Order local organic produce straight to your door. Know you should be buying your veggies from the local farmer’s market but can’t quite seem to get there early Saturday morning? Instead, order your weekly greens online from a community supported agriculture initiative, which will deliver fresh regional produce to your doorstep weekly. “Eating local organic foods eliminates transportation pollution and prevents more pesticides from entering the environment,” says Billy O’Dowd, co-owner of Green Earth Organics. Toronto and Vancouver dwellers can order online at Green Earth Organics.
Rework. Reuse, reduce, recycle, and now… Rework! According to Starre Vartan, founder and editor of Eco-chick.com, “the fourth R” is an easy way to keep both your closet—and landfills—clutter-free. Try recovering your ugly armchair by picking up some discounted fabric at Fabricland and hiring a local reupholster to do the job. Or sign up for a class at a local sewing store for the a,b,c’s of reworking those flared pants at the back of your closet into long shorts. Toronto’s Sew Be It Studio offers a “Vintage Revamp” class, and The Church of Craft in Montreal, and Seamrippers Craft Collective in Vancouver have a variety of workshops and craft swaps aimed at aspiring reworkers.
Separate your waste. Get in the practice of separating your waste right from the kitchen in order to minimize the amount of garbage going to the landfill. Buy attractive, stackable recycle bins that don’t require too much room—both the Container store and Ikea have them, which makes separating your glass and paper recyclables easy. Then get a small plastic container and store it under your sink to use for compost waste. Toss any fruit and veggie waste, tea bags, egg shells, and other decomposable waste in there and then transfer to an outside compost at the end of each day. The City of Toronto has an online guide to composting for apartment residents.
Swap that skirt. Instead of tossing that too-small dress, make your next girls night out a clothing swap party. Have everyone bring clothes they no longer want, set up shop in your living room, and score a new wardrobe while being easy on both your wallet and the environment. Then help others by donating any leftover clothes to a local charity. Oasis Clothing Bank in Toronto has city-wide drop off boxes or you can call them for a home pickup. Donations will go to people recovering from addictions who need necessities like clothes in order to reenter the workforce.
Wash in cold. It sounds simple, but washing your clothes in cold water instead or warm or hot, saves energy. According to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance 85-90% of energy used when washing clothes comes from heating the water! So if every Canadian household switched to washing in cold, enough energy would be saved to light over 2.5 million Canadian homes for a year! Try using a cold-water detergent like Tide Coldwater in order to keep clothes looking their best. An added bonus? Washing in cold prevents clothes from fading quickly.
BONUS Operate online. Using the web to send e-cards and invitations is an easy way to save paper and transportation energy. Find cute ones at Ecards100.com, SomeECards and Sendomatic. Also try making your next photo album virtually with ideas at MyPhotoAlbum.com.