zero waste (part two)

” … [W]hen we say ‘we threw something away,’ what do we really mean? … After all, our discards don’t just evaporate because the garbageman whisked them off. Our waste end up in our landfills, spoiling our precious environment, leaching toxic compounds into our air and soil, wasting the resources used to create the discarded goods, and costing us billions of dollars each year in processing.”

Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson

Above is how the second chapter of Zero Waste Home begins, detailing why eliminating our waste output is imperative. As gathered by the title, this is my second post in my newest zero waste series. In the first post, I discussed composting for the first time, utilizing a clothesline, our septic field, and collecting rainwater. Looking back, I focused on reducing our waste outdoors. This time, I will examine bringing it indoors- from recycling, to phasing out paper towels, and cleaning products.

Let’s begin with recycling. I am fortunate enough to have access to bins in the city where we can take everything there to recycle without having to sort it out beforehand. This has made going from recycling nothing only a few months ago, to now recycling practically everything! Geoffrey and I always have cardboard boxes or reusable bags in our home that are dedicated to these items. A couple of times every month we drop them off at the depot on one of our trips into town.

These depots accept all paper, plastics, aluminum foil, tin cans, milk jugs, cartons, glass bottles, jars, and bagged plastic bags. The only items that they don’t accept are hazardous materials, electronics, clothes, food, and tires. Having a depot located on the side of town that are closest to makes this an incredibly easy and rewarding experience.

We also have a collection of recyclable bottles in the bottom of our pantry that we drop off at SARCAN.

Let’s move on to cleaning supplies- or more specifically, vinegar. Growing up, my mum had always used vinegar and water as a cleaner, so by default when I moved out on my own, I did as well. Yet, I didn’t realize the power of vinegar or how all-purpose it is until only recently! In Zero Waste Home, it lists what vinegar can be used for and how to use it. For example, vinegar can be used as: an adhesive remover, bathroom cleaner, colour set, drain cleaner, eraser sponge, flower food, glass cleaner, herbicide, insect repellent, jewelry cleaner, kitchen cleaner, laundry booster, mildew remover, nicotine stain remover, odor neutralizer, pet repellent, quick mop, rust remover, stain remover, toilet cleaner, upholstery freshener, vinyl cleaner, and wood renewer. Simply dilute 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 cup water (for added scent, you can also add citrus peels to vinegar several weeks before diluting it).

Of those, I was using it as a bathroom and kitchen cleaner, pouring it down my drains with baking soda, pouring it over weeds to kill them, in my laundry to boost colour, in bowls to eliminate odors, on my floors when I washed them, and to clean my windows- all without a second thought. It really is just an incredibly simple and versatile cleaner to have on hand! (I will return to window cleaning in a moment.)

Now if I am writing about cleaning products, at some point I need to address the elephant in the room. That is the notion of paper towels. Paper towels are a huge zero waste problem. In my research I found that paper products account for roughly 25% of landfill waste. Additionally, the US produces over 3000 tonnes of paper towel waste each day, which significantly increases methane gas. Cutting out paper towel would save trees, water, the atmosphere, and us money!

Until very recently, I was horrible when it came to buying and using paper towels. Being somewhat of a germophobe, I proudly used an entire roll every two days. I used to think more paper towel equaled a cleaner home. I loved the idea of spraying something down, wiping it with those fresh white sheets, and then throwing them out and thus getting rid of the dirt. Now, I shudder at the idea.

When I began this journey a few months ago, I knew that I would have to eventually stop buying paper towel. I was anxious and a little grossed out at the thought of using rags to clean up my dirtiest messes, and then having to touch and wash said rags with our clothes that we wore. I know what you’re thinking, ‘princess, get over yourself’. So one morning I purchased one more six-pack of paper towel with our groceries, and announced to Geoff that it would be our last. I also told him to start collecting every piece of old clothing in order to cut it up into rags. We went through one roll, then two rolls, then slowly went through the third and fourth. Then somewhere along the lines, I completely stopped using them. In all honesty, I can’t even tell you when I did this. Opening our kitchen drawer and grabbing a rag to clean quickly and seamlessly became second nature. I thought that it would be such a hard transition having to break a thirty-year habit, but it really was one of the most natural things that I have done in a long time. We still have those last two rolls laying around our home, but I have no intention on ever using them.

So how do we keep our windows clean? Guys, have you ever used newspaper for this job? If you haven’t, please switch now! I didn’t believe people when I heard and read that it kept your windows streak-free. I thought that it would certainly leave ink or bits of paper behind. I was so wrong. It’s thickness and durability make for a wonderful texture to clean your windows (using vinegar and water for the cleaning agent, of course). I have never had clearer windows. Afterwards, you have the added bonus of throwing the newspaper in the recycling bin. I hope to never, ever return to paper towel and Windex.

