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Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Stepping up to Zero-waste

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Even before moving to the Ecovillage, the intention of zero waste was always at the forefront of our purchasing decisions. A far cry from No Impact Man, my husband and I decided to do our part by monitoring and then intentionally shrinking down the amount of waste that came out of our Vancouver apartment. We started out by putting a paper bag in the garbage can in the kitchen and taking all other garbage pails out of the house, marked the start date on the calendar and then waited… and watched. It wasn’t long before the big culprits were making themselves known – cheese packaging, butter packages, pasta packages, toothpaste tubes, condiment bottle caps, the plastic that lines and surrounds every container we buy. So, we found a way to recycle soft plastic. In Vancouver, small amounts of soft plastic can be recycled at Mountain Equipment Co-op (which is on the B-Line and doesn’t a lot of carbon to visit… unless you buy stuff there) but if you are like us, and choose to save it up into a giant plastic ball the size the back of your truck, you can take it to Happy Stan’s Recyling in Po-Co. Plus, we started doing crazy things like making our own butter (a great core muscle workout), our own pasta (yum!) and choosing products based on the amount of packaging we would have to dispose of. Moving to the Island has been an even greater awakening for me. Unlike the mainland (continent = giant island, I know) it is very obvious that everything has to be brought over here and then taken off of here. Very little is actually produced here… but that’s another blog post. In fact, on the garbage cans in the Ecovillage there are little signs like this:

Garbage Can

to remind us that throwing things ‘away’ really doesn’t mean a darn thing. And since seeing these signs I realized that I hadn’t been considering my long term purchases, like clothing, accessories, tools and furniture to the same degree. My latest indulgence was a laptop bag, since I have to be a little bit more mobile here at the village. I didn’t want to get a foam one because they look like a recylcing nightmare. So I set my intention to find a wool computer case and while shopping on Commercial drive, I found this…

Compostable Computer Case

at In Again Conseignment. It is made by a local artist, but it wouldn’t be too darn hard to diy… And heck, when it comes to the end of its life, the wool can be composted and the wood can be burned. Love it. Thus, the reason for this post… to show off one of my latest purchases and to inspire you to share your story about making the best choice you could. “There is no such thing as a perfect choice, but there is always a best choice for any given moment. This can be as simple as selecting reusables instead of disposables. When we say we are going to throw something away—where is “away?” There is no such thing or place. “Away” always has a face and a place.” – Julia Butterfly Hill from Crazy Sexy Life: 180 feet above ground, an interview with Julia Butterfly

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.