Understanding the Cost of Consumption: The “Magical Hexagon”

Understanding the Cost of Consumption: The “Magical Hexagon”

In Germany, every 6th grade student learns about the Magical Hexagon in economics, which symbolises the six economic policy objectives that are to be achieved simultaneously and to the same extent, in theory:

  • Steady and appropriate economic growth
  • Environmental protection
  • Fair distribution of income and wealth
  • Price level stability
  • High employment
  • External economic equilibrium

The “magic” about these six goals is that they are supposed to be of equal importance to each other, but are also in conflict with each other, hence they cannot all be achieved at the same time.

For example, meeting the goal of “economic growth” will make it impossible to simultaneously achieve the goal of environmental protection.

Hence, when we hear politicians talk about their desire to protect the environment while at the same time talking about growing the economy, we need to understand that these are conflicting goals and cannot be achieved simultaneously.

In North America we have certainly been prioritising economic growth “at all costs” and centralised riches in the pockets of a few. The cost of this economic growth we pay in environmental degradation and an unfair distribution of income and wealth. So, the Magical Hexagon is not balanced and we are all already starting to feel the impact of that.

Interestingly, when the environment has been degraded beyond repair, the economy will naturally collapse, because a wacky climate will impact our production and distribution systems, which will hamper the economy as a result. The same result will hit us if we keep “centralising all riches in the pockets of a few.” This will erode away the middle class and once the tipping point between rich and poor has been reached, there won’t be any “consumers” left for the products the rich produce.

So, it is time to embrace the concepts of the Magical Hexagon here in North America and aim for a balance between the environment and our economy (as well as fair and equal distribution of wealth). This is the only way forward.

Either one of these objectives can be achieved by reducing our consumption. So, replace the mantra you learnt in school (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), with the mantra of the day: REDUCE, REDUCE, REDUCE.

A Guide to WasteLess Camping

A Guide to WasteLess Camping

If you’re currently planning a hiking or camping trip, please take a few minutes to plan it as WasteLess as possible. We’ve created a fillable WasteLess Camping Guide (regular value $15) to help you with that endeavour. It includes a packing list for beginners, although it may also be helpful for avid hikers or campers who wish to reduce their impact. Here you can get it for a donation of your choosing. 

Your Donation

Enter a different donation amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $15.00

Here are a few things to reflect on when planning your trip to keep your environmental impact to a minimum.

Table of Contents

Reducing by Packing Your Food & Beverages

A little bit of meal planning can help you save on packaging. Granted, this may not be the most “convenient” option, but as we all know, trash is the price we pay for convenience. So, to reduce your impact, there are a few things to consider.

What not to do:

What not to do:
  • Do not bring single-use items into nature. Prepackaged food, snacks, and beverages are usually conserved in single-use packaging. These items are sometimes left behind or dropped (intentionally or unintentionally) by hikers and campers. For this reason it’s best not to pack them in the first place.
  • Do not throw out your kitchen waste in nature. You may think that your food will decompose in nature, however, what it will likely do before it ever reaches that stage is attract wildlife. Bears and other wildlife that get too close to campsites and hiking trails often get killed to prevent conflict. Hikers and campers who throw food scraps, including banana peels, into nature may be responsible for an animal’s death. So, take the “packing out” component into account when preparing your meal plans.

As for the terminology, I am aware that in official circles (Parks Canada) wildlife gets “destroyed” not “killed.” To me this terminology sounds as if wild animals were “things” which we can dispose of if they inconvenience us. This is a terminology that I cannot get behind. So, remember that our irresponsible actions can result in the killing of an animal, whose territory we enter when we hike and/or camp.

  • Do not store cooking gear in the open or in your tent. Again, the food smells can attract wildlife, putting their lives at risk, if they wander into the campground or onto the trail.
  • Do not wear your sleeping gear while you prepare food. Fabrics capture food smells and may make you smell like a delicious meal to wildlife.

To give you an idea of just how strong a bear’s sense of smell is, let me put it into perspective for you. When compared to that of a human, a silvertip grizzly’s sense of smell is 2,100 times stronger. (Source)

So, what can you do to REDUCE your impact? 

  • Plan it out. You can use our WasteLess Camping Guide to help you prepare your meal plan.
  • You can dry your food and then re-hydrate it with boiling water at the campsite.
  • For shorter trips you can also pre-cook your meals and carry them “as is” or prepare all ingredients that you’ll need to finish your meal without having to pack out any kitchen waste later.
  • Snacks-wise, you can avoid energy bars by buying trail mix in your own containers from bulk stores, such as Bulk Barn (we are not affiliated with Bulk Barn but love their Reusable Container Program).

Reducing when Washing Your Dishes

Washing your dishes “on the go” is not without problems…

  • Even biodegradable camp soaps, such as Dr. Bronner’s, Campsuds, or SeaToSummit must not be used close to rivers and lakes as they can alter the pH of the water and impact ecosystem and wildlife.
  • Washing dishes with commercial sponges can introduce micro plastics into the environment and should be avoided.

Not washing the dishes also comes with problems…

  • Food residues can attract animals.
  • Bacteria can grow on the dishes and make you sick.

So, what can you do to REDUCE your impact? 

  • Wash your dishes with boiling water but without soap. This will kill bacteria and make cleaning easier. Put any dishes that need disinfecting into the hot water for about 2 minutes.
  • Use ash, dirt, bark, or sticks, as “sponge” and throw the resulting grey water into a fire. Do not empty it on the floor to avoid attracting wildlife.
  • If you are using camp soap, use unscented, eco-friendly brands like Dr. Bronner’s, Campsuds, or SeaToSummit, and discard your grey water in a 15-20 cm (6-8”) sump hole, then bury the hole after you’re done.
Nadine Nadow provided some amazing tips on the Trail and Summit’s blog post “How do you wash your backcountry dishes”, which is well worth a read.

Reducing when Selecting Your Gear

If you are committed to hiking, spend the extra time to find high-quality equipment, preferably with lifetime warranty. In the long term, this will pay off. Cheap prices are usually an indication for cheap quality (the reverse is not always true), so whenever possible, spend the extra dollars.

Purchasing Used

Try to find pre-loved equipment or rental equipment before considering a “new” purchase. Great places to look are Craigslist, Kijiji, UsedEverywhere, eBay, the info board at stores such as MEC, and other classified websites.


As for rentals, depending on your location, there may be places that rent out camping gear (Google search).

One great alternative is to purchase equipment as a group and have all hikers pitch in to purchasing quality equipment together. One of the hikers could store the equipment and everyone can pick it up at their location when they are going on a trip. This may require a bit of coordination and trust, but that’s what creating a WasteLess society is all about…

Reducing by Staying Safe

Safety may not be something that immediately comes to mind when it comes to environmental impact, however, the both go hand-in-hand.

Do not head out into the “unknown” without proper preparation and do not wander off the designated track. While Search and Rescue operations are run by volunteers who put their lives at risk to save yours, these maneuvers cost British Columbia alone around $4 million per year (source), and comes with an excessively high carbon emissions footprint.

