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.

Green giving (Day 84)…

May 23, 2007

There’s nothing more heart-warming than a truly thoughtful gift, whether you’re giving or receiving it. My friend Meghan is good at this: for my birthday, she gave me something that not only reflected what’s important to me but what’s important to her, too: a stylish tote bag full of homemade, nutritious goodies, all stored in reusable mason jars, wrapped in some funky crinoline she found in her apartment, leftover from a bridesmaid’s dress. It satisfied both the eco-nerd in me and the health-geek in her, all while being stylish (Meg does have a degree, and a gold medal, in fashion after all, but that’s a whole other story).

So my next challenge is to make sure I always incorporate some “green” element into my gift-giving, whether it’s a tote bag, some cake from a local farmers market or contributing to a good cause on their behalf. When I first started this blog, one Thistle reader (was it you, Shawn? I can’t remember!) said he always hands out CFL light bulbs in place of loot bags at parties, which is another great idea.

But the key is to make sure that the gift is still something my friend or family member wants, as opposed to something I feel they should want. Because while I, personally, would love to get a solar-powered battery charger or the latest in composting technology, not everyone is so into that. My first green gift was to my mum recently: I copied Meghan and went for the tote bag, but got one with a nice artsy photo of my sister and me screened onto it rather than one with a slogan like “I’m not a plastic bag” on it, because that’s just not her, as well as some body wash.

Anyone got any other green gift ideas? Remember that I’m not using my oven or fridge anymore, though, so homemade cookies are unfortunately not an option.

Tote-bagging it back (Day 38)…

April 7, 2007

Bag it Back is the latest recycling campaign for all of us winos (sorry, oenophiles) in Toronto. Essentially, the LCeeb is like that annoying roommate you had who never did the dishes, and would sooner pay you to do them than turn off The Price is Right and get his lazy ass of the couch. Because most wine bottles haven’t been getting properly recycled through the blue box program (and we’re getting told this … now?) they’re asking us to grab a plastic bag and bring the bottles back — no, not back to them, back to those guys over there with the hemp badges sewn onto their backpacks, aka The Beer Store, who’ll give us a return.

So today, I collected the bottles that had been sitting next to my blue box, put them in a tote bag and walked down the street, past the LCBO, to return them. I’ll keep tote-bagging it back, but don’t think there won’t be a scowl on my face and a chip on my shoulder in the process.

Every tote counts (Day 16)…

March 16, 2007

BYOB totes

Why is it that so many tote bags are a tote-al disaster when it comes to aesthetics? They always look like this or this, or in some severe design vacuums, like this. I’m all for the ironically ugly once in a while, but not every single time I need to dash out for another carton of milk (unsweetened soy, natch), so it makes it difficult for me to commit to my latest green move — you guessed it — using tote bags.

Thankfully, some fellow Canadians have come to the rescue. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) was founded by Jenny Hughes and Elizabeth Clark after they noticed “a serious lack of choices on the market” when it came to plastic-bag alternatives.

Their totes are handmade and printed in Vancouver, and come in 100% natural or organic cotton. They’ll even take custom orders (Aritzia, for instance, commissioned a line of bags printed with the phrase ‘Live like you give a damn’ — whew, tough love!).

Currently they only sell in Vancouver and through their website, but hopefully they’ll expand. As for me, I’m pledging to bring my own bag whenever I go to the grocery store or need to bring stuff from home to another destination. I can’t account for any impulse purchases, but basically, whenever possible, I’m gonna rock the tote.