Category Archives: no waste on the road

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.



Filed under no waste on the road

Restaurant Take Out. Or Not.

So, I went out for dinner with a few of my girlfriends the other night.  And as soon as I arrived, one of them said “you’ll never guess what I brought!”

Sure, enough, I couldn’t, because it turned out to be a reusable plastic container that she had brought specifically to hold her anticipated leftovers.  (The crowd goes wild, cheering  for waste free dining)

Make no mistake.  My girlfriends have all known about the Clean Bin Project and about my tendency to carry reusable containers in my purse for some time now.  And we meet for dinner every month or two.  But this is the first time that this is the first time that this particular friend has come prepared for leftovers.

I’m not taking full credit for this event, but I do want to point to the fact that she specifically showed me her container.  This Clean Bin Project thing might have some teeny tiny influence out there after all.

So what about you?  Are you the kind of person who intends to avoid takeout containers, but somehow ends up with them anyway.  Or are you are the kind of person who has a container in your bag right now.

In either case, you should check out Take Out With Out.  They’re running a campaign to reduce restaurant waste.

Their slogan is “fill your stomach not the landfill”, and what with their blog, facebook group, and twitter feed, it’s kind of a combination how to/support group for avoiding take out containers.

It’s pretty new, mind you, (the website launched Jan 1, 2010) so some of the pages are looking a tad stark, but if you have a picture or a story to tell about take out, or if you’re a restaurant trying to do the right thing, then these guys want to know about it.

Whether you use plastic, metal or glass, let 2010 be the year when yon’t forget your container!


Filed under food, no waste on the road

Flying Pop

Remember that guest post that Grant’s cousin chronicling his adventure trying to avoid a plastic cup while on an airplane?  And then I wrote about Chris Jordan whose art work informed me that 4 million plastic cups are used in the United States airline industry each day?

Well yesterday was the first time I’d been on a plane in a while, and you could definitely say that plastic cups were on my mind.

As we took off, I clutched my reusable mug and prepared to fight for my right to use it.  I rehearsed in my mind how I would manoeuvre my way out of a plastic cup: plead, reason, cite the environment, claim the dreaded (but highly effective) “plastic allergy”?

But my fears were unneccessary. I’m happy to report that the good folks at Westjet didn’t bat an eye when I presented my reusable mug. That’s right.  I said ‘yes’ to apple juice and flew plastic cup free at the same time!

A small battle, but a perfect example of a choice we can make that could, collectively, have a big impact.

(And before you tell me about how the very act of flying is more detrimental to the environment than a plastic cup, I should probably say that yes, I agree.  And I do see the irony.)


Filed under interactions, no waste on the road

Island Recycling and Plastic

tire planters

Tires reused as planters at the cabin

Island life is different than the mainland.  It’s slower – and cooler (at least it seems that way after last week’s scorching weather in Vancouver).  It makes you forget about things like technology. Which is why I haven’t written this blog in so long – I’m pretending to be an islander.

But there is one thing you can’t escape from, even here at a cabin in the woods and near the ocean.  Garbage. If anything, the amount of garbage is accentuated by the knowledge that we are on an island, and what comes onto the island must be ferried off. Continue reading


Filed under food waste, no waste on the road, soft plastics

Secondhand Family Vacation

roadWhen I was a kid, my parents used to pack us all into the family station wagon and do some serious summer road tripping.  We drove around BC, to Alberta, to Disneyland, even to Winnipeg one summer (that’s a good 4,000 kms round trip, wedged between the car door and my sister’s car seat, listening to Tanya Tucker and Willie Nelson).  You’ll notice I said car seat; my sister is now 21, so you can guess it has been a good many years since we did a family road trip.

This weekend, my parents packed all three (abet larger) kids in the car, and hit the road.  Continue reading

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Filed under no waste on the road, secondhand

Day 349: What Do You Do on a Family Vacation?

beach familyThis weekend, we went to the seaside for Grant’s annual family weekend get-together.  I started the weekend by smashing a homemade jar of jam on the kitchen floor in my haste to get out the door; I celebrated the  midpoint by dropping a mug on the tile floor of our rented cottage; but I rounded up by toting three bags of compost home on my bicycle.

Do you think the landfill waste diverted by the latter make up for the former? Continue reading


Filed under composting, no waste on the road