“The Government of Yukon recognizes the impact of plastic waste and has committed, along with federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers, to work towards significant reductions in waste disposal and zero plastic waste in Canada.
One way in which the Yukon government is helping decrease plastic waste is through a proposed surcharge on single-use shopping bags received at point-of-sale.
This is one of many steps that the Government of Yukon is planning to take to improve the territory’s recycling system and make it more sustainable.
The collection of fees for single-use shopping bags will contribute to making recycling more financially sustainable in Yukon and act as a disincentive for their use. Our goal is to reduce single-use shopping bag usage by 70%”
Ministers Frost and Streicker weighed in on the announcement.
“Northern Canadians are among the highest waste producers per capita in the world. We can do better. Reducing waste keeps our environment clean and our communities healthy,” said Minister of Environment Pauline Frost.
According to Minister of Community Services John Streicker,
“The Government of Yukon spends approximately $6 million every year to deal with waste including $3 million on non-refundable items such as plastics… A surcharge on single-use shopping bags is a simple yet significant way we can reduce waste, improve our recycling system and make it more sustainable.”
Last fall the Yukon Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted a motion (Motion 294, as amended) urging the Government of Yukon to “work towards eliminating the distribution of single-use plastic, including plastic bags, food and beverage containers, straws, utensils, lids, and packaging.”
We’re thrilled to see some serious movement on this issue, and it’s very encouraging to see that actions are being taken to address the growing issue of single-use plastics in the Yukon environment. In Northwest Territories, a single-use bag program has reduced bag usage by over 70% and also provided revenue to the territory’s recycling programs.
Want to give your input on the proposed single-use bag surcharge? Visit engageyukon.ca to participate in the online survey!
We asked the folks at Riverside Grocery to tell us about their Zero Waste efforts – here’s their story!
Moving towards Zero Waste has been a work in progress for us. Beginning with single use plastic grocery bags, we continue to brainstorm ways to eliminate more and more unnecessary waste that we produce. While we have increased our awareness and reduced our waste by approximately 90%, there are still a lot of ways we can continue to improve.
In July of 2015, we announced that we would be eliminating single use plastic grocery bags in the upcoming months. We received a mainly encouraging response, and a lot of questions about why we made this decision. After seeing so many bags littering the streets and wilderness of not only the Yukon, but the oceans, forests, and beaches we visited, we were inspired to make a change. The elimination of bags turned out to be an easy transition and our customers were so supportive. On October 10, 2015, we gave away our last single use plastic grocery bag. To ensure continued success we provide cardboard boxes for customers to take home, help customers carry groceries to the car, and of course encourage everyone to bring a bag.
Riverside’s delicious soft-serve ice-cream can be served into any container, and they encourage customers to bring their own!
We were happy to see the positive response from our community, and from there we were aware of all the other areas we could easily improve upon. We had sourced compostable cups for our coffee, soft-serve ice cream and slushies, but we were still using plastic straws. In 2016 we sourced bulk compostable paper straws so everything we provide for ice cream and slushies is completely compostable.
When the City of Whitehorse began the pilot program for businesses to have compost bins, we jumped in whole-heartedly. Having an organic produce section in store it made perfect sense. Between composting and being much more aware of our recycling, especially paper and cardboard, we have reduced our garbage production by approximately 90%.
In addition to our compost bin, we put all of our certified organic produce that would be composted aside for Ibex Valley Farm. The chickens at Ibex Valley eat all of our no-longer-perfect organics and produce quality eggs that we sell. This mutually beneficial relationship reduces waste and energy, strengthens the business community in town, and gives us a great way to get to know the impressive and wonderful business of Ibex Valley Farm.
The next phase came in spring of 2018 with the arrival of our bulk bins. We had wanted bulk bins for years, and we knew all along that when finally got them we wanted them to be as waste-free as possible. We would need a reliable ‘tare’ system so customers could bring any container they had available, and and easy to learn system of refilling containers. We always encourage customers bring their own container when possible, and foster a learning environment for bulk shopping. From our own experience we know it can take a few reminders to bring containers and bags; it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight.