How much? Well, the Sikorsky helicopter which is used in some Search and Rescue operations across the country, burns around 120 gph (gallons per hour) or roughly 450 kg/h (kilograms per hour) of fuel (source) and a simplified calculation puts the number of CO2 emissions in aviation at around 3.15 grams of CO2 per gram of burnt fuel (source). So, in one hour, a helicopter in the air could produce up to 1,400 kg of CO2. To put this into perspective: An average passenger vehicle emits about 4,600 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (source: Natural Resources Canada).

So what can you do to stay safe and REDUCE your impact?

  • Inform a friend or family member where you are going, which trail you are taking, where you will be camping at night, when you will be back, and who you are hiking with. This will greatly help get you found faster if the unforeseeable happens.
  • If you are hiking alone, leave a note in your car (or on your bike) at your starting location with the following details, so potential Search and Rescue Crews can find you faster:
      • Your name
      • The date and time you are heading out
      • Where you are headed
    The date you will be back
When my partner and I were hiking in New Zealand we encountered many hikers who had read our notes and already knew our names before we even introduced ourselves. It works.
  • It’s also important to factor in weather conditions when going on a hike or embarking on a camping trip. In some cases, it may be best to just postpone the hike if the conditions seem dangerous (e.g. thick fog or extreme winds) or have the potential to become dangerous.
  • Never head out on a long hike without a tent, flashlights, and backup food and water if there is a potential that you will not be back before dusk.


As for rentals, depending on your location, there may be places that rent out camping gear (Google search).

One great alternative is to purchase equipment as a group and have all hikers pitch in to purchasing quality equipment together. One of the hikers could store the equipment and everyone can pick it up at their location when they are going on a trip. This may require a bit of coordination and trust, but that’s what creating a WasteLess society is all about…

Reducing the Amount of Discards

Safety may not be something that immediately comes to mind when it comes to environmental impact, however, the both go hand-in-hand. Do not head out into the “unknown” without proper preparation and do not wander off the designated track. While Search and Rescue operations are run by volunteers who put their lives at risk to save yours, these maneuvers cost British Columbia alone around $4 million per year (source), and comes with an excessively high carbon emissions footprint. How much? Well, the Sikorsky helicopter which is used in some Search and Rescue operations across the country, burns around 120 gph (gallons per hour) or roughly 450 kg/h (kilograms per hour) of fuel (source) and a simplified calculation puts the number of CO2 emissions in aviation at around 3.15 grams of CO2 per gram of burnt fuel (source). So, in one hour, a helicopter in the air could produce up to 1,400 kg of CO2. To put this into perspective: An average passenger vehicle emits about 4,600 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (source: Natural Resources Canada).

Cans and Plastic Bottles

There is something satisfying about enjoying a cold one after an intense day of hiking and that’s ok. Discarding your bottles and cans in the wilderness, however, is not. You can bring a growler filled at your favourite micro-brewery or if you do bring cans and bottles, at very least pack in what you packed out.

Cigarette Butts

It saddens me that in the 21st century we still need to point this out, but cigarette butts still make up a great percentage of trail trash. If you smoke, please pick up your cigarette butts. Keep in mind that every discarded cigarette butt has the potential to start a wildfire that may kill millions of trees and animals.

Carry a small container, preferably made of metal, that will hold all of your cigarette butts until you’re back home to properly dispose of them.

Snack and Candy Wrappers

While you may think that it’s “just one candy wrapper”, combined they make up a great percentage of trail trash. This can be easily prevented by bringing trail mix snacks, such as mixed nuts in your own, reusable, containers. These can be bought WasteLess in bulk sections of stores, such as Bulk Barn, that allow you to bring your own containers.

We hope these tips and our WasteLess Camping Guide will help you reduce your risk and impact when hiking / camping the great outdoors.

Happy Hiking and Camping

Your Donation

Enter a different donation amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $15.00

The High Price of Convenience

The High Price of Convenience

Fast food, drive-throughs, smart devices,… our craving for convenience seems to be endless and companies are spending millions of dollars every year to identify and create new ways to satisfy our addiction to convenience.

While we think of convenience as “meeting our needs,” it is nothing more than instant gratification of wants. A gratification that comes at a high price. So, let’s explore the cost of convenience and how we already are and will be paying for it in the future.

Table of Contents

Convenience vs Energy Consumption

“Alexa, are you listening?”

Smart devices are “always on” and waiting for our command. Besides the obvious privacy and security concerns (mentioned below to close the loop), they also suck a lot of power off the grid. Any device that is on standby or idle consumes electricity (sometimes up to 10%).

So, let’s talk about power for a little bit. In British Columbia and Québec, where most of our power comes from hydroelectric power plants, we may not think about our electrical consumption as much. However, the more power that is used, the most power needs to be generated, and this doesn’t happen through magic.

This is why new plants, such as the Site C Dam in BC, end up on the agenda to meet our ever-growing demand for electricity. Building a hydroelectric power plant has a massive impact on the environment, even though it may seem like a “clean” and “renewable” energy source. Vast amounts of forests have to be cut along the waterways that lead to the dam, so that the trees won’t end up in the dam and thus damage the structure, and often the construction includes the rerouting of waterways. In addition, it hurts wildlife who rely on the free flow of the river, such as salmon who wish to return to their spawning grounds to give birth to their next generation. Lastly, producing (and later decommissioning) a power plant requires massive amounts of energy itself, as well as large amounts of building materials, which themselves have to come from somewhere. Concrete, which is the main building material for dams, has a massive environmental impact that should not be neglected.

All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when we use electricity. If we absolutely have to use electricity, it should be done in a mindful manner, not in a wasteful way, “just because we can”…

And the impact gets even worse when electricity is being produced through dirty energies, such as oil, gas, and coal. Besides toxic waste products during the production, operation, and decommissioning, these also release great amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere every single day.

So, next time you leave the lights on when leaving your home or have a smart device idle in the background, ask yourself if this is worth the true, environmental cost of the energy production.

Convenience vs Privacy / Security

Whenever the topic of privacy and security comes up during a conversation around convenience, there’s a large group of folks who instantly jump on the “I have nothing to hide” bandwagon, so let’s clear up a misconception here. “Nothing to hide” is often the first step to identity theft. Convenient apps or smart devices can get you hacked and your identity compromised in no time. Consider that some apps are created with malicious intent, which can especially be true for those that record keystrokes and GPS locations. So, be on the lookout and consider carefully if the app you’re about to download or the device you’re about to install (ironically, this includes security cameras) is indeed safe and secure.

Convenience vs Environment

It sure is convenient to order “stuff” from Amazon but this little trinket you just ordered may be speeding up global warming. How? Let’s see.

Assume, we’d like to order a smart device from Amazon, such as Amazon Echo.

To have this device produced, a large amount of “natural resources” need to be mined, from oil (to create the plastic casing), copper, solder, iron, ferrite, nickel, silver, gold, palladium, and other metals for the circuit board, and many more. Each component is shipped many times from distributor to distributor halfway around the globe during the production process and then finally to distributors across Canada for their final journey: To your home.

