Archive for Zero Waste

Killer Waste

Bottle caps, pen lids, twist ties, that little piece that snapped off your kid’s toy the other day.  Individually these items and others like them may seem small and harmless, and individually, for the most part, they are.  Sadly if they are not disposed of properly and recycled these small pieces of plastic will become lethal for sea birds and other forms of marine life.

A study of albatross chicks on Midway Atoll, a tiny island in the center of the pacific ocean, found that forty percent died before fledging: their stomachs packed with plastic debris that their parents had mistaken for food.  If this is happening thousands of kilometers from any major population centers, imagine what the waters off the coasts of our cities must look like.

Please reduce the use of disposable plastic products and recycle what you can to divert all these little, lethal pieces of plastic from our landfills and oceans. If you need a little inspiration scroll down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog for July 2015 Killer Waste

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Winnipeg Recycler Hailed as a “Rock Star”

The Star reported a short story about a man in Winnipeg who sent 41,767 cigarette butts to a company to recycle. In turn they have called him a hero. A nice, inspirational story to remind us all that there are good people out there making a difference and we could be one of them – assuming we are willing to go that EXTRA mile.

The cool thing I took away from this article was the company itself and what they are doing! TerraCycle takes previously un-recyclable or hard to recycle items, like the dreaded coffee pods and snack pouches, and recycles them into useable goods. They run various programs, called Brigades, and you can check them out online, collect your waste, order a shipping label from them and then post your waste – Voilà!

Take a couple of minutes and check out their site and then tell a friend! They are a great example of next step thinking – some municipalities are still struggling to offer standard recycling, TerraCycle brings recycling to the door of those who want and can do it!

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Edible Packaging: If the smoothie didn’t fill you up, the cup will!

I have recently heard of a new trend on the rise – edible packaging! So far in Vancouver, the only place to try it is the White Rabbit candies with their edible rice paper wrapping. But globally, edible packaging is becoming a real thing and being sold at some Whole Foods Stores and smaller businesses.

In the same vain as edible packaging is the new line of biodegradable packaging by Swedish design firm Tomorrow Machines. These containers are designed to decompose at the same rate as the food they hold!

Just think about how much plastic will be kept out of landfills! With edible packaging, these containers can either be eaten or harmlessly melted away on the grass! No chemicals, no harmful dyes – pretty amazing. I can’t wait to see this trend on the rise in Vancouver – sign me up!

Check out this article from The Guardian

A bottle made of wax-coated caramelized sugar, for example, is suitable for olive oil, since the material doesn’t react with the fatty liquids

A bottle made of wax-coated caramelized sugar, for example, is suitable for olive oil, since the material doesn’t react with the fatty liquids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A container made from agar seaweed gel is best for sugary drinks like fruit juices and smoothies.

A container made from agar seaweed gel is best for sugary drinks like fruit juices and smoothies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soft beeswax packaging labeled with soy-ink works for Basmati rice.

Soft beeswax packaging labeled with soy-ink works for Basmati rice.

 

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Refillable: Business is Booming in Vancouver

Reduce, reuse, recycle and REFILL! The refill phenomenon is taking Vancouver, and other major cities, by storm. From cleaning products, to personal care and even beer, shops all over the city are popping up to refill your containers.

The idea of reducing waste by creating refillable packages is not new. Method is a line of personal and household cleaning products sold in various major retail stores. They offer dispensers that are intended to be refilled with Methods refill products, which are sold in larger quantities and in reduced packing. Not everything they sell is refillable and not every store offers it. I know you can get your salon products refilled at some hair salons, but that is more about product type, not recycling. The fact is, until now, refillable was a nice thought, but offered little selection and still required packaging, and shipping to a store near you.

These new refill stores are offering an incredible selection of personal and household products, too many to list. Often made locally and/or in Canada, the products are generally cleaner, greener and safer. By requiring you to bring your own bottles, they are dramatically reducing the plastic waste that ends up in landfills or floating at sea.

