Fill the gallery and say NO to single-use!

Bugged about bags?

 

Dear Zero Waste advocates and partners, we’re getting ready to present our petition April 2nd, but you can still sign the petition at Raven Recycling until April 1st.

 

Show your support and help us fill the gallery at the Yukon Legislative Assembly to present our petition for a single-use bag fee!

April 2nd, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Yukon Legislative Assembly
(2071 2nd Ave, Whitehorse)

In just a few short weeks over 1400 Yukoners have signed their names supporting a fee on single-use bags. Yukon Government has recently begun consulting on how to implement such a fee. Please fill out their survey at engageyukon.ca

Help us send a collective message that this is only a small step, and there is a lot more work to be done to combat single-use plastic waste!

Please share widely, and tell your friends! Let’s let this government know we support continued, dedicated action to reduce single-use plastics in our Territory!

Please respect the public gallery rules of decorum, no signs, etc.

 

Follow the event on Facebook

 

Learn more about bag fees and our campaign on our Think Outside The Bag page!

 

For more information, contact info@zerowasteyukon.ca or 667-7269 ext. 27.

 

 

Yukon Government announces proposed single-use bag surcharge!

On Tuesday the Government of Yukon announced it was seeking input into a proposed single-use shopping bag surcharge.

They are looking for input from Yukoners into how to apply a surcharge, the surcharge amount, type of bags, potential exemptions, timing and approach for implementation.

Take the Survey!

From the Engage Yukon website:

“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!

 

10 Easy Zero Waste New Year’s Resolutions

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.

(collinsdictionary.com)

 

To quote Stephen Buryani’s recent must-read article in The Guardian, The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference?, plastic has become “public enemy number one.”

“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!

 

 

The United Church No Plastics Challenge

By Lillian Nakamura Maguire, December 7, 2018

 

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.

Handmade Soaps from the Yukon Soaps Company. Owner Joella Hogan is a Zero Hero, read more about her story here! (Photo: Joella Hogan)

 

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.

For further information, contact lillian@lakelaberge.com.

 

 

 

Zero Waste Advent Calendar

This December, Zero Waste Yukon is counting down to Christmas with our Zero Waste Advent Calendar! Each day of the week will highlight a waste-free activity or gift you can give this year to reduce your holiday waste! Christmas can be a time of year where we generate a lot of unnecessary waste, so check back here daily for ideas on how you can spread joy this Christmas without spreading garbage! 

Zero Waste Advent Calendar

 

December 1: Local, handmade goods
Avoid packaging and support local artisans by finding handmade gifts.
Check out local markets, fairs, and stores for Yukon-made creations!

December 2: Going out for dinner
Treat your loved ones to a nice dinner on the town or a special meal at home.
Don’t forget your reusable container for leftovers!

December 3: Homemade dog treats
Surprise the dog owners in your life with some tasty homemade goodies for their pup.
There’s countless recipes online for dog treats that will make you a dog owner’s best friend!

December 4: Tickets to a show
Give the gift of entertainment with tickets to a musical act, theatre performance or movie.
Check out the Arts Centre, Guild Hall, Gwaandak Theatre and others for local performances!

December 5: Babysitting
Treat your friends or family with kids to a day off this holiday season by offering up your babysitting services as a gift.
Your loved ones will appreciate it more than any material gift!

December 6: Volunteering
Give back to a local charity this Christmas. Volunteering is a great family activity that teaches compassion and caring for others.
Contact Volunteer Yukon to learn about volunteer opportunities!

December 7: Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap
Say goodbye to plastic cling wrap with breathable, reusable cloth beeswax food wraps, the perfect kitchen stocking stuffer!
Available in Whitehorse at Riverside Grocery or make your own with these 
DIY instructions!

December 8: Secondhand Gear
Explore secondhand options for sports gear and save money this Christmas! There’s lots of secondhand items in great condition looking for a new home, check out ChangingGear and other local secondhand stores as well as the Buy and Sell!

