Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for the ‘Its not easy being green’ Category

Wednesdays, our garbage and recycling are picked up. Yes, both on the same day. Its incredibly convenient. I throw my one bag of garbage in the can in the garage, drag it out, and then put all the recycling bins out. I have my own stacking ones for glass/cans/plastic, newspaper, office paper and cardboard and one big blue bin from the recycling society that we use for bottles. The bottles are returned by the recycling society for the deposit, which is used to fund the society.

Now, on to my point.

Both garbage and recycling, including this bin of bottles, are set out around 7am. My neighbours two doors down in my complex also have the same stacking bins which they use pretty much exclusively for their myriad bottles (they enjoy their beverages).

At some point, the garbage truck goes by and takes the garbage. It’s almost always before the recycling people. Today, the Poptart and I were coming back from our morning program (Mother Goose, FTW!) and I noticed the garbage was gone. I pulled the car into the garage and went to retrieve the garbage can. I noticed the recycling from the other side of the complex was gone, as were my bottles. I looked at my two-doors-down neighbours and their bottles were gone too. The rest of the recycling on my side of the complex was still there.

I would have stopped and scratched my head but it was pouring. So I put the garbage can back, got us into the house, and went to find the roomba (it got jammed under the TV stand).

Then the recyclers came by and picked everything up.

This isn’t the first time my bottles have disappeared before the rest of the recycling; it happened a couple of weeks ago too. I figure there are 3 different options:

  1. The recyclers picked up the bottles when they made their first round.
  2. The garbage men took the bottles (although they are clearly in a recycling box) either for trash or the deposit.
  3. Someone is going through our complex, pilfering bottles before the recycling truck comes by.

And that is the kind of mystery that occupies your time when you should be baking cookies, when you’re on maternity leave. 🙂

I blogged about my November Project earlier – focusing on reusing and repurposing things more. So here are the week 1 results:

1. Toy storage

The Poptart needed a laundry basket. She’s also outgrown her bassinet. So the bassinet got repurposed as toy storage for the living room, and the basket we had been using got switched to her laundry basket:

IMG_1228

 

2. Baby Proofing

The TV stand in the living room is a Costco special. Its made of metal and heavy, tempered glass. Its big enough to support a 60″ tv. It is, in other words, a good item for the Poptart to knock her head against:

IMG_1215

 

So we got some insulation tubing for water pipes. They’re foam tubes that have a slit up the side. They are now attached to the edges:

IMG_1217

The Poptart, of course, has already figured out how to pull them off.

I’m calling this a repurposing because, well, it is. Even though we bought the insulation new.

3. I feel like a heel. Its kind of crummy

I made these:

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Into this:

IMG_1225

Rather than throwing out the bread heels, I turned them into bread crumbs. Please to ignore the parts to my blender and food processor lying about. Also please to ignore the dirty food processor.

So, did you reuse/repurpose things this week?

Amber just made her first post on 5 Minutes for Going Green. She makes a good point:

Pretty much all of us are familiar with the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra. What we don’t always remember, though, is that those actions are listed in order of priority. The most sustainable choice is always to reduce our consumption. If that fails, reusing something that we already have, or that someone else already has, is an excellent second choice. And only then, if an item is not reusable, recycling is a good way to reduce our waste and our consumption of raw materials.

(Emphasis added)

A lot of people I know have already reduced their consumption. They also recycle, for one reason or another. But I’m curious: how much do we actually reuse stuff beyond the usual reusing shopping bags, ziplocs, wrapping paper/gift bags etc? Or, dare I say it, repurpose it?

And let’s face it: November on the Wet Coast is dreary, dark and generally unpleasant. I need a project other than finding new ways to wear the Poptart in the Babyhawk or the Beco and washing diapers.

So for November I’m going to figure out ways to repurpose and reuse things beyond the shopping bags, the cloth diapers, etc. at least 3 times a week. Nothing complex, just a little outside-the-box thinking.

Want to join in?

So cloth diapers. Am in lurve with them.

A couple of weeks ago, the Poptart outgrew the small diapers I had for her. So I called the service and arranged for larger diapers. The problem? That was a weekend and they only deliver on Thursday. Meh, I thought. A few days of disposables won’t hurt. Because I’m just not doing that much laundry.

So we put her in disposables and she got a rash. We tried vaseline, zinc-based creams, and lubed her up like you wouldn’t believe before diapering her and nothing. I even let her air out for a few hours one day on a pile of towels and a waterproof pad (and really, she’s a nudist and loves being nekkid). We switched brands. Nothing helped.

So when the diapers were delivered I put her back in cloth. Within about a day, the rash had just about cleared up.

SOLD.

(we still put her in a disposable at night, but that’s because they absorb better and she sleeps a bit longer)

At the same time, I’d started looking into diaper wipes. Apparently, most of the chemicals used on them are not baby safe. And they’re freaking expensive.

