TerraCycle Include Canada (English) ZWB
image.png Our family has been living pretty low waste for about a decade.
  • We buy very little, preferring to thrift, DIY, swap or borrow where possible;
  • We are dedicated to supporting local – receiving weekly farm deliveries, promoting and supporting farmers’ markets;
  • We avoid plastic and packaging as much as possible, bringing reusables or refilling in bulk;
  • We spend a lot of time in the kitchen making plant-based meals and snacks;
  • We grow a garden, have honey bees and even grow mushrooms; and
  • We compost like nobody’s business!
With all of these eco-friendly (and economical) habits, our waste production is pretty minimal. In years past, we typically only put out our garbage bin once a month – or even less – and have significantly reduced our recyclables!


BUT, in 2020, we embarked on a whole new challenge – inspired by British eco-duo, Ander and Adam of GoxuBoys – the One Bin, One Year Challenge! I wanted to show that it can be done – even as a family of 4, living a pretty typical life (2 working parents, 2 school-aged kids, commuting and running the “daily grind”) in Canada’s capital city. In 2018, I had already removed the trash bin from our kitchen, so the biggest obstacle now was to actually track our monthly waste (i.e. weigh it, analyze it.. and prevent my husband from putting it all to the curb for a full 12 months!!) image.png ^^ Our monthly trash collection, visible beside the sink Instead of a hidden-beneath-your-counters trash bin, we have been keeping a cookie jar in plain sight beside our kitchen sink to collect our monthly garbage (note: we gradually moved away from the cookie jar to a single clear chip bag – easier access and containment).


image.png ^^ Tracking trash from January – September 2020 Here is a sneak-peak of our results so far, plus a couple highlights (full report to come early in 2021):
  • On average, our family of 4 produces about 300 grams of kitchen trash per month (typically about 1/2 a grocery bag full)
  • The biggest ‘culprit’ for our household is chip bags – to counter this, we have invested in a small “plastic packaging” Terracycle Zero Waste box so that once our tracking is complete, we can still send these chip bags somewhere other than our precious landfill! Also of note, we opt to source our chips locally from Against the Grain, a heritage grain farm near Ottawa. While their chips still come in plastic, we appreciate that our snacks are locally-made, chemical free, and not transported all over the world to get to our plates.
  • Our trash output reduced by about 60% during the summer months – likely because we were growing a lot ourselves, and/or sourcing from local farms/markets while crops were in season (thanks to Funny Duck FarmsHidden TrailsJust Food Farm stand, among others!)
  • We have never used the City of Ottawa’s Green Bin (compost) program – rather, we collect our own compost in our backyard to generate soil for our garden; however, if you’re interested in doing a waste audit yourself, composting (in any format) will be your biggest ally – as soon as you eliminate food and organic scraps from your waste stream, your trash is significantly reduced AND you decrease greenhouse gas emissions, automatically, JUST by composting!
  • We regularly pick up trash in our neighbourhood, and on the biggest 2 trash collection days of the year (Earth Day in April, and Cleaning the Capital in September) collected approximately 3000g and 5000g, respectively (Note: these totals were NOT counted in our household waste tracking report, but thought it would be interesting to monitor them as well.)
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  • image.png^^ Earth Day pick up and Cleaning the Capital pick up (not included in our household waste audit)


    With less than 2 months to go in 2020, stay tuned to get the full breakdown and report of our waste output! Spoiler alert: we are totally going to meet our #1bin1year goal "</p