Zerowaste Living With Kids | Is it Possible? 0
Minimalism is difficult- but doable. Until you have kids. Not only do they rapidly grow, constantly needing new clothes, toys, and accessories, they easily tire of the same old, same old. Your once pristine living room is now a mini playground and your porch has turned into parking for strollers and tricycles. Getting out the door, even for a grocery run, means packing for every eventuality and then there's the question of what you wouldn't do for just five minutes to yourself.
And on top of that, zerowaste often means a little extra work. But is it doable? Even with kids?
It's true that you'll have to pick your battles, but there are some cardinal habits that can make the lifestyle easier to implement, and maybe even achievable.
Buy in Bulk
Have you ever noticed how much waste is produced by baby and kids' snacks? Everything is wrapped in portions which, granted, are easy to grab, but also produce so much waste! Whenever possible, buy in big packs, or better yet, in bulk. From there, you can package them in the portions you want in the container you want, be that a snack pouch, beeswax wrap, squeezey, or a jar. Snacks like granola bars you can make yourself without resorting to wrapped ones, and Bulk Barn has plenty of other bulk options.
"No Gifts Please"
This is one that is especially difficult, because it requires you controlling other people. People love giving gifts to kids. The little things are so cute and adorable, it's nearly impossible to come empty handed to holiday or birthday celebrations! However, this is also a chance for you to educate those around you. To keep your home clear of useless items and things that come in excessive packaging, it's always easiest to say "no gift please." If the friend or family member insists, ask for it to knock off as many of the following as possible: consumable, homemade, recycled, package free, sustainable, biodegradable, and USEFUL! It might seem strange, but sometimes it's easier to just make a gift registry for items that you child needs. If you fear that this might be weird for some, just go NO GIFT!
Dress with Longevity in Mind
Being mindful with kids' clothing seems impossible because they are always growing and always getting dirty! However, that doesn't mean that your children need a million outfits. With laundry now a days, most of the time you won't even reach the bottom of the drawer before you pile on the outfits you just washed. The key is quality over quantity. Choose items that have been sustainable made with natural fabrics that will be able to take repeated washing and being worn by multiple children. There are North American companies like Cotton Vanille and Milkbarn producing "grow clothes" which fit kids for a longer period of time, making the extra money spent on quality and slow fashion worth it. Other options include shopping second hand, trading outgrown clothes with other families, or simply creating "capsule wardrobes" for each growth period.
Compostable/Recyclable/Reusing Activities and Toys
The toy industry is a large one, and it's not slowing down! However, every parent will be able to share in the feeling of being inundated with them. And it's not a good feeling! Instead of running to the toy store every time your kids seem to be bored with what they have, give them a chance to play creatively with items found in nature like flowers, sticks, pinecones, acorns etc. During other seasons, you'll be surprised with what you can make out of a empty water bottle, milk jug, or the fun you can have with simple wooden blocks. Sometimes it takes the parents' creativity to trigger the effect in their kids.
Do the Toy "Flip"
If you already have a lot of toys, consider doing a toy "flip" instead of getting rid of all of them just to buy them again later. Take half of the toys in your kids' room and put them into "hibernation" in your attic, basement, or even a closet. Your little ones will forget about them a play with what they have. Once they seem bored with the options they have, voila! You have new toys to offer them.
Of course there are plenty of other things you can do to minimize your waste generated by kids, but these five tips are a good starting place for your family's journey towards a #zerowastelifestyle.
Will You Be My Valentine? Show the Earth Some Love 0Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and though everyone might be wearing pink and red, we thought we would share our "green" lens to this holiday! Flowers, chocolates, and jewelry might be seen as traditional gifts to bestow upon your special someone, however, there are many other options to explore that will not just make your Valentine feel loved, they will show some love to the earth as well- win win!
First we would like to share some practical tips that you can use this February 14th to make it the greenest Valentine's Day yet!
Make homemade, wrapper-less treats to share with classmate and colleagues, like cookies or gluten-free dessert balls. Less waste in the form of plastic means better for the earth! Bonus: it's probably better for those eating them too!