So I cut up some extra receiving blankets to about the size of commercial wipes and made a solution of water, baby wash and a couple of drops of tea tree oil and started using that. And her skin has never been better. In fact, I’m starting to think I should be using that solution on my nether regions.

My only problem is that the cut up receiving blankets shed after they’re washed because the edges fray and I don’t sew. If anyone wants to hem them for me, there’s a bottle of wine in it for you 🙂

Also there is still time to sign the cloth diaper petition! If you want a copy I have a pdf and you can email me at rtissues (at) gmail (dot) com for a copy.

So remember when I wrote this?

Specifically, this sentence:

Where’s my tax credit for doing what I can? Where are my chits for locally grown meats and vegetables? Why not start there where its something more tangible?

Well, there’s an opportunity now. My diaper service has a petition in the Canadian House of Commons to ask for a tax credit for those that use cloth diapers and/or use a diaper service, and to increase taxes on disposable diapers. I have a copy of the petition to sign and I’m asking for your help.

Simply put, the more signatures that are collected, the better the chance at having a tax credit implemented.

So here’s the deal: if you want to sign and you’re in the metro Vancouver/west Fraser Valley area (up to Chilliwack), I’ll meet you. We can have lunch, coffee, whatever and you can meet the poptart. I mean, with this much cuteness, how can you say no?

oh baby baby

You can leave a comment or email me at rtissues (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you’re not in the metro Vancouver Area, and you’d like to sign, you can contact the Happy Nappy Service in your area and see if you can sign.

Update: If you’re not local and have no access to Happy Nappy, or even if you are local and want to take it around to your friends/family/cloth diapering aficionados, I have a PDF of the petition. Leave a comment if you would like it sent to you. Note, the original needs to be sent back to Happy Nappy in Langley by July 31.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women

I thought I should get this posted before I, oh I don’t know, go into labour.

anytime, kid, anytime.

One of the dilemmas I’ve been having is diapers. I’ve been reading quite a bit about cloth diapering here and here. And I like the idea of cloth diapering. I really like it. Its good for the environment. Its better for your baby. The diapers are cute beyond belief. But I am lazy and it just seemed so much easier to throw out a disposable diaper, than to spray down diapers, wash them put in any inserts and how to use the damn things. And I was overwhelmed anyways because of a various ISSUES that made me want to drink, but oh hey, pregnancy and CAN’T.

Ice cream is a good substitute, however. Until your intestines disagree with this.

Oh and the scariness of Braxton-Hicks contractions didn’t help.

But I digress. Sort of.

I went out and bought some diapers because hello, baby on the way and I had coupons.

And then I had a shower and got a diaper cake, lovingly prepared by Sunshine. Which leads me to the current stash of disposable diapers:

diapers-003

diapers-005

diapers-009

 

 

 

 

 

And I thought, that’s not too bad – should last awhile. And then I realized that newborns go through up to 10-12 diapers per DAY. And my inner green person started feeling guilty. Because all that plastic and shit (Ha! get it?!) equals billions of years of biodegrading. Or something like that to my pregnant brain.

And there’s an extra half pack of diapers in the hospital bag along with some loose samples I received from various companies.

And so cloth diapering reared its head again. But again I am lazy and cheap. And when you’ve got more than one kid who will be using diapers, I’m positive cloth diapering is cheaper when you buy your own diapers. One kid? Not so much.

I was at the doctor’s office. There’s this counter I go past on the way to the bathroom – and there was a pamphlet for a diaper service and a sample of the diaper they supply. So I took a flyer, fondled the diaper (soft, cute, yellow) and showed the flyer to Darren, who as usual was exceedingly helpful when it came to making a decision on diapering: “So how do you feel about cloth diapering?” “You’re the one who’s going to be home. Its up to you.”

Thanks, hon.

So I crunched some numbers: disposable diapers = about $20/week. Diaper service = about $25/week. Oh and they pick up and deliver clean diapers once a week. THEY CLEAN THE DIAPERS FOR YOU.

I think it goes without saying that it appealed to my inner green lazy person.

So I ordered the diapers. They have this pre-birth delivery that consists of this:

Reusable Diapers 001

Diaper pail with charcoal filtre.

And inside is a wetbag with diapers. You line the pail with the bag, put the diapers in your changetable and done.

 

Reusable Diapers 005And they’re yellow and adorable.

Now I just need some diaper covers.

 

 

This shipment arrived the day I was writing my last post about how adequate and accessible pre- and post-natal care for expectant mothers and their babies make for healthier communities.