There are numerous options in bulk at Riverside, and the best part is you can tare your own container, something the larger grocery chains don’t allow (Photo: Riverside Grocery)
When we got the tare system up and running (‘taring’ is the ability to weigh a container before filling it, allowing someone to pay for only the weight of the product inside the container, and not pay for the weight of the container itself), the sky was the limit. We now offer a Bring Your Own Container option for everything in our bulk bins, soft serve ice cream, slushies, icebergs, penny candy, locally brewed Summit Kombucha, and bar soap and shampoo bars from fellow Zero Hero, The Yukon Soaps Company. It is so encouraging to see so many people coming in with containers doing their best to reduce their waste. From coffee mugs from home for ice cream, to home made cloth bags to grab a few handfuls of snow peas from the produce cooler.
Zero Waste soaps from the Yukon Soaps Company in Mayo, YT.
We still have a long way to go on the road to Zero Waste, and we have a few more ideas up our sleeves. While everyone tries their best, it is a work in progress and we still love seeing someone carrying a big cardboard box filled with groceries out the door if they forget their bags. The participation from the community is what keeps us inspired and motivated to do more. We are learning along with the rest of town; only 5 short years ago the thought of Zero Waste was barely on our minds. However, it is amazing to see what a close-knit town of like minded, outdoor adventuring, passionate people can achieve.
Maybe you have heard the buzz around Whitehorse lately about a certain salon doing things a little differently. Indeed, Chantelle Tarapaski and her team at Fahrenheit Hair are leading the way when it comes to waste diversion. Fahrenheit is the only salon in the Yukon to be designated a Green Circle Salon, and is a model for other local businesses.
Owner of Fahrenheir Hair Chantelle Tarapaski gave a tour to Mayor Dan Curtis to discuss all the ways they’re diverting waste (Photo: Fahreneheit Hair)
What’s a Green Circle Salon?
Green Circle Salons is a business dedicated to diverting salon and spa waste from landfills and waterways. By signing up with Green Circle, Fahrenheit now has a way to repurpose and recover some of the resources that they cannot recycle locally, many of which are contaminated.
Green Circle approached Tarapaski to see if she wanted to sign up for their service. At first, she admits she was hesitant.
“I felt that Green Circle might be using us to profit on protecting the environment, but then I realized this was a good thing because they were actually doing something good,” she says.
“If gas companies can profit off something harmful to the Earth, why shouldn’t a business profit off helping to protect it?”
A glimpse at Fahrenheit Hair salon, located at 2099 2nd Ave in Whitehorse (Photo: Fahrenheit Hair)
Before signing up, Tarapaski wanted to make sure that she knew what was going to happen to the materials her salon sent out. She took a trip south to tour the Green Circle facilities. She drilled them about different items and was impressed with the system in place for recovering materials.
Fahrenheit pays Green Circle for the service, and in return, ships out her salon waste to be recycled. Tarapaski recoups some of the cost by charging a $2 eco-fee to her customers, who are glad to pay. All the recyclable materials and contaminates are collected and stored before they are shipped out to Green Circle.
Aerosols and colour tubes are some of the hard to recycle materials that Fahrenheit ships out through Green Circle (Photo: Fahrenheit Hair)
What does Green Circle collect?
Fahrenheit Hair collects and ships a long list of different items to Green Circle. Contaminated foils, aerosols, colour tubes, excess hair colour, and any spa waste with contaminates or chemicals are included. They also send their hair clippings.
The hair clippings go to a corrections facility in Maple Ridge, where they are stuffed into old nylons to create booms. These booms are used to soak up oil spills from water. When the booms have been used and re-used to their capacity, they are brought to mushroom fields where they are broken down by fungal spores.
Some other items are separated and recycled, while the remainder go to a waste-to-energy incinerator. On top of all the materials shipped out through Green Circle, Fahrenheit collects all their recyclables, and keeps a compost bin in the staff room for organics. They’ve also invested in water saving EcoHead taps.
Materials like contaminated foils are stored in the office until there’s enough to make a shipment to Green Circle (Photo: Fahrenheit Hair)
Tarapaski says she was asked a lot about the salon materials from her customers and was feeling some pressure to give them answers.
She says making the change to divert more waste was a bit of work at the beginning, but now things are easier.
“I wasn’t always environmentally conscious,” she says. “Now I get anxiety in the stores when I see all the packaging.”
There are many containers associated with running a salon, so that means many trips to the recycling centre.
