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A 5 month challenge

A 5 month challenge

**Please note that this text has been automatically translated and contains French/Quebec references.**

Our family was selected for the Zero Waste Challenge in the Rosemont-Petite-Patrie district!

First of all, I'm really happy to be part of this cohort, because I'll admit, I needed a good kick in the butt to review certain lifestyle habits.

The challenge works like this:

It lasts 5 months. We are supported by Quebec experts from ZD, including Laure Caillot & Mélissa de La Fontaine. We have challenges and workshops every month. We also weigh our waste (trash, recycling, compost) every month.

It’s really stimulating! I really want to push our family's ability to reduce our waste as much as possible! We've already made quite a bit of progress, but I admit that the COVID context has set us back a little... Particularly for bulk purchasing.

I also want to see the approach to the challenge. How do we approach this, a zero waste challenge? What themes do we cover? What do we make the participants do? I am very curious! And I just can’t wait to tell you about it and share our process with you!

Already, I can tell you about the 5 personal challenges that I have concretely set for myself for the coming months:


That's what I'm starting yesterday! We compost and we recycle. For compost, it's okay, but recycling is sometimes nebulous. Until last week, I still had in mind that all plastic and cardboard goes into recycling. There were campaigns at a certain point in my life where I heard: if you're not sure, put it in the recycling and we'll sort it. Something I've been doing for years. Clearly, this is not a good idea. Poor people at the sorting center! At least when I still had boxes of paper tissues, I always removed the plastic from the cardboard (but I put both in the recycling when I wasn't even sure the plastic went there).

So I'm reviewing that as a priority! I just added the It's Going Where app to my tools to help me sort better! That should help me. Essentially, what I also understood last week is that for plastic, there has to be a recyclable 1-2-3-4-5 embossed on it, otherwise there is a good chance that it cannot be recycled! And if we have to make a choice between these 5 numbers because we are hesitating between two recyclable packaging, 1 is the “best”.


By sorting our waste better, we will also understand it better. What products we buy make us throw things in the trash? Can they be avoided or replaced? After a few weeks, are we able to push our challenge to the extreme and do a month without ultimate waste (the waste that goes in the trash) or at most, that it fits into a mason jar. We already put a black trash bag in the street once a month or two months. But it's still too much. Let's see if we can do better than that! And afterwards, we will see to reducing the recycling bin.


We have two young children aged 4 & 5. They have been at the very heart of our ZD approach since their birth. They probably don't even understand the impact they have by using washable tissues and toilet paper at home. They just do it, because it's part of their life.

I want to take advantage of the challenge to share with them what zero waste is, what it means, what it entails. What is waste in the first place! How to do less.


Right now, I really like ordering our groceries online. I order from Lufa Farms, so the majority of products are local. However, there are quite a few packaged products in my Lufa orders. Most are compostable or recyclable, but some are plastic, such as tempeh packaging, vacuum packaging, or fresh pasta packaging.

And in the end, the bread bag, even if it is paper, could be avoided by simply going to the bakery near my house with my fabric bread bag. In short, with a little motivation, I could revamp our grocery routine. The Jean-Talon Market is not that far away, I have access to bulk products at La Réserve Naturelle and at Vrac et Bocaux and I could also go and find zero waste deliveries!


Clearly, there is a way to go at this level. I like cooking, but not so much that I spend my Sunday in pots. I like to make dinners when it's supper time, let's put it that way.

So preparing snacks, or legumes, or even lunches in advance is really difficult for me. My motivation is -1000. I hope that the challenge will bring it back to 10, because I still see that cooking makes us make a lot less waste, final or recyclable!

By M.eve

I enjoy questioning and informing myself, and write! It's through this blog that I take the time to speak to you transparently about my business or share what I learn or observe regarding environmental topics that concern us all.


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