HandyGirlsYYC making a difference

handyGirlsYYC

 

HandyGirlsYYC is making a difference. This Calgary based group believes in giving back to the community. With group motto of living a simple life, using your imagination and building your future, this group of empowered young women are using “Handy person skills” to build  furniture from recycled materials for newcomers to Canada.

This week Zero Waste Canada speaks with Riti Leon about HandyGirlsYYC.

How did you decide on the name HandyGirlsYYC?

It just came to me and I thought it was cute since most of my team leaders are women, however we do have men helping in the project as well, so don’t let the name deter any men from volunteering with us!

Why did you decide to form HandyGirlsYYC?

Creating handcrafted items was part of my childhood back in Venezuela.  My grandma, my mom, and a few of my aunts are skilled in sewing and knitting, so I grew up seeing this as a part of our life, and I experienced how it brings a sense of joy and satisfaction to create something for yourself or others.  As for myself, I’ve made my own clothing, and little dolls made out of cornstarch dough.

The reason I created HandyGirlsYYC was to feel connected again with a community like that, and to provide an example to others of being able to have nice things in your home without a lot of money.  Also to feel inspired, have a sense of pride, and to pay it forward to new Canadians and low income families by provide simple and repurposed items for their homes.

As friends did you know each other before coming to Canada?

No, we all met through the downtown community and mutual friends.

What countries are the HandyGirlsYYC members from?

Venezuela, Mexico, Thailand, Eretria, China, and Canada

How did you decide to build pallet furniture?

Pallets are everywhere and using recycle materials as much as possible is part of our mission.

You have a goal to build 10 couches and bed frames for recycled materials.  Have you been able to find the recycled materials that you need for the project?  If not what do you need?

Yes, I got a sponsor, Re-Matt Calgary (http://www.re-matt.com), who recycles mattresses throughout Alberta.  The foam and the cotton for the couch cushions come from the mattresses and the pallets (Box spring base) are for the couch and bed frames.  We still need fabric (which needs to be new/unused), as well as paint.

We are also moving into making coffee tables with old tires and pallets; we are in need of glass for the coffee table tops (preferably recycled glass) and old rope and additional power tools, gloves, safety glasses.

 

Your goal to build furniture allows families to choose their own designs and even help with the building if they want to, do you see this as empowering people and would help build community?

Yes, the intention is to get the families involved in the process, learn a new skill, meet new people and contribute to their new community.  Building not only your own furniture, but also to help build furniture for others can help people feel purposeful and have a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.

How do you plan to reach families or people who may need furniture?

Currently I have been in meetings with the Syrian Refugee Support Group (http://www.yycsyr.ca/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/YYCSYR/ ), specifically with Sam Nammoura (the group leader) and a few other volunteers in the group.  We are working together to understand the needs of new immigrants, who are living in small spaces and in rental properties, so that HandyGirlsYYC are able to meet their needs with our projects.

What skills and crafts did you learn growing up?

I learned resourcefulness, as well as sewing and cooking.

As someone growing up in another country do you see things you learned about as a child that you could teach people who have grown up in Calgary?

Sewing is one of the skills I bring to this project.  I am also learning to use power tools and how to work with wood, but I would love to find some people that could bring their expertise in woodworking to HandyGirlsYYC.  The idea is to help each other and exchange skills within the community.

Handy Girls https://www.handygirlsyyc.com/

 

 

This Ain’t a Trash Story

 

This Ain't A Trash Story with Mia Lauzon
This Ain’t A Trash Story with Mia Lauzon

This ain’t a trash story instead it is a story of artistic expression and creating positive change. While the story begins on a beach littered with plastic and other garbage; the ending is up to you.

This week, Zero Waste Canada talks with Mia Lauzon, a artist, photographer, environmentalist about her project “This Ain’t a Trash Story”. Mia recently was part of Creatively United for the Planet’s inspirational Earth day event in Victoria B.C.

In 2010, Mia Lauzon while volunteering in Ecuador came upon the trashed-filled beach of Bunche on the Pacific Ocean and this is where Jenny, Leopol, Isaac, Oscar and Rebecca came to life.recuplage-copy

Your art has a purpose, could you explain what you want to achieve?

 

I believe that like the characters I created, life is made up of multiple pieces, interacting and connecting in unsuspected ways, creating a whole. As one part of this whole, humans have to understand how their actions and choices impact the rest of it. I hope to bring awareness to the true cost of our lifestyle. Above all, I want people to know that it doesn’t have to be a trash story and like I did on that beach, they can change the narrative into one of creation, connectedness and beauty. I want for everyone to feel the uplifting energy of being part of the solution, working together with Mother Nature and all our brothers and sisters.

