Life Without Plastic is a local Canadian company, started by Chantal Plamondon and her husband Jay Sinha in 2006, after finding it nearly impossible to get alternatives to dangerous disposable plastics in their everyday lives. Sparked by chronic illness, the birth of their son, and the fact that the only choice available for storing extra milk was plastic containers and bottles, they went hunting for more sustainable alternatives for their daily lives. The only place they could find selling glass bottles was based out of Ohio, and who’s minimum purchase number was 1,000 bottles at a time. Wholesale purchases only. The took a leap of faith, ordered the bottles, and Life Without Plastic was born.

Now, the company has a thriving website, found at lifewithoutplastic.com, a huge social media following, and their products are sold in 30-50 stores around the world. Most notably, the Package Free Shop in Brooklyn. They are prominent leaders in the fight against plastics, against waste, and against pollution, not only in Canada but around the globe.

The Sustainable Enterprise Alliance had the opportunity to meet with Chantal and talk Plastic Free July! Who better to interview for Plastic Free July than a strong local company who’s been leading the fight against plastic for over a decade? Here is our interview on why she chooses to live plastic-free, tips for Plastic Free July beginners, and what the future has in store for Life Without Plastic.

 

Why do you choose to live as plastic free as possible?

“So, the first reason is a little bit of a selfish reason, because when my son was little, I started reading about the dangers of plastic additives that leech into your food or into your body through products like containers. A typical container will contain around 100 various additives, and those are chemical additives that over time will leech because they are not chemically bound to the plastic molecules.” Said Chantal, adding that “a lot of these chemicals are hormone disruptors. They can affect the development of babies, and some are even neurotoxins that can affect the brain. It’s some pretty serious stuff. So I was getting really concerned for my health and for the health of my family and decided we need to switch, we need to find healthier alternatives like glass or metal.

“That was back in the early 2000’s, and I was really interested in protecting the environment, and my husband has a background in environmental law and ecotoxicology, so he was already aware of the dangers of plastic to the environment. But since then, and we’re talking eleven years later, the problem of plastic has just gotten worse and worse, especially in the ocean.”

The importance of the plastic free movement is apparent in the fact that hundreds of thousands of animals, including upwards of 90% of all sea birds, are found to have ingested plastic from their environment. Most do no survive their encounter with these products, and will die as a result. “It has to stop somewhere, we have to stop producing it, and I know that as individuals our little steps are not going to have a huge impact, but it’s the ripple effect. You do something and someone sees you and says ‘Oh where did you get that spork? I’ll get one!’” and while each step of our individual journeys do not make a noticeable impact, our collective refusal of plastics, especially for packaging or single-use purposes, will force companies to change their methods to more ecofriendly and ultimately plastic free alternatives. “… But it’s a long road ahead.” she adds, noting that many products that were easy to find in glass 10 years ago are now almost exclusively packaged in plastic.

 

What is your advice for those who are taking on Plastic Free July?

Even though Plastic Free July has just ended, the habits made from the challenge are useful all year ’round. Reducing our plastic consumption and our overall waste that we send away will help heal the environment from all the pollution plaguing its waters. Here are the best tips from Chantal on how to create a Life Without Plastic.

“[The] first piece of advice would be to really know about the recycling rules, because there are certain packaging types that are 100% recyclable. Some even have positive recycling value. For instance, stainless steel, if you gather your stainless steel that you want to get rid of, they’ll pay you to get rid of it…. Glass is another one that is fully recyclable, it can go through cycle and cycle, you can recycle glass forever. Whereas with plastics, you can only down-cycle it. You can recycle it once, but then after that the plastic becomes too degraded or too mixed with other resins, and you can’t really recycle it anymore.

“The second [piece of] advice would be just to focus on the worst culprits like water bottles, get a reusable water bottle. Coffee mugs, always bring your coffee mug with you. People think that they won’t refill it but they will, even Tim Horton’s! Reusable bags; keep one with you all the time, in your purse or your bag. And then a reusable utensil, reusable straw. If you cover these areas, you’ve just cut out a lot of plastic waste. If you can bring your own container, that’s even better. If you go to a take-out place, you know, bring your own container. You would be surprised how many places will actually fill it up.”

