Tag Archives: zero waste tips

Wax Wraps: Are They Worth It?


No matter where you are in your zero waste journey, you’ve surely heard about wax wraps to replace plastic containers for keeping your food fresh. While the dream of being completely plastic free may be alluring, it’s important to keep practicality in mind.

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Before tossing every piece of plastic you own, give yourself a moment or two to really think this through.

First question you’ll want to ask yourself: would you really use these wraps? Sure they may fit the aesthetic of the life you want to achieve, but would you be buying them just for the sake of saying you have them, or because you’ll actually end up using them?

They may keep your fruits and veggies fresh by sealing off the cut ends, but what about your leftover spaghetti? If you throw out all your plastic containers, you’ll have to find some other receptacle to put your leftover dinners in. Unless you plan on storing your spaghetti loose in the wrap?

Most of the wraps I’ve seen come in bundles of 3 or 5, which might work if you’re only planning to use them for your fruit and veggies, but they’re also pretty expensive. And, are you really going to go to the trouble of buying, shipping and having something manufactured because you only want 3? That seems more wasteful to me than just… keeping the plastic containers you already have.

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That’s not even mentioning what kind of wax wraps you’ll get. Most wraps on the market are made with beeswax. And as we all know, beeswax comes from you guessed it, bees, that means these wraps aren’t suitable for vegans. Maybe you’re not vegan, in which case, it doesn’t matter what kind you get. But if you are, are you willing to bend your morals just so you can buy a new product that you really don’t even need?

Or, perhaps you think you’ll just make your own wraps out of candilla wax. If you’re planning on doing that though, you’ll have to buy the raw materials: the wax, fabric, essential oils and an iron, if you don’t already have those products on hand. Then there’s the measuring, cutting, using melted hot wax, and you’ll have to put them somewhere while they dry.

I know it may sound like I’m trying to talk you out of buying these wraps, and I kind of am. But not for the reason you think!

I’m not saying they suck or think wax wraps are bad. I actually bought myself the raw materials so I could make my own vegan wraps a few years ago. Do you want to know what happened?

Absolutely nothing.

I was all set to make them one day, and I got distracted and didn’t end up doing them. Then life got in the way, and I ended up shoving all the materials into a drawer and honestly? I haven’t touched them since.

Because I don’t need to!

I have plenty of plastic containers that are doing the job just fine for now. I was also gifted some silicone resealable food bags last Christmas that I haven’t put to the test yet, either.

Reusable products are amazing inventions, and I absolutely love how much more accessible they’ve become. But, it’s hard not to get caught up in the newness and fanciness of it all.

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I wish my kitchen was all glass storage containers, silicone bags and wax wraps, but guess what? That’s just not practical! One day in the future, once all my single-use-turned-reusable plastic containers die (or get lent to friends and never returned), then I can start incorporating my reusable swaps.

But as it stands now, my kitchen is full of products that I need to use first. I’m sure a lot of your kitchens look the same way, and that’s perfectly fine! Maybe if you were starting from scratch, you could have a more zero waste kitchen – like if you were first moving out to live on your own – but the fact is we bought (or were gifted) items long before we ever thought about going zero waste, and we’ll need to use those items instead of trashing them because they no longer fit our aesthetic.

Remember: the most zero waste item that exists is the one you already own.

Plastic lives forever, which everyone originally thought was great, and I understand the urge to purge it all from your life now that you’ve learned the dark side to that, but unfortunately, that’s just not practical or the most zero waste way to change your life.

As much as you may hate it, you have to use your plastic containers until they’re unusable, then you can get yourself some more aesthetically pleasing products. Just think of this time as your transition period between how you used to live, and that dream life you’re envisioning.

Dreams take time to get to, so don’t try to rush.

Like this article? Check out more zero waste tips here!

Paperless Paper Towels?!


Yes, I know the title is an oxymoron, but it’s also true!

Not all paper towels are created equal, and luckily for the zero waste crowd, some of them aren’t even made out of paper!

Like toilet paper, I think it’s dumb (and unnecessary) to cut down a tree just to use it’s mangled remains once then throw it away. And sure, paper is biodegradable, but that still doesn’t make it okay!

Again, cutting down a 40-year old (or older) tree just to wipe my face? Uh, no thank-you. There are better alternatives out there, and that’s exactly what this article is about!

When it comes to paperless paper towels, there are a few different options you can choose from. I’ll be listing out some of the benefits to each alternative, but as always, I leave the decision up to you.


  1. Bamboo Towels

This option is probably the closest to the “real” thing as you’re gonna get. As the name implies, instead of being made out of paper, these products are made out of bamboo.

The bamboo makes them more sustainable than paper (bamboo is a grass and grows back much faster than a tree) and some people have reported that bamboo towels have more structural integrity (read: don’t disintegrate as easily when used with water), and because of this, they can use less towel per activity/meal.

However they are still a single-use product, and they may be harder to find – and more expensive – than “regular” paper towels.


2. Napkins

You’ve probably (hopefully) heard of napkins before, but just in case: these squares are made out of fabric, and were the original go-to for wiping your mouth during a meal.

That’s right, napkins are the OG paper towels!

Somewhere along the way, the industry standard changed to single-use/convenience products over substance, and napkins are now usually only thought of as being “fancy” and used in similar settings. (Think: weddings, 5-Star restaurants, etc.)

What makes napkins better than your standard paper towel is the fact that they’re reusable! You use as normal, then toss the soiled napkin into your laundry (or a wet bag, then laundry once you have enough to make a load out of) and bam they’re good to go for the next use.

The down sides of using cloth napkins are that you have to wash them, so you’ll be doing an extra load of laundry, which means you’ll be using more water. Another downside is that they may stain, and though you do wash them, that can make them appear not as clean as they are to guests.

You do also run the risk of running out if you don’t launder them frequently enough.


3. DIY Reusable Paperless Towels

These ones are sort of a mix between the other two alternatives. You can make them yourself out of basically any material you want (like reusable pads, most people tend to use fleece, or terry cloth) and attach snaps to one side of them so you can roll them up and house them on a paper towel holder for convenience.