In the industrialized world, we’re very much aware of the environmental impact of our actions. Its just unfortunate that the costs of making better environmental choices, community choices (and if you want to get all political-sciencey, choices in the interest of the public good) are a damn sight more expensive than the disposable choices. If you’re having to pay for medical insurance, or god forbid, medical care because you have no insurance, you’re not able to make those choices.

That $5/week difference may mean the difference between:

  • cloth diapers and food on the table
  • cloth diapers and medical insurance
  • cloth diapers and medical care.

This may be a bit of a weak link, but I can tell you now that if I had to pay for medical insurance vs. cloth diapers? I’d choose the medical insurance.

Because I don’t have to worry about medical insurance, I’m in a position where I can make the choice that is better for my community – I can afford that extra fee and make it easy on myself to make that choice.

There are many direct and indirect benefits of providing accessible medical care. And this might just be one of them.

LOL

Posted on: September 13, 2008

Remember that $100 you got from the government to help with that twee carbon tax? Well take a peek at this article from the CBC:

The $100 cheques, which were meant to offset the impact of the province’s new carbon tax, were only supposed to be sent to residents currently living in B.C., but Hansen said roughly 20,000 were mistakenly mailed out to former British Columbians now living in other parts of the country.

Okay, now, laugh at this part:

Letters have been sent to the affected recipients asking them to return the dividend, and Hansen said anyone who does not may have the money automatically deducted from their next tax return.

Done laughing now?

Look, people, its not that difficult. All postal codes in BC begin with a “V”. When you’re printing the cheques, simply tell the program to print only the addresses with postal codes that begin with a “V”. Its a relatively simple “IF” statement.

Sure, they’re taking the money back – great. But what about all the original costs of printing? According to this article, $10 million was initially set aside for printing and mailing 3.4 million cheques. Lets see: $10 million divided by $3.4 million is about $2.94 (rough figures) per cheque for printing and mailing. 20,000 multipled by $2.94 is $58,800.

Sure, not a hell of a lot of money in the provincial budget, but lets look at this:

How many rent or mortgage payments is that?
How many car payments is that?
How much greening can you do on your house for that?
How many bus passes is that?

Etc.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women

Yes, I’m just a wee bit bitter about the carbon tax gas tax that kicked in today (as if you haven’t guessed already). I haven’t gone out yet today, but I saw on the news that gas prices are up above the $1.50/litre mark.

But, moving on! I promised over at Wet Coast Women that I would try not to bitch about the carbon tax.

In other news, I have become a twit. Although, I find twitter a wee bit sluggish at times. Flaky, even. But you can follow me over there if you like.

Darren had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn today to go play golf for a 6:30 tee off time at a course that’s about an hour away. The funny part is, not only does he get a free round of golf, but since its work related, I think he gets paid. 

And I? Slept in until 7:30. Drank coffee.

My biggest decision today is whether to wii or go to the driving range. Or both. And maybe set up some golf lessons.

I haven’t been out to whack some balls in about 2 years. The closest I got last year was when I was out of work for 12 weeks and volunteered at Darren’s company golf tournament last year (they paid in beer and food). Not that’d I’d even attempt to play Swan-E-Set (which is a very nice, swank place) because some of thoses holes? Brutal.

We went to the driving range on Saturday and I whacked about 60 balls. My back and arms still ache.

And that, will be the extent of my Canada Day. Happy 141st birthday! You still look great.

What are you doing for Canada day?

Climate action dividend cheques are arriving in the mail. Apparently, they’re to help people make green choices. And on Monday or Tuesday a new 2.4 cents/litre gas tax goes on (oh and it also goes on natural gas, so even if you don’t own a car, you’re getting hit with it anyways. So are the people who deliver groceries, so you’ll be paying for it anyways. Revenue neutral my ass).

But, back to the cheques. Mine arrived yesterday sometime and I got it (them, really, because I get one and Darren gets one) from the mailbox this morning.

This is the outside:

Hi! I\'m here to help you make green choices!I picked it up and noticed it felt really substantial. I could practically use it as a pillow. Its soft and puffy (although the biodegradable window in the front is sort of crunchy, but whatever). On the back though, it says its printed on recycled paper.

So I opened it. Because I wanted to see what was in it that made it so soft and pillow-like.

And here you goReally! I\'m green!. Its stupendous really. From left to right: a twee brochure on how you can most appropriately spend your Climate Action Dividend. Suggestions include:

  1. Switching to compact flourescent light bulbs
  2. Weather strip windows and doors
  3. Install a high efficiency hot water heating system
  4. Install low-flow showerheads and keep showers under 10 minutes
  5. tune up your vehicle and keep tires properly inflated
  6. Install crawl space insulation

Lovely. I already do 1, 2 and 5. I don’t have a crawl space – just a ground level lower level of my house which is insulated and weather stripped already. So fuck that noise.

I have a low flow showerhead. And I doubt that you can buy and install a high efficeincy hot water heating system for $100. 