 

How did your volunteer experience in Ecuador impact what you are doing today with This Ain’t a Trash Story?

Is litter a problem in Ecuador?

 

The volunteering I’ve done out there had nothing to do with the trash-filled beach, even though, the organization would put up some beach clean-ups from time to time. Unfortunately it would take a very short time before it would be filled with  plastic again as it kept being pushed along the shores of this little bay, carried by the ocean currents. Which amount was coming from Ecuadorian communities versus what was carried by the ocean from miles away, I do not know. One thing I know is that recycling infrastructures were almost nonexistent out there. It was one thing to clean the beach but there was nowhere for this plastic to go and be properly recycled. It would simply go from the beach to the landfill, spoiling another landscape .678

 

 

People learn in many ways, do you feel that by creating art from the found litter on beaches people can learn about plastic pollution and change behaviours?

 

I consider that more you engage with something, less foreign it becomes to you and more you connect with it. So yes, my hope is that by creating an experience, I also help creating emotional connections, leading towards awareness and behavior changes​.

 

 

The characters Jenny, Isaac, Leopol, Oscar and Rebecca you have created from waste found on the beach, look like friendly cartoonish illustrations from children books, yet that tooth paste tube or sandal on the beach is not a thing of beauty and is disruptive to nature, do you feel that is part of the power of the message in the art?

 

Yes, the beauty of these characters surely resides in their contrast. The playfulness of these colorful figures allowed me to display the disturbing truth of our lifestyle. I think that their apparent cheerfulness allows for a different mindset and hopefully more openness from the viewers than when they are simply bombarded with the ugly.

 

Do you feel that by engaging people in a creative process with the storytelling component that people can be reached emotionally?

 

— Humans are fundamentally creative yet we seem to forget the true sense of it. Engaging in a creative process is reconnecting with the essence of being human. And we surely need to get back to our essence in order to create the change that will help us find balance and harmony with the Earth. Now, storytelling has been a component of human identity since the beginning of time, really. It helps us relate to the world, understand it and understand ourselves. So there is a huge emotional charge coming with storytelling and I truly believe that sharing our own stories is a great way to empower ourselves. Once empowered, we can choose a better story for the world.

 

In our lives today we are bombarded with images, is it a challenge to attract attention?

 

I’d say so, yes. The sources of information are multiple and the attention spend is to a minimal, suffering from this state of overstimulation. I am learning to accept that I can’t get everyone’s attention, I can’t touch everyone.  That’s why it so important to have different voices out there, bringing their own color to the sustainability topic, resonating in different ways with different type of people.  I can only hope that my approach might be the one that will make the difference for some.

 

History can offer examples of artist contributing to social awareness of environmental issues. In the nineteenth century landscape artists like Thomas Moran by showing the beauty of places like the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone helped to cause policy-makers to create conservations efforts like legal status for a park or reserve. Do you think artists can influence policy makers today to take action to reduce plastic pollution and reduce waste?

 

I think that artists and anyone can do it. We all have an impact. We are like raindrops, creating ripples, influencing everyone and everything on our way. Personally, I choose to use my voice and skills as a positive influence and agent for change. I encourage everyone else to do so. Now, the gift of artists might be in their ability to touch others, therefore yes I believe they can help rally people, gain momentum and influence policy makers and consumers alike.

 

You recently participated in The Creatively United for the Planet Earth Day event in Victoria BC, part of your interactive display was to ask “How do you choose to create a better world”, what kind of responses did you get from the participants?

 

 

It was interesting to me to see how people seemed to have a hard time figuring out what they did to create a better world. I don’t think it is because they do nothing, I think it is more because a lot of the little things that make a difference towards making a better world get overlooked. Another thing that came out is how people would give suggestions on how to create a better world instead of embodying their own actions. They would write Use less plastic instead of I use less plastic, Stop shopping and Start growing instead of I have stopped shopping and replaced it by growing my own food, Don’t litter and pick up others instead of Even though I don’t litter, I make a point of picking up others’ litter wherever I find it.  Is it because we still think that as an individual, we don’t make the difference and that’s the others that have to change to make a real difference? Food for thought! Here are some of my favorite answers: cherishing the old instead of buying into the pressure of getting new stuff all the time, making a driftwood Christmas tree with the kids and returning it to the beach at the end of the festivities and a teenager wrote : Remember that stuff does not equal happiness! Loved it!
 