It never hurts to ask somewhere new if you’re able to use a reusable instead of a disposable product. If a store is accommodating and not surprised by your request, Chantal says “it’s because someone before you has done it, so it’s not a big surprise. And if in some case, they’re really surprised, that means you’re the pioneer, and you make it easier for people after you to do it as well.” How exciting is that?!

 

What plans do you have for your company for the future?

Plans for the company’s future include a Kickstarter for Zero Waste Lunchboxes that launched late last week and will run through the remainder of August, as well as a book in the works called Life Without Plastic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family Safe and HealthyPre-orders are available now at Chapters, and Amazon, and the e-book and physical copies will be released come December 12th, 2017.

“It’s a very practical book, there is a lot of very good, solid information about the problem of plastics, and we go through various materials that people may think would be good alternatives, like is aluminium a good alternative? No, aluminium oxidizes very easily, you don’t want to put that against tomatoes otherwise it just disintegrates, and now you have tomatoes with pieces of metal in them.” Read the book and you’ll find practical ways to reduce your single-use plastic consumption, how to intelligently and effectively tackle many plastic problems in your life, while offering information on safer alternatives for you and your family. All the while, supporting a local business thrive and save the environment. What more could you want?

 

To learn more about the company Life Without Plastic and all that they do, feel free to check out their website, keep up with them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and check out their book, hitting shelves December 12th, 2017.

Well, today is July 31st, 2017, and that means Plastic Free July will officially end come 11:59pm tonight. That doesn’t mean that we have to throw away all of our newly found habits now that the 31-day deadline is over. It means that we get to keep moving forward towards a goal of completely eliminating plastic from our lives. It means that we get to reflect on what we’ve learned this month, and see how we can effectively turn that information into lessons to better ourselves in the coming months. Below are our first-hand accounts of progress we made, goals we achieved or missed, and other habits we’ve improved upon to better the health of our own bodies, as well as the environment as a whole over the last 31 days.

Josh: Through doing this challenge I have realised the large amount plastic waste that is produced in our society. This month made me conscious of my contribution to the problem and I now aim the reduce my impact as much as possible. I have learned that is it essential to keep reusable utensils and water bottle in my backpack and pack all food in containers.

 

Zheng Xin: When I first embarked on my Plastic Free July Journey, I was nervous. It seemed like a big step for me to commit to an entire month of trying to eliminate as much plastic as possible. However, I soon realised that small changes in my every day life really reduced the amount of plastic that I used. From using reusable water bottles and saying no to plastic straws, it not only reduced my plastic, but I also saved money. I bought less fast food and brought all my meals from home. After this month, I hope to continue try to reduce my plastic consumption and be more aware of potential alternatives.

 

Clare: I feel like my Plastic Free July challenge experience went pretty well. I had trouble at first since I was not use to preparing items beforehand such as containers and did not have any stainless steel straws. I am used to bringing my own water bottle and grocery bags with me before the challenge. However, now I always have a little pouch with me which has utensils and my stainless steel straw whenever I leave my house. If I know that I will purchase food I bring a container with me so I do not need to stuff myself silly. I struggled with finding restaurants and cafes which use paper or compostable take out containers but there are some out there! I had mixed reactions from people sometimes but I just explained that I love marine species and want to reduce my plastic use. I found that a lot of people offer single use plastic automatically even as a kind gesture to be helpful. My kind gesture to the ocean environment and to the planet is to refuse plastic and use my own item when possible.

 

Amanda: Wow, Plastic Free July threw me for a loop! I thought it was going to be a relatively easy challenge for someone like myself who is already committed to reducing my waste as much as possible, but some of the little things were so hard! I had already, for the most part, been able to eliminate my need for straws and cups when I went out and completely got rid of the need for single use plastic water bottles before this challenge began. So my goals for this challenge were to avoid plastics, but also create no waste while doing things like dining out, or going to a store for lunch. This proved difficult, because I never put in the right amount of time into my planning to properly prepare for what my week would bring. I had my cloth napkins, my straws, my coffee mug, my masons, and my bread bag in hand – yet I was almost always forgetting a takeaway container, or some way to reduce the packaging of the food itself. While most of my waste was paper, they places where I was dining would not recycle it. Everything just went into one big bin and was thrown out at the end of the day.  I mustered up the courage to ask for my drinks in a mason instead of a cup, which was not recyclable or compostable, and I felt good about reducing my waste this way when it was allowed. I used my own straw, my own cup, and my own napkins, but my meals always seemed to come in a kind of paper, sometimes plastic-lined “wax” paper, before I could consume it. I would bring it home with me to recycle, but I would have been much happier if I had thought ahead and put it into my own glass or steel container instead of having them wrap it up. With a little bit more planning, I am hoping to really reduce my waste in this area of my life, and feel more accomplished with my new habits. Basically, the biggest lesson I learned is that you can never be too prepared for a possible situation, and that being thoughtful and prepared will help save a lot of waste from heading to landfill. Precious resources will no longer be wasted wrapping up a sandwich that I am just going to unwrap 30 seconds later, and throw in the trash. 

