Some easy ways to reduce plastic (and other) packaging waste

Refilleries, bulk stores and good habits!

We work really hard in our household to reduce trash.  We try to avoid products with too much packaging; repurpose when possible and recycle meticulously.  Yet in spite of our best efforts, the trash we do end up producing is dominated by one category: packaging.

Contrary to what many of us have been conditioned to believe, the most important of the three Rs is not the last, Recycle.  It is, by far, the first, Reduce.  And the best way to reduce packaging is to not need it in the first place.

So if you’d like to reduce the amount of packaging waste you generate, here are a few ideas:

  • Find and shop at a local Refillery: a specialized store where you can bring and use your own clean containers for a variety of products like soaps, cleaners, personal care products and more.  A bonus: most refilleries, such as the Consciously Clean Refillery in the image below, prioritize not just sustainability, but supporting local businesses too.
  • Shop at your local bulk food store – but be sure to bring your own containers, to reduce packaging waste down to zero.
  • When neither of the above options are available, buy the largest quantities of a product that make sense for your home (be sure to consider shelf life and perishability, as food waste has a huge environmental footprint).  Then use a small container for daily use, topping it up from the larger one as needed.  Bonus: larger quantities usually mean savings too.
  • When buying produce, bring your own reusable mesh bags, like these (no endorsement intended)
  • When all else fails, try to make sure the packaging of the products you buy is recyclable by looking for the recycling symbol; and then recycle accordingly
  • For the hard-core: if a product doesn’t have any indication of the recyclability of its packaging, call the 1-800 number on it to advocate for more sustainability.  You may get stunned silence, but positive change comes when enough of us call to ask for it.

Good luck in reducing your packaging waste, and enjoy this season of bountiful harvest!

“Lead by example” – Terry Fox

Each September, I participate in the Terry Fox Run to raise funds for cancer research. When the pandemic cancelled in-person runs in 2020, I started doing beach cleanups instead.  As you can see, they’ve been pretty successful!

On September 23 I’ll be doing my fourth.  And super exciting news: Terry Fox’s older brother Fred will be joining me!

Please consider supporting my ‘Run’ / cleanup.  Pledges can be made at my personal page,, or by emailing me for alternate arrangements.  You’ll get a charitable tax receipt for the full amount.  And feel free to make your donation in memory of a loved one; I add every name to the t-shirt I wear that day.

Thanks to anchor sponsors DKB Enterprises, Encorp Atlantic, Ritchie’s Carpet Warehouse and Hunter Wealth Management for their generous contributions! 

In the news:

A German solar company plans to build a $3 billion factory in Manitoba, creating up to 8,000 jobs – as Alberta Premier Danielle Smith declares a moratorium on renewable energy projects, even those already under construction.

10.5% of all vehicles sold in Canada in the first half of 2023 were electric – an all-time high! Pretty cool: GM says all of it EVs will be able to power your home by 2026!


“I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.”

– Terry Fox

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