Archive for the ‘Our Garbage Reports’ Category

Our Glenbrook Zero Waste Challenge is officially over but we are still celebrating gains and triumphs! We are on to the report writing phase of the project and collecting everyone’s stories – and what stories they have.

Take Frank here proudly holding his bag of garbage – from the entire challenge! Now if that is not inspiring I don’t know what is.

Here are a few tid bits of things some of our families have shaped so far:

– I wish we had found a longer term solution for styrofoam, particularly the platters on which meat is packaged

– We have never purchased the plastic garbage bags; always found the plastic grocery bags sufficient. Can’t avoid those at times even when we have reusable ones.

– Thought we were at the minimum and couldn’t reduce it any more. This project showed there is always a way to improve.
– Cut down on tissue use and compost it instead.

– The chains give you styrofoam meat trays, but like most of the world 50 years ago the butcher does it a better way.

– If you think that all the trash goes to what was once a natural site and doesn’t just disappear at your driveway you will find ways to reduce it.


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Three months later and I am proud to say that this challenge has changed our family on many levels!

We were always very aware of the importance that this challenge advocates but somehow by writing this blog, working with my family, interacting with my neighbours, community and Metro Vancouver and the media – being green and mindful has now become just part of who we are.

Let me give you some examples:

– diapers – the idea of purchasing the old pull ups that fester for a century in the landfill is impossible now

– throwing avocado pits, meat and bones in the trash seems counter-intuitive now

– buying toys with all the plastic and cardboard packaging makes us feel ill and we avoid avoid avoid

– educating a broader range of people is imperative and natural and all four of us seem to want to do that now

We want to do more now. We would love to create a garden and make our own vegetables, we would love to put a green cone in and we would love to have an additional composter. Sadly our yard is very tiny with minimal sun so our planning will be the first step on our continued journey.

This challenge has made a profound impact on us as a family and I would say all of the 15 families involved. We worked together as a community to make a change and we have and better than that we have impacted our greater community with media and our signage in our yards boldly stating that we are ‘aiming for ZERO WASTE’.

We will keep our sign up for as long as we can to continue to raise awareness and even when the sign is gone we will always strive towards a zero waste life.

This was/is pretty cool and I am proud to have been part of it!

Have a great week.


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Have a wonderful long weekend! Here are a few things you could do this weekend as well as all your local events and fireworks. Be safe and have a wonderful long weekend.

See ya next week.


May 17 – 24, 2010
Vancouver International Children’s Festival 2010. A world-renowned festival of performing arts for young audiences, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival has been educating, entertaining and inspiring young audiences since 1978. Jam-packed with music, theatre, dance, storytelling, puppetry, circus arts and much more, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival embodies the buoyant spirit and endless curiosity of children all over the world. Kids of all ages can try something new or just have some fun at one of our more than 20 colourful site activities! http://www.childrensfestival.ca

May 19, 2010
Free The Children celebrates young global change makers in BC at West Fest 2.0. Join Free The Children for a night of renowned speakers, inspiring youth leaders and rockin’ live performances at West Fest 2.0. This exciting event marks the one year anniversary of our west coast headquarters and showcases the exemplary achievements of youth in B.C. Made possible by the hard work of Free The Children staff and volunteers – West Fest 2.0 invites youth, schools groups, families and community members to share in the celebration. The Vogue Theatre, www.freethechildren.com/westfest.

May 21 – 22, 2010
May Long Weekend – Official Patio Season Opener and Benefit for Children’s Hospital.  Hamilton Street Grill officially opens their patio with a BBQ benefiting Children’s Hospital. www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

May 21 – 24, 2010
Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair. This 4 day event hosts some of the world’s top cowboys & cowgirls as well as tons of family-friendly fun, including BC’s largest travelling midway. Enjoy live entertainment, education, exhibitions, arts & crafts competitions, rodeo action & more. All ages are guaranteed a memorable Victoria Day Long Weekend. http://www.cloverdalerodeo.com

May 24, 2010
21st Annual Edition North Shore Spring Triathlon. Join us for the 21st anniversary edition of the North Shore Spring Triathlon on Monday, May 24, 2010 (Victoria Day). This year’s race features a spectator friendly course, Legendary Race Announcer Steve King & long-sleeved technical garments for all participants. Downline a copy of the 2009 entry form at our website. There is a course for everyone: kids 7 & under, 8-11 & 12-15; adults. http://www.nstc.ca

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Well, yesterday was the 3rd to last weighing day for our Challenge.  How is everyone doing?

We have managed to our garbage down pretty low for a family of 6 – check it ou!

I have asked Metro Van if they can make available all of our stats so that everyone can have a look at their data to ensure it has been entered accurately, and to give us some more incentive to see if we can get our weights down a little more during these last two weeks.   

Here is a photo of what has been deposited so far on the eco shed on my porch.  As you can see, there is a lot of styrofoam and polystyrene containers.  The purpose of the eco shed is to allow us to recycle items that are recyclable, but not accepted in the blue box or at the city depot; to see if we would go to the trouble of taking them out of our garbage if there were a convenient place to take them.  Bring me your styrofoam/polystyrene, #3. #6, & #7, and hard plastics (#’s 1, 2, 4 & 5 can go in your blue bin).  So please continue to make your deposits here (I will remove the full bags and put them into my garage until the end of the Challenge, and then take the final load somewhere…).

Good luck everyone!


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Finally after waiting and looking for an alternative diaper to our already very alternative Seventh Generation Diaper (no chlorine or dioxins) we have found the ‘g Diaper’!