The great thing about these DIY paperless towels is the fact you can make them with scrap fabric from around your house, which means you don’t have to ‘waste’ money on buying fancy cloth napkins. (Not to mention, the wait for them to get shipped to your house)

Another good thing about them is that, just like cloth napkins, they can be washed and reused!

One downside to these DIY paperless towels is that you may not like the idea of a wet bag holding your dirty/used napkins in your kitchen. Or, if you’re sewing skills aren’t that great, you may need to repair them should they begin to unravel.

Like I said above though, that’s a decision you’ll need to make for yourself. I don’t know your lifestyle, so I can’t tell you which of these three alternatives will work best for you.

Do some research into the paperless towel scene and take a chance on one to try. Or hell, try all three!

There’s literally no harm in testing out all three zero waste options before deciding to stick to one. Or, you may even find you use different alternatives for different days/occasions, which is also totally fine!

Whatever you decide, just remember any of these alternatives are better than using paper.

Paperless paper towels: have you tried them? Which alternative is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Like this article? Check out more zero waste articles here!

Reusable Pads: My Experience (After 2 Years)


I’m going to get pretty candid in the below article. If you can’t handle/don’t like talk about period blood, general dirty laundry, personal hygiene or pictures of pads, please don’t read!

The time has finally come to tell you all about my experience with reusable pads! While I’m excited to get into things, I’m also strangely nervous… this may be the most intimate article I’ve written. I’m also going to be going into pretty strong details, so this article will probably be on the longer side.

Buckle up!

Reusable pads in square/folded form (how I keep them for storage)

I don’t actually remember the specifics of how I got onto the reusable pad road, but I do remember I made my first reusable around this time in 2020. Before starting down the reusable journey, I was using NatraCare Pads, and before that (before going vegan and starting down the rabbit hole of living more naturally) I was using Always.

My periods have never been ‘easy’. They’ve always been the kind that literally makes you unable to get out of bed for 2 days with a heavy flow. Like, bleed-through-a-10-hour-night-time-pad-in-4-hours-or-less heavy. This means I was using roughly 18 disposable pads every period, and since my cycle comes roughly every 24 days… yeah. That’s a lot of garbage to be producing. (We’ll get to that math in a minute)

Now, in early 2020, I was still in my infancy of researching zero waste living, so when I came across an article for the first time that mentioned reusable pads, can you guess my reaction?

“Yuck! I could never do that!”

I bet there’s some of you out there reading this who feel the same way, and that’s perfectly fine! Life is a journey, and if you’re not comfortable with something, you absolutely do not have to do it.

That said, speaking as someone who had that thought, using reusable pads turned out to be a lot less gross than I was expecting it to be. It also very quickly becomes part of your routine so it goes from ‘oh that’s weird’ to normal amazingly fast. I’m not gonna bullshit you and say I was completely over it after the first cycle, but it was definitely no longer weird by the 4th.

If you want to try reusable pads, it might take you longer (or shorter!) to get okay with them, and that’s fine! Any new thing you introduce into your routine will have a learning curve, and that curve will depend on the individual person. For example, I think that snot is grosser than period blood, and I know not everyone would agree with that.

Which again, is perfectly fine.

I’ve also got a secret to share. You ready?

It’s not all or nothing!

You can decide to test out reusable pads, and if for whatever reason you’re uncomfortable or decide they’re just not for you after trying them, you can 100% go back to disposable pads!

There’s no zero waste police going to show up at your door and haul you off to jail. No one is going to make fun of you for ‘not hacking it’ or whatever. You tried something and it didn’t work for you. You know what you do then? You move on!

Though while we’re on the topic, reusable pads are not the only reusable period option that are available. There’s cups, period underwear and more. So if you decide pads aren’t your thing but are still interested in using a reusable, test out one of those.

Hell, I might even try one of the other methods at some point. But for now, reusable pads are working for me, so that’s what I’m sticking with.

Anyway, when I decided to test out reusable pads, I also decided if I was going to do it, I was going to do it ‘right’ and make my own. (I also didn’t have $80 to spend on some of the pre-made ones)

I ended up using some old bath towels and an old fleece blanket I was actually thinking of getting rid of. Instead of turning these items into waste, I upcycled them into something new!

I not only avoided producing garbage when I did this, but I also ended up taking items I barely used and turned them into things I now use monthly! (And sometimes more)

To make your own pads, you’ll unfortunately need to do some math. But don’t worry! I’ve outlined it below to (hopefully) make it easier for you to figure out.

To keep things super simple, I decided since I used 3 pads a day for 6 days, I was going to make at least 18. This way, I wouldn’t have to worry about running out/washing them while I was still in the middle of bleeding, and could instead wash them all at once after my period had ended.

Originally, my plan was to make 12 ‘day’ pads and 6 ‘night’ pads. (3 pads/day for 6 days)

Now, you may be wondering: this is all well and good, but how the heck do you actually go about building a reusable pad?

That’s an excellent question!

As I mentioned above, I ended up using some old bath towels and an old blanket. I used bath towels for the inner/absorbent layers, and the blanket for the back and front of the pads.

I also don’t own a sewing machine, so I ended up sewing all the pads together by hand.

Reusable pads unfolded/open (how they look when in use)

And as you can see from the picture, they turned out pretty good. (And have held up pretty well for almost 3 years of use)

The purple and white you’re seeing the blanket, and yes, that other denim looking material is denim. I ended up miscalculating the amount of blanket I had and had to use the only other fabric I had on hand: denim.

Despite it not being part of my plan, the denim thankfully worked! (Though I wouldn’t recommend using it and won’t be when I make new ones)

Denim pad front (the purple is the blanket)

Denim pad back

As long as you’re using fabrics that have high absorption rates, you can use basically whatever you want. If it soaks up blood and you can wash it, go nuts! The fabric store is your oyster, so to speak.

If you’re like me however and plan on using old towels, I originally did a double layer of towel in the day pads, and triple layer for nights. I say ‘originally’ because I was a few pads in before I realized “wait a minute, I could just make them all the same and then not have to worry about using a day or night pad”.

After I got over how dumb I felt for not thinking of that sooner, I did the rest of the pads with a triple layer of towel in the middle.

