Category Archives: Reduction

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant to start recycling

Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal to start recycling

Last summer during a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, we decided to go to the Khyber Pass, a bring-your-own-wine Afghan restaurant, in Montreal. It’s a charming restaurant with great food (great vegetarian options too) and a cozy terrace in the back. One of the great aspects of dining-out in Montreal is that some restaurants have a bring-your-own-wine licence which encourages people to eat out more since you’re not spending a fortune on wine.


Thus, on this occasion, we did just that. We brought 2 bottles of wine and enjoyed a great meal. While discussing with the friendly waiter who had also lived in Victoria, BC (where my sister lived) we got got into great conversation about food and wine. At the end, he asked if I had finished eating and I made a comment like “Yah, you don’t compost leftovers do you?” to which he replied “No, we don’t even recycle wine bottles”.

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15 things people often forget to recycle

Common bathroom and bedroom items often thrown out instead of recycled

Sometimes, we think recycling is reserved for items in our kitchen but that’s simply not true. There are many things we dispose of daily throughout the house that could easily be recycled.

  1. Toilet paper rolls
  2. Paper towel rolls
  3. Kleenex boxes – Remove the plastic lining, open the flaps on the side then flatten
  4. Shampoo & conditioner bottles
  5. Skin care bottles -Face cleanser, eye make-up remover, toner bottles & face cream containers
  6. Cooking oil bottles – I go through a bottle of olive oil a month but I always recycle them. Place the bottle on its side over the sink, then remove the plastic spout by placing a knife into the groove between the bottle and the spout, it will pop out. Clean by shaking with water and dish-washing soap first, then recycle.
  7. How to recycle olive oil bottles

    Remove the plastic spout with a knife

  8. Beauty product containers – Shower gel & scrub containers
  9. Disposable hygienic products boxes -Q-tips, bandaid, pantyliner & feminine products boxes
  10. Hand & body lotion bottles – You might have to remove the pump, but you can easily recycle the bottle. Rinse first please.
  11. Toothbrush & some make-up packaging – Just because it has a small amount of paper packaging doesn’t mean it’s too small for the recycling bin. Recycle the back portion of the toothbrush package or why not your lipstick and mascara boxes?
  12. Vitamin & cough syrup bottles – Make sure to rinse the cough syrup bottles first so they’re clean and not sticky
  13. Deodorant packaging – This might surprise you but check the back. If you see the recycling symbol (two arrows) you’re good to go. Just make sure there is no deodorant left in it. Some deodorant spray cans can even be recycled too.
  14. Shaving cream bottles or cans – Same thing as deodorant. If you see the recycling symbol, you can, but do favour non-aerosol versions and ideally plastic bottles in the future which are more easily recyclable . You can also get shaving cream bar soaps which require no recycling at all as there is no packaging waste to begin with. Olive oil bar soap is also a great alternative for shaving.
  15. Various recycling symbols on beauty products

    If you see these recycling symbols on beauty products, you can recycle them

  16. Old bills, receipts & gum packaging – These papers can stack up quickly. Once you don’t need them anymore shred them (I take mine to work – shhh) then recycle them. As for gum, choose the non-blister packs as they are plastic-less and if you do get a blister pack, at least recycle the outside cardboard packaging.
  17. Pets – Yes, random, but pets also get disposed of when they are no longer wanted. Some are killed humanely, others are not. Where I live in Montreal, many are still killed in in gas chambers. If you’re looking for a friendly companion, please choose adoption and check out where you can choose a pet based on breed, sex or size,  based on available pets in your  area.

Clutch, once a stray dog, found his forever home thanks to MuttScouts

Five easy ways to be greener in 2011

Reflecting on being greener

Preserve our beautiful planet by adopting a green lifestyle

Here we are one month into 2011; have you kept your New Year’s resolutions?

Here’s an easy way to keep a resolution to yourself and to the planet with my
five (5) easy ways to be greener and I’m not talking about giving up your car. They’re what I consider the basics for green living and you’ll even save money.

  1. Reduce your waste – I’m not talking about recycling, I’m talking about reducing the need for a product to be disposed of in the first place, i.e. not consumed. For example, choose bar soap, over liquid soap (eliminate the plastic bottle), choose filtered water from home (transported in stainless steel containers) instead of bottled water or choose unpackaged fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Simple gestures like these add up and equal a lot less waste in our landfills.
  2. Upgrade to environmentally-friendly cleaning products – Finish up the current ones you have but replace them one-by-one with green cleaning products. These days, there are tons of brands available that are high-performing, grease-cutting, non-toxic and biodegradable so there’s no excuse not to use them. If you wouldn’t pour your conventional cleaning soaps into a lake when camping, why is it ok in the city? It ends up in our lakes and oceans anyways and slowly degrades aquatic life. Upgrade your dishwashing liquid, dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, all purpose spray (citrasolv is great) and use vinegar for windows and hardwood floors.
  3. Start composting – Composting is the best thing I have done in a long time. I have reduced my waste by 70%. Lots of alternatives exist from buying a composter for the backyard to municipal pick-ups. Call your city to see what your options are.
  4. Bring your lunch to work – So much of the daily waste we throw away is directly related to our food. Instead of throwing out plastic or Styrofoam containers from your lunch, plan your weekly meals out Sunday night and bring the leftovers to work in “glass” Tupperware. Important to use glass as it doesn’t leach pthalates (hormones disruptor’s found in plastics). And for those days when you didn’t prepare anything the night before, keep a Tupperware container in your drawer at work to take to your nearest café/restaurant so at least there’s no waste. No joke, I actually do this!
  5. Participate in Meatless Mondays – Reducing your meat consumption 1 day a week is a great  way to lower your eco-footprint. Consider this, you will save more water by not eating a pound of beef, than by not showering for 6 months! Regular meat eaters who cut out meat one day a week reduce their carbon footprint by 28.5% and according to Nancy Callan, a board member of Earthsave, “More greenhouse gasses can be prevented by going meatless one day a week than by eating locally seven days a week.” Pledge to reduce your meat consumption by participating in Meatless Monday USA or Meatless Monday Canada and see how good (and less bloated) you will feel!

How to stop receiving junk mail!

Fed up of junk mail? I am! Here's how you can reduce it!

When the bulk of your mail is junk, it makes you question how many trees were cut down just to be thrown out.  And to make matters worse, my mail box is not only filled with my junk mail, but that for the previous two tenants despite efforts to “return to sender”.

In order to help you go green and stop the insanity that is junk mail, here are some quick and easy steps you can take.

First things first, we need to make a distinction about the 2 types of junk mail; addressed and unaddressed.  Addressed mail (admail as referred to by direct marketers) is addressed to you with your name and address. This is because you appear on a mailing list somewhere.  Unaddressed mail, is pure junk, usually in the form of grocery store flyers, flyers from realtors and anything else that is unsolicited.

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