Normally, you may be buying this item along with other items during the same shopping trip (one trip). If you order all of these items separately, however, they’ll be shipped from warehouses across Canada to your home (many trips). Each package also uses up natural “resources,” such as trees for the cardboard box and oil for the foam packaging material, and each box takes up more room in the delivery plane or truck than a whole palette that is being shipped to a store near you.

No wonder, then, that transportation accounts for 25% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

And that’s just for the acquisition. When this device eventually breaks down beyond repair after a couple of years, the device will likely be shipped to an electrical graveyard in a third-world country, where we’re told it will be recycled, which is, in most cases, a lie. Components that consist of multiple fused materials (e.g. metal and plastic or various plastics together) cannot be recycled but even if they could be, it is often cheaper to produce new plastic than to “recycle” old ones.

All that, so that this smart device can turn on the lights for you remotely or look up the answer to a question you may pose.

So be mindful about what products you buy and how you buy them. Lowering our environmental impact requires weening ourselves of convenience.

Happy Earth Day wishes the WasteLess Society Team

What can we do to fight climate change on an individual level?

What can we do to fight climate change on an individual level?

Already today but certainly increasingly in the future, climate change is impacting our natural environment, food sources, and infrastructure across the globe. The magnitude of these effects is growing every year and there is an increasing awareness that drastic actions on an individual basis are just as needed as on a governmental and corporate level.

We can, to some degree, influence our governments by electing leaders that we feel truly represented by and through petitions and demonstrations. And we can, to some degree, also influence corporate actions through boycotts, buycotts, and choosing our employers carefully.

But a shift needs to happen for each and every one of us, if we wish to guarantee a livable planet for future generations.

Last month, the IPCC published its Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report, which features a dire outlook for our future. So, for those of you who are not too eager to read a 3,600+ pages report, we’re summarising the key findings below and finish this article with a Top 10 list of actions each one of us can start making a habit. The faster we advance by limiting our consumption and becoming a WasteLess Society, the better the chances for survival will be for the children that grow up today.

Please join our WasteLess Society in this endeavour and as always, feel free to share our resources

Even though creating the Guides is very labour-intensive, we make them available for free to speed up learning in our communities to give you and your loved ones everything you need to make better, WasteLess decisions. You can thank us by spreading the word! 

Table of Contents

What is the IPCC Assessment Report?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its objective is to provide governments, organisations, and individuals with scientific information to form a baseline for climate action and the development of climate policies. Every few years, the IPCC publishes a report with an update on the current state of climate change and prognosis for the future.

1990 (FAR): The first of these reports was published in 1990 and played an important role in the creation of the UNFCCC, which is the key international treaty to reduce global warming.

1995 (SAR): The second report formed a methodological base for governments preparing for the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

2001 (TAR): The Third Assessment Report again highlighted the impacts of climate change and the importance for adjusting policies and behaviours.

2007 (AR4): The fourth report focused on the need to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C.

2014 (AR5): This fifth report supplied an important scientific base for the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to keep global warming by 2100 to below 2 °C, with 1.5 °C as a target.

2022 (AR6): This six report was released and it stresses, in just what dire situation we’re in since the effects of climate change are accelerating beyond their previous prognosis. This report will be our focus for the summary below.

Summary of the IPCC Assessment Report

The recent PCC Assessment Report found that “the extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger than estimated in previous assessments.”

These impacts are felt in many ways:

  • It reduces our ability to grow nutritious food or provide sufficient clean drinking water, which in turn affects people’s health and well-being.
  • Increasing heat and extreme weather are causing plants and animals, both on land and in the ocean, to migrate towards cooler areas in our global North and South, to higher altitudes, or deeper areas in our oceans. This migration of plants and animals also impacts the timing of key biological events such as breeding and flowering, which in turn impacts food chains and the entire ecosystem.
  • Many species cannot adapt quickly enough or migrate fast enough and thus face extinction.
  • Since we are part of nature’s ecosystem, these events also impact our own sources of food.
  • Changes in temperature and rainfall cause severe droughts in many regions across the globe and cause devastating floods in others. This increased the frequency and spread of diseases that impact people, wildlife, and also agriculture and thus again affect our food supply.
  • Longer wildfire seasons increase the surface area that burns during the hot months, which in turn further intensifies the stresses on wildlife, human health, and also agriculture.
  • The occurrences of water shortages are increasing in many regions across the globe, which further impacts our global food supply, access to clean drinking water, as well as energy production from hydroelectric power plants.

The report clarifies that “globally, climate change is increasingly causing injuries, illness, malnutrition, threats to physical and mental health and well-being, and even deaths. It is making hot areas even hotter and drastically reducing the time people can spend outside, which means that some outdoor workers cannot work the required hours and thus will earn less.”

It becomes apparent that the impacts of climate change are multifaceted and will impact our food and water supply, and our infrastructures and energy production.

While many individuals, communities, and businesses have begun adapting to climate change, the Working Group identified large gaps between ongoing efforts, and the required adaptation efforts. With every increment of warming, the effectiveness of our efforts to offset climate change decreases and therefore a more urgent and ambitious action is required to quickly and effectively cut our emissions of greenhouse gases. The faster and more drastically we manage to reduce these emissions, the more capacity there is for people and nature to adapt.

According to the report, it is now clear that “minor, marginal, reactive or incremental changes won’t be sufficient.”

What can we do on an individual level?

Here are 10 things we can do on an individual basis to fight climate change.

  1. Boycott greedy corporations who put their own profits ahead of our global objectives. This includes corporations who are resistant to adapt to a “reuse” economy and rely on single-use, fossil fuels, etc. Boycott does not simply mean not buying products from these corporations, it also implies not buying their stocks and not working for these companies until they truly embrace their social responsibility (as opposed to greenwashing where they extensively highlight one thing that they do well and drown out any evidence of the things they do poorly).
  2. Cut down on convenience, since convenience has a large environmental cost.
  3. Have fewer children to curb overpopulation and secure food and water reserves for future generations.
  4. Reduce consumption. This includes our consumption of food, water, energy, and other “stuff.” We have created valuable guides and are making them available for free to help our society grow. Pick a few points at a time and commit to them until they become a habit (usually around 3 months).
  5. Have difficult conversations. There will always be some resistance to change but we all need to educate ourselves and one another. Be brave!
  6. Think collaboration, not competition. We’re all in this together and even though it may be easy to fall into a competitive “me-first” mindset when facing a potential extinction-level event, while there is still time to change and adapt, we need to embrace collaboration instead. It may feel counterintuitive, since we’ve been coerced to out-compete our peers since our early school days, but the reality is that a collaborative mindset will get us further and much faster than a competitive mindset. So, let’s embrace it!
  7. Work less for organisations and more for the community. If you are using your consumption you will be able to also cut down the amount of time you will be working for an organization, which will free up some of your time to get engaged in your community and start building relationships that will make all of us stronger.
  8. Learn to grow food and save the seeds. Climate change has already started to impact our food supply and will continue to do so. With every incremental increase in temperature, this challenge will increase, also. If you do have some space, even just a little window sill or balcony, try to start some seeds and learn how to grow some of your food yourself. In addition, consider starting a petition to convert public parks into growing heavens for vegis and fruits. The more self-sufficient we are as a society, the easier it will be to face the future. In addition, food self-sufficiency will cut down on the import of food from elsewhere, and thus further curb greenhouse gas emissions. Feeding one person, requires approximately 4,000 square feet of space, so the more unused spaces that can be converted into growing food, the better off we’ll be in the future.
  9. Don’t replace, repair. In our society the knowledge to repair things is fading, so start attending repair cafés whenever you have time and claim back those skills. They will likely come in handy in the future.
  10. Educate yourself on how to REDUCE:

A Guide to WasteLess Stain Removal

A Guide to WasteLess Stain Removal

Stains just happen. And when they do, it can sometimes be tempting to hit them with harsh chemicals to return the fabric back into its pre-stain state. However, harsh chemicals also get into the water and ultimately the environment, so it’s best to employ different stain removal strategies. Our Stain Removal Guide will equip you with some tools to treat some of the most common stains.