If anyone was needing tips for ditching paper towel, you can find a cute and helpful website here.

Please join me on my next zero waste post in just a few weeks!

Emory

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

remy is three

You guys. Remy turns three years old today. Three!!

I feel like this past year went the quickest of all since she was born. Geoff was still living in a different city at the beginning of last year. Then in February, she turned two, and little did I know that I was already two weeks pregnant. Shortly thereafter we found out, and so we filled the year with finalizing renovations on our home, cherishing the pregnancy, and relishing in our last year of having her as an only child.

Over this last year, Remy has gone from barely talking to barely staying quiet. She is now potty trained, can count to fifty (forwards and backwards), knows how to spell her name, can draw faces and recognizable shapes, gets dressed by herself, and helps out with everything related to Wilder. She is still fiercely shy around adults that she does not know, but loves all children of all ages. I would say that this was the year that she grew up.

We love our little goose more than anything. She is certainly not perfect, but she is a sweet, kind, and stubborn little girl who is turning into a beautiful soul. I am sad to let go of two, but am excited for her to turn three and all that it will bring.

Keep growing, my darling. Happy birthday. I love you!

Mama

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

recipe: drop biscuits in shrimp casserole

This is a rich and savory meal that is packed full of flavor and comfort. Enjoy!

Drop Biscuits in Shrimp Casserole

Ingredients:

(For the biscuits)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup milk

(For the shrimp casserole)

300 g peeled shrimp, thawed
½ cup corn, frozen
½ leek, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ tbsp salt
pepper, to taste
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup canola oil

Steps:

For the biscuits

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix the first four ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Then add the final ingredients, stirring until just combined.

2. Place parchment or aluminum foil onto a large cookie sheet. Grease well. Using a tablespoon, drop twelve biscuits onto the sheet.

3. Place in oven, and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool.

For the shrimp casserole

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place six fresh biscuits in an oblong casserole dish. Then add the shrimp, corn, leek, garlic, salt, and pepper. Drop the butter on top of the casserole mixture. Drizzle with oil, and place in oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Serve hot.

Emory

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

remy’s 2nd birthday photography

This year, Remy’s birthday party didn’t go as planned. I had initially booked a room at a local play centre and had invited all of our family members that live near us. As her birthday drew closer, more and more of our family were unable to make it. This included my husband! With less than two weeks to go, I had no choice but to cancel everything. Instead, we ended up having about four mini parties with various family members on the days that worked for them. It was a week of sheer exhaustion (given that no one actually lives in the city), but we made it! Remy is so loved, which makes me so happy.

For our own intimate celebration with just the three of us, I decided to do a Morning in the Life where I photographed our daily ritual at home. It began with Remy’s bath. Next, we played in our master bedroom. Then Geoffrey and I sat with her while she ate her late morning snack, we opened birthday presents, and then we sat on the couch and played with some of her new toys.

Even though two rooms in our house are under renovations, I wanted to document exactly how we spent even just part of our day at this moment in our lives. From the gentle light of the morning sun in our bathroom, to Remy playing with her toys on our bed, to the length of her beautiful hair, to the shortness of mine, to Geoff’s clothes, I feel as if I have to capture it all. Our home is almost exactly how we would like it- which means that we are probably getting ready to sell it. But, all of this is what makes us unique. This is our life with a now two-year-old.

What sorts of things do you wish to never forget? Good or bad, let me know below.

Emory

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

table console diy

Our main floor hallway was in dire need of a console. I literally searched for weeks in local stores and online classified ads for a table that was tall, narrow, and short in length to fit the tiny space between our front door and the archway to the living room. I just couldn’t find one that had all three requirements. The closest one that I could find was $350, and was literally a piece of wood with plain, black, metal legs. So what did I do? Turned to Geoff and said, “we can make that.” We did. I did. For one third of that price.

Wood and Aluminum Table Console

Supplies:

Pine laminated panel
Aluminum stair post (4)
Drill
Screws
Tape Measure
Stain
Paintbrush
Saw (optional)

Steps:

1. You may or may not have to saw the laminated panel to a specific length. Once it is the correct dimensions, the next step is to stain. Let dry completely before moving onto the following steps.

2. Using a tape measure, mark the locations for the four posts on the bottom of the wood panel. Then drill the posts in place.

3. Turn the table over, set in your chosen location, and begin to decorate. Easy!

I cannot stress enough how fun and easy this table was to construct!

<3

Emory

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Calendar

    August 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Jul    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • Follow

    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,722 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: