Last Straw = First Move

image credit madasdfs

It started with an image of a turtle and a straw (and the turtle was definitely NOT enjoying a salted caramel frappuccino). The image enraged millions to just say no to Continue reading

Sweet (20) Sixteen

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image credit:

New Year’s, one of the oldest holidays celebrated ever, is kind of a funny thing. Back in ye olden Roman times, they decided to move New Year’s from March (a logical spot, what with springtime renewal) to January since the month was named for Continue reading

Halloween Candy (and other ingenious ways to recycle)

Special Throwback Thursday, just in time for Halloween (originally published Oct 31, 2012)

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image credit:

Halloween is one of the most spectacular nights for all kids, big and small. What other holiday encourages you run around your neighbourhood dressed in crazy costumes and go begging for sweets! For some (like my sugar-junkie child), this is the highlight of the year. And it looks like Sandy won’t totally washout the evening….more of a gentle rain.

We normally divide our time handing out candy and escorting our child house to house. Invariably, he comes back with a mixed bag…some great stuff, some meh, and some just gawdawful. For a few years, we didn’t know what to do with the reject candy and it just lay in our cupboard collecting dust. What a sad, sugary waste.

Enter the solution, the scourge of Halloween. That would be the big kids, often taller than me (which is not saying much)  that still go trick or treating but don’t bother with a costume. It’s laziness with a side order of menace. Most of us still dole out our precious candy to keep them happy and our house facades egg and toilet-paper-free. Here’s where we finally learned to be creative.

We now go through our son’s bag of candy not only to inspect it (and lets be honest, eat some), but to create the Reject Pile of Ick . We save this pile to dish out to the costumeless teens. How’s that for recycling and reusing? And the timing couldn’t be more perfect since they tend to go out after we’ve already returned. In the end, everyone’s happy. They get candy, we don’t collect waste, AND we don’t get egged (at least, not yet). Such a good idea, it’s worth copying/recycling.

Happy Halloween everyone!

P.S. for extra safety while going trick or treating, attach your bike light to your child’s costume. It makes them more visible and their costumes even more spectacular…definitely worthy of the good candy 🙂.

There’s poetry (and a winner) in your #WasteFreeUHN soul

On this wonderful week of Waste Reduction across Ontario, we here at UHN celebrated by challenging our staff, and especially our green team, to share actions and ideas that cut waste down to a teeny-tiny size. They could email us, facebook or tweet, like UHN Volunteer services did below.


We lured staff with nothing more than Continue reading

Inflation and the Art of Garbage – Talkin’ Trash, October 2014

The Environomics of Garbage

Inflation is defined as a “sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services” (thanks  In other words, your money just don’t buy what it used to.

For example, back in the day, I could walk up to the soda counter of my favourite drug store, a dime burning a hole in my pocket, order a double tall extra skinny soypuccino (with two straws if I was with my sweetie, of course) and a couple of free range anchovy filets…and still have enough change to go to the pictures after.

These days, that dime barely covers the Continue reading

Don’t throw that out … it’s art!

Confession time … amongst other things, I studied fine art at U of T. Normally this means my education and work life have precious little to do with one another, but not today. Today, I’ll show you the perfect marriage of art and the environment as they meet in hopeful, glorious, thought-provoking displays (how’s that for an intro?).

We’ll start with Kitty Chan in the Radiation Medicine Program at UHN. Kitty needed lots and lots of used coffee cups to do an environmental awareness art installation called “The Tree of Hope”. This tree will stand in all its glory at David Suzuki’s upcoming Blue Dot tour.


Perry, Kitty and Megan, all of the fabulous green team, get those cups together

We spread the word to Continue reading

Back-to-School Blow Out! …Need it or Not?

Whether you have little ones lining up for the yellow bus, are a student yourself, or haven’t been to a class in decades, September feels like teachers/pencils/books time. As a universal truth, you will be bombarded with back-to-school ads (just try to ignore dreaded ear-worm from a certain office supplies store: “‌it’s the Most, Wonderful Time of the Year“). These ads demand you get the latest, greatest, biggest, best of everything … even things that don’t seem remotely connected to school.

Back to school (2)

Say you want to be prepared, but don’t want to sacrifice a truckload of carbon to get Sophie, Ethan and Arya set up for straight A’s … what do you do? Continue reading