 

Tell us about your month, your successes and failure, and where you are planning on improving for the rest of the year? Interesting comments will be featured on our twitter page over the following week! Happy Plastic Free July, and remember, conscious environmental choices are a great thing to get in the habit of all year ’round!

Well, it takes 21 days to form a habit, or so they say. Hopefully now that Plastic Free July is coming to a close, our sustainable habits have taken root in our daily lives. In these final 7 days, we will be trying to push the boundaries of ridding our lives from the presence of plastic, and by doing so, we are running into unique challenges. Some of last weeks failures included unexpected gifts and tempting product samples, but this last and final week is designed for jumping headfirst into the more difficult choices and really committing ourselves to being prepared and ready to refuse plastic, and to accept more sustainable and responsible alternatives. Here are this week’s Successes and Failures from the Plastic Free July Challenge. 

 

Clare: I was given a gift in a plastic bag but have been still going plastic free! I am more aware of how much plastic I use but also the amount that are used on products. I have had more detailed conversations with people about the challenge too. Can’t wait for Nu Grocery to open!

Zheng Xin: One place that I have struggled with is trying to buy things such as hair ties or makeup products and realizing that they all have plastic. I tend to focus more on food related plastic waste but it is clear that there are many aspects of plastic waste including beauty products. I think in the future I would have to do more research on which brands have minimal packaging and go from there.

Amanda: This week has been a success! I am pretty set in my ways of coming prepared and ready for my day. Mason jars, stainless straws, cloth napkins, and tiffin containers are always in my backpack or in my hand, ready for the unexpected coffee or leftovers. I felt compelled to purchase some products to further my cause, like a reusable coffee mug, because I always felt unprepared for a coffee-date situation. Since the Plastic Free July challenge has opened my eyes to the problem of even reusable plastics, I opted to make a more sustainable choice. I narrowed a few cups down between stainless steel and glass, and wound up buying a glass coffee mug because of the price point, and because it was teal. I am a real sucker for the colour teal.

While the most sustainable option is something that already exists, but I had no luck finding this kind of item second-hand. Since glass can be infinitely recycled to make new products, I felt happy and confident in my choice, and I believe that I can now refuse almost all plastics with which I come in contact. I can change my life and my surroundings for the better to help others refuse plastics as well. 

Josh: Week 3 was by far the best. Plastic consumption went down however samples contained in plastic were my downfall. Some goals for the last week of the challenge include going with my parents to the farmers market and bringing reusable bags for my local, fresh, package free purchases. 

 

 

How was your Plastic Free July? Let us know below in the comment section, or on Twitter and Facebook.

Stay tuned next week for a special interview with a local company, who take this challenge to heart all year round! Can you guess who it is? Give it your best shot below!

We are just past the halfway mark of Plastic Free July and have, for the most part, found our groove for making successful sustainable choices. There are still trip-ups here or there, but definite success has been made by those who joined the office challenge. Straws have been left behind for their stainless counterparts, mugs have been lugged, meals have been savoured in-shop instead of on the go, and we are making huge strides to keep those newfound habits for good. Here are our Week Two updates, and our goals for the upcoming week. 

 

Josh: I ashamed to admit that I was tempted by free samples to drink out of plastic cups. Fortunately, they were recyclable. Also, I struggled with getting away from plastic utensils at Bluesfest. It took me a few days to remember to bring a fork but now I always bring it. Ready for week 3.