A stain consists of three main factors: the “contaminant” that causes the stain, the material that is receiving the stain, and how these two materials interact to form a stain.

For example, when you spill coffee onto your shirt, the coffee is the contaminant and your shirt is on the receiving end. The small molecules that make up your coffee-milk-sugar mix are absorbed by the fibres of your shirt and become trapped. The colour particles of the coffee reflect back the light of their own colour, thus making the stain visible.

Two additional factors contribute to the challenge of removing the stain:

  • Time:
    The longer the stain has had to interact with the material, the more difficult it becomes to remove. So, time is of the essence.

  • Temperature:
    • Dry heat can provoke a chemical reaction that may cause the stain to permanently set. So, it is not a good idea to throw a stained piece of clothing into the dryer before the stain has been completely removed. It’s better to air-dry it instead if needed.
    • Wet heat, on the other side, can help with diluting the stain, so it is an exception to this rule, but whether it should be used or not depends on the stain itself.

Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s talk about the different types of stains. Knowing the category a stain falls under is an essential first step to determine the best method for tackling it.

WasteLess Stain Removal Guide

This WasteLess Stain Cleaning Guide features close to 30 pages filled with recipes and tips to help you become an environmental stain removal hero! 

$0.00     $15.00

Table of Contents

Enzymatic Stains

Examples: grass, blood, milk, sweat, urine, feces, vomit

Before we can dive into enzymatic stains, let us first take a step back and explore what enzymes are and what they do…

What are enzymes?

Contrary to what is often believed, enzymes are not living beings or bacteria. They aren’t even alive, for that matter. Enzymes are simply proteins. What kind of proteins they are, we’ll explore in more detail below.

What do enzymes do?

Simply put, enzymes speed up chemical reactions. Each enzyme has a particular task, so it helps to imagine them as keys that only open specific locks. Once they have found the right key hole, they can “dock” and go to work. Once docked to the correct target, their work then consists of interacting with the molecules, for example by breaking them down into smaller components. This breaking-down would normally take a very long time without these enzymes, which is why we say that enzymes speed up chemical reactions.

Let’s take this one step further. Everything that living beings eat, whether they are carnivorous or herbivorous, is broken down by enzymes with a little bit of help of stomach acid and other components that make up our digestive systems, into smaller, easier to absorb pieces as follows:

  • Proteins are broken down by proteases into amino acids.
  • Carbohydrates, (e.g. starch,sugar) are broken down by amylases into glucose.
  • Fats (lipids) are broken down by lipases into fatty acids.

So by extension we can now infer that all of the secretions living beings expel are also made up of these (and other) components. Whether that’d be the pee stain on your carpet left behind by your dog or a stain containing the milk given by a cow.

Enzymatic stains caused by these secretions usually consist of the above-mentioned insoluble proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. An enzyme-based cleaner may help to break these stains down into smaller, more readily soluble building blocks, similar in function to what goes on in our digestive tract.

Environmentally conscious options for enzymatic stain removers exist from companies that go the extra mile to ensure that their products do not contain harmful chemicals (by US standards), however, it is important to know that even these products aren’t perfect. Many still contain unsafe ingredients, such as Benzisothiazolinone, which according to the harmonized classification and labelling approved by the European Union, is considered “very toxic to aquatic life.” Also “natural” is not a synonym for environmentally friendly, so beware of greenwashing.

Oxidizable Stains

Examples: coffee, tea, red wine, ink

Oxidizable stains are usually caused by colour particles, called chromophores. These particles absorb light and reflect it at a specific angle that lies in the visible spectrum. In other words, they act like a dye and create a visible stain.

To eliminate these stains, the colour particles must be removed from the stained area or the chromophores broken down. A common voiced advice for the removal of these pesky stains is bleaching (with chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, or sodium percarbonate) because it breaks down the colour-causing particles of the chemical structure of the stain, thus fading the colour of the stain into invisibility. This only renders the stain invisible, it does not actually remove the stain.

Oxidizers do this by flooding the colour molecules of the stain with oxygen molecules (hence the name oxidizer). However, aggressive oxidizers don’t just attack stain-causing molecules but may also interfere with deeper-seated chromophores, such as dyes. This is why you need to be very careful if you’re treating a coloured piece of clothing or fabric to remove a pigmented stain. Hydrogen peroxide, in lower concentrations, and sodium percarbonate-based oxidizers may help treat a pigmented stain without leaving a lasting impact on the dyes in the material you’re treating (please read the section below on their environmental impact). If you are using them, test them on a non-visible spot of your fabric first to ensure colour-safety before tackling your stain.

While knocking out the chromophores of your stain seems like a logical approach, let’s take a step back and look at the environmental impact of these oxidizers.

Why is bleach bad for the environment?

Chlorine-based bleach

Chlorine-based bleach react with chemicals in the water to form dioxins, furans, and PCDDs (persistent organic pollutants), that stay in water and can bioaccumulate. These are carcinogens that are dangerous particularly to aquatic life.  It may be tempting to think that “a little bit of bleach” from your laundry may not tip the scale, however, it is also necessary to consider the ethical issues concerning how these bleaching agents are made. On a massive scale, bleach manufacturing plants often divert their waste water into streams and rivers. Not buying bleach in the first place helps the fight against pollutants in the environment by not creating a demand for those products.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an alternative to chlorine-based bleach. It breaks down into oxygen and water and is therefore more environmentally conscious than chlorine-based bleach, however, its production process also isn’t without problems.

Sodium percarbonate

To complete the list, sodium percarbonate is a highly concentrated powder that breaks down into soda ash and hydrogen peroxide (which itself breaks down into oxygen and water). It is toxic to aquatic organisms.

How to tackle oxidizable stains

With this kind of stain it is important to act quickly. The best course of action is to rinse the stained material with cold water, if possible from the reverse side to avoid flushing more molecules into the pores of your garment. The cold water will prevent that more molecules will spread and set. If you cannot hold the stained material under water (e.g. if the stain is on a couch or carpet), alternate dapping the stain repeatedly with a damp and a dry, clean, white rug or sock to remove the liquid. Make sure not to rub, as this may spread or deepen the stain.

Surfactant Stains

Examples: oil, butter, peanut butter, collar stains, grease

As mentioned above, oil, grease, and fat can be broken down by lipases, however, surfactant cleaners are yet another alternative.