December 9: Borrow from nature decorating
Avoid junk plastic decorations and borrow from nature! Harvest some tree boughs or pine cones to add a festive touch to your home, and don’t forget a natural Christmas tree!

December 10: Recycled decorations
Skip the plastic tree ornaments and craft something unique out of recycled materials. Your tree will be more personalized and it’s a great activity for quality time with the family!

December 11: Beer
Get your loved ones a refillable growler with some local brew in it. They can use it over and over again without having to waste bottles and cans!

December 12: Recipe Book
Have a favourite recipe? Secret guide to making the world’s best something? Why not share your recipes as a gift to a friend? It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

December 13: Go wrap free
Try keeping it simple this year and avoid hard to recycle Christmas wrapping paper by going wrap-free! Wrapping presents is as easy as tying a string bow around your gift and plopping it under the tree!

December 14: Learn a new skill
This Christmas, give the gift of learning! Instead of dancing around aisles in stores looking for the right material gift, why not try dance lessons? Or why not try learning a new hobby like weaving, painting, pottery, or glass blowing? You never know if you’ll find something you and your loved ones will love!

December 15: Reusable Coffee Filter!
This holiday, give the gift of paper-free coffee with a 100% cotton cloth coffee filter! No plastic, no metal, no paper. Simply compost your old grounds, then rinse and reuse for waste-free coffee this Christmas!

December 16: Curling!
This Christmas get your family and friends together and organize a curling game! Sheets of ice and equipment can be rented for you and your friends to enjoy a day of curling. It’s great fun, so hurry hard and visit Whitehorse Curling Club for more info.

December 17: Getaway
Instead of buying your family stuff this Christmas, why not treat them to a getaway? It could be as simple as a weekend out of town, but it will be a great opportunity for quality time and it won’t come wrapped in plastic!

December 18: Charitable Donation
Stuck on what to get your friend or family member for Christmas? Why not make a charitable donation in their name to a local organization that could use some support? No materials necessary, and you can both feel good knowing you’ve done something to help those in need.

December 19: Share a book!
Read a good book lately? Got a pile of classics sitting around collecting dust? Why not bundle up one or two of your top picks and give them as a gift to someone this Christmas? Passing on your favourites to others is a great, thoughtful holiday gift.

December 20: Yoga!
Treat your loved ones to some relaxation and physical fitness this Christmas with yoga classes at your local studio! Perfect for relieving the stress of the Christmas season! Namaste!

December 21: Edible Gifts
Always a good choice, a home cooked gift is a perfect Zero Waste Christmas present! Cookies, baked goods and other homemade creations are a great holiday treat and don’t require any excess packaging or wrapping! Instead of buying presents for friends, invite them over for a home cooked meal!

December 22: Snowshoeing or Skiing
Treat those special people in your life to a special day in the snow and get outside this Christmas!

December 23: Write a song or poem!
Embrace your inner creative and show how you feel by writing a poem or song to your loved one. It’s a gift worth more than anything material!

December 24: Give Nothing!
Make a deal with your family and friends to skip presents this year! You’ll all create less waste and you can worry about sharing quality time with each other instead!

 

December 25: Love!

This holiday, be bright and merry, be compassionate, be caring, be thoughtful, and share today with those who matter most to you, without worrying about material gifts.

 

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Yukon Montessori School at the re:design Craft Fair

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!

 

Bea Johnson of “Zero Waste Home” visits 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 info@zerowasteyukon.ca or call 867-667-7269 ext. 27 for more information.

 

 

Joella Hogan & The Yukon Soaps Company

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.

 

 

Award-winning documentary Bag It comes to Whitehorse

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?”
—Jeb Berrier

 

Event Details:

Screening Date: October 17, 2018

Screening Time: 7:00 PM

Screening Location: Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

Admission: FREE

 

Contact info@zerowasteyukon.ca or call 667-7269 ext 27 for more info.