‘Middle’ towel layer – if you peeled off the purple or white front, this is what you’d find

The blanket I was using was also double fabric-ed (before cutting up the blanket, the white was hidden by the purple) and after I had the realization about the towels, I also realized I could peel the blanket layers apart and use them separate, so that it could be used on more pads.

That’s why some pictured are purple on both the front and back, and some are only one colour.

If I haven’t said it already, this was my very first time attempting to make reusable pads so yes, there was a bit of a learning curve and when I start making new ones later this year, I’ll be much better prepared.

The very first few pads I made ended up being much skinnier and shorter than I thought they were going to be. This is because of the technique I used. First, I sewed the 3 towel layers together, then attached that to the back, and finally to the front. However, when attaching to the front and the back, to get the towel layer on the inside, you have to attach them backwards, then leave a hole in the front end to pull the pad through.

Sound confusing? That’s because it was!

What I didn’t know at the time, is that when you sew something inside out and then flip it around, you end up losing fabric so the final product ends up smaller than your original design.

These were the very first pads I sewed. (The red one was an extremely failed attempt to use an old night gown)

This means that for example, if you started with something that was 30cm, once sewn and flipped inside out (which is actually the right way) it’s closer to 26-24cm. Which doesn’t sound like that much of a difference, but when you’re dealing with products you’re going to be bleeding on, is the difference between coverage and waking up to having to wash your pants and/or sheets.

So, if you want to make the final product 30cm, you need to cut out your layers bigger than that. Once I figured this out, I believe I made them closer to 34cm. I also wasn’t exactly sewing in the straightest of lines, so if you have more experience sewing by hand (or are going to use a machine) you won’t have to leave this much of a margin.

Luckily, I discovered the error of my ways not too far into the process, and was able to create 18 usable pads.

These finished pads were comparable to not only disposable ones in terms of size, but they also were just as, if not more absorbent!

Reusable pad (right) compared to Always Ultra Thin Extra Heavy Overnight pad in square/folded form

Reusable pad (purple) compared to Always pad length

Reusable pad (purple) compared to NatraCare’s Nighttime Maxi pad length

Reusable pad (purple) compared to NatraCare’s pad thickness

How do you test absorbency? Easily!

All you have to do is place your finished pad on a plate (or in a large container) and spoon warm water onto it.

… I know how it sounds, and I don’t know exactly why, but I read that warm water is the closest thing to period blood you can use to test absorbency. To know if your pad will stack up against your period, it only needs to be able to hold 9 Tbsp (that’s Tablespoons) of water without dripping/leaking.

If it holds more? Even better!

Since I planned on making them all the same (and before using up all my materials), I did the water test on one of the first pads I made. The first pad I did the test on was one of the ones that had the double fabric (before I learned I could pull the purple and white layers apart) and 3 layers of towel in the middle.

Honestly, I was pretty nervous before starting the experiment. I wasn’t sure if my shoddy hand-sewn creation would hold up.

Luckily, it passed the water test!

This is what the pad looked like after 15 Tbsp of water. When I picked it up off the plate, it had no leaks, drips, etc. This meant it could safely hold 15 Tbsp.

Since I’m me and I like to find where the line is, I kept going and stopped again once I reached 20 Tbsp. Again, I thought this amount of water was absorbed and was starting to get just the tiniest of ego boosts. This didn’t last long however, as when I picked the pad up from the plate, it began to steadily leak water.

So I wrote down 15 Tbsp was probably the max and went about making the rest of the pads.

Once I ran into the problem of not having enough blanket and started using denim, I redid the test with one of the denim backed pads, and that one also passed with flying colours.

Water tested denim-backed pad. The blue showing through is from the towel layer

The denim backed pad had absorbed 20 Tbsp of water without dripping. This one I did the same as the first to find out where the line was, and discovered 25 Tbsp was too much.

But since the goal was only 9 Tbsp, I was ecstatic!

Once I was about half done sewing all the pads, I had another realization: I have to put the dirty ones somewhere.


Now what?

Could I put them in a container? Maybe, but wouldn’t that start to smell? Do I have a container big enough to fit them all? No, I didn’t.

After a bit of research, I discovered this company Colibri that makes reusable wet bags for well, anything you could need a reusable wet bag for. Food storage, cloth diapers and yes, reusable pads!

I promptly ordered a bag and eagerly awaited its arrival.

Colibri bag with a folded pad to show size

This bag works great, by the way. Though I haven’t really used other wet bags so I can’t compare, it’s done an amazing job of housing my dirty pads, has not ripped, leaked, etc. in the 3 years I’ve had it and when it’s closed is completely smell-free! (The smell from the pads doesn’t get into the air)

I absolutely love this bag and would recommend this company to anyone who needs a wet bag. The bags come in all kinds of fun designs (I got the shark one for Shark Week) and as if that wasn’t enough, they’re also Canadian!

This is actually a good segue into the next thing I’m going to talk about: how to wash your reusable pads.

Now, if you’re one of those people who hears reusable pad and thinks ‘ew’, I’m sure this is the part you’re referring to. But, not to worry. As I said above, it’s actually not that gross!

So, just like with anything else, there’s multiple ways to go about cleaning your pads, but I’m going to stick with telling you about what I do. (Since this article is my experience)

Once a pad is full/it’s time to change it, I unbutton the wings to release it from my underwear (did I mention I sewed buttons onto the wings?) and I place it in the bathroom sink. Then I put a new one on in it’s place (ladies, I don’t have to tell you how that part goes, do I?) and tend to the one in the sink.

I run the dirty pad under cold water and let the blood/water drip out of it until the water starts running clear. Once it’s turned clear, I place the pad back down in the sink, squirt some vinegar onto it, then use a scrubbing brush to scrub the front of the pad clean (the part that was touching my body).

Once I’ve scrubbed as much blood out of the top layer as I can (which is usually all of it, to be honest), I rinse it again with water, then gently ring it out and place it in my wet bag. I repeat this process with the rest of the pads I use during my period.

At the end of my period, I take my bag of pads and squirt them with vinegar again (especially if they smell) as I place them into a mesh laundry bag, put that and the Colibri bag in the wash. I wash the pads on the Delicate cycle with tap/cold water.

