- article reproduced with permission from Russell Nursery
No one cheerfully pays $6.99 for a plastic wrapped cauliflower flown in from afar. All those flimsy plastic bags in which we pack any number of fruits and vegetables? So bad for the environment! And don't even get me started on stickers ... the bane of shoppers and organic gardeners everywhere!!
Do you want a way to avoid these plagues of modern life? The solution is within your grasp! Grow your own produce. Why? It can be less expensive, involve far less plastics, and you won't ever see a single sticker again!
Starting fruits and vegetables from seed can be extremely rewarding. From sighting the first sprout of green to harvesting delicious and healthy ingredients to compose your supper, being involved in food production gives a rare sense of power and well-being. Seed starters have a hand in creating life and, through cultivating and consuming the food they grow, can also be confident that they know where their food came from, how it was grown, and that it is nourishing.
We carry West Coast Seeds, Salt Spring Seeds, and Pacific North West Seeds. These companies specialize in seeds that thrive in our climate. We also carry the seed starting supplies you need to get you growing whatever your circumstances. Do you only have a sunny window sill? Try our sill-sized seed starter trays. A north-facing condo that is cool with low light? Perhaps a Growlight Garden light set and heating mat will be just the items you need to start some herbs and vegetables this spring.
Choosing the right seeds to grow well in your particular light and soil conditions is important too. Our staff are happy to help you choose wisely. Perhaps you'd like to sow your seeds in plantable pots that decompose as the summer progresses, such as our pots/pods made of coconut coir that can be directly set in the soil. Not quite ready to take on seeding everything yourself? Try planting raspberry canes, herbs, strawberries, potatoes, onion sets and/or vegetable starts.
Whether you have a greenhouse, raised bed, backyard, an acre or two, a windowsill or something in between, we can assist you to find a way to grow your own. Once started, in addition to eating the best tasting produce ever (once you have homegrown lettuce, you'll never want store bought again) you'll also be contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases (your cauliflower will no longer require jet fuel for delivery!), you'll reduce plastics in the landfill (only a bowl will be needed to harvest), and you'll dispense with stickers altogether! And that's a good thing. Enjoy!
#gardenveggies #growyourown #spring #seeds #noplastic
I put out a challenge to island neighbours to walk the shoreline and collect all the junk they could find. Several took up the charge and made a difference in their area. There was a surfeit of styrofoam of all types along the shore. Much of it was broken up in to smaller pieces that could be mistaken as food by fish. The photos above were shared by friends and neighbours who participated and recorded their finds to share with others.
The next question was what to do with it? In our area, Island Return It will take styrofoam if it is dry (not water logged). There are a multitude of different types of "foam" and not all is recyclable, so you need to bone up on your recyclable materials. I wanted to know the end result of styrofoam recycling and found some interesting Youtube stories on the process which can be large scale, or very small. It was good to know that it is very successfully recycled - but then it's back again in another form!
We need to protect our oceans and every bit of garbage we pull off the beach helps. Most garbage ends up ashore, however briefly, within one week of entering the waters. If we continually monitor our beaches and collect the garbage, we will save it from enlarging the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and save a few fish along the way. We are all connected.
I encourage anyone who has waterfront property to take a stroll every few days on the high tide line - you will be amazed what you collect. If you are not on the waterfront, then visit your favorite beach and take a stroll. The walks will benefit us all and recycling the found materials will help the oceans and all marine life.
#beachwalks #hightide #collecting #recycling #styrofoam #singleuseplastic
By Pauline Olesen
The first Piers Island Beeswax Wrap workshop was held today at the Firehall. We were using a method and recipe that I found on YouTube by Crafty Patti. We used her fave method, I forgot a few steps, but we worked through it anyways. So...things we learned...we had a full group of 12 booked, 3 couldn’t make it and really it was so intense, 6 would have been an ideal group. There were waits for the irons and the wax kept cooling and slowed down the process. In the future, we will ask everyone to bring their own ironing board and iron.🤣. With respect to the wax mixture, we will have a way figured out for next time, to keep the wax hot and do it like Craft Patty! We probably only got half as many wraps made as we could have because of the cooling wax and limited irons that we also should have had on higher heat. Lessons learned!
Regardless, I think everyone had a good time, made a few wraps each, learned the process and would be happy to do again if they wanted more. Scroll down for the recipe we used in a downloadable and printable format.
It's been about a month since I started this journey of changing the way I shopped. In that time I've gone from being all excited using my "net bags" in the bulk and produce section at Thrifty Foods, to being told that it was acceptable for produce only - not in the bulk section. :( My only way to buy chicken was covered in styrofoam and plastic and I haven't eaten a cucumber in a month! English cucumbers are covered in plastic but apparently there is something new coming along. I retweeted the announcement and can only hope that we see it soon. I miss my cucumbers!
I am now baking my own bread and snacks and have found other sources for interesting meats, cheese and refillable soap products! Advice...don't give up! Over the past 30 years, I have probably spent $250,000 in food at Thrifty Foods (now owned by Sobey's). The bad news for them is that they are already seeing less of my money. The good news...I'm finding lovely new local sources that are happy to help me ditch the plastic. I know that if you are a working family, you don't have time to search out these things - I'll do it for you and hopefully, your local grocer will get the message and as sales go down they'll make changes and we'll find a new balance supporting local businesses.
