SWF seeks hippie with full set of teeth (Day 180)…

August 27, 2007

green singles

In case you haven’t noticed from the numerous posts revolving around my cat, my parents and sometimes my friend Meghan — I’m single. It’s OK, I’m totally cool with it. I’m usually a serial monogamist, and often don’t abandon any relationship until I’ve got someone else waiting in the wings, but this time I just did it and truly enjoyed having my own space, playing my own music and eating my own food on my own schedule.

But it’s been almost a year now, so I’ve decided to get back into the dating scene. Part of this challenge, though, is finding others who are attractive and care about the environment, who understand my aversion to plastic and my need for organic tubers but won’t ream me out every time I need to rent a Zip car for groceries. During the course of this bike trip, I managed to get over my aversion to vegans, but I still don’t want to go out with anyone who thinks wine and Advil are the devil’s work, anyone who wears Guatemalan pants, or anyone named Serenity.

So I decided to green my dating slowly and carefully, beginning with GreenSingles.com, which says it’s for the “environmental, vegetarian and animal rights community.” I created a profile, which you can probably find with some digging, and which is probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in my life. Then I started looking around at all the men on it and saw that in all of Toronto there were about 12, and maybe two of them were near my age. Even when I expanded my search to all of Ontario, it still kept offering me nothing but Owen Wilson lookalikes who declared their religion as “On a spiritual journey.”

I’ve also been trying to attend more green-themed events, such as an anti-styrofoam party a while back at the Gladstone Hotel or the more recent Bicycle Film Festival. As well, I’m hoping to meet some cool people through the Toronto Environmental Volunteers group and various other community gatherings from farmers markets to vegetarian food fairs.

We’ll see how it goes. Mostly, I’m just hoping whoever I end up with can not only pronounce “vermicomposting” but has heard of modern inventions like deodorant and floss.

Spicing it up, in bulk (Day 165)…

August 12, 2007


There’s nothing that quite warms the soul like a kick-ass organic paneer kofta or a free-range chicken tikka masala. But as anyone who’s ever attempted to cook homemade Indian food knows, there are usually at least 15 different spices in the ingredients list, and once you start running out of all the garam masala and dried fenugreek, it can mean a lot more plastic every time something’s replenished.

But as Carrie so brilliantly pointed out last month, a good eco-friendly option is to head to a marketplace or bazaar where they sell spices in bulk (luckily for me, Toronto has a Little India). Not only will these probably be of higher quality but it also means you can bring your own container to refill, and you’ll definitely get more for your money.

So as of today, I’m walking right past the spice aisle in the grocery store and taking my own containers to the House of Spices just up the street.

Photo of spices in a Chamonix marketplace by Gavin Bell at Flickr

Wite-out goes right out the door (Day 164)…

August 11, 2007


I remember, back in grade school, I had total pencil case envy. This girl who sat beside me had the coolest zip-up canvas case with cute little ducks on it, and inside she had Hi-Liters in every colour, one of those four-in-one pens, perfectly sharpened pencils and — the coup de grâce — Wite-Out, in pen and tape form. Whenever I screwed up on some French test and had to bring out my generic brand of correction fluid in its crusty jar with white goo caked all over the brush, I felt completely inferior.

But now, it’s a different story. I rarely write anything by hand, and if I’m typing something up, chances are I’ll be emailing it sooner than printing it. And if I do make a mistake on a form or an essay, I simply cross it out, correct and initial it. While the end result may not look as pretty, it saves having to use a plastic container of mildly toxic paint.

Although it’s arguably not much of a change, per se, to say that I’m not going to use Wite-out anymore, it’s a commitment I haven’t made officially until now. Besides, it’s the weekend, and I’m stuck in Portland, Oregon. Cut me some slack, will ya?

A card for the yard (Day 162)…

August 9, 2007

seed card

I was going to make today’s post about e-cards and how they’re a more environmentally sound alternative to regular greeting cards because no paper is involved. But to be honest, I just can’t do it. I can’t give someone a birthday or Christmas present without a card physically attached.

So instead, I’m just going to make them myself from scrap paper around the house or get one of these nifty cards that have wildflower seeds embedded into them, which you can plant in the garden. Although the one in the photo comes in a plastic sleeve, I’ve seen others that come without any packaging, and I think it’s a nice alternative — instead of sending the message that you’re too lazy and cheap to get a real card, it says that you put some extra thought into it and decided to do something that would give back to the earth rather than take from it.

The only downside to this is that most of these eco-cards don’t come with funny messages written on them, which means I’ll have to give my sense of humour a little pep talk. I think I might have to just steal some lines from the Selfish Kitty guys (my favourite is the “Bool Banch” one).

Photo of a plantable greeting card from this site

The pick of the litter liners (Day 150)…

July 28, 2007

I spent forever trying to find eco-friendly cat litter tray liners, perhaps ones made from corn that would eventually break down in my new compost bin (seeing as I’m already using a corn-based product in there), and came up totally empty-handed.

But because I’m desperate, I’m still going to lay claim to at least choosing what I think is the greenest option when it comes to this product.

Of all the brands on the shelf, I looked at the packaging involved, the quantity of liners per box and where they were manufactured, and eventually decided on Van Ness (OK, I may have also chosen it based on the similarity to my name).

They are made of plastic, but they’re simple (I didn’t choose the draw-string one) and come in a recyclable cardboard box, and that’s good enough for now. Next time, however, I may just choose to go without a liner altogether, because I truly don’t think anything could possibly be a bigger waste of time than shopping for cat litter tray liners.

BioBag, you’re it (Day 148)…

July 26, 2007


Ever since I got that little nylon tote bag that fits in my purse, I haven’t needed a single plastic bag. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t using them — I had a bunch stored up from previous shopping trips, which I was keeping under my sink and gradually using up for various things, such as a liner for my bathroom garbage bin.

Well, I finally ran out of them (which goes to show how many I’d amassed). I wanted to get some sort of small waste bag of a similar size that wasn’t made from plastic, so I went for the BioBags. Made mostly out of corn starch, it can be recycled but also biodegrades in 10 to 45 days.

Hopefully, this will be the official end of any and all plastic bags in my life.

Thinking with my headphones (Day 147)…

July 25, 2007

I’ll be flying back from Madrid in a couple days and, shortly thereafter, heading out to Portland for my hippie bike trip. That’s a lot of time in the air, and there are two ways to make it go faster: music and the in-flight movie. Both of these requires headphones, which they always give out on the plane, but I’m going to bring my own set from now on. Air Canada says they recycle them, but they still come in all that plastic packaging with foam coverings, plus it’s always better to reduce than recycle.

Photo courtesy of this guy on Flickr