**Please note that this text has been automatically translated and contains French/Quebec references.**
I'm coming back to my Zero Waste challenge!
I am one of the families participating in the zero waste challenge in my neighborhood, I was talking to you about it here and I was supposed to talk to you about it over the last few months, but I finally had other topics to share..! So in short, today I'm giving you a little feedback on where I am in my challenge.
THE ZERO WASTE CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH
Each month, we are invited to take part in the “challenge of the month”.
After the challenge of the month of November which was to establish our objectives for the Zero Waste challenge, we went through the challenge of the month of December where the goal was to make as little waste as possible for the holiday season and for Christmas ( successful thing and I talked about it here ).
Furthermore, that same month, Mélissa de La Fontaine INSISTED on trying Jean-Philippe's millet tourtière! Something I did. Because when someone is insistent like that (and you're looking for new veggie recipes), well, you try it! An excellent vegetarian recipe in the end! It was fabulously good (and actually the first time I ever made pies).
Then, the challenge for the month of January was to favor bulk from our local merchants, to encourage them to take our containers (take-out restaurants, cheese shops, butcher shops, etc.). I actually tried to do that by going to get some sushi nearby and bringing my containers. It was a semi-success! They told me no, I insisted more, then the boss told me no (not in times of COVID) and finally, I was asked if I was staying away and they allowed me to leave with a plate that they lent me and that I brought back to them before curfew (but that they wrapped in lots of saran wrap). It still added to the experience!
Remember: Ask or continue to ask your local businesses if you can use your containers. I know it's more difficult during a pandemic, but really, there is no danger! Besides, here is a practical guide to share with them. And let's hope that when this pandemic is over, bulk opportunities will open up everywhere, as we were well on track to do towards the end of 2019!
In the meantime, little tip: when you have a meal delivered, write a note to ask if it is possible to put your meal in a compostable or recyclable container (I already called a place to ask them if they put their poutine in a compostable container and they told me no, but that it was possible to do so because they had some to package another type of meal, so all you had to do was ask).
I'll tell you about the February challenge next week!
WEIGH YOUR WASTE
At the start of each month, we weigh our waste (trash, recycling, compost) for a week.
For my part, I have not noticed an extraordinary reduction in our waste over the past months... I wonder if it is not because we are already at the minimum of what we can do at the moment in our family boundaries? In the sense that if we do more, is it sustainable in the long term as a way of life? To have!
So in short, at the moment, I mainly perceive consistency. My compost is still around 2 kilos per week, except for the time when I bought melons/squash in the fall... cucurbit rind weighs a lot! It made a 5 kilo compost bin that week. Otherwise, my recycling is always around 1.5 to 1.6 kilos, and my trash varies between 150 and 500 grams. Luckily I didn't break any glass during the weigh-in weeks!
ZERO WASTE FOOD
This is really the heart of the matter in a challenge where we want to move towards zero waste!
Already, I find that I have a much more discerning eye since the fall, particularly on food packaging and on my shopping lists. It must be said that since the start of the challenge, I hardly go to the grocery store anymore, so it helps in terms of reducing waste from overpackaged products. In the spring and summer, in the context of a pandemic, I bought in bulk at the grocery store or online because I wanted to stock up and go there less often, now I'm a little more 'outgoing'.
Well, I'm not perfect here either... and I admit it, since I got my Costco card in the fall (because I bought my glasses there), I want to make it profitable, so I go there once a month or two months.
But hey, Costco doesn't necessarily mean a lot of waste! There are ways to be careful about what you buy. For example, I am the type who ESPECIALLY does not buy boxes filled with small, individually wrapped things for lunches (!), but prefers very large packages of a product that is in bulk inside (e.g. a very large bag of snack foods). Otherwise, when I buy packaging (especially for desserts), if it is plastic, I immediately check if it is PET (the most recycled plastic). Otherwise, I'm reconsidering the purchase. I would have to stop buying products in plastic packaging altogether, but that's tuuuuuuuuff… because surprisingly, I don't like cooking desserts and I'm therefore a big fan of their brownie bites!
Otherwise, the Lufa baskets greatly help me every week to make as little waste as possible and at the same time stock up on mostly local fruits and vegetables.
In their photos, we see what packaging the product comes in, so we can make an informed “zero waste” choice. Well, at the moment, I have to admit that I'm a coward and that I don't go to the cheese shop to get my cheese in bulk! So it’s one of the packages that ends up most often in my trash. For the rest, I am close to the Nature Reserve on St-Hubert to stock up on bulk supplies (dry foods, eggs) and I also like to go to Romarin which supplements the Reserve on certain products, and to Fairmount Bagels, right next to where I bring my big bread bag, they fill it with 2 dozen and I freeze them when I get home. Well, let's face it, I'm lucky to live in Montreal and close to so many quality businesses!!
REDUCE YOUR ULTIMATE WASTE LIKE YOUR RECYCLING
At the moment, where I know that I can reduce further, it is on recycling. I wanted to try the experience of a month of 100% zero ultimate waste (0g in the trash and let's say... 250-500 grams of recycling), but I forgot. I'll see if I can try it soon.
It would be an extreme experience, let’s face it. I don't think I can sustain this in the long term in my family context and with my legendary laziness, increased tenfold by the context of confinement and COVID. Anyway, I don't have the ambition to become the next Béa Johnson, but I'm curious to do the exercise!
My challenge is going well. This week is a weigh-in week, and it's on track to be pretty consistent again.
In fact, where I'm stagnating is really just in terms of my motivation. Sometimes, especially in winter (and especially when we are told to stay home), I just want to stay in my cocoon of home. And who says 'not going out' says 'not being able to bring our containers'... And it happens that I don't want to go to 3-4 places for a week, so our meals are more limited to what I I have Lufa in my basket.
It's sad, because I see that the challenge didn't give me the motivation I thought it would!
It's easy to change paper tissues for cloth tissues in your life. It's a 5 minute story (a Bateau Bateau order!) and it's set for life. Same thing for washable toilet paper: let's get started and presto! We don't need to worry about it anymore, ever.
These are such SIMPLE eco-friendly 'moves'!
Food is difficult. Because it's recurring. We have to eat every day, so we have to plan what we are going to eat, cook every week and buy our food every week so as to have as little loss and waste as possible. You have to continually make an effort, and it takes more effort when you have several mouths to feed. We probably need to change our routine, as it easily becomes part of our lifestyle, and the products or foods we want are not always in the same place. Very often, you have to change your tastes; you have to comply with the food choices available in our local ZD grocery store or otherwise, you have to travel further.
One week, one month, it may tempt us, but the following month, it tempts us less. That's what I find difficult.
ZD is “passes”. Sometimes we are more or less motivated. We just need to find a routine that works well for us, in terms of continually eating in bulk or in a way that produces very little waste.
In our challenge, we are told to let go! I think this is what we have to do 😉