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Reusable Food Wraps DIY

It’s time to ditch the plastic wrap.  These are easy and very satisfying to make .  Here’s how:DSC_0780

  1. Gather your supplies.  You will need:
    • Beeswax I got mine from Cottonwood Springs Honey and Humblebee Candles
    • Some fabric a lightweight woven cotton works well.  
    • A cheese grater You may want to have one dedicated to this project.  It will get very waxy.
    • A foil lined pan
    • Oven mitts
  2. Set the oven to 170° F ( I may have set my oven slightly higher but you do not want any burning or fires). FYI the melting point for beeswax is 144°-147°F)
  3. Put your piece of fabric on the foil lined pan..
  4. Grate some beeswax and spread it somewhat thinly over the fabric.  It will look like you’ve spread Parmesan cheese all over your cloth.  Make sure you get to the edges.DSC_0785
  5. Pop it in the oven to melt (3-5 minutes).  Don’t walk away and forget about it. When you think it’s all melted take it out, lift it up and shake any excess off. My fingers don’t mind the heat of the beeswax.  Yours might!  It’s a hot.  Be careful. Wave it around a bit to dry and hang it on the back of a chair.  Repeat.    DSC_0777

If you missed a spot, don’t worry.  Just add some more beeswax and stick it back in the oven.

How to Use Your Wraps

  1. The heat of your hands is what helps the wrap stick to itself or the bowl. Fold it, press it, twist it.
  2. To clean: Use a mild detergent and wash under cool water. Don’t immerse unless it’s super dirty. Hang to dry, please don’t wring it out.
  3. Beeswraps are not suitable for the microwave or dishwasher. The wax will melt. If the food you wish to cover is hot, please wait until it cools.
  4. These wraps shouldn’t be used in contact with raw meats.  Put it in a bowl first and then cover that. I read that pineapple eats the wraps, so maybe avoid that too.
  5. You can use these over and over. After a year you may need to re wax. No problem – you don’t need to throw these guys out.

If you would like to try these but don’t think you will get around to making them you can contact me here: VeryHappyToys and I would be happy to make some for you.  If you have any questions please ask.

Happy making!

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Exploring the wonders of Bulk Basket!

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A couple of weeks ago saw the grand opening of Saskatoon’s first truly WasteNot friendly grocery outlet, Bulk Basket! Cass and I were really excited for opening day, the location on Ave. C is just a few minutes from our house. So we piled our jars and cotton bags into the car and headed off to see what we could see!

Right off the bat, the thing that sets Bulk Basket apart is that the store’s whole philosophy is in line with the Zero Waste movement. Our old go-to bulk store’s in-house promo was all about “Buy as much or as little as you want”, whereas Bulk Basket wears it’s “Hey guys, let’s stop making garbage” heart on it’s proverbial sleeve. You can buy cloth bags for your goodies right on site, and there is a self weigh station to mark your containers as soon as you walk in.

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The store is a cozy family run operation, mom keeping shelves stocked, dad behind the till, and a little one behind the counter soaking it all in. Two long rows of bulk bins occupy the centre aisle of the store, with shelves lining the walls, and even a small produce section.

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A couple of the things that Cass and I were most excited to see were dish soap (no more having to make a separate trip to the Soap Exchange!), and the big selection of grains and pulse crops that were grown right here in Saskatchewan!


There were a couple of staple items that we weren’t able to stock up on for our first trip, but we were also excited to see a “request list”, so hopefully peanut butter and bird seed will be available in the not-too-distant-future.

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We then finished off our trip to Bulk Basket with a fresh coconut from the juice bar (they even had metal straws available for purchase, good job guys!). It was great to see the place thoroughly bustling on opening day, and we’re looking forward to getting back to Bulk Basket soon! This is a big positive development for the Zero Waste community in our city. For the changes that we want to see in society to take place, they need to make sense in the free market (or rather… dollars? Sorry, not sorry XD). It warms my heart to see the community coming together to support this business which is itself here to support *us*.