What are surfactants?

Surfactants (short for Surface Active Agent) are organic compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, such as water. They contain both a water-soluble component (their “heads”) and an oil-soluble component (their “tails”). Surfactants can aid the cleaning process as emulsifiers and foaming/defoaming agents, for example, and there are four types of surfactants in use: anionic (negatively charged), cationic (positively charged), amphoteric (positively and negatively charged), and nonionic (no charge). Of these different types, non-ionic surfactants are growing in popularity due to their low toxicity.
When removing a stain with a surfactant, aggregates called “micelles” are formed around the stain. The oil-soluble components of the surfactant then dissolve in the oil components of the stain. The water-soluble components of the surfactant then stick outwards, exposing them to the water you use to “wash out” the stain.
Examples of surfactants are detergents, soaps, emulsifiers, and foaming agents. Cornstarch, for example, is a surfactant, because it attracts and absorbs the molecules of the stain.
The rule is “like dissolves like”: pick a solvent that is similar to your stain, and you can wash the stain out.

Important: Environmental impact of surfactants

A high percentage (around 95-99%) of surfactants used in households are typically removed in wastewater treatment plants. They are generally considered safe in low concentrations, however, those that are not removed from wastewater treatment plants flow at an ever growing rate into the environment, given our high and continuously increasing volume of surfactant use. Once there, surfactants can diminish water quality and affect the health and reproduction of aquatic animals.
Another area to consider is the manufacturing process. About 50% of surfactants are synthetic, manufactured from petroleum-based feedstocks, such as crude oil. The other half are derived from so-called oleochemical feedstocks, typically seed oils (palm oil and soybean oil).

Particle Stains

Examples: mud, soil, dirt, sand, silt, clay, rust, hard water deposits, minerals

Particulate stains are particularly difficult to remove, because they may contain minerals (e.g. iron oxides in red clay) or decomposed organic matter (e.g. in soil and mud). Stain removers for these kinds of stains usually include enzymes to break the organic matter, and surfactants to lift the stain off the fabric. Another ingredient stain removers usually include are so-called builders. Builders essentially work in one of two ways:

  • Sequestration: Here, the builder compounds hold metal ions in the solution.
  • Precipitation: Here, the builder compounds remove metal ions from a solution.

When it comes to stain removal, builders can, for example, deactivate certain metal ions or minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese, which then helps to soften the water. At the same time, soil stains are often bound to the fabric by calcium ions, so deactivating these ions helps make the stain components easier to wash out.

Vinegar, a mild acid, consists of positively charged hydrogen ions and negatively charged acetate ions and can be used to remove particular stains by causing a chemical reaction that helps break down certain stain components. For example, the acetic acid in vinegar reacts with rust to form a salt (iron acetate) and water.

That said, not all builders are created equal and some, such as phosphates, are known to have a greatly negative impact on the environment.

Download our WasteLess Stain Cleaning Guide for more information on how to pre-treat and remove any kind of stain (from coffee to red wine and even ink). Enjoy! 

Happy Stain Cleaning!

WasteLess Stain Removal Guide

This WasteLess Stain Cleaning Guide features close to 30 pages filled with recipes and tips to help you become an environmental stain removal hero! 

$0.00     $15.00

Spring Cleaning without Toxic Detergents or Waste

Spring Cleaning without Toxic Detergents or Waste

Commercially available cleaning detergents can not only harm the environment, they can also harm you. Many detergents contain known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins.

Making your own detergent(s) means taking charge of the chemicals and substances that enter your home, to keep your family, pets, and the environment safe. In this guide, we’ll provide recipes and instructions for effective toxic-free detergents.

Note of caution: As with anything in life, dosage and length of exposure matters. It is important to read and follow labels and use common sense.

WasteLess Cleaning Guide

This WasteLess Cleaning Guide features over 30 pages filled with recipes and tips to help you become a green cleaning hero! 

$0.00     $15.00

Table of Contents

Why opt for earth-friendly cleaning options?

Commercial cleaning detergents often contain ingredients that are problematic or even hazardous for the environment, where they may end up once they go down your drain as greywater.

It is therefore better to adopt earth-friendly cleaning habits to lower your impact on your environment and the world as a whole.

Problematic ingredients

  • Triclosan. This ingredient is often used in anti-bacterial soaps and is an endocrine disruptor that is known to interfere with the body’s regulation of thyroid hormones.
  • Parabens. These easily penetrate the skin and are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen and have been detected in human breast cancer tissues.
  • Phthalates. They are known endocrine disruptors and are linked to reduced sperm counts in men (source).
  • Sulfates. These make your soap foam up. Sulfates strip your skin of its natural, protective oils, allowing toxins to enter your system via your skin.
  • Fragrances. Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose the components that make up their scents, leaving you in the dark about their ingredients. Very often, “fragrances” contain phthalates and other toxic substances.

Canadians spend nearly $2.3 billion on household products each year. (Source)

What are earth-friendly cleaning alternatives?

While the ingredients in the list below are unproblematic for the environment, please keep in mind that dosage matters. Also, the impact of an ingredient is not just limited to its effect post-usage but also the effect its production has on the environment. So be mindful of any product you use and try not to waste it unnecessarily. 😉 

Earth-friendly ingredients

  • Distilled white vinegar. Used to disinfect, soften fabric, 
and cut grease.
  • Lemon. An acid that combats bacteria.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Used as an antacid, water softener deodorizer, and more.
  • Washing soda (sodium carbonate). Used as an antacid, water softener 
and to cut grease. Be sure to read the label on storage and usage. Essential oils (lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, eucalyptus, etc.). 
Used to disinfect and to add scent.
  • Starch. Used as absorbent.
  • Alcohol. Used as a disinfectant.
  • Castile soap. Used to capture dirt.
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide. Used for removing stains. Be sure to read the label on storage and usage. It is to say, however, that the production of hydrogen peroxide does have an environmental impact (see our stain removal guide for more information on this). While it is more environmentally friendly than bleach, which has a very high environmental impact, it still isn’t perfect. So, use it responsibly.

Recipes for earth-friendly cleaning options

Here are a few examples of the recipes we’re sharing with you in our WasteLess Cleaning Guide to get you started. For more great recipes, please download the WasteLess Cleaning Guide and become a green cleaning hero!

Surface Cleaner

  • 2 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • 3-4 drops of essential oils (e.g. peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus)

Mix the ingredients and fill the mixture into a glass spray bottle.
Do not use on granite and marble surfaces.

Window Cleaner

  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol

Combine all ingredients, spray onto a cloth and apply to your window. Dry well with a lint-free cloth or old newspapers. 

Dishwasher Detergent 

  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap,
  • 1 cup of warm water 
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.

Mix the ingredients and add 1 tablespoon detergent to your dishwasher-detergent dispenser and
1 cup white vinegar to the rinse-aid dispenser. If you have especially hard water or notice watermarks remaining on glass items, you may need to increase the amount of white vinegar.

For more awesome cleaning recipes, feel free to download our WasteLess Cleaning Guide. Enjoy! 

