Here's to another year of Zero waste goals!

Update: I've gone a whole year without buying any ziplock bags!

What does your family do for waste reduction? Please share your tips and experiences via email, twitter or facebook!

What are your goals?  What 6 things will you do to start living Waste Free?

4. Re-using Re-sealable bags and Re-thinking food storage by finding alternatives:

I wash old re-sealable bags and turn inside out to dry.  I do use them a lot in the freezer so by reusing and not buying anymore that will help a bit.

I had some cloth sandwich and snack bags from a store (that is now sadly no longer in Canada so I cannot buy more) which I use all the time. I love them and use them often. I found some zippered snack bags online and then I found a Canadian Company that sells them in a local store and we use those a lot!

I have also started to use beeswax food wrap.

I use mason jars and other glass containers and recycled jars to store homemade salad dressings, raisins nuts, quinoa, rice, pasta etc. from the bulk store.

3. Carry Your Own Cup!

I have a fun coffee cup with a lid my neighbour gave me as a "Thank You" gift and that now lives in my gym bag for impromptu coffee time.  I also keep another coffee thermos in the car, along with two reusable cups with lids for the kids for smoothie type drinks. I have an envelope of paper straws with these as well. I've chucked in a few plastic containers to use for leftovers on those rare times we go out for dinner.

in the car

I also kept camping cutlery (yes plastic but we had them already and used until they broke), and chop sticks with my bag of stainless steel straws.

As well as the shopping bag, i have a small water bottle, homemade hand sanitizer, and some straws and cutlery in my purse.

5. Think Ahead: Be Prepared For Events

We love to attend festivals and other community events as a family and with friends. By thinking ahead and carrying some reusables I saved a lot from the landfill this past year. I can do even better this year now that I've tried it before and know what to expect.

For food events we bring plates, cutlery and napkins and a small container with a damp cloth. I will bring more cloths next year. We also bring our own reusable cups. 

Even when an event offered compostable cutlery we refused. Why take a product that used resouirces to make only to be thrown out ten minutes later. We even saw unused compostable cultery thrown in the trash and compost containers still wrapped in the napkin!  What a waste! 

I wonder where else I will be able to use my own plates etc. this next year?

Update: I've found a store that refills liquids like soap and shampoo!

5. Litter-less lunches

I’ve always used a re-usable lunch bag so that didn’t change. For a long time now I have only packed water bottles in my kids lunch (mostly because when they were little they never could finish a full drink box and I found it a waste) but now I do it for a waste-free lunch.

I use plastic containers and cloth bags for everything in it.

Until I have time to make homemade applesauce and freeze in cubes, I buy applesauce only in large containers because our recycling program will not take the small cups. I now scoop out from the big and put into reusable containers.  I reuse plastic spoons that I’ve collected over the years (I’ve never liked throwing them out) and when those break I will use metal ones.

I’ve stopped buying little snacks in individual packages. I buy pretzels in bulk to pack in re-useable alternatives at home. I also make more homemade goodies, which of course takes time, but I double the recipes now and get my kids to help bake.  I make big batches of muffins to freeze in a resealable bag that I’ve used before (see point 4). I make big batches of cookies to freeze as well.   I found a great recipe for homemade granola bars which I make, wrap in parchment paper, and freeze.

I hope to swap out paper napkins (which now go into our compost as the kids always bring the soiled ones home) to cloth ones. 

1. Only Re-usable Grocery Bags

I leave my shopping bins and bags (plus my reusable produce bags) In the back of my car. I also keep a bag for wine there, too (a bag with slots for the bottles).

In my purse, I keep at least 1 reusable bag.

On a hook by the door I keep a few more reusable bags and some re-usable produce bags for quick trips across the street, plus a single wine bag.

I no longer accept plastic bags personally. If I forget to tell the cashier, I just remove the items and fill up my own bag and hand back the plastic one. If I forget my bag I carry my items out by hand.

I was daunted and overwhelmed by all this!  I didn't know where to begin!

