Going Zero Waste in Hamilton

#zerowaste #wastefree #plasticfree

Have you ever taken a good look at your weekly waste and thought “good lord! How in the world did little old me create such a pile of garbage?”
It’s astounding the amount of plastic in our world these days. I am blown away every time I go shopping and see broccoli wrapped in plastic, I’m handed a non- recyclable disposable cup when I say, “for here” and at the plastic cutlery and napkins received when all I want is a bowl of soup.

This wonderful zero waste movement is one of mindfulness, awareness and simplicity. The old way of blindly accepting – is just no longer sustainable.

Instead of getting frustrated and baffled by the (in)action of others I decided it was time to make a big change in my own life. And so my foray into a waste-free lifestyle began. This past year has been a journey of discovery. I am happy to say living as waste-free as possible is easier and way more fun than you may think, not to mention wildly chic.

The beautiful aesthetics of a zero waste lifestyle is a benefit that I enjoy, whether that’s a neat cupboard of jars in the kitchen or unpacking a picnic that was packed in nothing but glass containers and linen bags.”

Here are some tips on how you can start your own zero waste living.

Have your own reusable items on you at all times. Your zero-waste kit should include:

  • Reusable collapsible coffee cup
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Cloth napkin
  • Lightweight cloth veggie and bread bag
  • Fabric tote (shopping) bag
  • Bamboo cutlery (lightweight)
  • Stainless steel or bamboo reusable straws

Shop in Bulk stores!

  • Bulk shopping is my new favourite. Take your own jars, containers and revel in the different spices, grains, and delights you can fill them up with. Your mind and eyes will open and you will see so many things you never saw before. Trust me!

Take your own bags to the store or market.

  • When shopping at the regular grocery store put your veggies into your own cute lightweight fabric bag. Be sure to avoid any fruit or veg wrapped in plastic or packaging. Think out of the box and get meat, cheese and other unwrapped items in your own packaging at the deli counter.

Avoid all packaged foods.

  • Doing this means you are on the road to a clean eating lifestyle too since mostly only processed foods come with wrapping. In celebration of your path to waste free whole foods, Picky Diet has given us some helpful tips on how to be waste free in the kitchen (see below) (check out her website www.pickydiet.com for delicious clean eating recipes.)

If you buy packaged goods think about how you can reuse them.

  • The plastic lining in your cereals can be saved for a sandwich and all-purpose wrap. Milk bags can be cut at the top for high quality “zip lock” bags. Plastic and glass containers should be saved as your Tupperware.

Eat out or take out? Take your own containers!

  • Grab a cute container or repurpose one from a packaged item, keep one at your work and in your car, and get the restaurant to use it. Not only are you helping the earth you are helping that small biz save money.

Support businesses that aim to be zero waste regardless of the type of business it is.

  • Whether big or small, companies make a huge impact on the environment. I simply call and ask how they try to reduce waste. If it’s a store where everything is wrapped, boxed or bagged I simply take my money elsewhere.

5 Tips to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen

1. Grocery Shop with a Plan – Take the time to make a list and plan what you are going to eat, that way you are only buying what you need.

2. Use ALL of your veggies – cut up broccoli stems and roast them or use them in a stir-fry, save veggie peels to make broth, use fruit that is getting soft in a baked good, sauté carrot tops, beet tops and stems from greens with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, they are delicious and full of amazing healthy nutrients.

3. Creatively repurpose leftovers – store soups or stews in single serving glass containers so you are more likely to eat them, put leftover roasted veggies on top of your salad, use leftover salad in a wrap, or make a power bowl with any and all of the veggies in your fridge.

4. Use your freezer – peel and freeze bananas that are going brown, they are perfect for smoothies, chop up herbs you can’t use and put them in an ice cube tray with olive oil to use later for cooking, keep nuts and seeds in the freezer to keep them from going rancid.

5. Make your own salad dressing – instead of buying plastic containers of sugar and preservative-laden salad dressing, simply make your own in a glass jar with a lid – olive oil, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and any herbs and spices you like. Its healthier for you and the environment.

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