Zero Waste Shopping Tips During a Pandemic [or other Emergencies]

First and foremost YOUR safety is the most important thing.
Not only your physical health, but also your mental health.
Online strangers in Zero Waste groups may say differently.
Rest assured, compassionate people will understand that some people may face challenges.

Shopping Bags and Checking Out
I personally prefer self checkouts.
I always preferred to use self check out as I hate small talk and I like to pack my own groceries. All those years of Tetris have paid off.
Right now, it limits how close and how long I need to be around people.
It allows me to use my own bags as some stores aren’t allowing you to use your own shopping bags. The ones that do let you use them at a regular check out make you pack your own bags. I prefer to save my time and just use the self checkout.
When I get home, I wipe off and clean my bags.
An alternative… they may even just let you put all the items back in your cart without a bag. This would require showing a receipt, which many people are saying not to accept.

shopping bags

If you end up with having to use plastic bags… Don’t feel too bad.
You can use them as trash bags around the house.
Use them to collect your dog’s poop on walks, or give them to someone with a dog. Take them on your nature walks to collect litter. Use them to stuff your shoes when you store them.
When the world gets back to normal you can go back to refusing the bags.
In my city, shopping bags are recyclable.

Grocery Items
Items in the grocery store can be limited right now.
I know we have had to make last minute changes to our meal plans and shopping lists. Some bigger stores that offer bulk items are not allowing you to use your own containers. Bulk Barn is not allowing your personal containers, and for safety reasons are only allowing associates to get your items. This means you end up with plastic bags. These bags could be reused and repurposed. One local store, MultiServices Vert (which I call the milk store) still allows your personal containers. If you can, check out businesses online. Call or email them to see what their polices are. It’s always better to choose local stores over large national chain stores. But at this time, YOUR survival and mental well being is the most important!

As you’re selecting items go for those with the least packaging.
Choose glass or cardboard over plastic.
If you have to get plastic, try to make sure it’s recyclable in your area or try to reuse it.
Feeding your family is the goal.

Learn How To Make It
If you’re having trouble finding items you want, in the packing you want … you can always try and make it yourself! Recipes can be found for almost everything online.
Since we’re all supposed to be staying at home, take the time to learn how to make your favourite items. Have some fruit that isn’t going to be eaten in a timely manner? Look up a recipe for a cobbler or bread.
Some basics to try and keep on hand:
– all purpose flour
– baking powder
– salt
– sugar
– eggs or applesauce to replace the eggs
– vanilla

Don’t beat yourself up.
No one is perfect.
Do the best you can and keep trying to reduce your impact!

All Because … I Ripped My Pants

This past weekend, I managed to tear the inner thigh area of my favourite jeans. Thankfully it was at the end of an impromptu Scottish Highland Dancing class.
I rarely buy new clothes.
Shopping is a hassle. Maybe it’s my age combined with body shape and size I have the hardest time finding clothes I like and fit me the way I want them to. Oh… and I am cheap on a budget.
As much as I hate “fast fashion” stores, I usually end up buying jeans there when they are on sale. The pair I ripped were two years old. The other two pair I purchased at Urban Planet are about three years old now. I generally rotate through these three pairs during the winter months as they are skinny jeans and easier to tuck into my snow boots.
My “good” jeans are flared and boot cut my silver jeans. They are going on 7 or 8 years now.

Things you can do with ripped jeans

  • Repair them
  • Cut them into shorts
  • Turn them into a skirt
  • Cut up to make other patches
  • Use the fabric for other projects

When I was a young warthog, my Grama would let me practice sewing using her denim scraps. I was constantly making little purses and bags for my little sister and cousin. Protip: jean seams make great straps.
I used to turn my jeans into skirts or bell bottoms all the time
I once sewed curtains, blankets, and tablecloths for a doll house that my father made for me.

Unfortuneately, I never paid attention to my Grama when she would service her sewing machine. Mine is currently sitting in my storage closet. I swear it glares at me with the sole intention of making me feel horrible about not taking care of it, or using it.
But time. It’s so precious, and valuable. I’m sorry sewing machine. So sorry!

What will I be doing with this pair?
I will probably end up using the good parts of the legs to patch up the kiddo’s jeans. I would be too worried that the thighs will wear out again with it being stretchy material.

What do you do with ripped or torn clothes?