A Waste Not yxe Directory and Guide

Hello fellow Waste Notters!  Here you will find a list of sources in Saskatoon of where to get Waste Not friendly goods and services, where to recycle items and ALSO general information and useful tips we have learned on ways to work towards a waste free lifestyle.  To be clear, we are not saying you should go out and buy a lot of things to get started on a Waste Not journey, the minimalist approach is amazing and works wonders for some people.  There are many styles of reducing waste and whether you are a minimalist and can get by with a mason jar and a jug of vinegar, or if you just can’t wait to buy your next set of stainless steel drinking straws, you may find some useful information here.  We are open to suggestions, so if there’s something you’d like to add to this directory, please let us know.  This resource will be updated on occasion so it can be your go-to reference for now and beyond for the Saskatoon area!

Bulk Foods – the most effective, obvious and easy place to start on a Waste Not journey!  Do you have your shopping kit?  Put together some reusable shopping bags, fabric dry goods bags, clean jars and hit up these awesome locations:

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  • Steep Hill Food Co-op – located on Broadway Avenue.  Steep Hill is an independent health food store and co-operative that has a few bulk bins containing organic and LOCAL items.  They also stock beautiful local produce.  Use your own fabric bulk bin bags.  If you want something specific and don’t see it in a bin, just ask.  Chances are they have it in the back and will go fill your bag for you.  Steep Hill will special order items in for you.  Memberships can be purchased but aren’t required.  There is a no mark-up member day every few months.  Also great for buying large quantities of organic local flour which has no mark up.
  • Soul Foods – your Riversdale ‘mini grocer’ specializing in organically sourced health foods, a 6-tap Kombucha Bar and is the home for a variety of community building events and educational classes to Nourish the Body – Awaken the Mind & Feed the Soul!  Ask about getting your container filled with bulk items.
  • The Bulk Basket – located on Avenue C North, this independent, family run store encourages customers to bring their own cloth bags, glass jars and bottles which will be weighed prior to filling.  Many bulk bins containing a wide verity of dried goods with local food items as well.  Some produce available.  Oils, balsalmic vinegar, liquid soap as well as shampoo and conditioner.  They provide paper or cotton bags if needed, but it is impressive that they do not offer plastic.  This truly sets them apart from other stores with bulk bins.
  • Independent Bakery’s such as Christie’s, Earth Bound Bakery and The Night Oven will put loaves directly into a clean pillow case!  Just ask for unsliced.  You can also do this at commercial grocery stores, just go early in the day.
  • Bulk Barn – before you start shopping, bring your jars and/or cloth bulk bin bags to the counter.  The staff will weigh your containers and mark the weight on them (yes you have to do this every time you shop there).  Then go to town on your shopping list!  They have sooooo many great items like spices, seeds/nuts, pasta, pet treats, nut butters, coconut oil, tahini, sweet treats, baking and health food items.  Then take your haul up to the counter where the staff will weigh your items and subtract the weight of your containers.  Voila!  You just reduced a tonne of packaging.  Well done!
  • Superstore – bulk bins containing dry items as well as some bakery items such as bagels and buns.  If you go early in the day fresh bread can also be obtained by asking the bakers directly before they bag it in plastic.  For the bulk bins, simply fill a cloth bag and write the item # on your bag using a washable marker.  Or if you forget your marker, take a picture of the item number with your phone and tell the staff when going through the checkout.  Superstore also has a wide variety of produce.  You can use reusable produce bags if wanted.  Superstore automatically subtracts a $.05 bag tare for the bulk items.
  • Safeway, Sobeys, Save on Foods and Co-op also have bulk bins, bakery’s and some locations have nut butter dispenser’s.
  • Sobeys has bulk olive oils and vinegar’s (small quantities only).  You have to buy their bottle to fill which can the be reused again and again.
  • Winston’s Pub, Prairie Sun Brewery, The Co-op Liquor Store and many others will refill your growler with local craft beer.  A great option for beer drinking Waste Notters!
  • Check around at your local farms for local, sustainable, package free vegetables, eggs, honey and meat.  So far we’ve heard great things about Farm One Forty for meat, Barefoot Earth Farm for eggs and honey, and T&H Apiaries for honey.

Household Items – where to find useful items that make it easier to create less waste.