What are your plans for This Ain’t a Trash Story?

 

 

That’s a good question!  Creatively United was marking the official public beginning of it. I learned a lot from the way people were interacting or not with the display and content. I wish I can keep inspiring more people and growing a bigger community through my facebook page. I also want to get a blog started and share stories of people making the world a better place in their own way. I would love to lead workshops at some points, helping people to be empowered when comes time to BE the change.Through creativity, beauty and playfulness, I want to keep sharing my vision of the world and what is worth protected out there. In true honesty, I am giving myself the next 6 months to explore and gain more clarity on what is my own unique gift and how I can best spread the love I have for the beauty of this world and how it all connects and come back to us and our choices and actions.
 

How do you choose to create a better world?

 

 

I have chosen to live a simple life with a minimal imprint, always keeping in mind the bigger picture of my consumption choices and acting accordingly. I almost exclusively shop in second hand stores, bring my reusable bags and containers to the grocery stores and refuse single use items as much as I can. I try to ride my bike more than my car, I go to the local Repair Café and get my stuff fixed instead of getting anything new, I borrow what I occasionally need instead of buying it. I show kindness and compassion to others, in an effort to keep positive energy flowing. I do my best to empower others and show support to people in my life so they can be their best possible self, to the benefit of all. I share my vision of all the beauty I see and feel, hoping it can inspire and uplift others. poster-postcard
 

This is not a story about trash instead it is a story about creating a better story for the world. We all have the power to create a meaningful story, one of unity, care and respect for all there is!

To join in for an uplifting story or to book workshops

Contact Mia Lauzon mailto:mialauzon@yahoo.fr

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Canada is too good to waste : 150 Zero Waste Tips

imgp4285Canada is just too good to waste

Canada is just too good to waste. Canada is big, bountiful and beautiful nation is turning 150 this year. All over the country there are celebrations of our history, our achievements our culture and our people.

Canada is creating way too much trash as well as consuming resources like they will last forever. As we celebrate Canada turning 150, we must also look towards the future and take steps to keep Canada beautiful and healthy.

Here are 150 Zero Waste tips to help you celebrate Canada every day by having a Zero Waste lifestyle.

150 Zero Waste Tips

1.       Drink tap water

2.       Use a reusable coffee cup at home, events, on-the-go, business and school

3.       Repair and refinish well-worn furniture

4.       Rent formal or special occasion wear

5.       Donate your old eyeglasses to service groups that forward them to people in need

6.       Replace disposable alkaline batteries with rechargeable batteries

7.       Make coffee with reusable coffee filters

8.       Maximize the life of appliances by doing routine maintenance

9.       Donate hearing aids to service groups that forward them to people in need

10.   Borrow instead of buy

11.   Break the paper towel habit instead use clothes

12.   Make your mattresses last by turning and reversing end to end twice a year

13.   Eat leftovers

14.   Share leftovers with friends and neighbours

15.   Take your own shopping bags to the market

16.   Carry a cloth hankerchief  for blowing nose

17.   Use cloth napkins at home and on- the –go

18.   Use cloth diapers

19.   Only buy items in packaging that you can recycle

20.   Use non-disposable feminine hygiene products

21.   Consider an electric razor or a straight razor for shaving

22.   Use both sides of a piece of paper before recycling

23.   Do your best to stop junk mail

24.   Buy e-books, unless it is a reference book you will use away from internet

25.   Purchase online magazine or newspaper subscriptions instead of paper copies

26.   Resist buying items that are packaged in single servings like coffee pods, granola bars and candy

27.   Return egg cartons and berry cartons to farm gate sales or farmers markets

28.   Pack a Zero waste lunch for school or work

29.   Store or carry foods in reusable wraps or containers. Mason jars, beeswax wraps and reusable glass or stainless steel or silicone containers reduce plastic wrap waste

30.   Say no to straws when ordering drinks

31.   Label children’s clothing, school supplies and other belongings that might find their way into school lost and found

32.    Have a swap meet or party to exchange children’s clothing, books and toys

33.   Start or use a toy library to borrow games and toys

34.   Choose loose fruits and vegetables instead of  packaged

35.   Shop at local farmers’ markets or farm gate sales to support local food that has less packaging

36.   Fill up on grains, cereals, nuts and other kitchen staples at the bulk bin. Be sure to bring your own containers or bags from home when purchasing items

37.   Grown your own food. Salad vegetables and herbs can be grown in gardens or window sills or in containers on a balcony.

38.   Instead of buying toxic cleaning products use vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda to do household cleaning tasks.

