Rodolphe and I found them all. On a beautiful, sunny Easter morning, my boyfriend Rodolphe and I were going on an Easter hunt. But we weren’t hunting hidden eggs. We were hunting hidden trash. And the Easter Bunny must have had a lot of help, because he cannot possibly throw that much garbage into the bushes by itself!
Easter bunny aside, it was a very revealing Easter egg hunt and a very satisfying at that. Besides dozens of plastic Starbucks cups (no surprise here — demand a #bettercup), chips bags, and candy wrappers, we rid the environment of an LA cap, 2 frisbees, a soccer ball, a football, and pieces of a basket ball. Only a puck was missing to cover equipment of all popular sports in North America.
The highlight, however, was when some neighbours called the police on us, because what we did looked suspicious to them. I couldn’t help but wonder if they ever call the police on those who throw the trash into the bushes in the first place, because that is actually illegal. We just laughed it off and continued on our goal to fill all garbage bags that we had brought and found along the way. After three hours, we had collected one little bag of reusables, six bags of recycling and two bags of garbage. I don’t think anyone who went hunting for Easter eggs that day could compete with our output. What about you? Are you ready to compete for that title?
If you’re now all fired up and eager to get involved in big-scale clean-up actions, get in touch with Let’s Do It!and find out more about how you can help.
And if you want to take this even further (and who wouldn’t?), get your company involved as well. Show Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Lays, and other polluters how it’s done and lead the way to a Zero Waste world! Reach out to Zero Waste Canada to learn more about how you can minimize your environmental footprint and if you meet the criteria, you might even get certified to show off your Zero Waste commitment for the world, your customers, and your competitors to see.
The time for change is now. If you snooze, we all lose.
Guest blog post : this week Zero Waste Canada member Connie Reichelsdorfer owner of Sunny Start-up Marketing shares her special Easter story showing you can have fun and do good things. Zero Waste Canada welcomes guest blog posts about Zero Waste experiences…and we always welcome new Zero Waste Canada members.
Greening our cleaning is a mandate of most of us choosing a Zero Waste lifestyle, this week Zero Waste Canada interviews Saponetti.Ca, the soap refill delivery service on Toronto Ontario.
Owner Nikki von Seydlitz explains how Saponentti.Ca offers both convenience and less packaging.
How did you decide to start a soap delivery service In Toronto?
Saponetti is the result of a search for a solution to our own personal conundrum about all the empty containers we were tossing into the blue bin after only a single use. With refill options in Toronto being almost non-existent we realized that were probably not alone and that a lot of people would likely refill their soap and other cleaning product containers if it were easy and convenient. This impulse was the beginning of the process that lead my husband and I to offer this service.
Can you tell us about the products you offer? Are they made in Canada?
The product lines we carry are made here in Canada by suppliers who are focused on creating products that are environmentally friendly and safe for health and home. Soaps and detergents for all your homecare needs area available fragrance-free as well as scented with essential oils and organic ingredients. Recently we added shower gel as an intro into personal care essentials and we plan to expand our inventory offering as we grow our business.
Does your company have a mandate on what products you carry?
It is important that our suppliers share our vision for a more sustainable future so in that way we are selective. The companies we work with do things differently because they are more conscious of the impact their activities have on the environment as well as their communities. We love that by working with smaller manufacturers we are able connect with the humanity behind the brand.
How do the products you offer help folks to reduce waste?
Refilling completely eliminates the cycle of plastic waste.
As a company that offers refills for cleaning and personal care do you have any challenges for standardized measurements using mason jars?
We have simplified our refill process by offering all our refill products in either 500ml & 1L mason jars so we don’t need to be concerned about matching the volume of the original product package. Refill is a type of bulk purchase which means better value for our customers.
When products come in packages is all the packaging recyclable?
Yes, all our packaging is recyclable.
As an entrepreneur launching a small company did you have a marketing strategy to find your niche?
Because we started in our local community we targeted our neighborhood first with postcards delivered door-to-door and also left in local coffee shops and retail outlets introducing our service. From there news spread via word of mouth. Everyone uses soap but our target market is essentially “millennial mom” so we are working to develop our social media strategy to connect with our customers where they hang out. Also, we are participating in local events to connect with members of our community who are already thinking like us.
Several of the small businesses Zero Waste Canada has interviewed have benefitted from small business incubators or mentorship programs, did you have any support for your start-up?
So far, we haven’t benefited from any of these programs however we are definitely doing our homework and connecting with the community networks and various programs that could be a good fit to take our business to the next level.
Who is your customer base? Have you encountered any specific demographics?
Essentially anyone who is concerned about their environmental footprint fits our customer profile however we are finding that millennials and especially millennial moms are most interested in this service.
Your company also helps businesses to “green” their cleaning, do you find that offices, restaurants and other businesses have a desire to use more earth-friendly products with less packaging?
Offices and other businesses are responding to employee and customer attitudes regarding environmental awareness. Businesses with sustainability policies in place are looking for innovative and simple ways to green their operations and refilling essentials like dish soap and hand soap not only eliminates waste but is cost effective as well.
