Monthly Archives: September 2008

Day 91: Package Free Veggie Bin

Lucky for me, my brother went away for the weekend and left me his bi-monthly garden box from the the City Farm Boy.  That means a fridge full of veggies with no packaging! (well, the leaf lettuce came in a bag, but hopefully I can return it so it can be used again)

The City Farm Boy is actually a man, and, true to his title, he is an urban farmer.  He has small patches of farmland spread out in Vancouver within 5 miles of his house.  He bicycles around and farms in the backyards of people who don’t want to be responsible for their own garden but who support the idea of growing food locally.  The City Farm Boy operates as a CSA (community supported agriculture) meaning you pay a set amount in advance in the spring and then enjoy a box of freshly picked bounty every two weeks all summer.  If there is a lot of produce, you get a lot, if there is a little produce, you get a little.

Well, this week, we got a lot!  Continue reading



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Day 89: Compostable Gala at the Film Fest

The one time we forget our reusable mugs, and it’s open bar.

Last night, Grant and I went to the International Vancouver Film Festival Gala.  Our first gala.  Ever.  We knew there would be food;we knew there would be drink; we naively thought that they would serve thousands of people with real wine glasses.

I managed to snag one of the few ceramic side plates floating around, but the only beverage option was plastic.  Or was it? Continue reading

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Day 86: Cheese (Energy) Please

I don’t want to be spreading corporate spiel around and promoting big business, but this story was just too good to pass up.  Kraft is bringing two of my favorite things – cheese and waste reduction – together.  They have announced that two of their New York plants will be turning cheese whey into energy, thereby producing less waste and saving money.

Of course, they get to put a lovely green advertising spin on it all because the plants will now be using biogas instead of natural gas.  But good for them.  Why not save money and reduce waste at the same time?

Not to pretend I scooped this story myself, here it is its entirety at Green Biz.

The irony of course is that one of the plants manufactures string cheese, a product which, although extremely fun and silly to eat (yes, i have tried them), is essentially a tiny stick of cheese individually packaged in plastic.  I do wonder if that string cheese plant really needs to exist in the first place.  I also wonder whether the second plant which manufactures philly cream cheese has any plans to do other things such as reduce the amount of virgin plastic it uses in the creamcheese containers.

It seems to me that redesigning the products themselves might be better for the environment in the long run.  If anything, I think this story highlights that although it’s great that large and very influential companies are jumping on board the green wave (expecially when it equals cost savings), there are still always more things that can be done.  One step at a time I guess.

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Day 83: Recycling Parade!

I don’t have much experience in parades apart from a brief stint as a girl guide, but this weekend, Grant and I participated in our first ever Recycling Parade!

A friend of mine, Miss M, lives in an amazing building called Quayside Village.  They recycle and reuse so much at Quayside that they don’t even have a garbage dumpster.   They are an entire apartment building living virtually waste free! How is this possible with so many people?  We were invited to come and tour their recycling facilities, and, lucky for us, it happened to be the day of the great Recycling Parade. Continue reading


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Day 81: Sick of Tissue?

I was sick this week.  Nothing too extreme, but a pretty bad head cold, sore throat, conjestion, headache.  You know, the usual across-the-board malaise.  Enough to garner me a couple sleepless nights and a day off (you know I’m sick when I take an unpaid day off work).

But this leads me to the issue of tissue.  We’re not supposed to be buying things except food and hygine basics.  So I guess the question is the definition of “basics”.  I think we had intended it to mean soap and maybe toothpaste, but that’s about it.  Paper towels are out, toilet paper is in. . . tissue kind of falls in between. 

Originally I had envisioned using cloth hankies, but that seemed unrealistic once my nose became a faucet of snot.  Sure, I don’t mind carrying around the occasional sneeze in my pocket, but at the rate I was going, I would’ve needed a bedsheet in my purse.

Using toilet paper seems nearly the same as tissue  except that it avoids the plastic film on the top of the box and is decidedly less soft and cosy.

For now I’m in the clear because I still have a half-box of tissue on my desk at work.  (Thank goodness I made a quick recovery.)   I’m going to try to make it last all year, so i can avoid the dilemma of whether to buy a new box.  In the meantime I’ve been composting my kleenex so at least it doesn’t end up in the bin.


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Day 76: Wasted Food, Or Not

Following up on the theme of wasted food, introduced today by Mrs. Green over at My Zero Waste, I’ve been doing some research on food waste over here in North America.

Can you believe that 25% of our food goes into the trash?! That means for every 4 apples you buy, you throw one out. Seems ridiculous doesn’t it? And that statistic doesn’t even account for the food that never even makes it to the stores due to physical imperfections and crop disease.

We recently did an interview at our local green grocer, and we learned that, even though they discount food that is getting old and cut up veggies into stirfry bags when they are getting really old, they still throw out a lot of food. They told us that the number one perishible food in the store is berries. Sometimes an entire flat of blackberries is mouldy by the time it arrives at the store, and they have to throw the whole thing out. Or worse, when most of the fruits are going bad in a box, and it is often not worth the time to go through and pick out the good ones.

I’ve also been learning a lot from by Johnathan Bloom. Johnathan is writing a book about food waste in America, and reports on all sorts of things such as how school cafeterias are saving food waste by eliminating trays. “How does that work?” you ask. Continue reading


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