 

Amanda: I have a small collection of plastic drink lids from businesses I have stopped at that couldn’t accept my mason or travel mug, but otherwise, I eliminated my plastic for the week! I am going to be more adamant when it comes to getting my beverages refilled in reusable containers from now on. While not completely waste free, I managed to make smarter choices in my day-to-day behaviours that have completely eliminated my need to straws, bottles, bags, and other single use plastics that litter our daily lives. Aluminium, glass, and steel are taking the place where plastic once stood, and I’m loving the durability and quality of the things that surround me. Food is heartier and healthier, containers are thicker and heavier than their cheap petroleum counterparts, and I hope the ocean can feel these changes too. If everyone can take the small simple steps, which can be done in as little as 14 days, then we can rid the oceans and the earth of at least 33% of our plastic pollution just by refusing single use plastics alone. Bye-bye to straws, bags, bottles, and lids, hello to a sustainable future. My goals for the next week are to think about how to reduce my food waste, and how to avoid packaging while shopping in retail stores or online. 

 

Clare: Week 2 is going much better than week 1 since I have been more prepared carrying metal utensils and my stainless steel straw around with me. I have been a little more vocal about refusing plastic items and happily explain why I want to cut back on my plastic use, #DidItForTheTurtles! I have been a little busy this week and made sure when I ordered food for take-out that it was not in plastic.
Zheng Xin: Something that I struggled with this week is plastic packaging surrounding grocery shopping. I usually forgo most plastic bags when grocery shopping, as when I buy something like mushrooms there are usually paper bags available, and most other fruits and vegetables that I eat I don’t mind getting a little dirty as I will wash them thoroughly. However this week there were no paper bags, and i wanted to buy some grapes but I forgot to bring a reusable bag for them. I think in the future I will invest in some cloth bags for grocery shopping. 

 

What are your goals for Week 3 of Plastic Free July? What are your successes? Your pitfalls? Stop by next week to see how we tackle Week 3 head on, and see how we creatively and actively work toward our goals.

Seven days have passed since the beginning of Plastic Free July, and we have survived Canada Day, community events, and what feels like endless amounts of rain. This week had its fair share of ups and downs, but here is what our team has learned taking on the challenge over the past week.


Kathryn: “We are roughly a week into Plastic Free July and what I’ve found the most troublesome is pet supplies. I get biodegradable clean up bags for the dog, but I don’t know how well they degrade outside of a compost pile. Cat and dog food comes in plastic or plastic-lined bags. I have three cats and a dog bigger than some miniature horses, so buying food in bulk in a reusable container isn’t really practical!

The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to prepare larger quantities of food at home and bring baked goods or leftovers in my own containers, rather than buying granola bars or getting take out.”


Clare: “My Plastic Free July has started off with a bit of a struggle but it’s called a challenge for a reason. It is interesting to actually see how many products actually contain plastics in them. I have done my best to cut back on my own plastic use but it requires preparation, openness and plenty of room for mistakes. I accidentally bought hummus in a plastic container the other day but this made me search for an alternative. Apparently, some local stores which make their own hummus will allow you to bring in your own container and charge you by weight. My friend who is also taking the challenge as well has ordered drink and received a plastic straw a few times. So I purchased some lovely stainless steel straws from terra20 on Wellington St W. yesterday. The packaging had plastic surrounding the straws but hopefully this will cut back on using actually plastic straws. The package contains 4 stainless steel straws in total so I will spread the love and give one to friends and family!”

Amanda: “My plastic Free July is off to a slow start. As a Zero Waster, I am tripping up more than I would have expected given the fact that I’m hyperaware of the waste I create, but that just means I have goals to work towards for next week! I’m going to head into next week being more prepared than I am now. I will make plans so I know exactly what I need for each day, and that way I can make food from home. Almost all of my waste has been from eating out, such as cup lids. I’m too shy to ask for a drink into my mason, that has to change soon, and the only options are a paper cups with plastic lids/straws (thank you stainless reusables!) or an entirely plastic bottle. I should forgo the drink all together but sometimes the meal is actually less expensive with the drink, so it’s a hard choice. But more planning, and more eating healthy meals from home will hopefully all but eliminate the plastic in my life from here on out.”

Josh: “I ran into a few problems trying to celebrate Canada Day, such as encountering a temporary tattoo with a plastic cover, a bracelet that had to be thrown away, but otherwise for the most part it’s been smooth sailing!”