“My offices are full of recycling but it’s worth it,” she says.
Fahrenheit diverts about 95% of their waste, and fills less than half a small bag of trash every month.
Tarapaski says the response from her customers has been nothing but positive. She’s continuing to look at ways the salon can further reduce its footprint.
She is looking into whether her hair clippings could go to our local composting facility, which would save on emissions. She also has plans to order some organic cotton produce bags that she can provide free to customers.
More importantly, Tarapaski is encouraging more local salons to sign up. She’s hoping the industry gets to a point where every salon is working cooperatively to reduce their waste.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Fahrenheit Hair is located at 2099 – 2nd Ave. For more information call 668-2882 or visit their Facebook page.
Registration is now open for the 2019 Indoor Community Garage Sale!
Call our event partner North Star Mini Storage at 633-5402 to reserve your table!
Over 1000 people attended the 2018 Indoor Community Garage Sale at the CGC (Zero Waste Yukon).
This is the 6th annual garage sale hosted by Zero Waste Yukon. Last year’s sale saw over 1000 people attend!
One important change to note, this year’s sale will be held in a new location, the Yukon Convention Centre at the Coast High Country Inn.
This event is a great opportunity to raise funds for your organization or sports team, or to make some money doing some early spring cleaning! By participating as a vendor or patron, you’ll be doing your part to keep useful materials out of the landfill and in circulation!
You’ll be sure to find great items at awesome prices, so mark your calendars!
The sale takes place from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Yukon Convention Centre!
We’re also very excited to have Yukonstruct back with their world famous Repair Cafe!
“Repair Café Whitehorse has been helping fix broken stuff with monthly drop-in events at YuKonstruct since 2014. Broken toaster, vacuum cleaner or other small home appliance? Bring it in and see if it is fixable using soldering irons, multimeters and other tools. This easy introduction to electronics and small home appliance repair is a useful DIY learning experience that you can literally take home.”
For many of us it’s time to set some resolutions for the year to come. To do so, you might start by looking back at the year that was. 2018 was a banner year for news about plastic pollution and the threat of global climate change. The word “single-use” was even chosen as “Word of the Year” by Collins Dictionary.
According to Collins, “single-use encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment.”
“Plogging” – picking up litter while jogging, also made the short list, highlighting a growing concern with humanity’s impact on the environment.
“Despite the odds, the anti-plastic movement has become perhaps the most successful worldwide environmental campaign to emerge since the turn of the century. If governments are held to their commitments, and the movement maintains its momentum, it will have an effect.”
“In the much larger battle over climate change, the plastic backlash could end up being a small but energizing victory, a model for future action,” writes Buryani.
Pathways of biological and technical materials in a circular economy (Ellen Macarthur Foundation)
Coupled with growing awareness of the costs of our rampant consumption is the growth of the Zero Waste movement and the Circular Economy. We are in the midst of an exciting paradigm shift, one that will see us move away from the historic linear approach to industrial production and embrace circular economies where resources are used over and over again.
As individuals we play a pivotal role in bringing about these changes and shaping the world we want to live in. With that in mind, here are 10 simple Zero Waste resolutions you can embrace this year (and beyond):
1. Carry a reusable bag
This is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your waste footprint. Canadians use roughly 2.86 billion single-use plastic bags each year. The majority of these are landfilled and recycling is not an effective solution. Once you get into the habit of always being prepared, you’ll wonder how you ever left home without your reusable bag. Keep them in your car, keep them by the door, and be sure to get yourself a set of reusable produce bags as well! Check out our Think Outside The Bag page for info on our campaign for a bag reduction policy in Yukon!
2. Give up bottled water
We know tap water is a far more efficient system for delivering water than bottled water. Even if every plastic bottle we used was recycled, tap water still uses less resources, produces less greenhouse gas emissions, and avoids other toxic emissions. It is absolutely insane to take water from across the country, bottle it in plastic, and drive it up the Alaska Highway when we have clean, drinkable water right here.
Carry a reusable bottle with you and you’ll likely end up drinking more water too, so it’s a win-win!
3. Get a good reusable mug
The best way to ensure you’ll remember your reusable mug is to get one you like to drink out of. There are countless options out there so you’ll likely be able to find one that suits your needs. The next step is to commit to using it. Try skipping your coffee or tea if you forget your cup, that way you’ll create a bigger incentive to bring it!
