Reducing Waste Around Your Home

One of the best ways to have a positive impact is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills! Calgary is a big city and each person can generate around 1000 kg of waste per year!

Landfills are a band-aid IMO. You take your garbage and you stick it in a hole in the ground… Great idea? Nope! But that’s the problem, there are no great ideas for managing the waste we have, other than just reducing it in the first place.

So here goes: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I’m sure you’ve all heard that saying before, but here are some easy tips to get you started:

Reduce

Ask yourself; do you really need that? We live in an age of too much stuff ¬†and single-use items. You have 4 frying pans at home, do you need this one meant specifically for a single egg? Probably not ūüôā

Reduce impulse buying and make a wishlist instead. Keep items on that list until you decide that you truly do need it, or that you can make do without it.

Reuse

Before you throw something out, take a minute and decide if you or someone else could still use that item. Much of what we throw out is still a usable good that could be donated to Salvation Army or Value Village.

Rip a pair of jeans at the knee? Turn them into shorts! Being mindful about what you’re throwing out can save a lot of waste from the landfill.

Recycle

Have one of those blue bins out back? Great, that just made it so much easier! Check out the link here to the City of Calgary’s website on what you can and can’t put into those bins. No sorting required, just dump in all in! Many cities are starting curbside recycling pickup, so check out your local municipality for information!

I’ve got a second bin right next to my garbage for all my recycling. Takes some remembering at the beginning, but it soon becomes second nature to divide the recycling from the garbage. The bins are the same size and I honestly have to empty the recycling one more often!

Next step, compost! If you’ve got a recycling system going, you soon realize that most of your waste is food! There are some ways to help there:

1) Get a compost bin! If you’re in an apartment, this isn’t too easy, but some neighbourhoods now have green bins for all your compost. If not, don’t fret, you can still get a composter for your backyard.

2) Divert from the garbage! Got the skins from peeled potatoes or the ends of carrots that you’re going¬†to throw out? Stop right there and grab a freezer bag instead! Throw all your veggie cuttings, or produce that’s close to going bad, in a freezer bag until you’ve got about 5 cups worth. Add it to a pot with some salt, pepper and a bay leaf and you’re making veggie stock!


Got some tips on reducing waste in your home or workplace? Let’s hear ’em!

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Power Savings Tips for your Home

Do you look at your monthly electricity bill and cry a little bit on the inside (or outside, I won’t judge)?

Canada can be a brutal place for high electricity bills, and utility bills in general. Here are a few little tips to help keep your electricity bill down, especially during these winter months!

1) Have a computer? Make sure you turn it off at night!
My fiancée and I are computer gamers, so the computers are on constantly on and running hot! Turning your computer off at night not only helps it run better, but is 8 hours less on your electricity bill.

2) Turn off “Keep Warm” on your coffee/tea maker!
I know how tempting it is to have a hot cup of tea just waiting for you, but having your machine keep your beverages hot can suck a lot of power! Invest in a really good to-go mug to use around your house so warmth is always at your finger tips!

3) Avoid using an electric heater!
I’ve got a love/hate with electric heaters… Yes, they keep the immediate vicinity warm, but I’m always scared I’m going to leave it on accidentally! If you’re feeling cold around your house, try shutting the vents in rooms you don’t go in to. Blankets are also awesome; add one to your couch, your office chair, two to your bed! Got a pet, lure it to your lap!

4) Swap television for a book!
It’s winter, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a movie. I admit, I’m really bad for it too! If you’re in a lazy mood, grab a book instead of the remote and pair it with a nice cup of hot tea!

5) Turn off your lights!
Yea yea, this one is pretty straightforward! In the winter, it’s feels nice to have the lights on to make up for it being dark at 5 pm. When you leave a room, try to remember to turn off the lights. If you’re in the living room reading a book, you don’t need the kitchen and bedroom lights on!

 

That’s all for now! Every little bit helps and the more energy savings tips you practice, the bigger decrease you’ll see in your energy bill. Got some tips to share? Share them in the comments!

7 Ways to Use Less Plastic!

1) Buy in Bulk!

A lot of our plastic use comes from packaging! An easy way yo reduce this is to buy certain things in bulk! Pasta and other dried goods, such as beans or spices, are easy to buy in bulk and store in reusable containers. You can find some great ideas for food storage on Pinterest!

2) Stop Buying Water Bottles!

It takes more water to make those bottles than they hold. Ditch the plastic water bottles and grab a reusable bottle. Better yet, grab a filtered water jug and keep fresh water in your fridge at all times.

3) Be an Eco-Friendly Shopper!

The reusable shopping bags are much more sturdy, can carry a lot more, and save a lot of plastic! One complaint I hear is that they take up a lot of space, but you can get some sweet bags that fold up all pretty in your purse. Keep a few in the trunk of your car and use them when you buy groceries. Lots of grocery stores are starting to charge for plastic bags, so this is also a great way to save money!

4) Smarter Food Storage!

When saving your leftovers, use reusable plastic containers or even glass containers. Single use plastic sandwich bags can really add up (in cost as well!). Save your containers from food purchases, such as margarine containers; the big ones make excellent food storage for soups and stews!

5) Don’t Be Lazy!

I know how tempting it is to have plastic plates and cutlery, especially when you have company over. Take the extra time to use your dishware and just throw it in the dishwasher. If dishware just isn’t feasible (ie. camping), opt for recycled paper products instead!

6) Opt for Non-Plastic!

There are lots of items that come in plastic and a non-plastic alternative. If you’re shopping for a new items, take a look at the different materials and opt for the non-plastic. Storage containers are a great example here. You can get some really nice wicker or cloth baskets to store things, instead of going with the plastic container.

7) Lastly, Recycle!

If you can’t completely get rid of plastic, make sure you are recycling the plastic you have. This plastic goes back to the¬†manufacturers¬†and gets remade into products. Plastic is still being used, but at least you’re¬†helping the manufacturers use less plastic too!

Take a look around your house and you’ll soon realize how much plastic we own! Have other ideas on how to reduce your plastic use? Share them below!