Zero Waste Shawi

If you follow my social media, you may have noticed that I made a big change recently. My husband and I decided that it was time to try to live a simpler life. This, for us, meant moving away from Montreal to a much smaller town. We now proudly call Shawinigan home.

    In general, I’ve adjusted well to the change. I sleep better, I eat better, I’m outside way more often. It’s rather incredible! The tougher situation of this change is on the Zero Waste side. I’m basically starting from scratch. Back in Montreal, I knew where to go, I know who accepts jars and who to avoid. I have my favorite stores to visit. Here, I need to start over completely. Despite our best effort, we still find ourselves filling up the recycling AND garbage bin (mainly because we still haven’t found a composting site… YET). At first, I was quite bummed out by this and thought it would be hopeless. As if all my previous effort was gone to waste (pun intended). This feeling of self pity however, did not last long. I care about my projects and really wanted to succeed in them. I have since taken this seemingly dreadful news and turned it into a new super challenge! And let me tell you! I was pumped!

    First thing was clear, I needed to find places that would allow me to shop Zero Waste. They did not need to fully understand what Zero Waste was, but they needed to let me do my thing. The info will come, since I DO NOT stop talking about it First store on my list was an easy one: Bulk Barn. There are Bulk Barns in many cities (big and small) and luckily enough, we have one too! I brought all my jars for the first big shop and chatted about Zero Waste with the clerks (as well as activities to do in the area). They had no issues helping me out by taking the tare of the jars and to my surprise, it was one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had in this store…EVER! Not to say the previous experiences were bad, they were just less memorable for me.  The clerks were so kind and so chatty that it felt so comforting.

    During this hunt for new stores, I have uncovered a few places that flat out refused my containers, but seeing as how this is not my first rodeo, I was used to rejection at the expense of my own containers. I decided to remain optimistic and continue on! I began seeking out smaller stores and bakeries and kept on asking. Persistence was truly key here. Eventually I found a small bakery that has no problem with my bag for buns and breads. Bonus points go to it being across the street from my new employer and absolutely delicious! SCORE! While on this treasure hunt, I also found a shop that not only sells kombucha, but they make it in house! Making it super local! This place is great! Delicious flavors and they even have a consignment on their bottles. So we bring the glass jars they offer back once we’ve finished and we can take a fresh one. These jars will then get washed and sterilized and stay in circulation as long as they are usable! Much like our own jars and bottles! DOUBLE SCORE!

    These 3 small wins felt incredible! I’m no longer feeling bummed out by my lack of ZW options, I see potential here. It’s all about getting creative and not giving up! I am also incredibly excited for the summer time. Local produce will be everywhere! Much more local than previous options and direct from the farms. At the moment, it seems to be too early in the season for farms to open their stands, but I certainly look forward to when they do!

    Ultimately, this move has done wonders for us. It’s only been 3 weeks but I already feel comfortable and I’m quite happy with the choice that we made. Zero waste is still a lifestyle I intend on striving for and I definitely won’t be giving up on it anytime soon.

    For more stories on this new chapter of my Zero Waste journey, or for general tips and tricks follow along on my Facebook  Live Waste Free at  or check me out on Instagram at @livewastefree.

Take care! Until next time!  

---- Dawn Francom ---- 2019-03-07 19:06:01