  • The Better Good – stainless steel straws, beeswax food wrap, reusable water bottles and coffee cups, stainless steal food containers, bamboo toothbrushes and biodegradable dental floss, the list goes on!
  • The Library of Things – why buy it when you can borrow it?  Lot’s of great items here.  Put together by The Better Good.
  • Peavey Mart – great for lots of DIY supplies like canning, cheesemaking, sprouting, fermenting, gardening and more.  Also sell eco friendly dish cloths and beeswax food wrap.
  • Canadian Tire – great deals on glass ‘tupperware’.
  • Thrift stores such as the MCC, Salvation Army, The Opportunity Shop and Value Village – a lot of great finds such as mason jars, glass containers, reusable cloth shopping and bulk bin bags.

Soap Products – personal body soaps, and household cleaning products.  There are a few great options available in our fine city of Saskatoon!

Tip:  If you look up recipe’s online to make your own laundry soap, dishwasher soap, and many others you will find many affordable and eco-friendly solutions.  Baking soda and/or vinegar can be used in place of many commercial cleaners.

Note: for zero waste hair care, try bar soaps, making your own shampoo or the no-poo method.

  • Bulk Basket – liquid refillable house hold soaps as well as shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
  • Uncle Mike’s – for locally made eco-friendly non-toxic shampoos, body soaps and other personal care items, visit Uncle Mike at the farmer’s market.  We’ve heard that the containers can be returned for re-use!
  • The Better Good – refillable soap station, as well as tootpaste!  Quality hand soap, dish soap and laundry soap.  Just bring your own bottle to reuse, or use one of their re-used ones.  The Better Good also has a lot of wonderful items to promote a Waste Not lifestyle such as beeswax food wrap, bamboo toothbrushes among a long list of other wonderful items.
  • Ecologik – formerly known as the Soap Exchange.  High quality eco-friendly soaps for laundry, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, bathroom and kitchen cleaning sprays.  Bring back your empty container for re-use and get a discount on your next purchase.
  • Steep Hill, Bulk Barn, and Lush are some of the many places you can purchase unwrapped bar soaps for body and hair use.
  • Alchemy Salon – will refill some high-end shampoos and other hair products.

Beauty and Personal Hygiene – make-up, hair and other toiletries.  There are a tonne of great businesses and products available in Saskatoon.  Here are some of our faves:

Tip: If you google making your own make-up, deodorant or toothpaste for example you will find a lot of affordable ways to make your own using ingredients you may already have in your pantry, or that you can find in the bulk section.  By making your own you can save a tonne of money and end up using a safer product.  Check out Wellness Mama for some great recipe’s.

  • Green Tree Beauty – make-up, salves, creams, dental care and other beauty items that are non-toxic, organic and have eco-friendly packaging.  Bring back your empty containers to receive a discount.  Located in Alchemy Salon.

  • Alchemy Clothing Salon Tattoo & Piercing – salon and up-cycled locally made fashion.  Have your hair trimmings recycled here!  Also, have a salon experience where you are treated to non-toxic eco-friendly products and drink a beer while you’re at it.  Part of the Green Circle Salons program.  This team of amazing women even go out and physically plant trees to off-set their carbon footprint.
  • Green Circle Salon’s in Saskatoon – if you go to a salon, please choose one of these fine establishments!
  • Independent shops such as The Better Good and Twig and Squirel’s Wild Goods, and Soul Foods have locally made beauty items.  Some of them may take back the containers for re-use, just ask!
  • Steep Hill Food Co-op and London Drugs – carry the wonderful  and life changing Diva-cup.  Just try it, you’ll thank us later.

Eating Out/Ordering In – it’s best to choose places that use local ingredients and care about the impact they have on the environment!  There are many, many awesome places and it’s hard to keep track of all of them, here are just a couple that have popped up on the Waste Not yxe news feed.

Tip:  When dining out, remember to ask for no straw in advance and bring your own container for the leftovers.

