Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!

January 10, 2009


All my fellow Torontonians, please note: Our fair city now recycles plastic bags and Styrofoam! While this doesn’t exactly mean you can forget about tote bags and coffee thermoses, it does mean that when you screw up, you’ll be hurting Mother Earth a little less… kind of like slapping her across the face rather than punching her in the gut.


Photo courtesy of meckleychina on Flickr.

Fixing other people’s green mistakes (Day 365)…

February 28, 2008


Ugh. Day 365. Today was the day I’d been looking forward to for so long. It was the day when this challenge was to finally be complete, when I could officially say “I did it” and reflect upon a full year of green changes.

Then, someone decided to make it a leap year.

Damn you, Gregorian calendar!!

But that’s fine, tomorrow isn’t so far away, and at least it gives me a bit of extra time to spend with you, my faithful readers.

Anyway, as I was walking home one evening this week, which happened to be the night before collection day for garbage and recycling, I noticed one household had left out a Blue Bin with Styrofoam in it. Not cool! This could very well mean that instead of getting sorted out at the depot, the whole lot just gets tossed out — same goes for pizza boxes, bottle caps and light bulbs. As Alina has mentioned before, there are rules that come with recycling, and if you screw them up it could mean a chain reaction that ends up with everything going straight to the dump.

So I stopped, plucked out the Styrofoam container — which had some gross red substance oozing out of it — and put it in the garbage, where it belonged. While it’s frustrating that, after decades of organized recycling, people still can’t sort things out properly, I can sympathize with the fact that there are so many different materials, and often the City will update their operations to include an item that previously couldn’t be processed.

Therefore, instead of taking the misanthropic route of cursing people’s ignorance and walking by, I’m going to make sure I stop and take the time to right the recycling wrongs in this world.

Image of a car bumper placed most erroneously in a recycling bin courtesy of Mr. T in DC on Flickr

Get a green move on (Day 324)…

January 18, 2008


Only 12 more days until I move out of my condo and into my new house! Oh crap, that’s really soon, isn’t it?

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of stuff, but there’s no way in heck I’m moving it myself, so it was time to look around for some professional movers. I’ve heard about a few green-minded companies, but a trusted source strongly recommended Your Friend With a Cube Van (that’s one of their employees, looking hysterically awkward, in the photo above).

The way I see it is, they may not have hybrid trucks or biodegradable packing peanuts, but they’re local, they’re independent, they have a cute name and they’re going to help me move everything in the greenest way possible (I’ll be explaining the rules about tape, Styrofoam, etc. in depth).

On top of this, I think I get some bonus points for moving less than a block away — my new house is literally right around the corner; four digits of my postal code are even the same. So this means I can probably walk a lot of stuff over on foot or use a little trolley (crossing Queen Street might pose a challenge, especially going over the streetcar tracks, but it’s doable).

Photo courtesy of YFWCV

GreenShifting gear (Day 313)…

January 7, 2008


In the little “About” sidebar on this page, I mention an anti-styrofoam party I went to some months ago. It was in support of NaturoPack, an advocacy group which promotes the sale of biodegradable packaging made from corn, an alternative to polystyrene gradually being adopted by some takeout restaurants in Toronto. But just as much credit — or perhaps more, really — should go to GreenShift, the local organization actually facilitating such switch-overs and helping companies green themselves, whether it’s through takeout containers or a full environmental audit.

Restaurants like Ghazale, which has the best falafel in the city (a title that used to be held by Akram’s in Kensington — his secret to the crunch of the balls was that he didn’t actually use any chick peas but rather a blend of less oil-absorbing beans — until he started skimping on the tabbouleh), have signed up to GreenShift, as have upscale establishments like Kalendar and Le Paradis, plus the usual suspects (veggie restos like Urban Herbivore, Fressen and Fresh, which will give you 15% off your bill when you bring your own Tupperware), cafés like Poor John’s and my personal fave Café Taste, which doesn’t actually offer any takeout except in reusable containers (if you don’t have any, the owner will give you some of his to bring back… also, on a completely unrelated note, you’ve gotta love their Free Film Sundays, especially with this lineup: The Tobacco Conspiracy, Global Warming, Our Times and The Last Mogul).

So from now on, whenever I eat out, I’m going to support local restaurants that serve organic food and have GreenShifted their ways.

Photo courtesy of leslita_bee on Flickr