Re-purpose Your Valentine's Day Cards from last year by cutting out elements and making a collage on recycled paper. Not only is this a fun craft to make with the kids, it teaches an important lesson on re-purposing and reusing the resources you already have.
Gift Consumables this Valentine's Day instead of knick knacks that will just clutter up their house and will eventually be disposed of. Candles, tea, and lotions are all great alternatives as they do get used up eventually and the packaging can either be reused or easily recycled.
Invest in experiences rather than big-ticket items. Though getting a babysitter or dinner reservations can be difficult this day of the year, consider just giving the gift of an alternative experience, like an afternoon of cross- country skiing on the weekend, or a wine tour in Niagara. These make great memories without having to fuel the consumerist lifestyle.
Make something meaningful if you have skills for it, like knitting a hat for your spouse, or building a bench for the dining room table. In addition to the utility your lucky Valentine will get out of it, there is the added value of your time and thoughtfulness that will not go unnoticed.
The Mrs.Greenway team got together last week and talked about what would make awesome Valentine's Day gifts. We thought we would share them with you to help inspire some great, sustainable ideas that will make for pleased recipients and much loved givers.
You can't always predict when you really NEED that spa day. Sometimes you can't wait until the weekend or until you have saved up enough. Being able to create your own oasis in your home is a gift that everyone deserves. We have put together 3 kinds of gift baskets that should be able to fit every budget and need. All the products are natural, organic, and will do your Valentine a world of good.
Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to gift your gentleman with a grooming set, complete with accessories for taming that facial hair and keeping his skin smooth and free of irritation. Oh, and these solid colognes are awesome for traveling and using on the go!
Vegan Leather Accessories
Preloved Winter Line
OK, maybe a little cliche, but come on, what's more appropriate than hearts on Valentine's Day? These mittens are made in Toronto from recycled sweaters - "green" and super cute!
Lemon Lily Tea
Warm the heart (and the hands, and the belly) with a tin of organic Lemon Lily Tea. There are many different types to choose from and offer an elegant but totally appropriate gift for Valentine's.
Whatever you decide to do with or get for your Valentine this year, try to spread the love a little broader than just your special person. Remember that the holidays are a good time to reflect on how you can also give back to your community and preserve the environment!
Shop Valentine's Day at Mrs. Greenway
10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Everyone On Your Christmas List 0
Whether you have decided to do your part to make the holidays a little "greener", or if you are having a hard time finding something that you eco-conscious friends or family members will appreciate, we are here for you.
As purveyors of an ecostore, every year we get people coming through our doors, explaining that they are looking for something for their colleague, friend, parent, child, or sibling. They want to get something useful, unique, sustainable, and most importantly, valued by the recipient.
"What would you recommend"?
Well we thought you would never ask!
Actually we did.
And that's why we have this handy dandy list ready for you to peruse and help with your holiday shopping needs. Consider it a map to the "greenest Christmas list" you have ever had.
1. Wooden Toys
Let's start with the easy ones: kids. Yes, it is true, kids love toys. However, a lot of today's toys are made with various toxic chemicals and out of unsustainable materials. We love the natural beauty of wood. It's durable, non-toxic, and the companies that we stock produce their toys from ecologically harvested trees and often with a social initiatives to boot! Though they might seem simple compared to modern, battery-powered toys, they stimulate kids and their imaginations in a healthy way. Wooden toys also grow with the little owners, starting off as a healthy chew toy and eventually become the enabler of a wildly adventurous game. We suggest companies like Holztiger Wooden Toys, Plan Toys, Hape Toys, Grimm's Toys, and Tegu Blocks.
2. Soy Candle
Candles make wonderfully versatile gifts. They are consumable, don't expire, and add some "magic" to even the most mundane days. Soy based candles are much healthier than paraffin wax ones, and better for the environment as well. Choose ones that are naturally scented and give off an aroma that you think your gift recipient will like. It's a lovely gift for coworkers, teachers, mother-in-laws, and more.
3. Holiday Gift Basket
Sometimes you just need some of the guesswork taken out of the gifting equation. In that case, you can't go wrong with a Holiday Gift Basket. Pre-assembled gift packages full of wonderful goodies like soaps, lip balms, candles, salts, and more are perfect for your special someone. We carry a variety with different themes and price points so that you can find one for almost everyone on your list!