My goal for October 2018 to October 2019 was to start small with 6 tasks that focus on food and grocery shopping

ZERO WASTE panckae breakfast for Canada Day!


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


4. Keeping Zero Waste Kits in each car and Making Kits for Travel.

To make sure both hubby and I were ready for anything I made Zero Waste Kits for each car. His was a Christmas Gift!

I'm assembling little kits for each son (plus myself and hubby) to take with us when we visit family overseas this Christmas. I packed one small travel kit for myself and my sons when we travelled for Spring Break.

2. Buy More at Specialty Bulk Stores:

I go to our local bulk store every two weeks and especilaly love to fill up on the discount days when they offer 10 to 25% off for bringing your own containers.

I drive into a specialty bulk store in a nearby city about three times a year to fill up on bulk liquids and other items I cannot buy locally.

Go to different stores to see what they have to offer and try to apply Low Waste Goals! 

In 2019 I wrote to my four local Grocery stores about my experiences at attempting Low Waste Grocery Shopping. I heard back from two of them!  Guess who gets my business?

A damp and dry cloth to wipe plates between dishes at a food festival

1. Keep practicing and improving on the Six Steps from Above!

I will still use reusable grocery bags and produce bags.

I will still refuse straws and use my own.

I will still refuse disposable coffee and smoothie cups and use my own.

I will still re-use ziplock bags, new cloth snack bags, bees wax wraps, the plastic containers I have.

I will still pack litterless lunches.

I will continue to re-think grocery shopping and what I buy, how I buy it and where I buy it. I buy more in glass and in bulk.

Copyright 2018. Family Theme Days. All rights reserved.

Waste Reduction Week/ Low Waste Lifestyle

6. Make Zero Waste Recipes!

This is going to take some time as I develop new recipes that are Zero Waste or Low Waste. My ultimate aim is to publish a cookbook! But don't worry I will post some recipes here!


6. Better Grocery Shopping

This is going to take time as I explore what is out there at different stores. 

Grocery shopping officially gives me a headache now because I’m searching for a) healthy choices, b) affordable choices, and now c) recyclable, reusable or no packaging.

Presently, I’ve stopped buying produce in plastic. I buy the loose carrots and now have to cut them into smaller pieces for lunches. I buy loose peppers. I buy the large cucumber (that doesn’t taste nearly as good as the ones wrapped in plastic, alas). etc. etc. I buy berries only once a month as a treat now. I do love my berries, but those huge clam shells stab me in the heart each time I put one in my shopping cart now that I know my local recycling program won’t take them anymore.

I’m researching bulk options.  This will be a slow process as I have to take the time to price check (the small fine print on the grocery store shelves will tell you how much money per 100g) and compare to the bulk version at our local bulk store.

What I have learned so far….

Nuts are more expensive at the bulk store. Way more expensive. So now I buy them in large plastic containers which can go in our blue bag or can be reused to hold other things. When I have a coupon or they are on sale I reuse one of these containers and refill it at the Bulk Store

Quick oats and regular oats are comparable, so I will now buy them at the bulk store, taking in my own container to be weighed before I pour.

I bought our first set of straws at a wine store. They are now available in many stores. At our local bulk store you can buy them plus a brush cleaner. You can find paper straws at the Dollar Store!

It's a Beautiful World!

Let's do our part!

Antibes, FRANCE

“The Earth is what we all have in common."
~ Wendell Berry

Family Ideas

2. No More plastic Straws!

I keep a bag of stainless-steel straws in my purse for the whole family. The hardest part is to remember to say “No straws please!” when ordering a drink at a restaurant. For family travel overseas we have bamboo straws which will be better for going through security.






By the DOOR

Update: I only buy deli meat in my owe contaienr and have not bought plastic wrapped lunch meat in over a year!

in my PURSE

I bought my first set of reusable produce bags from the grocery store but when I went to buy more they no longer sold them.  I bought my second set of reusable produce bags online.

in the car

There are all sorts of ways we can reduce our waste! you don't need to buy new things!  What do you have at home?