  • Keo’s Kitchen – Thai food on Broadway avenue.  You can order takeout and ask them to put it in your own containers, just be sure to get there early enough.  They may pack it into disposables if you take too long to arrive.
  • Nosh – lots of local ingredients and vegan options.  This is where the Waste Not yxe admin often meet up!
  • The Hollows and Primal – focus on local producers and operate with a nose-to-tail approach where they utilize as much as possible, not just the choice parts, to minimize food waste. They also compost any food waste, along with used napkins, straws, and paper towel. Any of the compost they can not use themselves in their garden is picked up by local farmers. In addition they use left over fats from the kitchen to make soap that they use in both the kitchen and the bathrooms of The Hollows and Primal. They sell the excess of this soap in reusable containers at their store Goldie’s General Store.

Recycling – many of us here at Waste Not yxe consider recycling to be a form of waste. There are lots of flaws in the system, and many things that get cycled back through the industrial production machine do eventually end up in a landfill or worse (all plastics, for instance). So, while we generally think that it’s more satisfying to find ways to stop depending on these products, let’s be real, the system in which we live makes it almost impossible to be 100% waste free. Everyone needs to make their own decision about where to draw the line when it comes to recyclables, so for now navigating the recycling system is necessary part of the WasteNot puzzle.

  • Sarcan – electronics, aluminum cans, glass beverage bottles (only ones that require a deposit).  Sarcan also has a bin where you can drop your lids and small pieces of plastic.
  • City of Saskatoon Blue Bins (Loraas) –  plastics (only pieces larger than the size of a credit card), paper/cardboard, tin cans.  What is important to note here is what they do not recycle.  DOES NOT RECYCLE ANY STYROFOAM.  No plastic lids (think shampoo bottle lids, water bottle lids, ketchup bottle lids, things like that). Glass jars are being stored indefinitely and not recycled so it’s best to avoid purchasing glass if possible.  Any styrofoam and small plastic lids that get tossed into the blue bin will end up in the landfill (take styrofoam to London Drugs & small lids and bits of plastic to Sarcan).  Update: These items no longer accepted: Loose plastic bags, clean plastic food wrap and clean plastic product wrap must be put inside another bag and tied.
  • London Drugs  bring items to the customer service desk!  It’s easy and the staff are nice about it!  London Drugs recycles a lot of items and you can look it up online.  Some exciting ones to note here are clean styrofoam items, light bulbs, batteries, Christmas lights and CD’s/DVD’s
  • Staples – cel phones, pens, batteries, printer cartridges
  • BN Steel & Metal – appliances, batteries (automotive), computers / electronics, wiring, microwaves, oil filters, photocopiers, propane tanks, scrap metal, tin cans, vehicles.  They also have bins where you can drop off plastic, glass, cardboard etc., which is collected by Loraas Recycling, the same company that the City of Saskatoon uses (still, glass is stockpiled).
  • Saskatoon Processing Co. – accepts used fats, cooking oil and grease for recycling from residents
  • Brainsport – will take all types of shoes (minus flip flops) in a wearable condition and recycle them
  • Habitat For Humanity Re-store – recycle building supplies here.  If you have left over flooring for example, you can donate to be re-sold.  A wide variety of second-hand building supplies, furniture and appliancs can be purchased here as well.
  • Saskatoon Food Bank – accepts books, toys, clothing / textiles, plastic (food containers with lids, eggs cartons, shopping bags)
  • Thrift Stores including Salvation Army, The Opportunity Shop and MCC – donate used clothing and household items here.
  • For a more in-depth resource on recycling in Saskatchewan, visit the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council

Repairs – repair you old boots, zippers, vacuum cleaners instead of sending them to the land fill.  Here are some of the repair shops that have had recommendations from the Waste Not yxe group members:

 

Saskatoon Waste Not Workshop!

Hey Saskatoon! Are you curious about Waste Not YXE? Cassandra will be running a by donation workshop at Soul Foods Conscious Grocer Wednesday, January 24th 7:00pm – 8:30pm. 

 

Come on out and join us for discussion and Q&A! ❤

 

Event details HERE. 

potato sovereignty?

We just had our first garden harvest, and oh boy – *SO MANY* potatoes!

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helper dog Cyrus

I had braced myself that perhaps the plants would only produce a couple of potatoes each, and that would still be great. Alas, the bracing was unnecessary because on average, our plants yielded 6 – 8 potatoes. Our highest producing plant gave us *21* potatoes. What?!

