31 Mar 2017

Before recycling toner/ink cartridges

Just because the indicator on your printer or copier says "low toner/ink" doesn't mean it is time to put in a new cartridge.  My workplace sent out an email out to the staff today explaining what this is about and how it works.  I have included it below with permission.  Thanks, David!
toner, ink cartridge, tj's green adventure
ink cartridges (source)
This environmental tip is the best kind.  It not only helps to reduce waste and strain on the environment, it saves the company money!

 It’s time to talk about printer/copier toner/ink and when is it REALLY time to recycle it and when can you squeeze a little more life out of it.

 This question usually revolves around that “helpful” little indicator that tells you that it’s time to change your cartridge. Sometimes that indicator is a little warning light, sometimes it’s an annoying pop-up every time you print.  Although it may seem helpful, the only person that indicator is really helping is the manufacturer.

 The truth is, the ‘low toner/ink’ indicator is actually a VERY rough guide.  Your printer/copier has no accurate way of telling how much toner/ink is left in your cartridge and is only going off your page print count. So – if you print pages with not much ink on them – or even those pages that print accidentally that come out blank – they all count towards the page count of the life of your toner/ink cartridge.  Once a set number of pages has been printed, the warning indicator will fire off and encourage you to change toner/ink although you could still have a ¾ full cartridge.

 The ONLY thing that’s a good indicator of a low toner is fading and/or streaking on the page. Even when you start to get streaking, you can take the toner out and rock it from side to side and STILL get dozens if not hundreds of pages from that toner.

 So – please consider ignoring the little indicator next time it goes off.  Now you’ll know when you’re running out and you can help save the company some money and save the planet at the same time.

Green highlights:
  • use less toner/ink cartridges 
  • save money (those cartridges are expensive!)
  • less waste
Will you use your toner/ink cartridges to the max?

25 Mar 2017

It's tax time!

I stumbled on an unexpected way to have zero waste.  I was getting ready to do my taxes, but didn't have the program yet to do it on my computer.  I took a look online to see what store had the best price for the program I use and came across a download version that is exactly the same as the one I purchase at the store each year.  The great thing about the online version is that there is no box, no CD and no sleeve.  Which also means no clutter and zero waste! 
zero waste, TurboTax, online downloads, tj's green adventure
last year's tax program waste
This is a great way to consider the environment.  There are no emissions to manufacture the CD's and packaging, no emissions to transport the product to stores, no emissions to go to the store to buy the product and nothing will end up in the landfill.  It was easy to do and the email with the download link was in my inbox by the time I finished the purchase.

Here are links to some websites where you can download a tax program for yourself.
Green Highlights:
  • no emissions
  • zero waste
  • nothing will go to the landfill
Will you try a download instead of purchasing a CD?

8 Mar 2017

Zero waste at Bulk Barn

I've been thinking more about zero waste since my daughter sent me this article Bulk Barn Has Embraced the Zero Waste Movement.  This is exciting!!! Starting February 24th, 2017, Bulk Barn now allows you to bring in your clean, reusable containers at all their stores across Canada.  I have been looking at their website to see what products I can buy there in bulk so I can use my own containers instead of buying prepackaged and then throwing out the package.
 zero waste, bulk barn, reusable container, tj's green adventure
This past weekend, I went on an adventure with my daughter to Bulk Barn for our first zero waste shopping trip.  I took along an assortment of jar sizes and packed them in a cardboard box that has handles cut in the sides.  The box was just the right size to fit in the shopping cart.
  • 1 cup x 6
  • 2 cup x 6
  • 4 cup x 3
  • 6 cup x 1
Knowing how many cups each jar holds was helpful so I had an idea of how much I was buying.  I am very particular about the chocolate chips I buy for baking and only buy one brand.  I would prefer to buy them without packaging, so I bought just enough to make a batch of cookies and I will have a taste test.  I also took along the Tupperware container I keep my oats in and bought just the amount I wanted.  

I took along some empty jam jars to reuse.  Because they had some glue on the outside from the labels, I was unable to refill them.  I like that they are uniform and all weigh the same which should make shopping easier, so I'll have to get the glue off for my next trip.
  mason jar, tupperware, zero waste, tj's green adventure
I was surprised at what all you could buy bulk.  They even had Epsom salts!  Buying bulk could even help with your weight.  If you enjoy having chips for a treat, you could buy a small jar full of corn chips, cheese sticks or cheese cruncheez for just one portion instead of buying a whole bag which will inevitably get eaten.

Let's support this great initiative and hopefully more stores will go zero waste too.  It's time to rethink how we shop.  

Green highlights:
  •  reusing containers
  • reducing the amount of garbage going to landfills
  • reducing emissions from manufacturing