Monthly Archives: September 2011

Package-Free Shopping

I love finding stores that make it easy to shop zero waste. Stores like Unpackaged (England) or In.gredients (Texas) or La Forêt (Wakefield).

My most recent “find” was this past weekend in Powell River, BC. When we pulled into town, we noticed Ecossentials first thing what with its “get unpackaged” and “refillable cleaners” window signage, but it was Sunday, so we satisfied ourselves with pressing our noses up against the glass.

The next day, we headed there before leaving town. Ecossentials sells bulk food and cleaning supplies as well as food tins, glass straws, ethical toys, lunch kits, and even an electricity-free espresso maker.. . all with nary a plastic bag to be seen. It’s our kind of place.

In the dry goods section, they have neat stacks of cotton bags you can buy if you forget your own. In the back, they have shampoo, liquid soap, and laundry soap on tap. They even do door to door delivery with reused containers.

Even better, Melissa, the owner, had seen our film the night before and offered to sell our movie in her store. How awesome is that!?

I could go on and on, but Grant got a new iphone plugin that he was itching to use, so maybe I’ll just let you see it for yourself:

PS – she mentions Pebble in the Pond in the video – they have great information of plastic reduction here



Filed under consumerism, packaging, reusable containers

DIY Baby Shower

You’ve maybe noticed that I haven’t been around this here blog much lately – partly because I’m been busy over at – but that doesn’t been I haven’t been thinking and doing zero waste.

Case in point: one of my very good friend recently had a baby shower. No, I didn’t push my mandate on the hostess . . .she was right on board, and it worked out really well!

Food: The Mom-to-be’s Mom made all the food from scratch, including quiche, salads, cupcakes, and appies – right down to the fig jam! (we offered to help, but she said she was under control). Sure there was some packaging, but nothing like what you’d expect from a standard gathering, and they had bins for compost and recyclables (hurrah!)

Dishes: I have a case of wine glasses  (a souvenir from my cousin’s backyard wedding) that I keep in a kitchen cupboard for events, and her Mom rented real plates for only a few dollars that could be returned dirty to the rental company, making cleanup super easy.

Games: Yes, yes, what is a baby shower without games? One of our friends planned this portion, and she managed to avoid  gimmicky plastic oriented shower games altogether! We had to remember baby animal names (anyone know the technical term for a baby monkey?), guess the circumference of the Mom-to-be’s belly (with compostable cotton string), and guess the number of jelly beans in a baby bottle (which was then given to Mom as a gift). We also had a clothespeg game with wooden clothes pegs which the guest of honor took home for her new clothesline.

Decorations: This was my category, and I manged to do it DIY (and free). Grant had photographed a wedding that week, and the bride had handmade hundreds of pink tissue paper pompoms. I knew the sister of the groom well enough that I could ask about whether the decorations were headed to the landfill.  Turns out that the bride was ecstatic that her creativity would be given a second life at the shower, so I went home with a pack full of pompoms.  To balance the overwhelming pink theme, I also made a couple of fabric banners (way more time consuming than expected) out of scrap yellow, blue, and green fabric I got at the free store with the word “congratulations” in felt letters also made from scrap. The decorations were snapped up after the party for yet another shower.

Wrapping Paper: Ak! There was a lot of it. All I can say is that we salvaged what we could for reuse, and recycled some, and luckily there weren’t too many plastic bows or that sort of thing.

Gifts: My lovely friend is the practical sort, and I have to give her A+ because this was the first baby shower I had ever been to where second hand gifts were given the ‘ok’ right on the invite. She ended up receiving loads of lovely, quality gifts (some new, some preloved) that I think she will really use.

And while we’re talking DIY, one of the gifts I gave her was a pair of baby booties made out of felt I already had at home. I forgot to take a photo, but luckily Kim remembered her camera (thanks Kim).  I got the pattern from Heather Bailey (

So cute, aren’t they? I was so stoked about how my “bee booties” turned out that I promptly made two more pairs (with different designs) for future babies.

So truly, it was a group effort (with double points awarded to the Mom-to-be’s Mom), and we really did produce hardly any landfill garbage.  Whether it’s because of thrift or concern about waste, if you have more ideas on how to do a low impact party, please put them in the comments!


Filed under DIY