Hey folks! Andrew here with a new ‘Be Well’ blog entry, focusing on a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately; something I felt could make a great topic of discussion for this week’s post.
Let me ask you something (no judgement, I promise): when you pack up and take out the garbage, recycling and compost for pick-up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis—do you find yourself thinking about what, and how much you’re actually throwing away? Most of us don’t. And that’s not totally on you. I’ll be completely honest, I never used to think much about it. Most of us are now so accustomed to our food, toiletries and home goods being unnecessarily wrapped in extra layers of plastic, paper, cardboard, styrofoam, etc. It’s become so normal, it’s truly second nature for us to just buy the products we’re used to buying, remove the wrapping and throw it directly into the trash. Think about a daily trip to a coffee shop. Maybe you tell them you’re sitting down to read and enjoy your beverage and snack, yet they still hand you a pastry in a paper bag. They still give you the drink in a plastic or paper cup instead of on a plate and in a ceramic mug. It’s those small things, those everyday items that really start to add up.
Sadly, in most cases, we’re all so busy that we often forget to stop, to really think about how much of an impact our habits have on the environment and the negative impact it is starting to have on our planet. The sheer amount of trash we collectively throw away as a population weekly, monthly, yearly even… is truly frightening. Sure, there are news reports, videos and photos online that show the abundance of trash that sits dormant in landfills locally and around the world. These piles will take so, so many years to break down and decompose—and a large majority of it never will—yet we’re still so disconnected to the problem.
Okay, let’s be real, I’m not here to shame. I’m not here to blame. This is an opportunity to talk about what we can do, to share available resources that can help us to start to making a change in our lives—a change that will have an enormously positive impact on the planet.
As of late, there are zero-waste, package-free stores popping up all around the world. Now this is a trend I can get behind! By offering people the choice to shop for daily items package-free paired with the education behind the benefits of adopting this kind of lifestyle, you’re giving everyone access to alternative ways of consumption that can greatly impact the future of our planet. It’s easy to think that one person’s actions can’t possibly do much in the grand scheme of things (believe me, I used to feel that way). However, once I opened my eyes to look closely at how much waste I was creating as one person—a switch flipped and I just knew that something had to change.
If you’re thinking about cutting back on the amount of waste you produce, look into package-free stores in your local area. The Tare Shop in Halifax is the perfect place to start. A bulk shop, coffee shop and community space that has everything you need for your everyday life. Everything from bulk food, home essentials, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and so much more. The team is trained to help you find what you need, to help you understand what steps you need to take to start working toward a zero-waste lifestyle.
You may be thinking that it’s too much of a hassle to make all these changes, to adopt this new lifestyle when you’ve got so much else on the go. You’re a full-time student. You’re a busy entrepreneur. You’ve got kids. You’re always on the go. Believe me, I totally get it. I’m self-employed, always out and about, on the go, and the goal is never to add more to my plate than I can handle. But honestly, once you start making a commitment to try to live as package-free as possible, it truly simplifies a lot. Your household becomes easier to maintain, you’re not constantly throwing away trash you find around the house and you start feeling more connected to the things you buy. You may also notice that you start to invest in things that you need, or things that will bring you joy, because you know they’re things you want to keep long-term. Even as a good starting point, it’s good to ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. If it’s just a disposable item, good for one use—and one use only, is it really worth the trash it’ll create? In some cases, sure, it most certainly may be. But in most cases, you’ll find that you can probably live without it.
If you’re thinking you might want to give package-free living a go, even just to test out if it’s right for you, I suggest starting small. Think of a recipe you want to try and make a list of the ingredients you need. If you’re in the Halifax area, stop by The Tare Shop (with your reusable bags in hand, of course!) and their awesome team will set you up with mason jars/containers to carry home your ingredients. You can also bring your own from home, as long as they are washed thoroughly beforehand.
Lush is another example of a great company that does its part to offer a number of products that are package-free, such as bath bombs, shower bombs, soaps and shampoo bars. If you bring your own containers, it’s super easy to refuse paper bags when you’re shopping there.
To help inspire you to consider giving this new lifestyle a go, we’ve whipped up a quick, easy and delicious Chia Pudding recipe for you to try out! These are easy-to-find ingredients that you may already have at home or that should be readily available at most local bulk stores/package-free stores near you.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Chia Pudding Recipe
- 1/4 cup Chia seeds
- 1 /4 cups non-dairy milk of your choice (almond, oat, coconut milk, etc)
- ½ cup Fresh blueberries
- ¾ teaspoon Ground cardamom spice
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/8 cup maple syrup or agave
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Schoolhouse vegan, gluten-free granola
The steps to take
- Mix fresh blueberries, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla extract, syrup and non-dairy milk together in a blender on medium or high until smooth.
- Pour the mixture over chia seeds and mix together using a whisk or a fork. Allow the mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes, proceed to stir again. Give it another 10 minutes to rest and stir it one last time. Now, move the mixture to the refrigerator and let it rest overnight.
- The following morning, check the texture of your pudding and give it one last mix. If you feel it is a tad too thick, just add a little more of the non-dairy milk of your choice.
- Put it in your favourite bowl, top with Schoolhouse granola, serve and most importantly–enjoy!
Together with The Tare Shop, we’ve decided to partner to bring you a very special package-free giveaway! Residents of Halifax and the HRM (or if you’re from outside the city but come in to visit from time to time) can enter to win a $10 gift certificate from The Tare Shop to cover the ingredients for Chia Pudding (or you can use it towards any items you like) + a jar (300g worth) of our tasty gluten-free, vegan Schoolhouse granola!
In health and happiness,