4. Salts & West Sweater
Does your Secret Santa love Canadian fashion? Salts & West is a West Coast brand that makes comfortable but stylish staples from organic bamboo. Our top pick is the super soft wrap sweater.It's a cozy look that you can wear to the office or over your pajamas during Christmas Day breakfast.
5. Lemon Lily Tea
Tea is always the answer. It's what you want to drink on a cold day, a hard day, a relaxing day- basically everyday. Lemon Lily tea is a very high quality, all- natural, organic tea mixed in Toronto that comes in beautiful tins, perfect for gift giving. Get an assortment of holiday flavours and your kind thoughtfulness will live on for as long as the tea lasts.
6. WWF Swell Bottle
Have an animal lover on your Christmas list? Get them one of these limited edition WWF S'well bottles. Every bottle purchased helps to reduce the amount of plastic in our landfills and waterways, while also supporting urgently needed programs to protect our oceans. And if you don't know firsthand, we are sure that you have heard of the great quality and longevity of S'well bottles. It's a gift they will use for years and years, hopefully on a daily basis.
7. NEOB Lavender Products
We are lucky to have some local lavender farms, one of which supplies their all-natural fare to our store. From soaps, hand creams, mists and more, all the products are based on the natural oils that the farm extracts from their harvested lavender. If you have a lavender lover in the family (I certainly do!), you could really score some points with them by giving something so local and natural.
8. Vegan Leather Accessories
Real leather might not align with your eco-values, but there are many vegan leather alternatives out there. We love getting new accessories in from Pixie Mood and Mat & Nat. Their purses and wallets have been a hit with our customers every year, as they are super stylish, durable, and are a safe bet with everyone, whether they like leather or not. Oh, have a mom-to-be on the list? We just got Matt & Nat's diaper bags in and don't think that anyone would every suspect that there could be diapers in there. So chic and sophisticated.
9. Blanket Scarf
An oversized scarf is like a hug on a cold day. It can be worn inside with a sweater, outside on a coat, double up as a blanket, shawl, or anything you want, really. To keep our options "green", we stock Canadian made brands like Buttercream as well as fair-trade alpaca ones from Highland Trading Co. It's a wonderful winter-themed gift that will certainly get a lot of use right away.
10. Gift Card
And of course, the humble gift card. How could we go this far without mentioning the reusable plastic card that requires little if any wrapping and essentially ensures that your recipient likes and uses their gift? Show that you know them a little more intimately by aligning the card of your choice with their values, taste, and style. But since we are talking about Eco conscious people here, we can't help but mention our own ecostore, but no matter which gift card you choose, the chances are that you will minimize waste and improve your gift-giving ranking.
Christmas is about sharing the love. Don't forget to show the earth a little love as well ;)
Is Every Leather Really Terrible? An Eco View on Leather 0
Leather is a taboo topic amongst those who care about the environment. Just like there are different perspectives on "sustainable food", ranging from locavores, plant-based, vegan, or organic diets, there is a range of views on leather.
Just to be clear, we are not sharing our own views, rather we are presenting popular ones that exist.
The Vegan View
Veganism, as most of us know, is about not eating any animal products, including milk, eggs, honey, etc. This usually extends to things like skin care products and apparel. And though real animal hide might not align with a vegan's beliefs, it certainly doesn't mean that they don't appreciate the quality and aesthetic that it provides. That's where vegan leather comes in. It's an artificial leather alternative made of polyurethane or alternatively, out of cork or kelp-based materials. As polyurethane is a petroleum by-product, we try to stick to the lather options which are more environmentally friendly.
We carry two vegan leather purse and wallet lines: Pixie Mood and Matt & Nat. They are both known and loved by many, and interestingly enough, not just by vegans. Everyone can appreciate the durability and style that vegan leather provides.
What leather afficionados already know is that it is a very durable material, and with proper care can last a very long time. That's why it is a great material to upcycle- meaning take it and reuse it for something else once the object has run its course. For example, old leather couches can be upcycled into upholstery on chairs, etc.
