August 31, 2016

Boomerang Lunch @ Jackman

Boomerang lunch... It's simple... what your child brings to school for lunch is either eaten or brought home.   There are no garbage cans available for kids in the lunch rooms.  Here’s why…

1.  Instead of ‘throwing out’ uneaten food, kids are asked to hold onto food to eat later.  No waste.

2.  Kids also take home unwanted food. This is done to spark a family conversation about food likes and dislikes.  Changes to lunches may be needed.  
      Less waste.

3.  Any packaging that is used for lunches is also sent home.  Hopefully this will spark another family conversation about reducing packaged foods.  Pack a litterless lunch instead. 

At Jackman, we’re working to reduce our impact on the environment and that means reducing food waste.  Boomerang lunch is a really good idea. 

Litterless Lunches @ Jackman

It's nearly back to school time and you know what that means... packing school lunches and snacks.  Ugh!   What can Jackman parents do to make kids’ lunches more eco friendly?   Here are some ideas to get you started…

1.  Start with a reusable lunch bag.

2.  Pack food in reusable containers.   Even juice/water goes in reusable containers.

3.  Reduce the use of store bought / packaged foods.  Pre-packaged, single-serving foods create so much waste.  

4. Reduce the use of disposables such as foil, plastic food wrap & plastic cutlery.  

5. More fresh fruits & veggies.  They can easily be cut into kid-friendly portions and placed in reusable containers.  

6.  Reuse ziploc bags.   

Food for thought - Packing a littlerless lunch not only reduces waste, it’s often a healthier, cost-saving option for school lunches.  Let’s be a community that makes responsible eco choices.

August 30, 2016

Garden Update

It was looking like a 'jungle' out there.  An abundance of weeds attempting to overtake Jackman's garden.   But that's not the end of this story.   A few gardeners (Helen, Sydney, Ruth and myself) and a couple of hours later... the garden is looking civilized again.

We harvested a HUGE squash!   Look at this one!

We've also got some lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, beans and cucumbers.   I'll make a garden salad tomorrow to share with Jackman teachers and staff.  

Funny story... I set up the sprinkler at noon to nourish the garden, but forgot about it until 5pm.   Oops.

Here are some more pics of Jackman's 'refreshed' (and well hydrated) garden.   

August 22, 2016

Letter to Loblaws

Here's a copy of the letter I have sent to Loblaws (I may send it to Sobeys and some other grocers as well).   Hope it will have an impact.

Dear Loblaws, 

Recently, I learned that black plastic cannot be recycled.  I have been mistakenly putting black plastic containers in recycling bins for years.  There are likely many others who are unaware of this recycling rule.  I recently wrote to the city of Toronto to enquire.  They have explained that black plastic cannot be properly sorted using current technology.

I recently took a walk through my local Loblaws to investigate.  I noticed black plastic trays were used to package some meats, especially beef.  It is also used for fruit and veggie trays.  And sometimes baked goods and other prepared foods are packaged in black plastic.  

As an eco-minded consumer, I’m committed to reducing my garbage which means not buying items packaged in black plastic.  I’m encouraging my friends, family and community to do the same.  

Still, I wonder if Loblaws has considered changing their packaging practices.  It would be great if your company would consider reducing (or eliminating) black plastic packaging throughout it’s stores.   I’ve always known Loblaws to be an industry leader in Canada.  Is Loblaws ready to make some changes to make a big difference for the environment?   

Looking forward to hearing from you.

August 21, 2016

City Of Toronto Responds

Bravo to the City of Toronto.  They took time to listen to my concerns and respond to my black plastic query.   Read this...

"Thank you for your email with concerns and questions about black plastic. 

Yes, it is true that at present black plastic cannot be recycled.  The difficulty lies in the sorting facility methodology for sorting the various items of the Blue Box program.  At present most recycling facilities use optical sorting technology for separating the various grades of plastic from other materials in the stream.  Infrared laser light is shone over a section of the conveyor belt at the sorting facility.  The various plastic materials reflect back this light to a reader.  Depending on the type of plastic – it reflects back different wavelengths which are then monitored and this is used to sort the plastic.  Bursts of high pressure air then move the various grades of plastic off the conveyor into the different grades of plastic – such as HDPE (#2), PET (#1) and all the other grades of plastic.

Because the conveyor belts are black – anything that is black that is on the belt cannot be "read" by the optical sorters and ends up in the residue stream.

Packaging design and choices made by manufacturers cannot be readily influenced at the municipal level but require changes to occur at the regional or national level.  Thus at present the best you can do as an eco-minded consumer is to try to avoid buying items packaged in black plastic (as you mentioned) and possibly let your favourite vendors know of your concerns.  Depending on their size and their supply chain (and ethics) they may be willing to make changes to their packaging.

Toronto monitors markets and technologies in efforts to make continual improvements to our waste diversion programs.

Thank you for your efforts in participating in our programs."