Happy Green Cleaning!

WasteLess Cleaning Guide

This WasteLess Cleaning Guide features over 30 pages filled with recipes and tips to help you become a green cleaning hero! 

$0.00     $15.00

How to Save Water Every Day

How to Save Water Every Day

Fresh water is one of our most important substances for preserving life. And while our blue planet is made up of roughly 70% water, only about 1% of it is drinkable. With now close to 7 billion people cohabiting this planet alongside other beautiful creatures, we ought to realize that water needs to be treasured and not wasted or polluted. Our survival and those of generations to come all depend on it.

A public opinion poll by the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, indicates that water is now the top environmental issue in the British Columbia with 62% of BC residents saying that they are concerned about the pollution of lakes, rivers, and streams, even topping concerns about climate change (59%) and deforestation (55%).

And not surprisingly, the number one way of addressing this issue is by changing consumption habits and lifestyles. And there’s no better time to start than now.

WasteLess Water Saving Guide

This WasteLess Water Saving Guide provides you with many awesome tips to reduce your water consumption and have a positive, earth-aware impact.

$0.00     $15.00

Table of Contents

The Right to Water is a Human Right

In 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized the right to water and sanitation as a basic human right. This means that every person on the planet has the right to “sufficient, continuous, safe, physically accessible and affordable drinking water.” This is, unsurprisingly, at odds with CEOs of corporations like Néstle who’s CEO Peter Brabeck stated in 2013, that he believes it should be privatized.

We do agree with him that water should carry a value to avoid that is being wasted, but in our opinion, this also means that it shouldn’t be considered a “raw material” that can be “extracted” and sold, but rather that corporations who wish to use this water also have to pay their fair share to reflect the value of water; a share equal to or higher than the amount that citizens are paying, to avoid having water labelled as “raw material” that can be tapped by big corporations for mere cents and then sold back to citizens for a 2,000% profit. 

Why Save Water?

Today, 1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water (Source) and because of climate change and population growth, this number is only going to increase. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, half the world’s population may no longer have access to safe water.

And Canada is not, and will not be spared. According to the Council of Canadians, as of November 2021, there are almost 100 drinking water advisories in effect in First Nations communities. This shows that even in a developed country, such as Canada, not every person has access to safe drinking water. Some of these advisories have been in effect for over 20 years, yet little is done to rectify the issue. Some of the reasons why these persist is the lasting impact of colonization, such as the government prioritising “resource extraction” projects over the water supply to its population.

Here’s a great petition, that needs our help.


Water consumption is yet another area where we can, and should, learn from First Nations communities, since water scarcity will at some point impact all of us.

‘Water scarcity’ can refer to:

  • scarcity caused by the government’s failure to ensure a safe water supply, for example by providing or maintaining the necessary infrastructure
  • scarcity due to a physical shortage of water, such as there not being sufficient water available

According to UN Water, the world’s water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of the increase in population, and 70% of the world’s water supply is used for agriculture, 19% is used for industrial consumption and domestic use lies at 11%.

Because 70% of the world’s water supply is used for agriculture, this is yet another reason why we need to ensure that no food is being wasted.

And another petition that needs our help.

How to Save Water

Here are just a few simple tricks to save water at home. For more tips and tricks, feel free to download our WasteLess Water Saving Guide.


Water-Saving Habits for the Bathroom 

  • Use a WaterSense® certified or low-flow shower head. “Low-flow” means it uses less than 10 litres per minute. WaterSense certification means that it uses less than 7.5 litres per minute.
  • Alternatively, you may also be able to install an adjustable flow-reducer on your existing shower head. This can reduce water waste in the shower by 25% (according to some manufacturers).
  • If you wait for your shower water to reach a certain temperature before jumping in, you may consider collecting the cold water in a bucket and use it to flush the toilet (bucket flush), water the plants, or for cleaning. 
  • Limit your shower to 3-5 minutes. If you’re having trouble with estimating your time, you can use a timer until that habit is set or listen to about 1-2 short songs while in the shower. Depending on how often you shower, this could save up to 4,000 litres of water per month. Taking cold showers will usually encourage you to reduce shower time, so consider this option.
  • Don’t shower every day. It’s not good for the planet or your skin. According to dermatologists, it’s best to shower around 2-3 times a week.
  • Identify leaks quickly and fix them.


Water-Saving Habits for the Kitchen

  • When defrosting frozen foods, plan ahead and defrost in the fridge overnight rather than thawing them in water.
  • Don’t clean and/or peel fruits or vegetables under running water. Instead clean them in 3-5 cm of water in the sink or bowl. You can also simply scrub them with a vegetable brush. 
  • Collect the water you use for cleaning your fruits and vegetables. You can use it to water your houseplants or even to soak the dishes until they’re ready to be washed.
  • Cook your food with less water. Besides the water and energy savings, this also keeps more nutrients in the food. That’s because food that touches water loses water-soluble vitamins and minerals to the water, while these are preserved in food that is steamed.
  • Use your vegetable cooking water, particularly the water infused with vitamins and minerals as mentioned in the previous point, for soups and sauces.

Together, we can all make a difference! Together we can REDUCE water and create a WasteLess Society.

Thank you for being part of our WasteLess Society!

WasteLess Water Saving Guide

This WasteLess Water Saving Guide provides you with many awesome tips to reduce your water consumption and have a positive, earth-aware impact.

$0.00     $15.00

Valentine’s Day: Frugal and WasteLess

Valentine’s Day: Frugal and WasteLess

Canadians spend approximately $37 million on Valentine’s Day each year (Source). 

Each gift that you offer not only impacts your wallet, it also impacts the environment. That’s because each item needs to be produced, transported, distributed, and ultimately discarded. That compounds to a massive environmental footprint just to say “I love you.” 

So, let’s look at just how high that environmental impact is and then explore some WasteLess Valentine’s ideas. 

Table of Contents

The Environmental Impact of Roses

Consider, for example, that a total of 140 million roses are grown annually for this special day (Source), which requires a tremendous amount of water per plant. (Source) Most of these roses aren’t grown on our footsteps but rather flown in from Ecuador, which means that they’ll travel close to 7,000 km just to reach our borders, and then even further from warehouse to warehouse to distributor to store, until they ultimately reach your sweetheart.

And growing these messengers of love also requires a large amount of water, fertilizer, energy, and space. It is estimated that globally roughly 405,000 ha of land are dedicated to greenhouses for the cultivation of roses. Especially for days like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the energy consumption of growing roses in northern countries increases significantly, as greenhouses need to maintain a constant temperature of around 22°C (70°F) during the day and 16°C (57°F) during the night. For a more optimal supply it therefore indeed makes sense to import roses from Ecuador, where rose production is among the most efficient world-wide due to its proximity to the equator. However, Ecuador is close to 7,000 km (4,350 miles) away. The National Energy Foundation estimates that for each hour of flight time, at around 850 km per hour, a plane emits around 150 kg CO2 (Source). So to travel 7,000 km, the freight plane would be in the air around 8.2 hours, thus emitting around 1.2 tonnes of CO2, although the actual number will likely be much higher because it is unlikely that these roses are shipped directly and each take-off, landing, and additional kilometer of flying would add to these emissions.

