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Minimal waste challenge reflections for April

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

By Ornella M.

I joined the minimal waste challenge because I saw it as an opportunity to take farther the eco-friendly actions that I had already set in my routine. I have been already using reusable bags for a while, I never use small plastic bags for my vegetables I put them as they are in my bag, I also use only compostable pads, eco-friendly laundry made of natural components, we (me and my boyfriend Joshuette) do not buy towel paper anymore, we have loads of dish clothes that we wash every now and again. I am also obsessed with jars, like jars used for jam, pickles, olives, anything! I clean them and re-use it to store spices, nuts. Anyways, all of this to say, I love living consciously, being aware that my behaviors can have negative impacts and adjusting my way of life to minimize these impacts. My dream is to have big garden where I could grow my own food, and chickens to have some fresh eggs and a lot of flowers and possibly beehives. And my kids won’t have iPhones or TV, but they’d read a lot of books and will be super smart.

Even though I am already doing few things, there was a lot of room for improvement. I wanted to start recycling my organic waste, I bought a small bucket and organic bin bags, I always leave it on the counter of the kitchen, this way, when I cook, I don’t forget to throw away my vegetables peels in the special bin instead of the regular garbage bin. So far, it has been working great! I feel good knowing that these wastes will go back to the soil, like the “circle” is complete.

I wanted to stop using aerosol. I don’t but my boyfriend does, these are mostly shaving cream even though he has no hair on his face, but I think that make he feels good to think that he is shaving, maybe he feels more like a male you know... Anyways, aerosols cannot be tossed with regular garbage or with recycled waste. In Toronto, to get rid of it properly, we must call a special number, and someone would come pick it up. We found alternative products that are not in aerosol :) , I am waiting for him to be done with his old product to call the recycling brigade of Toronto.

I managed to convince (persuade by threatening, yelling, getting mad, pressuring…) Joshuette to use reusable bags when he goes grocery shopping. It has been my battle for months! The guy will take a plastic bag even if he would buy one small item! And, on top of it, he always carries a bag back… But I am proud to say that he made a lot of efforts and now he uses the reusable bag :)

Things I want to improve for next month:

  • I want to put an organic bin in my bathroom to compost my pads (they’re made of compostable components).

  • replace all my cleaning detergent by natural products (I’ve heard white vinegar could replace mostly of chemical detergents).

  • shop at bulk barn more often

By Jessica Besaw

I am inspired by the words of the zero waste chef, Anne Marie Bonneau, who says “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly – we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” This mantra has uplifted my spirits over the past two months, especially when I feel discouraged by how small my contribution is to minimizing the overall waste epidemic. Some-days, it can even feel burdensome to become zero waste because of the difficultly in giving up the convenience of pre-packaged plastic items or it’s just too expensive to purchase the more environmentally conscious alternatives.

For the April 2019 month of the Rotaract Minimum Waste Challenge, we created a WhatsApp group to showcase the various ways we reduce, reuse, and recycle. I was impressed by the all the different ways that Rotaractors challenged themselves including packing their own cutlery set, using reusable shopping bags, and purchasing recycled products. I was happy to see that many Rotaractors carried around their own water bottles or coffee mugs. According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians drink ~14 billion cups of coffee every year, and by bringing our own coffee mugs, we stop single-use cups from being needlessly thrown away.

I personally have decided to tackle the minimum waste challenge in three main ways. The first is through composting. There are compost bins both at my home and work, so I take every opportunity to discard any leftover food product in the compost. The second is by keeping a metal straw at work and at home – so that I never have to use a plastic straw for my beverages. Finally, at my work in a biochemistry lab, I try to re-use a lot of ‘single-use’ plastics (i.e. pipettes, syringes, etc.) by labelling them so I can continuously reuse them without worrying about contaminating my samples.

Our club's minimum waste challenge is an amazing opportunity to take action to minimize your waste. If you would like to join the Rotaract Club of Toronto's Minimum Waste WhatsApp group, please click here:

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