While soap and shampoo refills are awesome, I have to say that the increased availability of Growlers is my favourite refill trend. What’s a growler? It’s a large bottle, similar to a milk jug, that’s made of glass and made to keep your fresh beer in your fridge for a few days. There are so many local breweries in Vancouver that offer these and who doesn’t want a fresh pitcher or Mocha Porter in the fridge?

For more information check out:

 

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Zero Waste Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up and with it comes the opportunity to celebrate your mother! She may have gone crazy sometimes, given up hobbies, even careers to raise you, but now you are a thoughtful, caring and environmental grown up, so her efforts were not in vain.

I know I wasn’t the only one who grew up listening to their mom constantly remind them not to be wasteful. Demands such as “don’t waste your food”, “close the front door”, “take the toaster to the repair shop” and even, “Don’t waste your breath” were frequent. It seems mother’s are natural conservationists. Considering my career choice and environmental leanings, I am going to go ahead and say mom had an impact.

So this year, what about celebrating your mom and her words of wisdom and natural environmental leanings by having a zero waste Mother’s Day!

If you really want to impress Mom call Fresh Start and book the Mother’s Day Ultimate Clean and Tidy! Fresh Start and Out of Chaos are teaming up to bring you the gift that is both zero waste AND sure to thrill!

Appointments can be booked between now and Sunday May 10th, 2015. For a little more information about Linda and Thomas, please read on!

Out of Chaos Professional Organizing Solutions

Need to reclaim that extra bedroom? Don’t know where to begin digging out?  Call in the professional organizers at Out of Chaos.  They will sort you out and clear your stuff so that you can enjoy your space again.

Check out their great reviews on Yelp

 Fresh Start Recycling and Disposal

Have you got clutter you don’t know what to do with? It’d be simple if it was all just trash, but it’s not! Fresh Start’s approach is simple: we show up on time, sort thoroughly, recycle conscientiously, and haul efficiently. We’re dedicated junk haulers who use our talent for cleaning up big messes to create opportunities for growth in our community – particularly Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES)!

Hear what out clients love about Fresh Start

 

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Garburator – to have or not to have

There was a time that I was envious of my friends or family that had a garburator in their kitchen sink. Imagine; just peel those carrots – right INTO the sink – no muss, no fuss. It seemed easy, clean, and best of all, environmentally friendly! I imagined my chopped up food being returned to the earth to feed future plants and animals – the circle of life.

The day came when I moved into a place with a garburator of my very own! The boxes were barely unpacked before I was frantically peeling an orange and tossing the peel right in the sink! With excited anticipation and some dread I turned on the tap and flipped the switch. As I watched and heard my peel being mulched it occurred to me that I was running a lot of drinkable water down the drain… On one hand I would be keeping food waste out of the landfill, but could wasting so much water really be environmentally friendly?

The short answer is no, no the garburator is NOT environmentally friendly. In fact, many cities are banning them in new buildings. My instincts, when watching all that water wash down the drain, were correct, it is wasteful, but not only that. Garburators use electricity, the mulched food over-burdens our wastewater treatment facilities and increase the nitrate levels in the surrounding soil and water. On top of all that, the food residuals I had imagined feeding my future seafood and plants is chemically treated.

There are some people who argue that the banning of garburators is a missed opportunity, who say that with improved wastewater treatment facilities and methods, garburators could be an untapped environmental resource. From what I’ve seen so far, the days of green friendly garburators are not even in their infancy.

All that said, as with all things in life, it is important for you to discover what you can and decide for yourself.

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What does Fresh Start Do?

Fresh Start helps homeowners, and building managers (among other people), to recycle and rid themselves of unwanted items around Vancouver.

Fresh Start helps people that have items of “negative value” which means what they used to pay money for, they now need to pay money to get rid of .

We make those negative value items positive again by charging to pick them up and recycle them so the circle can continue.

If you have a garage full of negative value, call Fresh Start Recycling; we’ll sort you out.

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