Category Archives: recycling

Day 141: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

paperIf, in fact, what I read online is true, and “each week thousands of Globe and Mail readers make Margaret Wente’s column their first read”, then I feel that I have to speak out.

Allow me to paraphrase her Saturday article subtitled “Recycling targets seem to be based on the belief that the more we recycle, the faster we will go to Heaven” in which she snidely downplays the impact of disposable plastic in our society and infers that environmental municipal laws are based more on warm fuzzy feelings than economics or rational decision making.

First off, she introduces the fact that “it takes a great deal more energy to manufacture a reusable ceramic cup than . . . any kind of disposable cup” but goes on to justify using disposables because one would have to use their mug “a whopping 1,006 times to break even” compared to using polystyrene cups.

I agree with the facts, but not the justification. Continue reading


Filed under interactions, recycling, soft plastics

Day 132: Our Car is Not On the Clean Bin Program

subaruOur car doesn’t seem to understand the Clean Bin Project.  It is trying to thwart our clean bins with broken auto parts and old engine oil.  Well, at least the latter can be recycled.  But buying new parts in almost unavoidable.

Now, before you all go into shock, yes it’s true.  We have a car.  Continue reading


Filed under recycling

Day 73: Broken Dreams

Maybe the title of this post is a tad melodramatic, but my dreams of an empty bin have been shattered lately by a force that I can only can extreme clumsiness.

Over the course of four weeks, we have managed to break a grand total of 6 dishes! I have dropped or knocked three separate dishes (sometimes in comically slow motion); Grant has smashed one; Rhyannon shattered one; and the cat from next door snuck in and kicked a bowl off the counter when we weren’t looking (we know because we saw him high-tailing it out the cat door).

We have produced more broken dish garbage in the past month than in the past year! So my question is this: how do you recycle broken crockery and drinking glasses? Is it possible?

I have read that you can reuse them in fish bowls and flower pots, but at this rate, my flower pots will be all filled up by December!

And so, the bin grows ever heavier. I keep meaning to do an official check in. . . . I promise one coming soon, so you too can see how our respective waste bins are doing.

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Filed under recycling, slip ups

Day 70: You Can Recycle (almost) Anything

I’ve come to realize that recycling isn’t the answer to waste reduction. I constantly have to remind myself that reduce, reuse, recycle isn’t a trio of equally effective environmental terms, it’s a hiarchy. And recycling comes last. It is the least effective means of waste reduction.

Truth be told, most recycling is actually “downcycling” where the product is reincarnated as something further down the quality chain and one step closer to the landfill. For example, plastic milk jugs don’t get made into more plastic milk jugs, they get made into park benches and such, which means that every plastic milk jug, although capable of being melted down into other products, is in itself made of virgin plastic. Continue reading

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Day: 56 Guest Greener

So it seems that our waste-free lifestyle may have rubbed off on someone else.

Grant’s cousin, Stephen, spent a couple weeks with us this month after following our footprints and experiencing his first season of treeplanting (the traditional BC student job). Little did he know he was landing smack in the middle of the Clean Bin Project, and that garbage cans would be in short supply. Continue reading


Filed under guest writer, no waste on the road, recycling

Day 47: Shambala

We’ve been away for yet another week-long trip that challenged our clean bins. This time to the Kootenays of BC (an 8 hour drive East of Vancouver) to the fabulous Shambala music festival.

Grant’s alter ego, Phontaine, was playing a dj set at the festival, so we decided to make a vacation of it, packed the car full of camping gear, turntables, and tupperwares, and headed out. Continue reading

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Filed under no waste on the road, recycling, slip ups