In my Opinion….

Today was a busy day. David and Susan from the Gillian Deacon show came and filmed me making rice milk, setting bags up to dry and talking about making cards. That took three hours! It was cool though, and you will be able to see a short segment (I’m thinking 5 minutes tops) on the Gillian Deacon show on CBC. I will also be on the show in person. It airs Monday January 22nd at 11am and again at 2pm. If you tape it for me, reuse an old tape please:)

While we were taping, a woman from Global called wondering if I would like to voice my opinion on the city of Toronto’s recent statement that they will cut the number of grocery bags goes to landfill. Would I???? I would love to voice my opinion to someone other than Kyle (who has heard it all before)-that’s one of the reasons I started the blog-to give Kyle a break from my rants. Unfortunately, by the time I called back, she had found someone else. Instead, I will voice my opinion to you! Ooooo aren’t you the lucky one…

…Firstly the city wants to start a bag recycling program and then they want to aim to cut down on the number of bags being made. I say scrap the first step. Yes, recycling is better than sending things straight to landfill, but not by much. It expends enormous amounts of energy, and the actual amount of the material that is used again is very small- most is waste (not to mention pollution from the trucks and recycling plants). Plastic bags are particularly bad. The reason there are not more recycling programs for them is that the only thing they are used to make is lawn furniture-and how much of that do we really need in the world? We probably have enough existing plastic bags to last a few years without manufacturing more. That’s enough time for people to get used to carrying cloth bags around. I don’t think plastic bags should ever be given away for free. In fact, I think the reusable options should be cheaper -flimsy plastic bag $1.99, reusable cloth bag $.99. Bring your own bag and get a discount or points or some sort of reward. The city is also talking about having officers enforce garbage regulations and give fines. I think that is actually a pretty good idea, but I think they should give the job to existing city workers who don’t have much to do, rather than creating a whole new department…although if we were charging people for garbage pickup, per bag, there would be more money to play with. Kudos to the city for trying to make important changes though. Their hearts are definitely in the right place. I just don’t have faith in recycling. I think it’s an out we use- a way of redeeming ourselves for all our sins against the earth, but it’s not very effective and really should be a last resort.

Harmony milk called back. I had left a message yesterday that said (roughly) ” Hi. I’m Sarah McGaughey. I really love and support your company and all the good you are doing for the environment. I’m doing a project where I am not making garbage for a month and during that time, I can’t get your bottled milk because of the little plastic seal on top. There’s a TV crew coming tomorrow and I don’t want to give you bad press because I really appreciate all you do. Please call me back so we can discuss this….” So Art called me back to say he appreciated my support and he thought the garbage project was an important and noble cause. Basically because of very strict dairy laws, he can’t do anything about those trashy bits. They have to use a safety seal in order to legally use the reusable bottles. A few times he started a thought ” What I could do for you is….” and then cut himself off “Oh, no no then we would be liable.” The dairy industry is a tricky business. He was very, friendly, helpful and kind though and I strongly encourage other people to buy the milk in reusable bottles. You can get it at 4 Life Organics on Augusta, and you can also special order it from David at Etherea (Davenport and Ossington). I did send Art the picture of the milk jugs (thanks Jen). He said he would look into it, but he needs to get the bottles from Canada because in the states they come in Quarts and he needs litres. I’m not sure if the seal would meet safety standards ( a lot of our laws really have to change in order to make protecting the environment possible, but that’s a rant for another day). He also told me that they make a lot of keychains from those little plastic thingys. They are pretty cool looking-Kyle suggested making a necklace, but I just don’t know who would wear it! As I don’t need any more keychains and I don’t know anyone who does, I think I will stick to making rice and almond milk for the one hardcore month of zero trash, and I will resume getting Harmony milk and cream after. I think the goodness of the reuable bottle system, and the organic milk and the well treated cows overpowers the badness of the little plastic tab, but I will avoid it for the project to accomplish the 31 days of Zero Garbage.

Tonight, I went to a concert at the Tranzac. I got really thirsty, but they only had plastic cups so I drank from the tap in the bathroom and later I reused a friend’s cup. It’s not easy being garbage free in a bar-it’s too loud to explain what it is that you want and why.

That’s all for now. I’m working on a post about shopping but it’s not quite finished and it’s way past my bedtime, so it will have to wait.



Filed under garbage laws, groceries

8 responses to “In my Opinion….

  1. Dana Sixty

    Hey there:

    Kudos to you for taking the garbage-free challenge. I’m always doing everything I can to reduce the amount of garbage I produce each week. Walking throught our neighbourhood I am appalled at the number of bags of garbage people throw out on a weekly basis and am shocked that they are allowed to do so by the city without penalty, when their green bins and recycling boxes are either barely full or not even put out on recycling day. I wrote to the Mayor to express my support of banning plastic bags completely. People are so bloody lazy – what’s so hard about putting a bunch of cloth bags either in the trunk of your car or stuffing one in your coat pocket or purse? People got used to recycling (well, most did) so they can certainly get used to cloth bags. I know that Dominion is really good about giving you a few cent discount if you bring your own bags.

    Anyway, just thought I’d drop you a line to show my support for what you’re doing.

  2. burbinski

    What a wonderful idea, ever since reading the Globe & Mail article I have been inspired and very challenged. One question I have is what about the waste water that is generated by your lundry also I went to “Radical Frugality” and thought what was worse use of paper products for hygiene or execess dirty water being created by using cloth. The other question I had isn’t your laundry water consider garbage? and if so how are you re-using it. Keep up the good fight, you folks are a true inspiration


  3. Thanks for your support.
    Dana, I totally agree with you about bags. Good for you for writing to the mayor! Jo, we have’t really thought about laundry water. Mostly the project is about not using up space in the landfill and then other things just pop up that aren’t really related (like reusing our bath water). I have heard of people rerouting their laundry water so they can use it again, to flush the toilet or water plants (provided you use natural detergents and no bleach). Sorry I can’t be of much help on that front. Let me know if you find a solution. We do try to do less laundry (like not wash for every wear unless the garment is sticky or spilled on) and we don’t use the dryer.

  4. Anna

    In honour of your project I started crocheting a reusable tote bag from plastic bags at craft circle last week. I’m surprised at how many bags it’s taking and how long it’s taking to make, but I think it will be a perfect beach bag when I’m done because it will be waterproof and it’s mesh-y so sand won’t stay in it.

    Keep the faith sister!

  5. Jen

    My nursing friends would be appalled, but I have to admit I never considered the health risk bit when it came to milk. I suppose because I think that most (not all) health-related packaging could definitely be done away with – like why do I need a plastic bag over my new cheese grater? I’m going to wash it anyway before I use it, and I think the plastic just keeps the dirt and grime in.

    Anyway, I hope the person who was interviewed/broadcast in your place had as good insights. For all our efforts at preventing waste, the only thing that is going to control the production of it is either legislation or corporate self-control (the latter being a lot less likely, since there’s more money to be made from producing something than there is to be made from not producing it). Though I would love to see the look on people’s faces if they had to shell out a twoonie for a plastic bag!

  6. As far as the plastic thingies on the milk lids go, what about seeing if a kindergarten or grade 1 teacher could use them as counters or for a craft project? Just a thought.

  7. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

  8. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

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