Once they’re done being washed, I hang them up to dry on a drying rack.

After that, it’s as simple as taking them off the rack, refolding them (I like to keep them in square form for easier storage) and placing the bag in their spot to be ready to go for next time.

The only reason I don’t put my pads in the dryer is because they’re hand-sewn and I’m worried the strain from the washer and dryer will rip them apart faster. This is the same reason I use a mesh laundry bag, instead of throwing them in my washer loose. If you have machine sewed or store bought reusable pads, this shouldn’t be an issue. (If you bought them, I’d recommend reading the washing instructions that came with them, or checking the company’s FAQ section)

That said, now that I’m in my 3rd year, some of the sewing is starting to come undone anyway and while yes I can re-sew them, I don’t want to repair them after every cycle. Since I switched to using soap nuts I haven’t had any problems with getting them clean. I also haven’t really had any issues with staining.

Sure the purple ones might not show it, but even the white ones don’t really have stains. Two of the white ones finally got stained earlier this year, but they’re so minor it’s very hard to tell. And they still went 2+ years without any, so I’d say that’s pretty impressive!

If I didn’t tell you it was stained, would you be able to see it?

Also, as long as you wash them properly you shouldn’t be worried about stains. Not like anyone but you is going to see them, right? (Unless you decide to start a blog)

Okay, now that we’ve gone through how to make them, how to wash them, etc. let’s get down to details: is the myth about them helping your period symptoms true?


I don’t know!

Your period changes throughout your life naturally anyway, so it could be a coincidence that when you started using reusable pads your period symptoms did. That said, every body is different, and I won’t discount it if people say it has! If you feel it’s helped you, then more power to you.

Has it helped my symptoms?

I can’t say for certain. My cycle has changed since I started using them, but I also turned 27 back in February…

What I can tell you though is that my flow has remained heavy (even though I’m no longer bleeding for 6 straight days) and since I’ve been using the reusable pads, instead of 18 per cycle, now I only use about 8.

I can also tell you that it feels amazing to no longer be contributing to period garbage. It’s something most women don’t think about because it’s a natural process, and because they’re spread out (usually only about 1-2 per month), but if you go back and calculate it, you might be surprised how many pads (or tampons) you’re using.

For example, I keep track of my cycle for planning life purposes, and since I started using reusable pads, I’ve had 15 periods per year. (2020-2022)

So if we wanted to math it, that’s been 45 periods. And if we multiply the number of periods by how many pads I was using (45×18) we get 810.

I’ve saved 810 pads from going to a landfill since I switched to reusable pads. And I’m only in my 3rd year of using them!

Can you imagine how much garbage you’d save if you switched for 5, 10 20+ years?  Even if you decide to try them for just one cycle, that would be (roughly) 18 pads you saved.

I don’t want to end on a preachy note – you’re either going to try them or you’re not, no matter what I say – but just take a minute to let it sink in how much good for the planet that would be.

Reusable pads, have you tried them? Do you have any questions I didn’t answer? Leave it in the comments below!

Like this article? Check out more lifestyle tips here!

2 More Zero Waste Recipes to Replace Store Bought


Honestly, before starting my zero waste journey, I didn’t think about how many ‘every day’ items produce waste. I also didn’t think about ways I could replace harsh chemical cleansers with more natural options.

The harsh cleaner in a plastic bottle was ‘just what we used’ – why would I question it?

Well, I’m glad I did, because I’ve since began to look more critically at the cleaning products I use. And though I haven’t stopped using the ‘before’ products completely, I am happy with the cleansers I’ve since switched.

And since I know I’m nowhere near the only new zero waster out there, I thought I’d share 2 more zero waste recipes to replace store bought items. (If you missed the first article, check it out here!)

  1. Hand Soap


  • Soap Nuts
  • Water

I’m going to admit that this one… I’m kind of dumb for not realizing. This recipe involves the ever-amazing soap nuts. You know, the little nuts that naturally produce soap you can use to wash your clothes?

Yeah, apparently, that soap they produce can also be used to wash your hands! Shocker, I know. But it took me an embarrassingly long time to put two and two together. If it’s good enough to wash my clothes (and reusable pads), it should be able to clean my hands!

Though I’d like to blame society for this one, (why are there so many different soap products if they all do the same thing, anyway?) I’ve been an adult long enough I should’ve realized this.

Thankfully, the second best time to do something is today (the first being yesterday), so just like with veganism, now that I know, I can’t un-know.

To make the hand soap, all you gotta do is bring some soap nuts to a boil in a pot of water (depending on the size of the batch, use the same amount you would in your laundry, which is typically about 5), then once it’s boiling immediately turn off the heat and let them continue to sit in the water for about 20 minutes.

Once done, you can either fish the nuts out of the water, or you can mash them up and then strain the liquid into a hand soap bottle. If you don’t like the scent of soap nuts (it can be pretty… specific) you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the mix.

Most recipes I’ve seen to make this hand soap say to use a foaming hand soap container, but just like with using DIY toothpaste, that’s more for feel than affect. The soap will work just fine in a non-foaming container. You may need to make it more often (foaming soap containers supposedly use less product than non-foam), but since you can buy soap nuts in bulk, it really shouldn’t make that big of a difference.


2. Surface Cleaner


  • Lemon Juice
  • Vinegar
  • Water

This cleaner is another amazing recipe. Just like how baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean almost everything, this recipe can be used to clean basically everything else.

Like most of these zero waste recipes, all you need to make this cleaner is an empty bottle to mix the ingredients in. Pour the vinegar and water into the bottle in a 1:1 ratio, then add either 1-2 Tbsp of lemon juice, or the rind from half a lemon.

If you’re using lemon rind, you’ll want to let the mixture sit for a while to give the rind time to infuse with the vinegar and water (about 30 min), if you’re using juice, you should be able to start using it right away.

This cleaner can be used to clean glass, counter tops, floors, etc. I was originally going to call this all purpose cleaner, but there are some things you won’t want to use this on. For example, if you have porous items (like a couch or favourite chair), the lemon juice + vinegar might leave unwanted spots, or possibly leech the colour out of the item.