Bringing your own mug means less Tim Horton’s cups littering Yukon streets and parks, and less wasted resources.
4. Refuse what you don’t truly need
Make 2019 the year you try and refuse as much needless packaging as you can. Whether it’s a disposable bag, disposable cup, or some other items designed for a single-use, saying no will not only help you create less waste, but you’ll also save money! Avoiding impulse purchases can be difficult at first, but like anything, all it takes is a bit of practice.
5. Wear your clothes longer, shop secondhand and buy quality
Every year, North Americans send 26 billion pounds of clothing to landfills. 95% of this clothing could be reused or recycled. When you throw away your clothes, you’re not just wasting the item itself, but the natural resources used to make that item. It takes over 700 gallons of water to make a t-shirt, and 1800 gallons for a pair of jeans!
Donating your clothes to local thrift stores is a great way to save those resources, and shopping secondhand helps avoid using up resources for new clothes. The most sustainable fashion item is one that already exists.
6. Plan ahead
Anticipating your needs and being prepared so you don’t end up with needless waste can take a bit of work. With a little mindfulness, you can create new habits so remembering your reusables becomes second nature. Plan your weekly meals to avoid creating food waste. Think you’ll have a coffee? Bring your mug just in case. Keep a reusable bag in your car, purse, or pocket. You’ll quickly see how much less waste you produce when you get in the habit of always being prepared.
7. Say no to straws
Straws are one of the easiest single-use items to give up. While they don’t account for a huge part of the waste stream, they are a symbol of unnecessary waste. They’re also one of the easiest items to avoid. Simply say “no straw, please” when dining out. Once you’ve eliminated something simple like straws, it will help you in saying no to other disposable items.
8. Cook more
Cooking and eating without single-use packaging is a big part of reducing your waste. By avoiding take-out and making more meals yourself, you’ll be avoiding styrofoam and other plastic food packaging. You’ll also eat better, as many processed packaged foods are less healthy than unpackaged fresh foods. Plan your meals to help decrease food waste and don’t forget to make a list when shopping!
9. Be positive
Making Zero Waste choices every day can be a little daunting, particularly in the grocery store where we’re surrounded by disposable plastic. The news about plastic pollution can also seem bleak. That’s why it’s so important to stay positive. Don’t be discouraged if your cart has a bit more plastic than you’d like, instead celebrate the face that you’re creating less waste than you used to! Give yourself a pat on the back when you remember your reusable cup or bag and it will help you continue to remember!
10. Share your success
One thing that makes the journey to Zero Waste easier is help along the way. A growing Zero Waste community will mean more access to waste free products and more power to change our current systems. Sharing tips and success with others is a great way to inspire change, and you’ll also get positive feedback which will help you stay dedicated to fulfilling your resolutions.
Whether you choose 1 resolution or commit to making sweeping changes, stay mindful and don’t give up! Don’t be discouraged if you falter, simply start again and know you’re an important part of positive change in your community. Happy New Year!
Members of Whitehorse United Church recently took on a 4-week challenge to eliminate single-use plastics from mid-October to mid-November.
The purpose was to increase our awareness of the amount of plastics we use in our households. At the end of the challenge, we shared pictures of the single use plastics collected and talked about ways that we worked to reduce them during that time. Lea Pigage, Zero Waste Hero, mother of 3, B&B owner and biologist, served as a resource to the group.
In Whitehorse, almost 10% of the landfill consists of plastics, and another 10% is composite products made of plastic mixed with other materials (e.g. chip bags, food packaging and single-use coffee cups). Currently the world recovers only 5% of the value of the plastic packaging we produce. Plastics break down into very small particles that are found in seabirds, fish and marine mammals and some of these compounds found in plastics have altered hormones or have other potentially harmful health effects on humans.
A sample of plastic waste collected during the United Church no plastics challenge (Photo: Lillian Nakamure-Maguire)
Our church wondered where recycled plastics are sent and what happens to them in the end? We also wondered if buying products in glass containers was better for the environment (It turns out most glass is crushed and used for landfill cover because it is too costly to ship out of territory).
