Archive for the ‘Clean Bin Project’ Category

The Clean Bin Project has partnered with the Royal City Farmers Market for a screening in New West!

February 5th at Holy Trinity Cathedral will be a great night in New Westminster for anyone interested in reducing their waste, contributing to their personal health, and networking with other like-minded folks. The Royal City Farmers Market is pleased to be hosting the Annual General Meeting at the church’s hall.
Doors open at 5:30pm for citizens to register and purchase their annual membership.

As a special nod to Royal City Farmers Markets supporters, show your 2011 Membership and receive admission to
the film for only $3! Regular admission is $5-$10. All are welcome at the film screening – tickets are available at the
door and will sell out.

The film starts at 7:30. (you can come for the AGM, come for the film, or come for both) Poster attached.
Please help us spread the word!


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After a successful cross country film tour via bicycle,

we’re back for a Vancouver screening presented by:



Friday Nov 5th


The Clean Bin Project is a feature documentary film about a regular couple and their quest to answer the question “is it possible to live completely waste free?”.

Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill garbage in an entire year. Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the problem waste in our “throw away” society. Featuring interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and marine pollution expert, Captain Charles Moore, The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic of waste reduction with optimism, humour, and inspiration for individual action.

SFU Woodward’s

149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, V6B 1H7, Canada
Get tickets here: TICKETS

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a competition where less is more…

The Clean Bin Project is cycling across Canada this summer! 

Check the map to see if we’re coming through your community, and click on our tour route in your province to see when we plan to be there. 

Don’t see your town on the screenings list? Please contact us if you’d like to help us host a screening.

Thurs, May 27   Whistler, BC – Recycling Council of BC Conference
Sat, May 29   Vancouver, BC – Granville 7 Cinemas 7 pm  
Fri, June 4   Mission, BC
Fri, June 18   Fernie, BC – The Arts Station 8pm
Buy Tickets  

Thanks to the following sponsors for supporting our tour with great sustainable gear.


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The Rules

These were the rules that we officially lived under from July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009.  These days we still abide by many of them, but we’ve scaled back a bit.

We had many discussions and debates about the rules, but here’s what we eventually hashed out.

The point is to have less stuff coming into our household and less stuff going out to the landfill.

The Rules:

  1. No buying stuff. (We cannot buy any material goods.)
  2. Avoid packaging. (We cannot buy anything that comes in non-recyclable packaging and we must avoid excess packaging)
  3. Take responsibility for your waste. (We must take all waste produced personally by us home with us to recycle, compost, etc.)

The Garbage:

  • We will compost all food scraps
  • We will recycle all paper, glass, and plastic possible
  • We will keep all true garbage (destined for the landfill) in our individual garbage cans for the entire year. The person with the least garbage at the end of the year wins.

The Details:

  • No material goods means: no “things”. No clothing, electronics, make-up, household goods, etc
  • We can buy consumables (food, drink, medication, and products for basic hygiene) because they are not material goods BUT we must follow rule 2
  • We can pay for services and experiences (such as utilities, transportation, accommodation and entertainment) because they are not material goods
  • Hygiene refers to the basics only (ie. soap, toilet paper, deodorant, dental floss) and we must not have any of any type in the house before we buy more. This means we have to use up all those half bottles of shampoo before we buy more.
  • Recyclable: we have curbside pickup for high grade mixed paper, newspaper, aluminum cans and foil, plastics 1, 2, 4, 5
  • We can take soft plastics to a private recycling company if necessary, but it’s better to just avoid them
  • We cannot buy or accept single serving items (excess packaging).
  • We cannot use plastic shopping bags or bulk bags (excess packaging).
  • We cannot use takeout containers or disposable cups, plates, or cutlery (excess packaging)
  • We may eat takeout if we bring our own container.
  • We may not use paper towels.
  • We are free to use whatever we already have in the house.
  • We must follow “the rules” when buying gifts for others.
  • We must encourage others to follow “the rules” when giving (ie. No mooching)
  • We are allowed to pay for essential transportation related items but trading is prefered- ie. bicycle parts, gas
  • We are allowed to “rescue” quality, free, secondhand items because we are diverting them from the landfill.
  • For Grant, who is self-employed, certain non-consumables related to work are ok such as a DVD or an ink cartridge refill because these are essential for his business/livelihood.

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The Idea (“We Have Enough Stuff”)

Not too long ago, we (Grant and Jen) cycled down the Pacific Coast of the United States.  And when we got home, after months of carrying everything we needed on our bicycles, we thought “we have too much stuff”. In fact there was an entire house filled with all sorts of things that we hadn’t missed at all while we were away.

This led us to believe that maybe we didn’t need all those things in the first place and that definitely we didn’t need to keep buying more things that were just going to end up in the landfill. We figured they could go for days or even weeks without buying more “stuff”. Heck, why not a year?

The Pledge

Starting on Canada Day, July 1, 2008, we (Grant and Jen and our roommate Rhyannon) pledged to try to buy no more “stuff” and produce zero landfill waste for one year. No buying clothing or DVDs, no make-up or i-pods, no fancy running shoes, sparkley headbands or duct tape, no plastic patio lanterns, saran wrap or handmade pottery mugs. . . . you get the idea.

The zero waste idea came from the idea that packaging is also “stuff”. After all, it’s the goods we want, not the plastic or styrofoam surrounding it. We’re trying to reduce packaging wherever we can and to make sure that packaging we do get is either compostable or recyclable. No buying individually wrapped granola bars or foil lined boxes of cookies, no tomatoes in plastic clamshells or take-out containers, no frozen pizzas wrapped in plastic followed by cardboard followed by plastic. We know what you’re thinking: “what about toilet paper?” Yes, we can buy it. Check out The Rules for, well, the rules.

  • The bottom line is this: by bringing less stuff into our house, we’ll have less stuff going out of our house and into the landfill.

The Disclaimer

Lets just clarify some things here. We are did this project for our own entertainment and satisfaction. We are not unemployed hippies trying to collapse the North American economy nor are we under the impression that recycling our yogurt containers will save the world. We just figured that we have done more than our share of buying crap in the past few years, and we could stand to cut down on the purchases. Also, we like a little competitive challenge.

Trying to be a responsible consumer entails so many choices and so much responsible research. How was the product made? What were the living conditions of the workers? What is the packaging like? Was it fairly traded? Organically grown? Ethically sourced? On sale? For us, it was much easier to decide to just not buy it. We are not advocating not buying as a sustainable lifestyle (eventually my underwear will wear out and I’ll buy new ones), but for a year we challenged ourselves to make do.

This was not a project in reducing greenhouse gases, living without plastic, eating locally, taking transit, riding bicycles, living off the land, making toothpaste, or saving the world; although, we may coincidentally do a few of these things. There are many other people successfully doing and writing about these activities, and you should definitely check them out. But for us, we were just trying to buy less stuff and make less garbage.

For more information


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