” speaks volumes to how much harm it does to our bodies.

So, what can we do to counteract the effects of too much sitting?

The obvious solution is to do the exact opposite… stand and move.

I’ve created a “stand up” desk for myself which works great. While I’m on the computer I’m constantly shifting my feet and moving slightly.

I also learned an exercise from my chiropractor that is both easy and simple. March on the spot for a minute every hour or so. Do this with knees lifted high and arms swinging enthusiastically. It may look silly but it works wonders!

Worth a try?

Source: Dr. Ryan Lees Blog | Simple but Effective.

10 Ways to Have a Greener Business

Small businesses and large corporations alike are being encouraged to help the environment and save energy. Whether you are an employee or a business owner, we can all make a difference with even small acts.

Here are some ideas to help you along the way.

  1. Remember your 3 R’s.  Recycle, Reduce and Re-use.
  2. Let clients know you are serious about being “green” by offering incentives. For example, for every purchase, you donate X amount to environmental causes.  You gain clients and you also give back.
  3. Reuse your paper by printing on both sides or create note pads out of single side printed paper.
  4. Refuse flyers and un-solicited mail at your place of business. Instead of subscribing to magazine for your waiting area, consider other sources for these materials such as garage sales or sharing with another office nearby.
  5. Buy used office equipment, furniture and even computers. Sources such as Kijiji, eBay, craigslist and more have excellent quality if you snoop around.
  6. Recover or refurbish (or refinish) furniture if in need of a new look.
  7. Advertise and promote online (or in person) more and advertising in paper-related media less. When you tell your customers, you are “green” you are making a passionate statement.
  8. Scan or save documents and file electronically.  Use monitors or projectors to share rather than printing.
  9. Insist on eco-friendly cleaning supplies for your business.
  10. Replace disposables in your work place:
    • Dixie Cups for glasses
    • Styrofoam coffee cups for Ceramic
    • Paper coffee filters for permanent coffee filter
    • Plastic utensils for stainless steel
    • Single use batteries for rechargeable batteries, etc.

When we all do our small part, it makes a big difference while saving money in the long run.

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