Category Archives: slip ups

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

Day 286: White Pants Show Down

not-buying-itGrant is losing the consumer competition. He can site “work exemption” all he wants, but we all know that buying clothing is a definite no no.

Maybe we need a little background first.  Before we started the Clean Bin Project, I actually read a book by Judith Levine called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping which was, predictably, about a similar project where by she and her husband didn’t buy “stuff” for a year.

I distinctly remember feeling ripped off when I read that they were buying materials for their home renovation, and even more perturbed when Judith went out and bought (horrors) a pair of pants! That’s an immediate fail in my books, and we vowed to be pretty stringent in our own take on the game. Continue reading


Filed under consumerism, slip ups

Day 264: Snowboarding Waste


Wells Gray Hut - photos by Magnus Byne

So Grant and I got home from a fabulous week of riding in Well’s Gray Park, and I had pretty much nothing to report for waste.

We did a big bulk shop beforehand, reusing bags we already had, to get trailmix, cereal, powdered milk, and dried fruit etc.  I made a pan of granola bars and a batch of cookies and froze a second batch into a roll to be sliced and baked in the cabin.  We did end up packing a lot of things in plastic bags Continue reading

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Filed under no waste on the road, slip ups

Day 239: Our First Styrofoam

CB004464I’m sad to announce that we got our first piece of takeout Styrofoam on the weekend.  We’ve been avoiding Styrofoam during the project.  Actually, we haven’t brought a single bit of Styrofoam into our house.

Wait, that’s not completely true because “Work Grant” has a little pile down there in his office that came with electronics or some such thing he was buying, but work exemptions aside, we don’t usually do Styrofoam. Continue reading


Filed under recycling, slip ups

Day 226: Why Eat Out?

That is what I keep asking myself.  Why eat take out when you know it’s just going to be a big hassle to explain that you want your  falafal wrap in your own container with no paper wrapping? NO paper.

Then I receive a wrap covered in two pieces of paper, a napkin, and a paper bag INSIDE my reusable plastic container.  No joke.

I know it seems like I’m asking for it by even trying to dine out, but there was nothing at home to make lunch with, and I did pick a nice local restaurant that doesn’t use styrofoam which I thought indicated that they were trying to cut back on needless waste.  I even heard the order-taker tell the wrap guy to make it with no paper involved. . . .

In retrospect, I should have asked for it on a “for here” plate and then transferred it to my container myself.

It’s not in the Clean Bin Rules, but I’m going to try a new approach and mail the paper waste back to them with a nice letter.


Filed under food waste, slip ups

Day 161: Tired Out


I go through bicycle phases.  Sometimes I ride a lot, sometimes not.  For the past few years, I’ve been riding it a lot.  Back and forth to work. . . around town. . . to Mexico. . . etc

Anyway, I’ve had the same bicycle for about 14 years, and last week I got a hole in my wheel.   Not the inner tube, not even the tire, it’s the rim.

The rim of my back wheel where the brakes touch has been getting progressively more concave as the years go by, and as you can kind of see in the photo, I finally wore through it.  This meant, of course, that I had to replace my rim in the middle of our buy-nothing year. Continue reading


Filed under DIY, slip ups