What kind of vehicle do you use to deliver soap?
Because our clients order typically once per month or even every couple of months the volume of deliveries is still manageable enough for us to be able to use our own vehicle. At the end of this month we will be updating our Jetta wagon to a hybrid vehicle so we can minimize our emissions while making deliveries. We are also in conversation with a local eco-friendly delivery service that uses electric cars and bicycles as another way to increase our service area.
If a person fills out the on-line delivery form when will they receive delivery?
Currently we tell our clients 5-7 business days to fulfill an order but typically we respond within 3-5 days.
Do you have a regular clientele that use your service?
As a “milkman” style of delivery do you feel that have more interaction with your customers?
Definitely! When we develop new client relationships people often share how thrilled they are about the service we are offering and we get to connect with them on a more personal level allowing us to learn more about their needs and how we can develop our business to meet those needs.
What did you do before Saponetti Inc.?
My background is in interior design but recently I have been involved in commercial project with a primary focus on managing the projects LEED requirements in order to qualify for green building certification. I am actually just finishing up a project now and will be full-time with Saponetti in the next few weeks. Christian, my husband and business partner, is working as a graphic designer in an ad agency by day and dives into Saponetti business evenings and weekends. We will be ramping up our operations over the next few months and hope to be able to develop our client base so that we can both commit 100% of our time to this business.
What are your dreams for Saponetti Inc.?
We want to change the way people buy everyday household staples. Our dream is to grow Saponetti and develop delivery networks with electric vehicles across southern Ontario and beyond. For us the future is all about refill.
More and more entrepreneurs are realizing the creating Zero Waste solutions can grow business opportunity and have a positive impact. Zero Waste Canada will continue to feature the efforts of Canadians making a difference.
Couple Bolts Across Canada to Promote Zero Waste and Electric Vehicles
On July 1 2017, Buddy Boyd and Barb Hetherington will be dipping the wheels of their all- electric Chevrolet Bolt in the waters in Victoria BC as they launch a low impact road trip across Canada visiting communities along the way to promote Zero Waste and zero emission transportation.
The couple intend to drive from Victoria to Quidi Vidi Newfoundland in their new Bolt as they have a road trip with a purpose. As two of the directors of Zero Waste Canada, a national non-profit organization promoting Zero Waste in Canada and around the globe, the duo decided on a low impact road trip as a means of promoting sustainable transportation and Zero Waste lifestyle choices in a fun innovative way.
“As a grassroots organization promoting Zero Waste it is important for us to connect with regular Canadians living across Canada, a road trip allows us to reach people in their own communities and homes. Bolt Across Canada allows to show that it is possible make lifestyle changes that reduce our environmental impact…and you can still enjoy life,” says Barbara Hetherington.
Buddy Boyd added, “Simple lifestyle choices like making car choices and reducing our waste can make a difference.We want to promote our emerging “green” highways and roads that are making easier for more and more Canadians to drive low emissions vehicles and we want to take the message that Zero Waste one of the quickest, easiest and most effective first steps for individuals and communities to immediately reduce their GHG emissions.
Carol Folhasi grew up in Brazil watching her grandmother and other women making soap for personal use and household cleaning. An Italian immigrant to Brazil, Carol’s grandmother brought the skills of making soap from used cooking oil to her new home and passed that knowledge on to her children and grandchildren. Used cooking oil was saved to have another life as soap.
As an adult moving to Canada, Carol was surprised to find the reuse/ repurposing of cooking oil was not happening in Canadian kitchens and in some cases the fate of used cooking oil was into landfills or poured down drains.
Carol’s partner, Cynthia Gabay started to have allergic reactions to store bought hygiene products which sent her on a quest to learn what exactly was in the products she was buying.Most commercially produced bars contain synthetic lathering agents, artificial colors, and a slew of chemicals we can’t even pronounce. Antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps often contain triclosan. Triclosan is a toxic chemical that is known to cause cancer. The vast majority of the products on the shelf don’t say “soap” on their labels, because these bars are actually detergent.
Using a grandmother’s wisdom and the research about the health and environmental impacts using more natural products, the team decided to start their own business making soap.
C Soap is a new business taking its first steps into the market in Victoria BC.
C Soap collects cooking oil for recycling, there is a pick up order form on the website . There is an online shop for ordering product as well as they are beginning to stock at local shops.
The soap has no packaging and is a hard bar.
We are using the soap. There is no food residual smells from the bar, it is a creamy ivory colour. We have tested it bathing, and washing hair as well as washing dishes and have had good results. The soap leaves skin and hair soft. There was no need to use a cream rinse to detangle hair. Apparently commercial soap manufacturers make it a practice to remove the glycerine that is produced during the saponification (soap-making) process therefore more natural soaps actually moisturize skin.
A recent report by the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) revealed that synthetic chemicals from soap, body washes, shampoos and other healthcare products were sneaking through the filters at water purification plants. The list of offenders included phthalates, which are linked to reproductive disorders in humans and animals, and parabens, a preservative, which links to cancer.
C Soap is another small Canadian business helping to create a more sustainable home and country. C Soap is proudly made on Vancouver Island.