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this all came from *one* plant

I cannot tell you (as a first-time gardener) how completely satisfying and exciting it was to pull each plant, loosen the soil, and root around for potatoes. The entire yard took about four or five hours to pull by myself (as Jesse was shingling our roof), and the novelty truly didn’t wear off the entire time.
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In the end, we have three large totes filled with potatoes, packing in a bit of dirt to help them keep (we don’t have a root cellar), and I don’t have a scale but it’s definitely triple digits for poundage.

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We will be seeing how long they last us, as our pie in the sky goal was to be completely self reliant for potatoes until summer 2018. Time will tell!  Safe to say, our use of the no-till gardening method was a major success. No lawn, almost no weeding (we weeded basically once the whole season), and lots of fresh, happy produce. ❤

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where does your food come from?

One of the many winding paths that our zero waste exploration has led us down is the question of our food. Where are we getting it? How far does it travel to reach us? Is it coming from ethical farms and practices? And how can we be better in touch with and connected to our food source?

When we moved into our house together just over a year ago, we knew that one of the big reasons to buy property was that we wanted to garden. Our ideas started out vague, but quickly took shape into visions of berry bushes that provide both privacy and food, ripping out the old garage and lawn and transforming all that wasted space into garden, and starting with a few crops and doing lots of them so that we could learn in this process.

Neither Jesse, nor I have any real garden experience… I had a blip of a week when I was eighteen where I planted a tiny little garden, spent the day weeding it, and then abandoned it to nature as soon as new weeds began to sprout. Needless to say, we’re both in better stages of life to care for a yard full of responsibility now. In fact, we *want* the responsibility. There’s a sort of visceral satisfaction that comes from providing for your basic needs in a direct way, and gardening is infinitely more attractive to me than it was ten years ago.

Last summer, we began by tearing down the rotten, slanting garage that filled half of our backyard (related, we also discovered how difficult salvaging wood can be in demo situations). Jesse did a bunch of reading on no-till gardening and wanted to give it a shot, rather than having to rip up all the lawn in our backyard. So going into winter, we covered all the grass with cardboard, and started to daydream about what plants we wanted come spring.

We started off the adventure by having a yard consultation with our friend (and inspiring ecologist) Elizabeth Bekolay. Once we had her suggestions in mind, we headed out to Dieter Martin Greenhouse for the fun part – picking all of our plants!

We ended up opting for a goji berry bush, several haskap bushes, saskatoon berry bushes, rhubarb, a raspberry bush, peppermint plants, potatoes, and sunchokes gifted to us by Jordan and Elizabeth. We also have a bunch of tomato and pepper plants in pots on the deck, and our trying our hand at growing squash from seeds that Jesse has been saving from when we eat squash.

Once we had our plants, the hard work started. We began by pulling off all the cardboard from winter, and laying a layer of manure over the dead grass. No-till meant we didn’t need to rip all the grass out – just re-cover it, and keep it from getting any sunlight.

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Once the carboard was re-applied on top of the manure, we cut out holes for the potatoes, and dug down!

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Once all the potatoes were snug in their holes, we spread a good layer of mulch – in this case woodchips and pieces – to keep the moisture in, and add an extra layer to keep the grass from getting any light.

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We followed a similar method with the berry bushes; cardboard over the soil, dig holes, backfill with some manure and compost, plant bush, cover with mulch (in this case, straw). Now that it’s been a month since we planted, we are *thrilled* with the results. It keeps the moisture in, the weeds down, and our plants are all chugging along happily so far!

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Just last week our first potatoes sprouted… one day there were two sprouts, then seven, then ten… it’s a relief to know we didn’t screw them up! So far, this has been a satisfying start to our gardening, and we really can’t wait to learn more as we go. ❤

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a conversation with Conjecture Time

The other day I sat down with my friend Chris over at the Conjecture Time podcast, and we had a really interesting chat. We touched on a lot of things, but a good deal of the conversation revolved around WasteNot and some of the philosophical underpinnings of the Zero Waste worldview. You might enjoy taking a listen! Things really get rolling around the 20 minute mark 🙂

Conjecture Time Podcast – Jesse Sleepwreck