Zheng Xin: “Something that I have struggled with recently during Plastic Free July is being conscious of everyday purchases when I am on the go. For example, I prepare the night before my lunch is a glass container and bring reusable water bottles for work. However, getting my morning coffee with a plastic lid is something I do without even thinking about it, or accepting a straw with my cocktail when I am out for drinks. These instances that are not always planned in my day to day activities are when I have to check myself to make sure I am not consuming plastic. The key is more preparation, and to remember that it is not as easy as just packing my lunch in tupperware and not using throwaway cutlery.”

 

Collectively, our goals are to plan better, cook more from home, and be more conscious about our consumption of the products around us. With 24 days left to go, we have plenty of time to act upon our plans and hit our goals with a bit of effort and determination.

What are your successes and trip-ups from your first week of Plastic Free July? Comment below and let us know.

And for all of you out there reading about Plastic Free July for it’s not too late to join in on the fun! There are still 24 days left in the challenge so check out our first article on how to get started, and reduce your plastic consumption for the better.

Sustainable Enterprise Alliance is taking on Plastic Free July! Have you joined the challenge? Plastic Free July is an environmental initiative originating from Western Australia, but which is available for anyone around the world. The challenge runs the entire month of July, and is simple; “Choose to refuse single-use plastics during July”. Sounds easy, right? Well, in one word; yes. The challenge is easy, but you’re going to want to come prepared. We’ve put together a list of products that our team is going to avoid, and some savvy replacements to use instead of their single use counterparts. You can either expand or reduce the list as you see fit, but remember to avoid as many single-use plastics as possible. These include the biggest contributors to plastic pollution like coffee cup and lids, straws, disposable water bottles, and plastic shopping bags. Let us know below, or on Twitter and Instagram, how you plan on reducing your waste during the month of July and beyond!

 

Meet the Members of our Challenge Team: 

“What drives you to reduce your plastic waste?”

Amanda – “I am taking the Plastic Free July Challenge as a way to step forward toward my goal of being completely Zero Waste. I needed a push to take some bigger steps towards becoming waste free and this challenge seems like the perfect opportunity to do so.  I’m glad I get to complete this challenge surrounded by like-minded friends who will support me and push me farther in my journey towards Zero Waste!”


Josh – “I want to go Zero Waste to reduce the amount of plastics going into landfills and the oceans.”


Zheng Xin

Zheng Xin – “I am choosing to participate in Plastic Free July to try and reduce the amount of waste that I am putting out into the world. How much plastic are we going to produce before we realise that it is smothering the planet? Recently I have realised how much waste I produce through my everyday life, and I think that Plastic Free July will definitely challenge me to rethink how much plastic I really need to use vs how much plastic is convenient for me to use.”


David – “I am up for the challenge! I will be keeping a keen eye on my use of plastic food containers on days when I forget my lunch at home and I inevitably end up at the neighbourhood grocery store.”


Prasanna – “For July, I am going to minimise plastic packaging that cannot be recycled. I will get stainless steel straws and will try to wean my kids off the colourful plastic ones (Wish me luck!). I have also decided not to buy a to-go beverages for myself unless I bring a travel mug. Sorry Tim’s!”


Kathryn – “I’m participating in #PlasticFreeJuly because plastic is a cool resource that has so many applications in science, technology and medicine, and its dumb that we use it to carry groceries 50 meters to the car and then throw it away, where it lasts forever.”


Rose – “I want to take this challenge to see how much plastic I use and waste, and then how much I can reduce that amount in the future.”


Clare: “I want to see how much waste I am producing, and take it upon myself to reduce that amount as much as I can. I will be using July as a stepping stone to learn about my habits and form new ones that will help me become more sustainable and reduce my waste all year long.”


Keep checking back to the website, as well as our Twitter and Instagram for details and updates on how the Plastic Free July Challenge is going, and well as advice on how to get the most out of the next 31 days. Good luck and remember to #ChooseToRefuse!