A total of 224 million roses are grown annually for Valentine's Day.

The Environmental Impact of Chocolates

Offering chocolates may seem like a more environmentally friendly way, however, I will have to disappoint you again.

Most chocolates that you buy in heart-shaped boxes at the grocery store are imported from afar. For this example, we’ll look at a popular Swiss brand. A quick glance at the back of the box indicates that it was manufactured in Italy. To reach Canada’s East Coast, this box of chocolates had to travel 5,000 km (3,100 miles); to reach the West Coast, we’re looking at 8,500 km (5,300 miles). And that’s just for its transportation and distribution.

Among the ingredients of the chocolates themselves are listed sugar, cocoa butter, milk, coconut oil, cocoa mass, palm kernel oil, barley malt, and artificial flavour. Each of these ingredients had to be shipped to the manufacturer from wherever it was grown and it usually doesn’t get there on a direct route. While Italy is a large producer of cocoa, it is also possible that the chocolate actually came from West Africa, where an estimated 70% of cocoa beans are grown (Source). If the ingredients came from their top producing countries, the sugar would have come from Brazil, the cocoa from the Ivory Coast, the milk from the United States, the coconut oil from the Philippines, the palm kernel oil from Indonesia, and the barley malt from Russia.

Now you can quickly see how transportation emissions quickly add up for those little chocolates that melt on your tongue.

And we haven’t even looked at the packaging yet. That box itself needed to be produced also and its life will continue on long after the sweet taste of its contents have faded, particularly because it is lined with a glossy finish, which renders the underlying cardboard box unfit for recycling.

WasteLess Valentine’s Day Ideas

So, now that we’ve looked at two of the short-lived gifts, let’s see what alternatives exist to celebrate your love.

  • Make love not waste! Caring gestures and thoughtful words can go a long way. Consider offering your sweetheart self-made breakfast in bed, a head massage, an elaborate self-cooked candle-light dinner, or anything else that is not a daily treat.

  • Buy a potted plant rather than cut flowers. If you’re unsure how to pull this off, add a little note that reads “May this plant continue to grow, just as my love for you grows stronger every day.”

  • Share some time and local wine. Besides supporting a local business, this treat can serve up some memorable hours in a cozy atmosphere. Cut out any distractions and make sure to reuse (or if not possible at least to recycle) the bottle once it’s empty.

  • Opt for local pralines, if Valentine’s Day is not complete without satisfying the craving for chocolates. If you choose this option, don’t forget to bring your own container to the chocolaterie.

  • Enjoy nature together. You love the environment and you love your partner… What’s better than combining the two. One of the nicest ways to spend a day about love is to embark on a romantic stroll or the first picnic of the year in one of the many local parks.

Now that we have provided you with some suggestions, feel free to download our Valentine’s Day Guide for more ideas.

Have a Happy, WasteLess Valentine’s Day!

WasteLess Valentine's Guide

This Valentine’s Guide provides you with many awesome tips to showcase your love without creating waste. 

$0.00     $15.00

Saving Energy Lowers Our Impact

Saving Energy Lowers Our Impact

Canada’s energy consumption is 3x as high as the world’s average consumption. When it comes to energy, saving it not only helps to conserve our beautiful planet, it also saves you some of your hard-earned money by lowering your utility bill. So, saving energy is a win-win-win situation, unless you work for the energy industry.

Putting it into numbers:

  • The average Canadian household uses 11,135 kWh of electricity per year (Source).
  • In 2021 numbers, this level of energy consumption would result in energy costs between $800 (Québec) and $4,300 (Northwest Territories) depending on which province the household is located in.
  • Energy costs are expected to rise as Canada is introducing various regulations to meet its 2035 energy reduction targets.


The best way to save energy is to simply not use it at all, when possible, and this is a joint effort. Mother Nature is helping, by providing us with natural light to illuminate our living spaces and wind and heat to dry our clothes, for example. To do our part, let’s accept these offers with gratitude and create smart energy saving habits to pull our weight.

Our WasteLess Energy Saving Guide features over 40 pages filled with Energy Saving Tips to help you reduce your own energy consumption, because each individual action, no matter how small, adds up and helps us bring our national average down.

WasteLess Energy Saving Guide

The WasteLess Energy Saving Guide features 40+ pages of Energy Saving Tips to help you reduce your impact. 

$0.00  $15.00

Table of Contents

Why save energy?

Saving energy is not “optional.” If we continue at this rate, we’ll eventually exhaust our “energy sources,” which will force us to reduce our consumption one way or another. So, cutting down on our energy consumption now will benefit our society in two ways: It will help to delay the doomsday outcome and also get us into good habits so a transition into an energy-low world will be easier for all of us to accomplish when that day comes.

And imagine what reducing our energy consumption will do for our beautiful blue planet and the amazing living beings we’re sharing it with:

  • Lower air pollution, which will have a great range of positive side-effects on our health and mental well being, the earth we grow our vegetables with, the water of the rivers, lakes, and oceans that surround us, the well being of all animals, whether they fly through the air or swim the seas, etc.

  • Less toxic waste, as we won’t need to produce so much energy in the first place. Any energy that is generated, even “clean” energy, creates toxic waste either during the production phase, energy generation phase, end-of-life decommissioning phase, or any combination of these. If we reduce our energy consumption, future generations and other living beings we’re sharing this beautiful blue planet with, won’t have to deal with these consequences.

  • Less exploitation of vulnerable nations. To put it in the words of Elon Musk: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” This statement happened in response to @historyofarmani’s tweet that the US government was organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so Tesla could obtain the lithium required to produce electric cars. It perfectly summarizes the sentiment of powerful multinationals that what they call “natural resources” are up for purchase whenever and wherever they wish to acquire them. And if that’s not the case, they’ll just start a coup against those countries’ governments that do not wish to sell those resources, in order to put into place a government that can be bribed. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but countries with low environmental restrictions are always being exploited by powerful corporations for “resource extraction” so we can maintain our wasteful way of life. And whether we like it or not, we are indirectly responsible for this. Throttling our energy consumption therefore also allows exploited nations to catch a break, and put regulations in place that aim at the conservation of our global ecosystems.

  • Less exploitation of “natural resources.” For obvious reasons, we don’t like the term “natural resources,” because a resource is always seen as something that can be mined and used. And we get it: Religion and powerful men have fed us a story that everything on Earth was created for our consumption. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Earth doesn’t revolve around us. We are part of Earth and we are part of our ecosystem. And as such, we underlie the law of nature. In nature, when a species procreates uninhibited and continuously increases its consumption as a result, the entire species will meet its demise sooner rather than later, when all the resources have been exhausted. And this is where we’re headed. Let’s see if our species is indeed more “aware” and “smarter” than other animals, as we always claim and act accordingly.

How to save energy?

While the WasteLess Energy Guide provides over 40 pages of ways to save energy, here are a few tips we’d like to share with you, so that you can get started right away to save energy and reduce your impact:


  1. Air-dry your laundry rather than using your dryer. This will preserve the fibres longer, too, as the heat of your dryer can damage your clothes, reducing your waste imprint as well.