This is due to the lemon and vinegar’s natural acidity – which is actually the reason you can use it to lighten your hair!

If however you don’t care about spots or fading colour, then you can go ahead and use it on whatever you want.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Like this article? Check out more zero waste tips here!

Zero Waste Thanksgiving Ideas


I know it may seem impossible to maintain your zero waste lifestyle on a day that is literally about gluttony, but, like most other things, it’s actually not as complicated as it may first appear.

Let’s start with the biggest issue facing Thanksgiving: the food.

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Now, I know this day is usually the one day a year you get to go all out and make a giant feast. I’m not saying not to do that, I’m just saying do it practically.

Yes, it’s possible to have a zero waste Thanksgiving dinner! It just takes a little more planning. For example, if you’re having a big get together, instead of having yourself make every dish, ask some of the guests to bring sides. This way, you lessen the burden on yourself, and the guests will bring side dishes they’ll actually eat.

The next step, would be to just make less. I know, I know, that’s easier said than done, but hear me out! Maybe instead of having 10 side dishes, you only have 5. If you absolutely must make 10 sides, maybe skip out on the appetizers. Also, ask yourself: are the 10 different pop options you have really necessary?

I think you’ll be surprised at how little your guests will care about the turned down menu options. Having less food/drinks available doesn’t mean the holiday is going to be any less special, after all!

If you do end up having food left over, because I mean let’s face it, it’s near impossible to have a Thanksgiving feast without at least one dish left – put some leftovers in a container and put them in your freezer! This is a great way to store leftovers, as they’ll last a lot longer than just shoving everything into the fridge. And, you’ll get a nice surprise, already made Thanksgiving dinner on one night when you just really don’t feel like cooking.

Another great thing you can do to minimize food waste is make your guests take home containers. This way, you’re spreading out all the leftover food, instead of having most of it go bad in your fridge before you have a chance to finish everything.

Some people claim they don’t like leftovers, but frankly, I don’t understand that. If you liked the dish yesterday, why wouldn’t you like it today? It just doesn’t make any sense!

Giving out leftover containers is also a great, simple way to give your guests a party favour that they’ll actually enjoy. My family has done this practically since I can remember, and our guests always love taking food home! Some of them have even told me they felt honoured.


Sure that might not be everyone’s reaction, but it’s such a simple thing that people really seem touched by, it just makes sense. If eliminating your food waste can help make someone’s day? Why wouldn’t you do it?

Moving slightly away from food, another thing you can do to help reduce waste is use actual dishes and cutlery.

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I know, I know, you use plastic/throw away because you don’t want to wash everything after the party’s over.

But who said cleaning up can’t be part of the party?

Instead of sitting around on your couch talking after the meal, or worse, ignoring your guests to watch something on TV, get up and go clean up the mess! Ignoring it won’t make it go away, and I guarantee you are not gonna feel like doing it later.

Stop putting it off and go clean up. And bring your guests! Continue your conversation while you pack up the food, or put on some music and have a dance party while you wash the dishes.

Getting your guests involved in the clean up also goes hand in hand with giving them a leftovers container to take home. You ask them to go through the table and put some of whatever dishes they want in their containers. This will not only get them excited to help you (and honestly they might be too wrapped up in picking some delicious food to bring home to realize they’re even cleaning) but will also save you from using unnecessarily big containers when it comes time to pack everything up.

Once all your guests have had a go at the table, then break out the fridge containers. You may be surprised at how many smaller containers you need, instead of the big ones that don’t stack nicely.

You may also underestimate how fun cleaning up can be when you have friends/family to distract you from the ‘chore’ you’re doing.

My mom always says there’s two kinds of people: dining room people, and kitchen people. Now, I don’t want anyone to get offended by this statement. It pretty much just means there are people who think hosting requires putting on a show, decorations, etc. and those who… don’t.

Cooking and clean up can be just as much a part of the party as the rest of the evening. You just need to do it right!

Aside from using real plates/cutlery, making less food, giving your guests food to take home and freezing, you may think there isn’t much else you could do to keep your Thanksgiving zero waste.

Well, you’d be wrong!

There are plenty of other things you can do!

Instead of using paper towels or those novelty paper napkins with designs on them, use handkerchiefs, or other reusable napkin alternatives. Then at the end of the night, toss them in the laundry. Or, if you must use paper towels/throw away napkins, don’t throw them away! Let them break down in your garden or backyard, instead. Have a friend who has a garden? Give them to that person!

Just be careful with some of those novelty paper napkins – some of them have plastic in them for some reason (don’t ask me why, I could make an entire other rant post about the dumb places plastic is found), so be sure to check that before letting them break down in your soil.

Want to decorate for the season? Make decorations out of old clothes or repurpose old linens (bed sheets, pillow cases, etc.) instead of buying those cheap, plastic decorations at the store. Not only will it be more zero waste, crafting decorations can be super fun! You can even make it a part of your festivities. Have a decoration contest before/after dinner, then hang up the best ones! The best part of this is getting your guests in on the fun, and you can save them for next year.

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Another bonus of crafting instead of buying your decorations, will be eliminating that expense from your budget. This will allow you to buy something else instead (Christmas is right around the corner, after all!) or, you can even just save the money. Who couldn’t benefit from adding a little extra to their savings?

Or, if you’re not that big into crafting, use nature! Go out and pick some flowers, grab some fallen leaves, pinecones, or even pick up a gourd or two. Just be sure to wash them before using for the table centrepiece. The last thing you’d need is bugs getting into all the food.

These are all things you should be able to try without exerting too much extra effort. And, there’s obviously more you can do than just the tips I’ve listed here, these are honestly just the things I thought of off the top of my head.

Also? Don’t worry so much about having a ‘perfect’ zero waste Thanksgiving. Zero waste is impossible to achieve in today’s society anyway. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

Try your best to be as low waste as possible, and enjoy your holiday.

And if something wasteful slips through the cracks? Make a note of what it was, and try to do better next year.

Do you have any zero waste Thanksgiving ideas you’d like to share that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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Soap Nuts: My Experience (Eco Nuts Soap Nuts Sample Review)


This article is talking about soap nuts. To save time, I’ve shortened this to  ‘nuts’ during most of the article, resulting in some… funny sentences. Please try to excuse these as you read through the article.

