Monthly Archives: June 2010

Zero Waste, Bike Style


So we’ve been on the road for about a week now, touring across Canada by bicycle. Some sections are really darn hard. . . but that’s not what this post is about. this post is about waste.

Living zero waste on bikes is not at all the same as at home. There is no pantry full of dried lentils and preserves. There is no oven to bake bread or cookies or granola bars. There is no garden out the back door for daily greens and herbs.

We can only carry so much, so we just take each day as it comes, and when we hit a town with a good bulk food store, we stock up, filling our mesh bags with trail mix, candies, dried fruit, and granola. We also carry a few boiled eggs and have been picking up samosas at corner stores for quick lunches. Between our make-shift pantry and stopping at bakeries and cafes, we’ve been keeping ourselves pretty well fed.

On the garbage side of things, we’ve also been doing well. We haven’t generated much recycling because we’ve been eating bulk food and fresh fruits and veggies (although I did carry a tin can for 2 days through Manning Park until I met a guy who took it to recycle). Paper is no problem – they seem to take it in every town we’ve been through. I also have a little compost container with us. This morning, after scoping a compost in someone’s backyard, I knocked on their door and was able to get rid of a couple days of food scraps, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to use this method all across the country.

So far, we do have two pieces of garbage we’re carrying with us. I ordered a breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola bar, and the bar, unfortunately, arrived on the plate in plastic wrap. (I know where to recycle this in Vancouver, but not here in the Okanagan). Grant also bought a soy milk, so we have the little silver pull tab from the top.

But you know what I just realized that is really weird? We don’t actually have to carry our waste with us. We don’t have any kind of Clean Bin Project ‘rules’ anymore. I could just put that pull tab in the garbage at this very campsite. Why do we feel compelled to carry it with us? Is it because we’re stopping and talking to communities about not producing garbage so we feel like we have to monitor ours? Or is it just that we are so used to ‘collecting’ our waste, that we can’t help it? In either case, I’ve got a piece of plastic wrap and a pull tab in my front bike bag right now, and I can’t seem to throw it out.

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