39.   Stop buying plastic garbage bags. Line your garbage bins with paper or biodegradable bags.

40.   Swap your synthetic sponge for a cotton cloth or use natural loofahs.

41.   Buy wine with cork stoppers. After using wine compost, recycle or use corks for crafts.

42.   Resist single-use coffee pods.

43.   Avoid cosmetic products with microbeads.

44.   Try to buy soaps and shampoos that come in solid bars without packaging.

45.   Cut down on unnecessary washing of fleece products and nylon, acrylic and polyester textiles that may cause micro fiber pollution.

46.   Invest in a refillable lighter or use matches.

47.   Burn candles or use essential oils or lavender from the garden instead of air fresheners in plastic holders.

48.   Buy candy that has foil wrap or no wrapping from the bulk food bins. Make sure you recycle the foil it you are eating chocolate kisses.

49.   Carry reusable utensils and straws. Consider keeping a kit in the car, briefcase, suitcase and purse for those unplanned events.

50.   When ordering pizza say no to the plastic package saver in the middle of the pizza box.

51.   Give up chewing gum.

52.   By –pass the frozen food section as most of the packaging cannot be recycled.

53.   Use your own reusable produce bags or don’t put stuff in bags.

54.   Read the labels of products and resist toxic or polluting ingredients

55.   Use soap instead of saving cream

56.   Avoid non-stick cookware

57.   Bring your own headphones or ear plugs on planes instead of using plastic packaged headphones offered by airline.

58.   Resist the mini bar in the hotel room. Instead bring your own healthy snacks in less packaging.

59.   Shop at thrift stores. If you need something new to you shop second hand.

60.   Learn to make basic clothing repairs like sewing buttons.

61.   Ask charities and thrift stores what they can use before donating or leaving items

62.   Make sure items donated to charities are reusable. It is best to think of acceptable donations as gently-worn and in good repair items. Do not donate garbage or use a thrift store as a dumping site

63.   Take responsibility for what you buy. It is your responsibility to recycle or dispose of properly and pay any costs of discarding or recycling.

64.   Before you buy something, ask yourself do you really need it and how long will you use it?

65.   Buy products that are durable and built to last.

66.   Research products, brands and items you would like to purchase before buying. Think environmental impact, is there recycling or take-back programs , repair programs, what do other consumers say about quality and function are some of the questions you may want answered.

67.   Shop the refrigerator before shopping the supermarket. Use food at home before buying more.

68.   Rotate food in cupboards and refrigerator so that you use older stock first.

69.   Designate one meal weekly as a use it up meal.

70.   Ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant if you cannot finish meal. Carry your own container if possible.

71.   If meals portions are too large at restaurants split dishes with your companion.

72.   Do not heap the plate at buffets, you can always return for more if you are still hungry.

73.   Freeze or preserve surplus produce from the garden.

74.   Forget about perfection. Buy misshapen fruits and vegetables.

75.   Donate safe and nutritious foods to food banks and food rescue programs. Remember they also need money to operate programs.

76.   Learn what you have in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer that could act as a substitute or alternative ingredient instead of buying new products for one use.

77.   Opt for electronic communication from banks and utilities instead of receiving paper bills and statements.

78.   Save vegetable peelings to make vegetable stock.

79.   Use a shopping list and stick to it.

80.   Learn how to store food properly as well as how long food lasts.

81.   Use your freezer to extend life of food.

82.   Plan meals by first taking inventory of current food stock. Also plan meals that may have use up food.

83.   Don’t dish out massive plates of food. There can always be second helpings.

84.   Offer guests “doggy bags” for unfinished meals or leftovers.

85.   Ditch the dryer sheets instead use wool dryer balls.

86.   Rent dishes and glasses for large events or mix and match using what you have

87.   Resist releasing inflated balloons to float away as they create litter and are a hazard to wildlife.

88.   Use over-ripe fruit to make smoothies

89.   Don’t assume you need to buy in mass quantities or larger sizes. Buy what you need and can use.

90.   Learn to re-portion food. Divide bread, meat and other products into manageable servings and freeze what you are not using immediately.

91.   Buy products with recycled content.

92.   If you don’t like to wash soiled diapers use a diaper service.

93.   Feed animals like chickens and pigs food scraps.

94.   Buy salads and fruit from salad bar if you only use small portions

95.   Handle produce with care at supermarkets. Don’t squeeze or drop what you do not buy.

96.   Return frozen goods, meat and produce to appropriate shelves in supermarket or give to staff if you change your mind while shopping. Don’t leave perishable products in aisles to be found.

