July 26, 2016

Letter to the City of Toronto

Ok, so it's time to take action.

Here's a copy of the letter I sent to the City of Toronto about Black Plastic recycling... cross your fingers... I'm hoping it makes a difference...

Dear City of Toronto,

Recently, I learned that black plastic cannot be recycled.  It took me by surprise.  I have been mistakenly putting my black plastic containers in recycling bins for years.  There are likely many Torontonians who are unaware of this recycling rule.  I suspect it may be causing some problems at Toronto’s recycling facilities.  I am concerned that black plastic is adding to our landfills.

So, my questions are... Why can’t black plastic containers be recycled?   What can be done to change this?  And what can we do to convince stores, restaurants and manufacturers to stop using black plastic to package their goods?

I recently took a walk through my local grocery store, and noticed black plastic trays were used to package meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and other foods.  Many frozen food entrĂ©es use black plastic containers as well.  I recently ordered food from my favourite Thai restaurant and my meal was delivered in black plastic containers.  Black plastic seems to be everywhere.   Not good.  

As an eco-minded consumer, I’ll try to avoid buying items packaged in black plastic and avoid restaurants that use black plastic.   I’ll encourage my friends, family and community to do the same.   Still, I hope black plastic can be recycled... someday.  

Toronto has shown strong ‘eco’ leadership in the past.   I’m hoping that Toronto can take the lead in this issue as well.  

Paul Cressman

July 19, 2016

Black Plastic Solutions

So, we've learned that black plastic cannot be recycled in Toronto (and practically everywhere around the world).  Sigh...  And that's a big problem.  Cause there's a lot of black plastic out there.  Just today, I noticed that even my shampoo bottle is black.  Ugh.  There's no escaping it.  

Yes, we've got a problem.  So, what's the solution?   Here are some ideas to get us started.

1.  Stop buying items that use black plastic packaging,   As consumers, we need to be mindful of what we buy.  Try to reduce buying products that are packaged in black plastic.

2.  Encourage your favourite take-out restaurants, grocery stores, garden centres to choose different containers for their packaging.  You can write letters to them to express your concerns.

3.  Even encourage manufactures to package their products differently.  Write to them too.  

4.  Encourage the city of Toronto to investigate ways to sort and recycle black plastic.  They've already started.   They need to continue.   Toronto should be an eco leader in this matter.

Nothing's going to change unless we take action.   So, what are you waiting for?

July 13, 2016

Fresh From the Farm

Ah... summer in Ontario!   Isn't it great?   I love all the fresh produce from local farms available in stores and markets around the city.  There are many reasons to buy local food.   First of all, fresh local food tastes great.  Admit it. Cause it's true.  And just think... it didn't travel far to get from the farm to your plate.  It's an eco friendly way to eat.   Here's a link if you're ready to discover more reasons to buy local food.   

10 Reasons To Buy Local Food

This past weekend, instead of buying local produce here in the city, I went to a farm just outside the city - a Pick-Your-Own farm.  We went to Whittamore's Farm for strawberry picking.  We drove there from downtown in just 30 minutes.  We picked berries for a couple of hours.  It was a great way to get our strawberry fix.   

And of course, we've been eating strawberries all week long!  Strawberries on pancakes, strawberries on ice-cream, strawberry tarts, strawberry smoothies.  And of course I made 16 jars of strawberry jam (just like my mom used to make - the jam tradition continues).  The kids and I love homemade jam.  There's nothing like it.  I froze a bunch of berries too.  Well be enjoying these berries all year long.   

Next weekend, maybe we'll do it all over again with raspberries.   Yum!   

July 08, 2016

More Thoughts about Black Plastic

Yesterday we learned about a big recycling problem... black plastic containers cannot be recycled!    And unfortunately many restaurants use these containers for their take-out orders.

Today, I'm realizing that restaurants aren't our only problem.  Many grocery stores are using black plastic containers too.   Fresh meat is often packaged with black plastic  or styrofoam trays.  (Yes, even black styrofoam cannot be recycled.)  There's also fruit, veggie and cheese trays.  Even frozen food entrees come often use black plastic containers.  There's no escaping black plastic.   And no recycling it either!  :-(

We need to be more mindful about what we buy.  We should think twice before buying something found in black plastic packaging.  

Also, it's time to let the grocery stores and food manufacturers know that we disapprove of their packaging practices.  It's time for them to make better packaging decisions.  


July 07, 2016

Take-Out for Dinner?

So, you're feeling hungry.... but you have no time/no energy to cook?  That's okay.   Just order a take-out meal from your favourite restaurant.  They'll deliver you a tasty meal in no time at all.  Problem solved.   Right?  Wrong.

Your take-out meal came in containers, right?   That's lot's of excess packaging.  "No problem", you say.  You'll just recycle the packaging.  It's all good.

Wrong again.  Not all packaging can go in the recycling.   As I have recently discovered, black plastic cannot be recycled!   Unfortunately, many Toronto restaurants use these black plastic containers for their take-out food.   

So, don't make the mistake of tossing your black plastic in the recycling.  It really doesn't belong there.   Unfortunately, you need to toss it in the garbage.  (At least the lid can be recycled.)

So the question remains... if black plastic can't be recycled, why do so many restaurants use it for their take-out food?  Let's challenge our city's restaurants to be more mindful of the containers they choose for their business.  

July 06, 2016

Waste Wizard

Ever wonder what to do with your waste?  Does it go in the garbage (Is it destined for a landfill?)  Can it be recycled?   Is it compostable?  Do I put it in my green bin?  Never fear... the Waste Wizard is here!   Yes, Toronto has it's very own waste information website with answers to all your waste questions. Here's the link... bookmark it today...  

Just type in your query and the Waste Wizard will tell you where it goes.  Here's an example... many people are unsure about disposable coffee cups.  If they asked the Waste Wizard, their question would be laid to rest. They'd discover that coffee cups go in the garbage.  They'd also learn that non-black coffee lids and paper sleeves can be recycled.  Here's another example... many kids want to know what to do with their snack wrappers.   The Waste Wizard will assure them that candy wrappers, chocolate bar wrappers and granola bar wrappers unfortunately go in the garbage.   

There's no more confusion.  The Waste Wizard will help you sort your waste with ease.  

July 02, 2016

Waste Free Toronto

Take the Waste Free Toronto Challenge... I did!    It's a great tool to reflect on how you are doing with reducing the waste you create.   


You'll find 10 simple challenges... my favourites are challenge # 3, #5 and #8 

1) Take our Waste Free survey
2) Measure Your Waste
3) Use Toronto’s Trash Tools
4) Think twice before you Buy
5) Choose to Re-use
6) Buy Recycled
7) Help Grow Green Bins
8) Send Packaging Packing
9) Tackle Toxic Trash
10) Send your Electronics to a Better Place

This challenge is brought to you by the Toronto Environment Alliance.