Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Movie Industry

Vancouver is also known as Hollywood North.  A lot of movies are filmed here. I know this is true because I work downtown, and my office overlooks a particularly colourful alley that is often occupied by film crews.

I love movies.  Heck, we’re making a movie.  But the thing about the movie industry is that it’s a bit wasteful.  The lights and gear use lots of energy; the trucks and mobile dressing rooms use tons of gas; the temporary sets are filled with disposable props and wardrobes; and there is a constant supply of paper plates and food and take out cups. Continue reading



Filed under interactions, reusable containers

Sometimes You Forget the Damn Bag

Grant says your reusable bag should be like your wallet and keys – you just shouldn’t leave home without it.

Well, honestly. . . sometimes I forget my wallet.

But we have house rules, and one of those rules is “no new plastic grocery bags”.  If you forget your bag, that’s just too bad; I guess you didn’t need that thing you wanted to buy as badly as you thought.

Either that, or you improvise.

For example, upon forgetting their bulk bags, some people (aka Grant) get the coffee roasters to put the loose beans directly into their regular shopping bag.

That got me thinking about other ways to avoid the dreaded plastic bag.  You could:

  • salvage used plastic bags from the recycling pile at the grocery store
  • stuff your groceries into your purse
  • “borrow” the plastic basket from the grocers (I’m not advocating this in any way)

  • fashion a carrying bag from your shirt (image from My Zero Waste)

  • carry your groceries in your arms

I particularly like this last one and was lucky enough to personally witness this occurring at a store where they charge $1 per plastic bag.  It was pretty hilarious to see people struggling out of the store with a family’s worth of grocery items precariously balanced in their arms.  I can tell you, it only took one time before customers caught on to the new bag fees.

Anything to save $1 a plastic bag right?


Filed under plastic bags

What About The Kids?

Last week I mentioned that Grant and I visited the Glenbrook Zero Waste group in New Westminster.  What I didn’t mention was that it wasn’t all easy-peasy.  They actually had a few hard questions for us.

And one of those questions was about kids. The Glenbrook project has 14 participating families and about 50 participating people, so you do the math.  There are lots of kids.

People often infer that Grant and I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere close to zero waste if we had children.  Continue reading


Filed under food, food waste, reusable containers

A Tale of Bicycle Waste

Yesterday, I learned the hard way about the importance of bicycle maintenance.

Last time I bought bicycle brakes, I opted for the slightly more expensive (but more ecofriendly) cartridge model.  Instead of replacing the whole composite brake pad, metal and all, you just slide out only the rubber bit and replace that.

Less waste.  Makes sense.

Now, I had known for awhile that my back brakes were wearing down.  I even went and bought some new cartridges.  But did I actually install them?  Of course not.

The thing with cartridge brakes is that they have a little metal pin that keeps the rubber bit in place (see photo), and if you let your brakes wear down too much, or don’t have them adjusted properly, the pin can, apparently, rub along the side of your wheel.

And if there is a piece of metal rubbing along your bike tire, you can pretty much bank on blowing out the sidewall and getting a flat.

I think you can guess what happened.

So because I was too lazy to spend 5 minutes putting in a new brake cartridge, I wasted a whole tire.  I know I can recycle it, but what a frikin’ waste!  (Not to mention the fact that I had to take the bus to work this morning.)

Moral of the story: a little work now means a lot less waste down the road.


Filed under recycling, slip ups

Cutlery in the Compost

I have some cutlery in my compost right now.  And no, it’s not that bioplastic stuff (although I have been “testing” a supposedly compostable, but  suspiciously plastic-looking, cup in there for nearly a year with very little progress).

No, this cutlery is the real biodegradable deal. It’s made out of wood. Scrap wood that would otherwise likely be burned on the cut block.  Scrap wood from right here in British Columbia!

Wait a minute, you might be thinking, isn’t it better to avoid disposable cutlery in the first place? Continue reading


Filed under food waste, product reviews