 Expensive and a bit fiddly it has been great for night training our two-year old son Luka. I can only talk about using this new diaper with urine and not poop since Luka is pretty well-trained in the ‘#2’ department! LOL!

I found the ‘g Diaper’ at Choices Market at the Crest in Burnaby. I hesitated at first to purchase them because of the cost but in the end bit the bullet and bought them. They cost $32 for the starter kit (2 cloth outer diapers with velcro, 2 inner plastic covers that snap into the outer cloth and a dozen or so diaper liners. I also paid $18 for a refill of the diaper liners to have on hand.

At first Luka was not at all impressed. The outer cloth diaper works like a baby diaper and not a pull up which he has been in (7th Generation recently discontinued their pull up which is very disapointing – I have never used the branded Dora or Diego or Woody ones – advertising on my kids feels wrong…).  Anyways – I digressed LOL!

He had a terrific tantrum and then decided that they are not that bad.

The actual mechanics of the inner compostable liner is not an exact science that is for sure. You kind of just lay it in the plastic lining and tuck it under and hope for the best. I am not sure how a poop would fare in this diaper…

The actual wet diaper is easy to dispose of. I have been flushing them but you can also compost them or throw them away. I will continue to use these until Luka is trained and I will become an advocate that is for sure!

More info below:

The most eco-friendly diaper available, gDiapers provides parents with a diapering solution that is good for babies, parents and the planet. You can have the flexibility of a disposable diaper with a 100% biodegradable gRefill, or opt for reusability with super soft and trim-fitting gCloth inserts. gDiapers are plastic-free, elemental chlorine free, latex free, and perfume free.

Use a biodegradable gRefill or re-usable gCloth inside our newborn tiny gPants and our cotton little gPants. All materials are breathable, just like sports clothing, so babies are far less likely to get diaper rash. And did we mention they’re cute? Babies can flaunt their eco-friendly diapers in a rainbow of adorable colors. Because green diapers don’t need to be bland.

No landfill required.

50 million diapers get tossed each day and each one takes up to 500 years to biodegrade. Ick. Home compost, toss, or flush the biodegradable gRefill for the smallest footprint on earth. gDiapers break down in 50-150 days.

flush, compost or toss

A totally new way to think about diapers.

All new things can take getting used to. Remember when you learned to separate your recycling? And now it’s second nature.

Learn how to flush the biodegradable gRefills and how to get the perfect gDiaper fit. You can also compost the wet ones or simply toss the soiled refill. It will break down in the landfill a lot faster than the 500 years for a conventional disposable diaper. Or learn more about re-usable gCloth. Go green diapers. Go gDiapers. Breathe easy no matter what.

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Well we are into week 11 now and as I entered my weights into the data collection tool online for Metro Vancouver I realized that our numbers have been staying somewhat the same these past few weeks.

After the initial reduction with the cancellation of the newspaper and the green cone up and running I saw our numbers dramatically drop and that was a big boost for us all. But now that the one and only green cone for our group has been out of commission for 3 weeks our family seems to have hit a wall in terms of reducing our garbage.

We have had to resort to putting our green cone waste back into our garbage again so this has increased our weight. Also – the free local paper (which we love) seems to be stuffed with a plethora of flyers advertising that SPRING is here and we better go out RIGHT NOW and buy buy buy! So, all those flyers are back into the blue bag and upping our weight. I don’t want to cancel this paper as it gives us all the information about our community, which we love and use daily. So – not sure on this one.

I would really like to see if we could put a green cone in our yard but we have a sun issue. Our backyard, which is tiny as it is – is more of a woodland garden not a south sun garden which is what the green cone needs. So I am still mulling this over…any suggestions out there?

So – on we march.

It has been very quiet from most of the other families participating – I am not sure if there needs to be more community meetings to keep everyone going…not sure if everyone is still on board…

The signs, on the other hand, have been terrific! We get a ton of interest from the signs and msot people stop to read them and ask questions when they wander by.

Perhaps this may be a good initiative for the local schools to participate in. Signs at the schools will get even more interest and raise more awareness due to all the traffic with kids and parents. Green cones and composters could easily be installed on a sunny part of the grounds and this would be a fantastic way to get the kids educated and involved on a daily basis. Could/Should also become part of the curriculum…

Anyways – on we go.

Would love to hear from anyone and send us support!

Cheers and happy week.

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Ron, my husband, returned last night from a week in Seattle at a conference bearing gifts for us all. The toys for the kids did not contain one ounce of plastic packaging – on the contrary the toys were made from recycled plastic milk containers and came in 100% recycled boxes that could be recycled without any fuss.

Luka who is 2 received a green recycling truck to play with which reinforces his learning of the importance of our earth. He loves it. Of course Maxime loves it as well so they are fighting over it….sigh.

Maxime who is 5 received a set of 3 recycled plant pots to place on her sunny window sill. They are a sunny mellow yellow and she will learn not only about the beauty of natural dyes and recycling milk jugs (we drink 16 litres of milk a week) but also of how to care for a living plant. We will plant herbs so we can enjoy them in our meals as well.

It was such a relief to see such earth friendly toys. As I tidied up after the recycling was a breeze and not one stitch of the packaging had to go to the landfill.

Of course a better step to this would be purchasing gently used toys from the thrift stores. I have been doing more of this lately as well as giving our old toys away. This summer the kids are going to collect a large selection of their toys and donate them. I think they get the idea but I am waiting to actually see if they can part with them. I have told them nothing more comes into this house until something is given away.

So week 9 sees us moving forward in a deeper more thoughtful realm with our children as they get deeper into this challenge and learn very early the critical importance of rethinking how we consume.

Happy day!

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