While the weather may be calling for thundershowers and an overall dreary weekend, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do around the community! Plenty of members of the Loving our Local campaign (written in red) and others within the community are hosting tons of great events to get you exploring your community this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

This Friday:

Right Bike – Free Bike Tune ups – 5:00-6:30pm – Pinecrest Terrace – More Info

Ottawa Jazz Festival – First Performer: 11:00am – More Info

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Fairgounds open at 5:00pm, Concert: 6:30pm-11:00pm – Mooney’s Bay Park (2960 Riverside Park, Ottawa) – More Info

 

Saturday:

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Races: 8:00am-4:00pm – Concerts: 5:00pm – 11:00pm – Mooney’s Bay Park (2960 Riverside Park, Ottawa) – More Info

Ottawa’s Farmer’s Market – 9:30am-3:00pm – Byron Park – More Info

Right Bike – Free Bike Tune ups – 10:00am-3:00pm – Ottawa City Hall (110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa) – More Info

613Flea – Free Flea Market Pop up – 10:00am-3:00pm – Lansdowne’s Aberdeen Pavillion (450 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Ottawa) – More Info

Ottawa CraftFest Weekend Market – 10:00am-5:00pm – Albert Island – More Info

The Hintonburg Public House – Open Mic with Jess Cole – 3:00-5:00pm – 1020 Wellington St.W., Ottawa. – More Info

Ottawa Jazz Festival – First Performer: 1:00pm – More Info

 

Sunday:

Buy Canadian Day – All Day – Over 30 stores in the National Capital Region are participating in #BuyCanadianDay including Maker House Co., a member of Loving Our LocalMore info on participating stores, locations, and times.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Races: 8:00am-4:00pm – Mooney’s Bay Park (2960 Riverside Park, Ottawa) – More Info

Ottawa’s Farmer’s Market – 9:00am-3:00pm – Lansdowne (450 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Ottawa) – More Info

Ottawa CraftFest Weekend Market – Closing Day – 10:00am-5:00pm – Albert Island – More Info

Ottawa Jazz Festival – First Performer: 1:00pm – More Info

 

Check out our last post to see how to make the most of Buy Canadian Day for your community and your dinner table.

While the weather may be less than perfect, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Just don’t forget to stay dry, stay safe, and enjoy your weekend Loving Our Local.

“Buy Canadian Day” is coming to the capital on June 25th, 2017 and to celebrate, lets talk about easy ways to enjoy local food. Simple changes in day-to-day habits and purchases can make enjoying local and sustainable foods a breeze. Not only is it helping to support the community around you, it’s providing better quality food, and reducing the impact on the environment. Below are 5 easy ways to buy local food, but first, let’s discuss why local is the responsible choice. 

Why Buy Local?

  • It Helps Support Communities: Money staying within a community will have a larger positive economic effect than money used at a large-chain store.

 

  • It Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Buying local means less travel time for your food. Less travel means less waste and less Greenhouse Gas emissions pumped into the air.

 

  • The Quality is Superior: Less travel time means it will spend less time on store shelves or in market baskets. Picked ripe, purchased ripe. Food travelling across countries is usually picked before it’s ready, then can go through an artificial ripening process, reducing the quality of the fruit or product.

 

  • Less Waste: Purchases made from local vendors or Markets usually have less packaging, which reduces the burden on the recycling or waste removal resources of your local community, as well as reducing the product’s environmental impact.

 

Five simple ways to find locally grown food:

1.  Shop at Farmer’s Market: Exploring the market will help to support local farmers and their efforts to produce delicious food for you and your family. Purchase as much as you can at the markets and other similar places, and supplement what cannot be found there (see step 3). Farmer’s Markets tend to have a diverse selection of different kinds of foods such as produce like asparagus and berries, as well as breads, maple and honey products, handmade pies and desserts, and other delicious and interesting locally made products.

 

2. Plan ahead: Making sure to know exactly what’s needed for a meal or a recipe will help you make informed decisions about your purchases, and will also help reduce wasteful impulse buys. Bring totebags and reusable containers to the store to reduce waste from plastic or single-use bags and other packaging, and buy in bulk when possible. Taking the time to actively thinking about shopping locally will not only help make shopping easier but also help you make better choices in the future.

 

3. Check the Origin: If you can not purchase everything you need at a Farmer’s Market or from a local vendor, check the origin of the produce at the store. Try to stay within the country that you live, or better yet, within the province. For example, for Ottawa Ontario, the product I would choose would be either from Ontario (or Quebec) or a Canadian product over a product that originated elsewhere. Staying in the restraints of your own province helps ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and also helps improve the overall freshness and quality of the product being purchased. When shopping, choose locally owned groceries stores over big chains as well, to help keep money within the local economy.

