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The Zero Waste Challenge: Over but not done

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It's Saturday and the end of the Zero Waste Challenge. Seven days of putting my garbage in a 750mL glass jar.
So, how'd it go? The answer: Not at all bad! Here's what I have taken away from participating in the Zero Waste Challenge.
It's easier with each challenge  Partaking in Plastic Free July meant that, when the time came for the Zero Waste Challenge, I had already adopted some of the habits necessary for success. I had already experienced the discomfort and growth that comes with reflecting on our existing ways and changing our habits for the better. This challenge was a welcome check-in on where I am at in persisting with those new and improved habits, as well as a welcome reminder that there are still ways in which I can do even more for our planet. The items that still get me:
Q-tips (I'm no longer waiting on this box to empty and will be moving to a reusable ASAP)Produce stickersBottle caps and fake corks Green bin programs have a long way to go I put my co…

Kicking off the Zero Waste Challenge!

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October 20, 2019. This date marks the beginning of the seven day Zero Waste Challenge Waterloo Region (check it out here: https://reepgreen.ca/zerowaste/). Beginning tomorrow, anything that would usually go in the garbage in my house (with the exception of pet waste) will go in a 1L glass jar. Well, "what could be compost" will have its own jar. But more on the reasons for that later in the week.
Why take the challenge?  The short answer, of course, is why not? When I signed on to the Plastic Free July challenge earlier this year, I had to answer to myself for the decisions I make regarding how I spend my time, and uncovered the value in priorities I had shoved aside. Accepting the Zero Waste Challenge seemed a wonderful way to revisit these and further challenge myself. However, if reasons such as adopting positive habits and hearing oneself are a little too close to the self-help section for you, do it for your children. Or for your grandchildren. Or for your grandchildren…

Flushing plastics down the (figurative) drain

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While Plastic Free July has come and gone for the year, the habits I learned from undertaking the challenge are here to stay. And August was the month for focusing my attention on the space in my house where the most plastics live: the bathroom.

A glance around my washroom at the beginning of Plastic Free July revealed single-use plastics e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. On the counter, in the shower, and in the cupboard. However, since many of the bottles were still near-full, I vowed to spend August investigating alternatives.
The replacements Some of my bathroom products have run out. And then there were others I was just too excited to try and added them to the "loo list". Here are the three key changes I have made thus far in that most personal of places.

Bar soap. My liquid soap refill is nearly empty and a bar of bee pollen soap sits at the ready for handwashing (made by SoapWorks and available at Full Circle Foods). I will be following this up with an oatmeal option in the shower…

The Muesli Comparison: Reflections on consumerism and life after Plastic Free July

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TL;DR: Psychology, economics, and consumerism all have a key role to play in sustainability. A key reflection from my Plastic Free July experience is that changing how we approach buying in even the smallest of ways can have a significant positive impact for our environment and the species we share it with.

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It started with a personal ban on disposable coffee cups. For half a year, I had been successful in only purchasing hot beverages when I had a reusable cup with me or when I felt comfortable making the time to sit-in and enjoy a cup of coffee without any rush. But once I had mastered that habit, I began looking for another challenge.

And then I was told about Plastic Free July. I investigated the movement and made the pledge, swearing off single-use plastics for 31 days. While I do not think it was too difficult to uphold this pledge, the lessons learned as a result of the process have been insightful and - at times - unnerving.

When I started down the path of investigating ea…