For many participants it proved to be a challenge to eliminate things such as meat foam trays, take-out containers, food and consumer product packaging, ready-made salads in plastic, yogurt containers and coffee cups with plastic tops. Cleaning supply containers seemed to take a large portion of my plastic – bleach bottles, floor cleaners, window cleaners, etc. I learned that I didn’t really need all these different kinds of cleaners. One kind of soap purchased in large containers could handle many kinds of jobs.
Many of us already use cloth bags for shopping; some also carry small nylon bags for bulk bin products such as nuts or grains and legumes. These bags weigh next to nothing and won’t add to the cost of the product. Some members have requested of store managers to carry more bulk foods in bins, and allow people to bring their own glass jars. Riverside Grocery allows this and will weigh your container prior to filling it.
Most veggies and fruits we were able to buy unpackaged, although lettuce wrapped in plastic was difficult to avoid. We used our cloth bags or reused plastic bags we already had to store these items. Buying soap and shampoo in bulk helped to cut down on the smaller plastic bottles. Some have made their own shampoos, although many recommended homemade soaps by Yukon artisans.
Instead of using plastic wrap, I learned about beeswax food covers, which are sold at the holiday craft sales. I made some with old cotton pillowcases and melted down bits of beeswax. It worked quite well but not as beautiful as the craft sale or store bought ones, but certainly useable.
We also discovered we could buy toilet paper in bulk at the restaurant supply store. Each roll is wrapped in paper and in a cardboard box, rather than the plastic wrapped individual rolls covered with a second plastic layer that we had been purchasing in the past.
Some members of the group had been away travelling during that time. Airlines are notorious for the amount of plastic garbage they produce. Of course the fast food places in the airports are filled with plastic water bottles and pre-packaged ready to eat foods. For the lucky ones who vacationed in southern France, they were able to buy fresh local food daily without the plastic. The rule of thumb, no take out coffee without your own container and fill your own water bottles.
Lea Pigage told us about her practice of arranging with her meat department an order of meat for 2 – 3 months. She brings large food containers into which they put chicken, beef, etc. She picks up a few days later and wraps up her meat into waxed butcher paper at home. For sliced meats she takes her own container and asks the person to slice it onto paper and put labels on the outside of the container.
“Zero Hero” Lea Pigage has embraced a Zero Waste lifestyle by simply refusing unnecessary waste and making small changes to her purchasing habits. Read more about Lea here. (Photo: Zero Waste Yukon)
When ordering take-out sushi she tells the restaurant that she will bring her own container, which they have no problem accepting. She also asks for no soy sauce in small packages.
When she’s in the stores she refuses any free things that she doesn’t need and encourages her children to do the same. Lea’s son has taken this Zero Waste philosophy wholeheartedly and even suggested they potty train his youngest brother earlier to reduce their waste!
As we come upon the holiday season, it is worthwhile for us all to consider the amount of plastic, paper, foil, and ribbon that is necessary and what we would like to avoid. Much of this takes planning – instead of buying a ready to serve veggie or fruit tray to take to the office party, take less than an hour to prepare your own and serve on your own platter. Consider whether you need the latest Christmas ornaments in the WOW catalogue. Would a simple beeswax candle and some holly and evergreen boughs do the trick?
Dehydrated citrus like oranges and lemons make for a great Zero Waste Christmas ornament. For more Zero Waste Christmas ideas check out our Zero Waste Advent Calendar! (Photo: Zero Waste Yukon)
As Whitehorse United Church members, we vowed to consider how to make these plastic-free ideas a practice in our daily living. We also felt that we wanted to learn more about where our waste goes and how to reduce it in our homes, in our church and community activities and in our workplaces. Further discussions will follow in January with Ira Webb of Zero Waste Yukon and Bryna Cable of the City of Whitehorse.
Craft fair season means lots of chances to buy great local, handmade products that are durable, support local artisans, and don’t come with lots of plastic packaging.
When it comes to local craft fairs, re:design is one of our favourites, as it showcases local artisans embracing creative reuse and making items out of repurposed goods.
Local artisans Leslie Leong (Leslie Leong Arts) and Darren Holcombe (Laberge Lumber Co.) have been organizing the event for four years, and this year was another success! This year, we teamed up with students from Yukon Montessori School to talk holiday waste reduction at the fair.
