Grey Areas

We’re in Montreal!!! Our hosts (friends) are doing so much to ensure that we can do no garbage at their house. It’s very sweet. I feel like the most difficult house guest in the world. We will take compost home with us, unless we can find someone in Montreal who has a backyard composter. If you live in Montreal and have one, please contact me!
Katie said it’s really hard to find bulk food here, so eating will be interesting. I just assumed they have bulk everywhere. Although, the day before yesterday I went to Sobeys (a 24 hour grocery store near our house) and noticed that they have a huge sign saying “bulk foods” but in that section everything has been individualy packaged in it’s own container. There are no bulk bins. Perhaps it’s like huge mass produced clothing stores advertising vintage clothes. Confusing. At that same Sobeys I bought all my fruit and veggies with no stickers!!! It’s starting to look like it is possible to get sticker-free produce, but much harder to purchase sticker-free organic produce.
Another problem we have come across is hair. We used to put it in the green bin (Toronto wide compost) but recently dicovered they don’t accept it, and it doesn’t biodegrade. Really I knew that because part of my job includes telling people about Victorian hair wreaths and hair broaches (they kept loved ones hair because it was a piece of then that was immortal), but I just never made the connection. So, I can’t cut my hair for a month, though my bangs are getting long and unruly and in my way! Kyle has been collecting his clippings-I’m not sure what he plans to do with them, probably make something amazing that will kick my ass. Although he claims he is not an artist, he has a knack for making things into the most beautiful art pieces.
My limit on recycling may be harder than I thought. I already have about 20 items in my bin-lots of bits of paper(reused to the max) and 3 or 4 cans.
Last but not least, I don’t know whether we can say we have been successful so far or not. We now have a small baggie of hair, a sticker collection, and a broken pair of salad tongs. Friends are saying we are successful because we haven’t thrown everything out, but this project is not about collecting garbage, it’s about avoiding it and, in that way, I feel that we have failed. Yesterday I worked the Winter Fun Festival at colborne lodge. Outside they were selling cider in styrodoam cups!!! I found out too late to do anything about it. Inside, I was helping kids pull taffy and giving it to them in wax paper. I found out about the wax paper mere minutes before the children arrived and couldn’t think of anything I could replace it with. I did pick through the garbage and bring home all the buttery paper towels to put in the compost. Again, because it happened at work and I had no control over it, our loved ones are saying it doesn’t count, but when I said “no garbage for one month, hard core”, I meant it! So that would mean the clock starts over today and I am again in day one of making no garbage. Welcome to day one (again)! It’s perfect because today I will be on the Gill Deacon show (at 11am and 2pm) talking about the first day. Don’t forget to watch!



Filed under groceries, travel

7 responses to “Grey Areas

  1. Sally

    Good job on Gill today, even though she took a swipe at you, honestly, she looked the fool. “instead of praising you for the effort you ARE making… I think I will point out the tiney-tiny part you are not being perfect about”. scoff.
    Sometimes I stare in amazment at the stupidity that comes out of her mouth, yet I am thankful at anyrate that she seems to direct her topics at hippies and eco-friends. You are doing a great thing. I moved from the GTA to Saskatchewan, land of the ever-idoling cars and “what’s this composting you speak of?”.
    Very annoing. I do my best, I hate garbage, and cant wait to have a baby so I can UN-diaper it. The whole sticker thing blows my mind…. why does every piece of fruit demand stickering? What are they so worried about? Rouge unlabelled apples EVERYWHERE… where do they come from ?? where???
    and lady? dont even GET me started on blister packaging!
    If you ever travel through saskabush look us up, we have room, bulk vegetarian foods and washed plastic bags to go around. (plastic bags make good insulation for pipes)
    Peace and encouragment

  2. Thanks Sally. I lived in Lloyminster for 4 years and Regina for 6. My friend Anna in Regina is thinking about going trash free for a week, so it is possible (but I admit, can be a bit harder). There are many wonderful green minded people in Saskatchewan though (like yourself). Thanks for the words of encouragement! Sarah

  3. I’m inspired by your garbage-free pledge. Thank you for sharing the process here. See my No plastic Bags blog for news about bag campaigns around the world:
    I just posted a link to your blog there.

    BTW, I put hair in my compost heap all the time and it decays after a few months. It’s full of nitrogen too (good for the soil).

  4. Psst! Worms in a vermicomposter will eat chopped up hair too!

    Love your blog.

  5. Certain areas of Montreal have composting bins available to residents and I do not see why you can’t drop off your stuff too. There is one near Vendome Metro that I know of.

  6. I think that this is an extremely brave project. I love the idea, and it makes me want to think a lot harder before I pick up all of those things in the store with ridiculously unnecessary packaging. We have gotten some pretty awful looks from cashiers in the past for not putting our vegetables in plastic bags–an insane concept to begin with!

    I just had a few thoughts about your bits of trash:
    1. If you have plants (potted or in the ground), the broken tongs would be good for staking them–or at very least labeling them. They could also be used for digging into/turning your compost.
    2. The bits of hair can be used to stuff a cat toy as well. It might seem a little odd, but it should actually make great stuffing. We used to compost our hair and the hair of our dog, too.
    3. The stickers! Ah–I can’t stand them! I really don’t have an idea for those, but now I can’t stop thinking about ways to reuse them.

    Well, I really just wanted to say good luck!
    If nothing else, you’ve made me rethink several of my recent lapses in judgment.

  7. lunarmama

    About the paper, you can recycle it into your own handmade paper, you probably have all the things you need on hand and recipes are not difficult to find online, you could add the hair and stickers when making the paper and use it to write letter to friends.


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