Vehicle tune ups should be done regularly since it helps cars pass aircare (hey, look! Emissions controls that have been in place for YEARS) and you don’t generally have to pay $100 to inflate your tires – you can get a tire gauge for under $20 at Canadian Tire and air is free at gas stations.

Back to the contents of the envelope. On the English side (its printed in English and French), in the bottom corner it says “by using 40% post consumer recycled paper for this project we saved…262 trees, 10, 780 kilograms of solid waste, 98, 978 litres of water, 34, 105 Kilowattt hours of electricity, 19, 595 Kilograms of greenhouse gases, 50 Cubic Metres of landfill space.”

Whoa. Like, dude. So if you used more post consumer recycled paper, you could have saved even more! Right (I might be wrong, I really have no idea).

The second thing on the picture is the envelope itself (also printed on recycled paper).

The third thing with the mad paint skillz on it is the cheque itself. Big enough for a tri fold, along with a nifty note from our ever-lovin’ Premier who sends us his best regards. The cheque itself is somewhat less than the bottom third of the page.

Um. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t they have saved even more ghg’s, etc (not to mention postage) if they’d just done direct deposit into my bank account? Now, I have to go to the bank to deposit this. Which I’ll combine with other errands, and I’ll turn my car off as I go through the drive through ATM, but still.

Do you see my point? They’ve probably created more waste then what people will save simply by issuing this cheque.

As for what I’m going to do – well, I have a web friend who lives south of the 49th. Her cat recently had a rather expensive surgery to remove a bladder stone. Its going to her to help pay the bill.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women

On Thursday, the BC Liberal government forced the adoption of 7 or 8 bills prior to the prorogue of the Spring session of the legislature, among them, the carbon tax and the election gag laws.

According to the Canadian Press:

The Liberals came to an agreement about three weeks ago with the Opposition NDP regarding the passage of 15 remaining bills, but there was no deal on eight others which the government has said will be passed “no matter what.”

So how can they do this? Well, in legislative procedure, there’s a little motion called “closure” which shuts down debate and forces a vote. Its designed to prevent prolonged sessions of the legislature (so that, you know, elected officials can have a summer vacation), while allowing government to take action as necessary. Its quite controversial as it limits any sort of meaningful representation in the legislature. In other words, using closure has a direct impact on your democratic rights. Closure effectively limits your MLA’s ability to advocate on your behalf. When a motion to close debate is moved and approved, all the opposition can do is vote against the item of debate.

I wrote earlier about the budget and the carbon tax (which is now recovered, minus comments) and how it’s a great big fuck you very much to BC citizens.

Apparently, the Liberal government has decided to fuck us a second time. Mike Farnworth (leader of the opposition in the House) said it quite well:

 “The government is ramming through eight bills, two of them particularly controversial,” he said, referring to the carbon tax bill and the so-called election gag law that places spending limits on third party advertising for the 28-day campaign period and for 60 days prior to the writ being dropped.

“That is just wrong, it is undemocratic,” he complained.

And it is unprecedented for a budget bill to be rammed through by the use of closure by any government in the history of this province,” said Farnworth. (emphasis added)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a particular fan of Mike Farnworth. In fact, I find him generally annoying. But he hit the nail on the head with this one.

In our rather messed up, toe the party line (or is that tow?) system, budgets are supposed to be free votes – this is a time for debate and to use knowledge and effective arguments to try to sway people to what you believe. By limiting debate, this isn’t allowed to happen. Whichever way you look at it, your rights are being eroded. And you should be angry about this.

Vaughn Palmer, in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun (page A3, Saturday May 31) has a couple of lines at the end of his column about this*

Gratuitous insults notwithstanding, the Liberals are surely guilty of reckless disregard for due process.

They set a precedent Thursday that could readily be abused by future governments of any political stripe.

Palmer’s column also includes a blow-by-blow of how it went down. In one hour and seven minutes, because of the closure motion, the following were passed:

  • Bill 20, Oil and Gas Activities Act (I really have no idea what that one’s about, but it ran over 200 sections and took 8 minutes)
  • Bill 21, Medicare Protection Amendment Act (took 6 minutes; a bit of squabbling here and there)
  • Bill 24, E-Health (15 minutes, due to a series of amendments)
  • Bill 37, Trade Investment & Labour Mobility Amendment Act (10 minutes)
  • Bill 37, Carbon Tax Act (runs 60 pages and 157 sections, 10 minutes or so)
  • Bill 42, Election Amendment Act or “gag law” (about 10 minutes, Minister Oppal had some amendments)

It started at 5pm and ended just after 6pm.

It is apparent this government, or maybe it’s the system, really has no regard for any sort of due process or democratic rights.

*the Canada.com website is currently down or busy or something, so I can’t link to it.


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