Montessori teacher Kelly Scott and her keen students set up two tables at the fair. They talked about single-use bag reduction and offered handmade gift tags to craft fair patrons. The gift tags were a big hit, and the students managed to raise close to $200 for their school!
Reusable cloth bags and beeswax food wrap samples were given away to craft fair patrons
The fair also provided lots of opportunities to chat with people about holiday waste reduction. As Christmas can be a very wasteful time of year, this was a valuable opportunity to chat about ways we can reduce our footprint over the holidays. If you’re looking for tips on a waste-free Christmas, check out our Zero Waste Advent Calendar for 25 days of Zero Waste gift ideas. Be sure to also check out our 12 days of Alternative Gift Wrap page for creative ways to wrap presents without using hard to recycle wrapping paper.
The fair also presented a great opportunity to chat about a policy solution to the problem of single-use bags. Zero Waste Yukon is campaigning to reduce single-use bags in Yukon, in order to prevent litter and save precious resources. Learn more about our campaign by visiting our Think Outside The Bag page!
Lots of great input was collected from the public about a potential policy to reduce single-use bags. Many craft fair attendees supported a ban on single-use plastic bags.
We’re looking forward to working with the bright and passionate students at Yukon Montessori School again soon. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to Bring Your Own Bag to all the upcoming craft fairs in Whitehorse!
Whitehorse can stop wasting, says leader of global Zero Waste lifestyle movement
A woman who has eliminated trash from her California-based household since 2008 is coming to Whitehorse to encourage others to do the same.
Bea Johnson and her family adopted a Zero Waste lifestyle in 2008 and they now produce only a half litre of trash per year. Her blog and subsequent bestseller Zero Waste Home launched a global movement of waste-free living.
Zero Waste Home has been translated into over 20 languages and is rated number one in the amazon.com waste category.
“In giving this way of life a face, in showing that Zero Waste is possible, that it can be stylish, that it can save time and money (40% on our overall budget!), we changed people’s misconceptions. And our lifestyle turned into a movement. Thousands are doing this now,” says Johnson.
Dubbed “The Priestess of Waste-Free Living” by the New York Times, she has become a guru to a fan base to hundreds of thousands on Facebook and Instagram.
“The Zero Waste lifestyle might, at first sight, be about reducing as much household trash as possible, but what you ultimately discover is a simple life, a life based on experiences instead of things. It’s the opposite of what we would have expected it be; It’s improved our lives so much that we could not envision going back to the way we used to live,” the French native explains.
Bea Johnson has completed 14 international speaking tours and given talks in 50+ countries on 6 continents.
A will to create a more sustainable world for her children’s future is what got her started 10 years ago. Today she is driven to spread her message as far and wide as possible. Johnson speaks all over the globe, counting the United Nations, Google, Adobe, and the European Parliament as recent gigs. Bea is known to talk about her personal journey with humor and without preaching, inspiring self-reflection and change.
Zero Waste Yukon is excited to annouce that Bea will be speaking twice in Whitehorse on October 21st – once in French and once in English. She will be giving a presentation about practical ways to eliminate trash. Johnson’s presentations will be the closing event in Whitehorse for Waste Reduction Week in Canada, which takes place October 15-21 across the nation in support of waste reduction initiatives.
Zero Waste Yukon chose to bring Bea to the Yukon because she is extremely knowledgeable and relatable to so many people. She’s had such a large influence abroad and we’re excited for her to inspire change here locally too. Waste Reduction Week is the perfect time to bring everyone together to inspire action.
“I’m really excited to share my lifestyle in Whitehorse. There’s been a lot of interest in this way of life in Canada and I am honored by Zero Waste Yukon’s invitation” says Johnson.
Bea Johnson is speaking twice on October 21st at the MacBride Museum – 1124 Front St. Both presentations will be followed by a Q&A period.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – présentation en Français
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – presentation in English
Both presentations are open to the public.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 867-667-7269 ext. 27 for more information.
The Yukon Soaps Company has been around for nearly 20 years. It is Indigenous owned and operated by Joella Hogan. Made with many locally grown ingredients, her soaps are a staple for Yukoners looking for a natural, handcrafted product.
Joella lives in Mayo, the heart of the Yukon, where “people have a deep respect for the land and what it can provide.” She says her inspiration comes from the land around her and the “wonderfully creative people” that she surrounds herself with.