 

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Don’t be afraid to ask where your food comes from! Asking businesses you frequent to support local and provide local food options will help everyone. Better yet, frequent locally owned businesses and restaurants over the large-chain equivalents.

 

5. Know the Seasons: For example, blueberries will not be in season all year round, and rhubarb will not be available in the fall. Examples like these will help you plan seasonal recipes and make decision on your produce purchases throughout the year. Buy seasonally, and freeze or preserve any excess to enjoy your favourites year-round. Ottawa Farmer’s Market has a chart to see what’s in season around the community, and helps support farmers and local businesses in the Ottawa Capital Region.

 

To find your local Ottawa market please visit Ottawa Farmer’s Market – and to find other local businesses, please visit our listings page and remember to always be Loving Our Local.

 

Hi, my name is Josh and I’m a supporter of sustainability and localism. Sustainability is important to me because it promotes a positive future. As a student I’m always looking forward; to new opportunities, innovations ways to make not only my own, but everyone’s future a bit brighter.

I believe that to achieve sustainability, one must move away from activities that have a limit and promotes renewable, sustainable full cycle solutions. These will benefit society and allow for future generations to enjoy the same activities. Localism plays an important role in sustainability. Localism includes shopping and investing in local businesses keep money in the community putting the money in the hand of the many not the few. Buying local is so much more than simply spending. By putting money into the pockets of local entrepreneurs we are actively building relationships, making connections and helping our community thrive. That money is also more likely to stay in our communities and benefit all those to live, work and play there. Supporting local also means that the products we buy, the services we receive and the food we eat tend to have fewer, more environmental inputs, more mindful execution and fewer emissions produced during production and transportation, lightening the impact on our environment.

There are so many reasons why I call myself a localist. Among the many are:

  •  Because it reduces emissions and protects the environment.

  •  Because shopping locally creates a relationship and often improves service received

  •  Because it boosts the local economy and benefits the many not the few.

Localism is important to me because it is benefits us all. We create a stronger, thriving community, we protect our natural environment and we stop looking at purely dollar signs. Instead we learn to value people, planet AND profit, creating balance.

Being a localist has benefited me in so many ways. From sponsorship of my sports teams growing up, to learning how to appreciate and respect my natural environment. Some thing as simple as getting my bike fixed at a local shop has had profound impact. During routine bike tune-ups, I was able to make a connection and eventually, I learned how to repair my own bike, allowing me to be more independent. I still return to the bike shop, they made a lasting impact on me.

I would encourage everyone to be a localist. The benefits are far reaching. Why not try it for yourself and see?

Amanda Bird – @ZeroWasteSpace

Hello! My name Amanda Bird and I am a third-year Carleton University student studying in the field of Biology, lead by an interest in genetics, microbiology, and the environment. My fascination with the environment was sparked from learning about issues such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the destruction of habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef caused by the poor habits of product production and waste disposal. I couldn’t believe the kind of damage that was happening to the ecosystems around me from something as unsuspecting as a plastic bag or bottle. These discoveries about the troubling problems that surround us has lead me to create the goal of helping to find simple solutions to environmental problems so that small changes in day-to-day habits can help the Earth recover from the damage of past and present behaviours.

I have just recently begun my Zero Waste journey as of April 2017 and I am working hard toward reducing my consumption of plastics and production of trash, one mason jar at a time. One of my main focuses is supporting local business and the community around me and purchasing products available without packaging, while refusing unnecessary products that do not have sustainable alternatives. Driven by the changes in the climate and habitats around the world, I know that small changes made at home and within the community can have worldwide effects to prevent climate deterioration and protect the world around us. My Zero Waste goal is to produce little to no trash by the end of the year, and to help teach those around me to question how things are packaged, particularly with respect to single-use plastics, and to choose sustainable alternatives in their everyday lives without sacrifice. Small, simple, daily changes in our lives can have huge consequences on our plastic consumption and will protect the world around us.

As a member of the SEA team, my drive for the Loving Our Local campaign is derived from a passion for knowing where products purchased in-store are from, and supporting other members of the community. Purchasing local products not only helps to better support our community, but also cuts down on transportation costs and the associated greenhouse gases, as well as allows for the opportunity for change at a local front to proliferate through a market and allows the community to make big environmental changes for the better. I can’t wait to see how the program unfolds! Feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter at @ZeroWasteSpace, or at my blog as well. Thank you!