Like before committing to doing most things, I did some research about soap nuts long before I decided to try them.

In my research, I learned that soap nuts grow primarily in two places: the Himalayan mountains, and Canada. Being in Canada, I thought it would make more sense for me to try some soap nuts that were native here. If for nothing else, it would be pretty wasteful/silly of me to ship something in from another country that naturally grows here, right?

Right. Or, so you’d think.

Apparently, Canadian soap nuts (which are commonly referred to as ‘buffalo berries’), are considered endangered, and thus are not available for purchase. While I understand wanting to preserve the plant (you can’t even buy the seeds to plant your own!), as said above, it seems silly for Canadian who want a more natural laundry detergent to have to spend money on shipping a native plant from the Himalayas.

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That said, I really wanted to see if they were worth the hype, so I found this company called Eco Nuts, and ordered their sample pack of soap nuts in late May, 2021. (They arrived early June) This was a Canadian company that unfortunately no longer exists (they were already going out of business when I placed my order). I had naively thought that if I was ordering from a Canadian company, I would be getting the Canadian buffalo berries.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, as their About page stated that their nuts were from the Himalayan mountains.

The quest for buying Canadian soap nuts aside, I was actually very impressed with how well they worked, and was even gifted a bag of soap nuts from the biggest Canadian distributor, Sinfully Wholesome for Christmas in 2021, so I thankfully have a lot of soap nuts to go through while I try to figure out another more natural, native solution.

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Even though it was a sample box, the Eco Nuts Sample was a lot smaller than I thought it’d be. I had no idea how big the berries were, or how many I’d get to fulfill 10 loads of laundry (as the sample pack page said).

Turns out, 4 whole berries + 1 half and a mesh bag was all I apparently needed.

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Now, I’m going to be honest, I ended up reading the FAQ page wrong at first, so my soap nuts didn’t last for 10 loads.

See, the way soap nuts work is that they have this thing called saponin in them, which is the part that makes them actually clean stuff. It’s also the thing we try to replicate when making man-made soaps. To get the nuts to secrete it, you have to agitate the nuts (or rub them together in your hands) and use some warm water to soften the hard exterior shell, so it can seep out.

Now, as someone who has a lot of dark-coloured clothes, I basically exclusively wash all my clothes in cold water, because using hot water a) is bad for them, since it could make the colours bleed, or shrink them, and b) uses unnecessary resources/heat and therefore, wastes money. (And let’s be honest, not many of us have ‘extra’ money to blow on something so small)

Anyway, so on the Eco Nuts FAQ page, it said that if you were going to wash clothes in cold water, you could still use the nuts, just that you had to make a sort of tea with them – put the nuts in the mesh bag, and then pour boiling/hot water on them, let them soak (to get the saponin out), then pour the ‘tea’ into the washing machine, then wash as normal.

The part of that I seemed to miss, was the part that said you’re supposed to pour both the tea and the bag of nuts in the washer, because they will still secrete some saponins, because of the agitation of the machine. So the very first load I did with them, I just dumped the tea in, and left the nuts out.

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Soap nut ‘tea’, I used a chopstick as a stir stick.

Honestly though, I did it exactly the way I make tea, meaning I boiled water in my kettle, and immediately poured it over the nuts, so I think I took out all the saponins that were inside them. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but I think because I did this, I kind of screwed myself for the following loads.

The first tea I made, the colour was a dark brown colour, and it actually looked like I had made tea with them. The second tea I made, the water colour barely changed. And the third time I made the tea, it didn’t change colours at all.

Aside from that, when I made the first ‘tea’, I discovered that the nuts had a faint smell to them while they were soaking. It wasn’t a bad smell per se, but it also wasn’t good. It faintly smelled like clean laundry, but also had a… pungent-ness that definitely wasn’t apitizing. Which I guess is good, because even though they’re called soap nuts, you’re not really supposed to eat them.

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Close up of a dry soap nut and the mesh bag, fresh out of the sample pack.

After washing my clothes as normal, using the tea, when I pulled them out to put the in the dryer, I smelled them, and they didn’t smell like anything. They didn’t smell dirty/unclean, but they also didn’t have that artificial ‘cleanliness’ smell that most detergents leave. They were neutral.

Some people may not like their clothes smelling like nothing, but honestly since I started this more natural living journey, I found it actually quite refreshing. I don’t know if it’s my mind playing tricks, or something that happens once you start cutting out a lot of man-made chemical products from your day-to-day, but I’ve actually notice myself becoming more sensitive to those chemical smells.

And the weirdest part is they never used to bother me before! I used to just smell the smell, and not the chemicals, if that makes sense. I used to find it pleasant, and now I just… don’t. Whether it’s laundry detergent, certain soaps and shampoos, dryer sheets, or aerosol sprays, they’re just not things I want around me, anymore. (Not that I wanted them around me anyways, but that was ‘just the way it was’)

The website also said that soap nuts had natural anti-static and anti-cling properties, so you wouldn’t need a dryer sheet when drying. I’d been not using dryer sheets for a little bit before that (I made some homemade ones and had been using those) so I didn’t bother tossing in a ‘regular’ (store-bought) dryer sheet, or a homemade one.

The clothes came out not static-y at all, but I don’t think this was more the material of the clothes I was washing, and not the soap nuts themselves, because on a later load, I did the same thing, and the clothes came out very static-y.

I only ended up using this pack of soap nuts for 4 loads of laundry, because as I said above, the ‘tea’ I made seemed to get much weaker after the 1st time. I still have the nuts and the bag, though. I was actually going to save them to do a comparison for this article, so you could see the difference between new and dried up soap nuts.

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Soap nuts air-drying after being through the washer.

I say ‘was’ because while I can see with my eye that the nuts are a different colour, for some reason, the difference hardly shows up on my phone camera. I don’t know if there’s some colour setting I need to change, or if it’s just a lighting thing, but I couldn’t get a good comparison picture, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

You can definitely tell the used nuts are a lighter when compared to not-used nuts. They most likely will also not remain whole by the time you’re done with them. Especially if making ‘tea’ with them, you’ll need to stir them around in the water to make sure the saponins are actually coming out. Submerging the nuts like this makes them soft, and thus more prone to breaking.