“I was raised to be aware of human impacts on land, water, and the environment,” says Joella, who also has an academic background in Environmental Science and Planning. “I strive to live a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle and support other makers of things homemade.”
So what brought her to soap-making?
“I always had an interest in healing plants and traditional medicine, and I wanted something natural and creative to suit those interests,” says Joella. This has translated into creating “products that have a small footprint, use local ingredients as much as possible, and that continue to meet the needs of those who enjoy my products.”
She is also a beader, and has combined her passion for traditional First Nations beadwork with her soap-making. She recently launched a line of unscented soaps that showcase beadwork from Northern Tutchone women from Mayo. Different beadwork pieces are photographed and printed on dissolvable paper which is then set into each bar. Each soap tells the artists’ story and a bit about the piece that was photographed.
One of the soaps from Joella’s Indigenous Artisans line. (Joella Hogan)
Joella has been operating the Yukon Soaps Company for 7 years now. When she started, she wrapped her soaps in paper with a sticker. Wanting to cut down on types of packaging and quantity, she later moved to a simple sticker on plain bars of soap, drastically cutting down on packaging.
“I wanted people to see the soap,” she says.
Joella’s soaps use minimal packaging, reducing waste and letting customers “see the soap.” (Joella Hogan)
Joella also has customers who buy large amounts, so she decided to create a way to sell in bulk and further cut down on packaging. Recently she’s created a Zero Waste line of bulk soaps. Customers can either buy a bulk batch, fill their own containers with bulk soap, or purchase bulk soaps in pre-weighed reusable jars. She also sells some of her soaps in small, reusable cloth bags, because reuse is vital to cutting down on waste. “I have a really close relationship with our Free Store,” she says.
Running a small business isn’t without challenges, especially if you’re trying to minimize waste.
“Living in the North, there’s a lot of packaging involved with bringing ingredients in,” she says. To combat this, Joella tries to always buy in bulk, and sources local ingredients as much as possible. Plants such as juniper, fireweed, rose hips, and even fair trade coffee beans donated by Yukon’s Bean North Coffee Roasters are just some of the ingredients in her essential soap bars line.
Local juniper berries and fireweed provide the makings for “Yukon Gin & Tonic Soap.” (Joella Hogan)
Her advice for anyone looking to adopt more sustainable business practices and lower their footprint?
“There are so many ways that small businesses can work towards Zero Waste. It takes some time and work up front to look at options and decide what will work best, but in the end you’ll see you produce less waste, use less resources and save money.”
Yukon Soaps Company at the recent Etsy Market in Whitehorse. (Joella Hogan)
Look for The Yukon Soaps Company at local markets and various locations throughout Yukon. You can also order Joella’s products online at www.yukonsoaps.com.
Zero Waste Yukon is excited to announce a free film screening of the award-winning documentary Bag It!
The screening will take place at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, at 7:00 pm on October 17th.
Bag It follows Jeb Berrier, an average American guy who is admittedly not a “tree hugger,” who makes a pledge to stop using plastic bags. His girlfriend, Anne, joins him in the challenge to decrease their use of plastic at home. This small action gets Jeb thinking about plastic—not just about plastic bags, but other kinds of plastic. “What is plastic made of? Is it recyclable? Does it decompose when it ends up in the landfill? Does plastic have negative health effects?” Jeb wants to learn more, so he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world.
Our reliance on single-use disposable items is so deeply ingrained in our society that we rarely stop to think of what effects our behavior might have on our local environment. The film explores these issues and identifies how our daily reliance on plastic threatens not only waterways and marine life, but human health, too. In the Yukon, single-use plastics take up large amounts of landfill space, are hard to recycle, and escape collection to litter our wild spaces and affect wildlife.
Building off a successful Plastic Free July, the screening at Beringia Centre is part of Zero Waste Yukon’s campaign to curb the use of single-use plastics in the territory. Many North American cities including Washington, DC and San Francisco, as well as countries like Ireland, Italy and China have implemented fees or bans on single-use disposable bags, with positive results.
“Think about it—why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away? What’s up with that?”
Screening Date: October 17, 2018
Screening Time: 7:00 PM
Screening Location: Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Contact email@example.com or call 667-7269 ext 27 for more info.