If you google How much garbage is produced each year in Canada?, this is what comes up...
A recent study states that Canadians produce more garbage per capita than any other country on earth,1 Canadians generate approximately 31 million tonnes of garbage a year (and only recycle about 30 per cent of that material). Thus, each Canadian generates approximately 2.7 kg of garbage each day.
That's crazy! And not what I expected when I googled it. I have been working on this zero waste thing for a little over a year now, and I will admit, it is hard! Living a zero waste lifestyle means sending as little to the landfill as possible and focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling. Although recycling has some major flaws...that's another blog post. Of all the lifestyle changes, this has been the hardest one, the one that has taken the longest and the one that I think I will have to work on for a lifetime. Our world is just not set up for it. Single use plastics are absolutely everywhere. They are so hard to avoid. It takes planning and dedication. But we don't really have a choice anymore. We are producing more garbage than our planet can handle. It's shameful. The area I live in has already banned plastic bags. It is happening, so we may as well get involved and put in some effort. Every person needs to take responsibility for what they are putting into the world.
At first I felt myself getting overwhelmed and stressed out. So I reevaluated and decided to take it one step at a time. I would find alternatives to things as I ran out and just learn to do things differently. It is a slow go, but I will say, once I make each individual switch, they are usually fairly easy to continue. One of the first switchs I made was no more to go coffee cups. These can not be recycled. They are lined with wax or plastic and the lid is a one time use plastic. Just not necessary. Some might even say gluttonous. Now I keep my travel mug with me, in my backpack or in my car. If I don't have it, I don't get a coffee. I'm obsessed with coffee, but I survive. And it has saved me a few bucks here and there when I have forgotten it.
We are so used to immediacy. Stopping anywhere to get what we want or need. But just as we go out of our way to care for our loved ones, our homes, our stuff....we need to go out of our way to take care of our planet. This blog will focus on small switches. Switches that are doable. Doable on a budget, with a family and a busy schedule. But over time they will add up. Thanks for following along!
This is a pretty personal topic for a lot of people…good thing I’m not one of them! But to be honest, this was one of the first steps I took in the direction of zero waste. But before I go into the topic of family cloth, I’d like to start off by saying that we are far from zero waste. We have a long way to go, but I am committed to continue working on this until I’m satisfied with the amount of waste we dump into the environment. At this point I don’t know what that will look like, but more importantly, I am always looking for new ways to continue lowering our contributions to the landfill.
So back to family cloth….this is when washable cloths are used in place of toilet paper. It’s basically reusable cloth TP. But hold on, before you exit this post completely appalled and disgusted, there is a process. The cloth is just for drying. After you do your business, you use a bidet (either handheld or installed) to wash your…. undercarriage (for lack of a better term lol). The water takes care of everything, leaving you sparkling clean! Then you grab a cloth and dry! I keep a basket of cloths next to the toilet that I cut from a large bath towel, but any terrycloth material would work. You can make them yourself, I surged the edges with my sewing machine, or you can order cloths online specifically for this job. I also keep a wet bag hanging close to the toilet for disposal. Once it is full I throw them into the washing machine with rags or other towels and then return them to the clean basket. (see below for links to all of these products)
We have two bathrooms in our house. The main bath and the ensuite. The experiment of family cloth started in the ensuite. I am in the process of converting the main bath over now but we will keep TP for guests. I can buy paper covered individual rolls at The Zero Waste Emporium in downtown Victoria, a really cool shop! Check it out if you live in Vic or you’re visiting. I digress…this all started because I would get home from Costco with my big $20 plastic wrapped TP haul and have to throw out so much one-time-use plastic because the individual rolls are wrapped in plastic and then the whole lot is wrapped in plastic and it’s just so much PLASTIC! It would fill half my kitchen garbage! Insane.
When I thought about trying this, I really didn’t know how much work it would be, how my family would respond or if we would even stick with it. That was the end of August 2018, almost exactly one year ago. My thoughts now?….I love it. I could never go back to toilet paper. To be honest, it grosses me out. I leave the bathroom totally clean now, like I had a mini shower. I’m so obsessed with my bidet that it comes with me when I visit family or go travelling. And the bonus? I have bought less than half the amount of TP this past year! I’m looking forward to almost never buying it and just having my spare plastic free rolls for guests! As for my kids, they love it, they understand the reasoning behind it and this gives it purpose for them. Big Daddy on the other hand has needed a little more encouragement, as a lot of husbands do who are married to women who like to constantly try new things around the house.
So there you have it! It may seem overwhelming but I encourage to try it in one bathroom…you might find you prefer it and at the end of the day, every piece of plastic kept from the landfill is a win! Here are a few links to some products I use and like! Thanks for reading and happy wiping!