Everyone was a Hippie for Halloween (at least once)

Many of you probably had “be greener”, “eat cleaner”, “eat locally” or some variation of this on your New Year’s resolutions list this year. I sure did, and I’m pretty good.

When I was in Grade 4, we did this whole thing on the 3 R’s. We had a checklist to take home and implement, green plastic (although probably not bpa free) bottles to bring our drinks to school in, and even awards to the greenest classes. These activities have stayed with me since. At the sometimes dismay of my family, I have always been all about recycling (my mom is super into GreenPeace Canada now so she finally gets it:). I put a baggie full of rocks in our toilet tank to reduce water use, and railed on every person I knew if I even suspected littering! But let’s face the facts. Life throws waste in our faces every day, and sometimes we don’t know what to do, or how to be better. How to be green!

And then there are the anti-green people. The conspiracy theorists, that use corporations as an excuse to exhibit bad behaviour. (You know who you are!) These people are the same people that think that eating healthy is “too expensive” and that if we all became vegetarians the world would be over-populated with cattle. Good grief! Why are you so concerned about people making money off of healthier choices, but are more than willing to donate to the people who don’t care if they are slowly killing you and your children? (Whoa! Sorry about the rage-rant;)

The point is, there are no excuses. Hippies in the 60’s weren’t getting payed billions for the message they were spreading, so your conspiracies theories are crap. If you are organized, recycling takes maybe the tiniest more effort than throwing things in the trash. (Plus a few bins, is better than a bunch of smelly, heavy bags!) If we all do our part, we really can make a difference. And since I believe that most people would if they just knew how, here are a few of my favourite tips and resources*:)

*Sorry that most of these are Ottawacentric! I’m sure there are similar programs in your own cities/towns!

Candice’s Top 10: 3R’s Edition

1. Shred newspaper for the bottom of your indoor compost container. You don’t have to use the bags. This will save you money, and unnecessary paper use. (Did you know that wet paper towels can go in your compost? Perfect if you used one to clean up a tiny person, sticky mess!)

2. Throw your coffee grinds in your garden/potted plants! Grinds are full of nutrients and stay moist longer, so they make your plants very happy! Plus it saves you room in your compost:)

3. Collect shower water for your plants. Just put your container of choice in the tub while you shower:) If you are not using soap with natural ingredients take your container out before rinsing.

4. Prep and Freeze. When you get home from grocery shopping (or at least the next day), chop the veg you need for various meals and then throw them in freezer bags. Steam and blend your baby food and then ice cube tray it. (Later, put the frozen cubes in a freezer bag.) Make muffin mix, cookie dough, loaves, casserole/lasagna/shepherd`s pie and freeze it. Not only will this save you a bunch of time in the long run, but you will have less food rotting away in your fridge!

5. Use cloth wipes on your baby bottoms. Even of you are not a cloth diapering enthusiast, this is an easy way to save money and the environment. Do you have some old receiving blankets, stained washcloths, old t-shirts hanging around? Chop them up, throw them in a bowl with some warm water, olive oil/or tea tree oil, baby shampoo, and voila!

6. Tumbler it up! Bring your tumbler and reusable water bottle with you whenever possible. Even when you travel. You can’t take it through security full, but you can fill up on the other side:) We are lucky enough to live in a place where we can drink water from the tap. Take advantage!

7. Use technology to your advantage. Many of us have smart phones, and tablets, or at the very least a computer of some sort. USE IT! Last year I switched my SELF magazine subscription to my iPad. Not only is it crazy cheap, but think of all that paper! You can also read e-books (and as a lover of books, book smells, and paper even I wouldn’t do this all the time, but..) it’s a great way save paper, and it’s really easy to read in the dark:) Saving PDF’s to your chosen book reader can also save you from printing a bunch of stuff out and it makes it easy to take it with you.

8. Put a medium zip-lock bag full of rocks in your toilet tank. It takes up room, so that the tank doesn’t fill as high in turn, saving more water.

9. Clean up your backyard! If you have a really neat and organized place for all of your recycling, trash, and compost bins, you will be more likely to use them.

10. Go to the Farmer’s Market & bring your re-usable bags:) Food has little to know packaging at the market (save a few recyclable cartons and re-usable elastics). Not only can you get fresh, local food there, but the person selling it to you is almost always the person that sewed it so you can ask all the questions you want:)

A few great sites to check out:
Want to know where all the Farmer’s Markets are in Ottawa? Here you go! (Check out the ‘What’s In Season’ section while your in there)

This is an online magazine about living clean in the Ottawa area

Not sure when to take what out to the curb?

The National Women’s Show now has an Organic Living Zone. A great chance to learn about programs and companies in our Nations Capital!

And my Fave:
Ottawa VegFest! Even for those who are not veggie-exclusive, this is a great event. Delicious samples, and a chance to learn about all the great veg related restaurants and programs we have going on. I hope to see you all there:)

Well, thank you all for baring with me. I hope some of you find this helpful in your endeavours to be more green, and live a cleaner life.

3R’s for life! (It was true when we were 6 and it’s still true now!)