Our new supplier, Tiny Feet, actually uses upcycled leather as the sole for their little baby booties. The upper part is recycled yarn, but to give a better grip for those tiny feet, they add some leather that would otherwise be thrown out, even though it is still in good condition.
Sustainably Made Leather
Like many materials, leather has to be heavily processed before it can be used to make things like clothes, accessories, bags, or shoes. And like many materials, this can be a very taxing process on the environment, as there are many pollutants, contaminants, and resource issues associated with it. More and more companies are starting to pay attention to how their leather is made, turning to natural processes that are less destructive.
Our Froddo Prewalkers are little leather boots and shoes that are made of Ecopell leather, one of the most environmental and health compatible leathers out there. These booties are excellent quality, meaning that more than one pair of feet will be able to get use out of them, making them even more sustainable! Fans of Canadian company Minimoc, should know that the owners of the company work with leather suppliers that work with reputable tanneries with good ethical and environmental morals. When we do stock leather items, we ensure that the environment and safety are at the forefront along the entire supply chain, not just the final producer.
At Mrs. Greenway, we want to accommodate all of our customers and their views on leather. That's why we carry all kinds of sustainable leather, from upcycled, vegan, to Ecopell certified, we want to make sure that everyone can find the environmentalism that they are comfortable with and can appreciate. Remember, in the end, we are all united by the mission to protect the earth, not just for our children, but for our children's children.
Shop Eco Style at Mrs.Greenway Online
What is Slow Fashion and Why Should You Care 0
You might of heard or even perhaps scorned "fast fashion." However, do you know exactly what Slow Fashion means and why it's important to you, me, and the generations to come?
Let's go back to fast fashion. It's a term used to describe the mass production of clothing and accessories by retail giants in order to satisfy the consumer's needs and wants of current trends they see evolving on runways.
Haute couture can take years to bring from the design table to the end consumer, with the price and quality reflecting the process and brand reputation. Fast fashion imitates these trends and quickly turns around ideas in order for the "hungry masses" to fill their closets with clothes that don't last more than one season in wear-and-tear. And no wonder. At the price point at which they are purchased, these pieces are created with minimal artisanal inspiration, with low-quality materials, and by an underpaid workforce, often in abysmal working conditions.
Slow fashion is a reaction to this unsustainable and harmful trend in the fashion world. The goal is for everyone to benefit from its creation, from the initial designers, through the natural environment, the producers, and to the final consumer. It's about a more deliberate and conscious way of acquiring things with a long-term vision. Buyers have a need, they purchase things that fulfill this void, along with a plan of maintaining and repairing the item until it is either recycled or passed on.
It's about educating yourself as a consumer to ensure that you are supporting companies and processes that reflect your morals, both environmental and social. Slow fashion consumers want to know where something was made, by whom, and the materials used. Only once these line up with their values will they consider the style, fit, and price point.
This can seem extremely limiting at first, especially when you are used to just popping over to the mall to get the bulk of your clothing shopping done. However, in recent years, there has been a boom to keep up with the needs and wants of this niche market demographic. By expecting quality from our purchases, we force companies to respond to our needs, both promoting the creation of new brands and the transformation of other more established ones.
By identifying as an eco-store, we stay true to our core mission by providing only responsibly produced products, especially when it comes to clothing. When we look for clothing brands to bring into our Dundas and Grimsby stores, we prioritize brands made of natural textiles, designed intentionally by creative teams, many of them Canadian, and produced responsibly, either by the designers or in foreign factories with accreditations proving their sustainability.
So we encourage you to make decisions that support your personal stance on the matter, whether that means buying new items made "slowly", hunting for your needs at a second-hand or consignment store, or creating them yourself.
If you were interested in some of the brands we carry in store, here's a list, along with links so that you can further educate yourself on their missions and information on how they produce their goods.
Remember that when you buy items, you are "voting with your dollar" and supporting the operations of entire networks of retailers, manufacturers, as well as individual livelihoods. Take the time to research your options, and make your purchases deliberately, with your mind and your heart engaged in the process.