97.   Understand the difference between best before and expiration dates on food labels.

98.   Do not open packages in stores unless you have permission from shop keeper or you are buying product.

99.   Keep a pantry and refrigerator inventory list so you know what you have at a glance.

100.       Encourage waste-free lunches for schools and promote students take home uneaten food.

101.       Do not sell potato chips, candy bars or bottled water at schools or government buildings.

102.       Simplify and minimize. Do you really need more that one kind of shampoo?

103.       Use and buy products that are refillable

104.       Reduce gift giving instead give the gift of togetherness and time

105.       Get crafty and learn how to upcycle and repurpose objects to give them a new life

106.       Read the manuals for appliances and use as directed. Follow care and maintenance guidelines.

107.       Invest in quality instead of quantity.

108.       Brew bones. Use bones to create broth or stocks for cooking.

109.       Sell the things you no longer want in garage sales, consignment stores or online sites.

110.       Take your shoes and hand bag for repair to a shoe repair business to extend life.

111.       Take your broken items to a Repair Cafe

112.       Use recycling Apps to learn about recycling opportunities in your area

113.       Rotate tires

114.       Learn and calculate how much paint you need. One gallon of paint covers an area of about 400sq.ft.

115.       Refuse promotional materials as they often are not good quality or they have little reuse demand. Refuse the cups, bags and other junk.

116.       Cut down on washing clothes instead wash when they are actually dirty.

117.       Surround yourself with items that serve multiple purposes to streamline clutter and waste.

118.       Beware of greenwashing, always question and research

119.       Vote with your dollars for sustainable products.

120.       Repurpose and upcycling instead of buying gift wrap. Wrap with materials that can be reused or recycled.

121.       Support your local seamstress or tailor by having clothing repaired.

122.       Pick up litter when you find it and dispose of it properly even when it is someone else’s.

123.       Ditch plastic q-tips for plastic-free or compostable.

124.       Thank and support with your dollars restaurants and supermarkets and businesses that support and accommodate your Zero Waste lifestyle. Leave a tip for the waitress that brings the drink sans straw.

125.       Feed the soil by composting at home.

126.       Slow down and enjoy the food experience. Make food preparation, eating and clean-up a relaxed family social routine

127.       Reduce fast food. Bring your own containers if grabbing a burger.

128.       Learn to make do with what you have.

129.       Buy binders second hand and recover.

130.       Learn a new craft or skill.

131.       Don’t be afraid to ask. Kindly ask local stores if you could use your own containers. Work with your local businesses and support them to making zero Waste changes.

132.       Make it easy for coffee take-out or bulk food stores to fill your containers by marking container weight or how many ounces cups hold on your cups and containers.

133.       Support start-ups who are launching Zero Waste products, services or businesses on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter

134.       Make your compost and recycling bins more accessible that your garbage can

135.       Reduce the size of your garbage cans

136.       Stop smoking .

137.       Ask your local shops to carry Zero Waste products and make sure you buy them.

138.       Use a vacuum cleaner with reusable bags.

139.       Don’t dump garden waste in vacant lots. Invasive plants are a problem across Canada.

140.       Use an air popper instead of buying microwave popcorn.

141.       Donate to a charity instead of exchanging gifts.

142.       Send email invitations and greeting.

143.       Just because you get a big…you don’t need to fill it. Just because you get a large garbage can or recycling or compost bin does not mean that you have to fill it. Remember that you are using and discarding resources. That big dinner plate you don’t have to fill either. Use only what you really need.

144.       Compost your food scraps at home. There are lots of options for apartments, multi-dwelling, homes, and bear country available.

145.       Learn what recycling, disposal and compost options are available in your community and learn the items that are accepted. Do not assume you know. “Wishful” recycling cases lots of contamination.

146.       Learn the Zero Waste hierarchy and start by REDUCING.

147.       Do not want for government to save the planet. Everyone must create solutions and act.

148.       Start a Zero Waste Business.

149.       Do a waste audit in your home or office. Waste is about making bad choices.

150.       It is going to take effort but we each can make changes in our behaviours and actions to help create a Zero waste world. We just need to keep trying and learning as we go. Be mindful.

Easter’s Hidden Treasures

before-after

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?

What’s next?

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.

Saponettit.Ca – the future is about refill

Saponetti.Ca soap delivery
Saponetti.Ca soap delivery

For us the future is all about refill.

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?

Happily, yes!

 

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.nikki-at-warehouse_150dpi

 

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.

Saponetti.Ca has a website and facebook page.