All in all, I definitely think soap nuts are a great alternative for people looking to change to a more natural laundry detergent/cleaner. I also think if you’re able to get your hands on some (sustainably, of course), you should definitely test them out for yourself!

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2 Zero Waste Recipes to Replace Store Bought


Going zero waste might seem like a massive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be!

No one is saying you have to throw out all your non-zero waste items/products – in fact, it’s actually less ‘zero waste’ if you do! It’s much better to use what you have, and then when it comes time to replace things, swap out landfill-bound items for more sustainable ones.

Doing this will not only ensure you use up everything you have until it’s gone, which in term will be better for the environment, but it can also help lessen the amount of stress you feel to switch your lifestyle.

Listen, I get it: now that you know, you can’t un-know, and you want to get started on being the new you ASAP. That is fantastic news – the world needs as many eco-heroes as it can get! But instead of creating more unneeded waste, start slow, and build up your eco-friendly life one thing at a time.

To get you started, I’ve listed 2 zero waste recipes you can switch your store-bought items for the next time you finish them. Keep in mind, that while these DIY recipes are better for the environment, they may not work exactly the same as store-bought products. But, I don’t want you to fret, I’ve tested and used both, and they still get the job done!

1. Toothpaste

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  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 4 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil (Optional)

First up, is this zero waste toothpaste. This recipe is great, because it only has 3 ingredients (or 2), and comes together in less than 5 minutes! (Assuming you don’t have to run around your house or go to the store to order the ingredients) Just mix together all the ingredients in a jar, or storage container, and boom, you’re done. What could be easier than that?

Another great thing about this toothpaste is: you know exactly what’s in it! Not only that, but you’ll get the same benefits as traditional toothpaste, without all the unnecessary added ingredients or manmade chemicals!

Baking soda is actually the ingredient traditional toothpastes use to clean your teeth, and it’s also been used as a whitening agent. (You can use baking soda both as a whitening agent for laundry [which will be talked about below] and for teeth)

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The coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, and it’s a natural alternative to other manmade chemical-laded antimicrobial products, which means it’s naturally healthier for you. Being a natural ingredient not only means it’s SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) free, but it’s also been shown to inhibit the growth of bad mouth bacteria, like s. mutans (Streptococcus mutans is the official name). These s mutans are one of the major bacteria’s that cause plaque and tooth decay due to their acidity.

SLS and SLES are foaming agents that are often found in shampoos, soaps, etc. They are the reason for all the bubbles/suds you get when you lather, however, they have been shown to cause allergic reactions (which is something I found out the hard way when testing some Lush shampoo), and, when used in toothpastes, they can actually mess with your taste buds!

The peppermint essential oil may seem like it’s just there to give you a better flavour, which is right – it will give you that classic mint-y clean feel you’re used to, but peppermint essential oil has a lot of other great benefits as well! One of which, is giving your energy levels a boost. I’m not too sure on the exact science as to why it gives you an energy boost (I haven’t done too much research into essential oils yet), but I can definitely attest to it working!

Whether that’s a matter of placebo or not is yet to be determined, but in either case, it will definitely make this homemade toothpaste taste better (without, it will taste like baking soda + coconut oil, which is pretty salty and not in a good way), so if nothing else, you could still use it for that.

I’ve been using this homemade toothpaste since April 2021, and aside from the saltiness the first time using it (I didn’t add enough peppermint), I don’t really have any complaints. It works great! The only thing to note is that because the base is coconut oil, it may solidify, or liquefy depending on the temperature. This is completely normal, and you can still use it in either state.

However, if you need it more solid (or less solid), you can either pop the jar into the fridge, or run it under hot water, or, place it in front of a vent/near something hot for a few minutes. You may also need to re-stir the coconut oil and baking soda together if it liquefies.

*Important: Make sure if you’re using essential oil, you get one that says it’s safe to consume. Some of them say to not use orally!


2. Laundry Cubes/Toilet Cleaner

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  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar

I know how this sounds, but baking soda + vinegar can be used to clean just about anything, and these cubes are perfect for a lot of those different uses!

I originally made these cubes after wanting to switch my man-made chemical-filled laundry detergent. I had discovered the world of soap nuts, but while I was on my quest to get my hands on some (apparently the native-to-Canada ones can’t be sold/bought because they’re protected), I still had to do laundry.

Since I had already learned vinegar + baking soda was strong enough to clean a toilet bowl, and bath tub, I figured it was strong enough to clean my not-that-dirty everyday clothing. I did a bit of research anyway, and discovered vinegar and baking soda were used often in conjunction with conventional laundry detergents to help up their oomph.

I learned baking soda was often used to make white clothes whiter, and vinegar was a natural way to eliminate odours, brighten and even soften clothing. This is because it contains acetic acid, which also makes it a disinfectant, antibacterial, and anti-a-lot-of-other things. (This is why vinegar can be used to clean so many household items)

After learning that, I figured what the hell, and decided to try doing a load. The load I did was of my reusable pads, and while I was a little skeptical when they went in, I was really impressed with how they came out! The mixture had gotten all of the blood stains (‘gross!’ I know, but that’s just what happens when you get blood in fabric) out, and had completely eliminated that used pad smell. In fact, when I pulled them out of the washer, they didn’t smell like anything. There was no ‘this is clean’ fake laundry detergent scent, but they also no longer had that ‘we’re dirty’ smell – they were neutral.

It may have also been my imagination, or the agitation from just being in the washing machine, but they also felt more ‘fluffy’ then when I had tossed them in. I don’t know if it was for sure the baking soda and vinegar, but the next load I tried I did regular clothes, and, (once they came out of the dryer) I discovered they were much softer than usual, and they weren’t static-y at all.

After test washing two loads (one pads, one clothes) with the mixture, I decided to go ahead and make a bigger batch to be used for later loads. I have an ice cube tray I had used when making shower bombs as x-mas gifts for friends and family a few years ago that I used, and I used the same formula to make the cubes.