By buying bulk, even if I have to use mushroom bags, not buying produce covered in plastic, using a seltzer maker & CO2 cartridges and baking a few things myself, we've seen our recycling and landfill volume reduce by 75%! We can succeed in the goal of #ditchtheplastic
To me really, this is a no brainer! You can find wool dryer balls almost everywhere. They all come in natural packaging- no plastic AND there are no harmful side effects from using them. Nor will you be overpowering your neighbours with your dryer sheet "fragrance".
Most dryer sheets contain some form of QUATS - quaternary ammonium chloride. I can't find anything good about them and lots of bad. You can read further for yourself if you wish by clicking the Quats button below - or Google it. Dryer sheets are not biodegradeable nor recylable.
There is considerable difference in pricing for the wool balls, so check around. My bag had 6 so I thought I'd share, but it turns out you might need all 6 if you do a lot of laundry in a day or do really BIG loads. I'll be fine! I've had no static cling issues at all and it does say you can do a little drop of an essential oil into the wool if you are missing a fragrance. I haven't done any research on that, so make sure any oil you use is not heat sensitive.
While wandering about in Sidney I saw a sign that said “ Soap Refill Centre Here”. This idea had been one of the things I’d been seeing popping up in Tweets in the UK almost daily. It’s an excellent way to reduce and reuse by bringing your containers back for refilling. Into Ecotopia I went and had a lovely conversation with owner Lisa Pedersen. While checking out the soap refills I discovered that they also carried TruEarth Laundry Detergent, a zero plastic alternative. I’ve purchased a package at $17.99 and will be trying it out. I have seen ads on Facebook before, but I don’t like to buy anything through Facebook. On their website it’s $19.95 and if you subscribe you save 35% bringing it down to $12.95 and free shipping. The company is Canadian. I’m happy to have the opportunity to try it out this way through Ecotopia!
My goal is to be able to replace each product I use with a plastic free product. In some cases I’ve been making these myself, but it is daunting and expensive to gather all the ingredients you need to begin. Soaps was a big one that I wasn’t going to be happy to tackle in the kitchen. I’m so glad to have found the gems inside Ecotopia. 😀💚
The single, simplest, easiest thing to do, is switch to a stainless drink bottle for on the go. It can be used for both cold and hot drinks. Fill up with coffee or tea in the morning and water during the day. If you've ever hiked in the desert and put ice in your water, the cubes will still be jingling several hours later. If you have concerns with the quality of your drinking water, consider switching to a filtered alternative.
Did you know that you burn more calories drinking cold water, so add some ice! Yup!
Many places have special fountains designed for water bottle filling and you can even get a pop at a soda fountain. There's no problem having your stainless bottle filled with a cappuccino or coffee at your fave cafe. Make the switch and take it with you whenever you head out.
I've been searching for recipes for body lotions as I was nearing the end of my current plastic encased product. There are lots of recipes to choose from out there, but my criteria is simple...easy!
I wanted to limit the ingredients and choose a recipe that had ingredients that I could use for multiple products because, quite honestly...the costs were adding up. Once you start down the road of Essential Oils...ooh la la! So here it is - I will bold the choices that I made - but there are options with how you make it.
Place close attention to Step #5 - make sure to warm up your rose water, distilled water or aloe vera juice. I didn't do this well enough and the melted part of my lotion hardened pretty quick midstream. :( My lotion therefore has lumps that might not be there if you follow the instructions correctly! However, I can say that it is extremely effective and keeps my hands and body better moisturized than my store bought plastic encased brand. My yield was 2 small mason jars and I would call it more of a body butter than a lotion, but it works well! Cost was about $9 and yes I would make it again.
Less Oily Homemade Lotion
• 1 cup rose water (You can also use distilled water or aloe vera juice)
• 1/2 cup beeswax
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 1/4 cup jojoba (You can also use sweet almond oil, olive oil or avocado oil)
• 1 tsp vitamin E oil (Optional)
• Essential oils ( I chose Frankincense and Sweet Orange)
Recipe source: Delicious Obsessions
April 3, 2020 - Update - it's a great lotion, I would make again and pay closer attention to the heated rose water part and I think I probably didn't whip it long enough. But it is not a pump'able lotion!
I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a consumer. When it comes to my granddaughters...I can get a bit carried away with presents, especially at Christmas. As the presents were piled by the tree with such care, when thoughts of St. Nicholas arose in the air...I thought - OMG this is way too much! The aftermath of all the wrapping and trimmings and ribbons all to the garbage. You can separate the plastic and paper and styrofoam, but it is still a mountain of debris to be dealt with. If the paper has foil or sparkles, not recylable. :(
Not to be Scroogie or anything mean, I thought, why don't we use Christmas sacks to be reused each year. Just think how much wasted paper we would save! Talking to a friend, she said they use gift bags now and reuse them each year, saving all the tissue. Brilliant!
So a couple of quick searches and here's one company (livingethos.com) that makes cloth bags. I'm sure there are others or it would be quite easy to do if you had the ability to sew. While stepping ever so slightly into the sewing sea, we are collecting 100% old cotton shirts for beeswax wrappers, so why not recycle worn clothing into cloth gift bags! Discarded clothing is one of the biggest rising landfill problems. We can resolve the problem of fashion and wrapping paper wastes with a single sewn up solution. Awesome!
Sharing the discoveries of how to #ditchtheplastic in our lives.