First, I measured out the baking soda into a bowl, then, I very, very slowly (like, 1 tsp at a time slowly) added the vinegar, mixing after each spoonful, to make sure it was fully incorporated. Once thoroughly mixed, I filled the ice cube tray, and let the cubes dry out.

Once they were mostly dry, I turned the cubes out of the tray onto a wire rack (like one used to cool cookies), and let them sit for another 24 hours, just to make sure they were fully dried.

After that, I transferred them to a jar for storage. Then, whenever I needed to do laundry, I could just take a cube and toss it into the water as the washing machine filled up.

This recipe makes 12 cubes, however, you can make the cubes smaller in size, if you aren’t doing big loads of laundry. I have a double load washer, meaning I can fit twice as many clothes in 1 wash as a regular person, so a full cube is perfect for doing those big loads. But if you’re doing clothes for say, one or two people, a half-sized cube should work fine.

You could still use a full cube, since it’s not like it would over-wash your clothes, but if you want to get the most you can out of one batch, I’d recommend making half-sized ones, instead.

Of course, once you make a batch, you can always experiment to see how big of a cube you personally need.

Also, if you’re using it as a toilet bowl cleaner, it’s similar to the washing machine: drop it into the bowl, and then let it sit for a few minutes (I usually do about 5-10) before scrubbing it with the brush. Flush once done scrubbing, and it should be clean and ready to go!

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3 Tips On How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween


With cheap, plastic decorations, bulk boxes of individually wrapped candies and chocolates in plastic, and even the costumes, Halloween (or, any holiday, really) definitely doesn’t spring to mind when you think of ‘zero waste’, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have one!

Yes, it’s totally possible (and not all that much more work) to have a zero waste Halloween!

With just a little tweaking, you can have the zero waste Halloween that your wallet (and planet!) will thank you for having.


Tip #1: Make Your Own Treats!

I figured I would start with the hardest tip, and then work our way down. The most environmentally friendly and most zero waste way to still have a kick-ass Halloween is definitely to make your own treats.

Obviously, you can’t pass these out at the door (well, you could, but I don’t think parents would let them eat homemade stranger candy), but if you’re having a grown-up party, or even just your own house party with your kids, this is an awesome tip!

Not only will you get to binge on healthier treats (since you’re buying all the ingredients you need, you’ll know exactly what’s going into them), but I’m sure your kids would love to help bake/create the treats with you. It’s a fun way to spend the day, and you get a reward for all your hard work at the end!

Another bonus of making homemade treats? You can literally make whatever you want! Not that into chocolate? Don’t make it! Really craving a rice crispy square? Get yourself some marshmallows (if searching for vegan ones, I recommend Dandies), and rice cereal and go at it. Want to try homemade chocolate? Go get yourself some cocoa butter and Silk (milk) and go nuts! Rather not eat typical ‘candy’? No problem! Get your bakers hat on, and whip up some cookies, brownies, or whatever other treat your heart desires. And, to make them festive, you could decorate them with the Halloween theme in mind!

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The only limitation to the treats you create is your imagination!

If you want to make actual ‘candy’ at home (i.e. lollipops, hard candies like Jolly Ranchers, etc.) you’ll maybe not want to let the kids help with those. Those items require boiling sugar and that stuff gets super hot/a tad dangerous to work with, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to give some of your homemade treats away (I only recommend doing this to people you know/who trust you enough to actually eat what you hand-make, that way your good intentions don’t end up in the garbage), you can get some jars/containers and decorate them simply before giving them away. Similar to the dry mixes some people give at Christmas. Do them up a little pretty, and people are sure to love them!


Tip #2: Don’t Buy a Single-Use Costume

My mom was always really big into Halloween, so maybe this was just my family, but some of my best Halloween memories consist of mix and matching clothes I already had to make my costume. Sure, we had to go buy Halloween make-up (weren’t gonna waste ‘the good stuff’) and maybe a wig, but the majority of our costumes growing up were homemade.

If you don’t want to wear your everyday clothes, check out past year costumes you already have, to see how you can give them a new life as something else, or, go hit up a thrift store (like Value Village), that may have some more specific Halloween-themed pieces. The trick here is to go through what you already have, see what your missing, and then either go get a few choice pieces to complete the look that can be re-used in the future, or change what your costume is, so you can use pieces you already have.

You could also keep a few things from your Capsule Wardrobe purge to keep specifically to wear for Halloween. This way, you won’t care if you have to say, roll it around in the dirt to get the specific look, (we actually did this one year) or cut some holes into it.

Or, you could just forgo the costumes if you’re not going out/not that into it. You could have a house party in your pj’s watching scary movies with family and friends, instead.


Tip #3: Buy In Actual Bulk!

If you don’t want to make your own treats, or you don’t have the skills to make one treat in particular that you just absolutely need to make Halloween special to you, try to get it at an actual bulk store!

Here in Canada, we have this place called Bulk Barn, and every year around Halloween, they have a few dedicated bins to Halloween treats. Foil-wrapped chocolates, hard candies, gummy worms with a bat decoration stuck to the bin, etc. Basically they slap a ghost or spider-web on some of their regular offerings and call it a day.

But this is still better than buying those boxes of big-name treats, because you can fill your own container* with the exact amount of treats you’ll need. So yes, this option still gives you waste (depending on what treats you’re buying), but it’s still better than getting a bunch of those giant cardboard boxes (that can’t be recycled! The dyes used to make those silly pictures sometimes prevent the cardboard from being recyclable), filled to the brim with plastic wrappers.

I recommend you go out and buy store-bought treats last, because it will create some more waste than the other options here, but if you absolutely feel you need to, then do it. Zero waste isn’t about denying yourself things you like, or feeling like you have to ‘give up’ things you enjoy, it’s about helping the planet and minimizing your environmental impact.

It’s also impossible to be ‘true’ zero waste in today’s society, so don’t worry too much about trying to be perfect. Everyone creates waste – the trick you need to remember is to create as least as you can, as often as you can. If you create a little bit more than usual once a year, there’s no Zero Waste Police who are gonna show up and fine you, or revoke your zero waste card.

So relax, and have fun!

*Bulk Barn has temporarily suspended it’s BYO policy due to COVID safety practices. Call/check your local bulk store to see if/when the policy will change back

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