  2. Do fewer loads of laundry and only run full loads. It may be tempting to do laundry just because it’s “laundry day” but please consider that your washing machine will use the same amount of energy no matter how full the load is. As a result, it makes more sense energy-wise to wait until you have sufficient dirty clothes to run a full load. Besides cutting down the number of loads you’ll wash this way, also consider that washing machines are designed to run most efficiently with full loads.

  3. Only wash dirty clothes. Washing clothes is straining on the environment and the clothes themselves. So, only wash them when they indeed require washing, which is usually the case only after a few wears. In the meantime, you can air out your clothes to freshen them up and do spot cleaning for minor stains.


  1. Let your leftovers cool down before placing them in the fridge. Adding hot food to a cold fridge makes the refrigerator work harder to stabilise its internal temperature again.

  2. Cover all food. Open food containers and drinks increases the moisture levels inside the fridge and thus requires the compressor to work extra hard. To avoid creating waste, steer clear of seran wrap and instead use food containers with lids or cover your food with a small upside down plate or bowl.

  3. Let your dishes air dry. This may require that you turn off heated dry or turn on the air dry option, depending on your model. After the rinse cycle is complete, open your dishwasher and let them sit for a few hours.


  1. Unplug any electronic devices until they are being used. This applies to hair dryers and straighteners, electric toothbrushes, razors, and nightlights, for example. Electric devices that aren’t in use can consume up to 10% of electricity when they’re in standby mode or even turned off (Source).

  2. Heat the person, not the room and lower your use of devices that cool down or warm up the entire room. ACs and space heaters are big energy suckers. Just dressing for the weather (e.g. wearing multiple layers in the winter) even when you’re inside, can go a long way.

  3. Unplug devices that aren’t in use, including your chargers. It may surprise you but devices that are on standby or even turned off use a significant amount of energy and this includes smart plugs and smart devices. In fact, up to 40% of the annual energy consumption of electronic devices occurs when they’re turned off (Source). This energy consumption is referred to as a phantom load and you can learn more about them in the WasteLess Energy Guide and even calculate them here. The best way to look for devices that are likely culprits, turn your lights off at night and make a note of what standby lights and displays shine back at you.


  1. Only run the ventilation fan during your shower or bath and up to 15 minutes after. This is sufficient time to clear any condensation. Fans are a big energy sucker, so it’s best to use them sparingly.

  2. Regularly clean your ventilation fan, at least once every 6 months to ensure efficiency. Dusty clogged vents can be an energy drain as they have to work harder to do their job. 

  3. Lower the temperature of your showers slightly or try a cold or lukewarm shower, especially during the hotter months. Plus points for also reducing your shower time.


  1. Use LEDs instead of incandescent light bulbs when it comes time to replace a burnt-out bulb. LEDs usually have a longer life span and are 70-80% more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs (Source).

  2. Whenever possible, take advantage of natural light during daytime hours instead of using artificial lighting. A south-facing window can illuminate 20-100 times its size. (Source)

  3. Hang mirrors strategically to redirect and distribute natural light to brighten up dark hallways and rooms.

  4. Switch off the lights at home or at work when there’s nobody in the room. At work, one big offender is usually the photocopy room.

  5. Use task lighting instead of illuminating the entire room. Table lamps and counter lights help you concentrate light where it is needed, while ceiling lights can waste a lot of energy without added benefits.

Electric Vehicle

  1. Unload your car immediately after doing the groceries or shopping. Any extra weight in your vehicle (whether gas or EV) requires more energy to be moved around, so unloading your car after shopping trips and removing unnecessary junk from the car means that you will save on gas or electricity when driving.

  2. Charge your EV outside of peak hours. During peak hours energy companies are struggling to produce enough energy to meet our demand and sometimes even have to purchase it from other provinces through the grid.

  3. Drive less and plan your driving routes carefully. Keep in mind that each car weighs between 1 ton and 3.5 tons. This is in addition to your weight and the weight of anyone else or anything else that you’re driving around in your car. Moving this weight from one place to another requires a significant amount of energy. So it is essential to plan out your trips carefully to avoid longer-than-necessary and more-frequent-than-necessary driving. If you can take an alternative means, such as a bike or public transport, consider them a better choice than driving a car.

Download our Energy Saving Guide (below), which features over 170 energy saving tips and useful energy specific information.

Enjoy the Benefits and Good Conscience of Wasting Less Energy.

WasteLess Energy Saving Guide

The WasteLess Energy Saving Guide features 40+ pages of Energy Saving Tips to help you reduce your impact. 

$0.00  $15.00

In 2022, Grow a WasteLess Mindset

In 2022, Grow a WasteLess Mindset

In North America, consumption has become a lifestyle and while our society has become accustomed to cheap goods, we sometimes forget that each product we buy has a massive hidden cost that isn’t reflected on its price tag.

When buying a product, we need to take its entire existence into account:

Each product has to be produced from something.

That something could be a metal that needs to be extracted from the earth, a plastic that is produced from crude oil, a tree that had to be killed, or any other material or organism that we deem valuable as a building block.

Let’s clear out one definition real quick: What we often call “natural resources” are materials that were formed over millions of years through various environmental processes or organisms that lived for thousands of years. Whether we like it or not, they already serve a purpose on this planet and while their purpose is often complex and hard to summarize, what is easy to understand is that interference from us on their existence has dire consequences. Cutting down trees, for example, impacts the ecosystem it was part of and clear-cutting an entire forest can lead to soil erosion and thus landslides, to name just one example.

Each product travels the world many times.

A product is not made in one facility in one country and then shipped directly to your doorstep. If we consider each piece a product is made of, we can see how the environmental impact of their production really adds up.

A car, for example, consists of over 1,000 parts, from the metal that shape its form to the screws and glue that holds things together. The more parts you add, the higher the environmental impact. Each single component consists of a “raw material” that has to be extracted from somewhere, then transported to a facility where it is processed in a certain way, another facility where it is dyed in a certain colour, then shipped to another facility where it is integrated in the production of another component, and after many rounds like this, you have the final components that the product is made of. And don’t forget even the materials that the production machinery is made of or oiled with or repaired with. The final components are then usually shipped to a final production facility, where the individual parts are assembled. But that, too, doesn’t happen in front of your door, or even in the country where you reside.

From the production facility that assembles it, the item then continues to travel to various distribution centers around the world, burning fossil fuels for each kilometer it travels, until it reaches the store you buy it from or the online warehouse where it is stored until you click the “buy” icon.

Its final journey also counts.

Whether you buy the item online or in the store, it doesn’t just magically appear in your home. Either you drive it home or a delivery service drives to your place to deliver it. These kilometers count towards its transportation cost also. You own an EV? Good for you, but that doesn’t change the impact as much as you may like. The electricity that charges your EV needs to come from somewhere also. No energy source is without its own environmental impact, not even the “clean” ones, because the solar panels, dams, and wind turbines are made of “stuff” that was derived and transported, in a similar way.

When an item dies, our planet dies a little bit, too.

Whether the item breaks because of planned obsolescence, an accident, or old age, what do you do with an item that no longer works? If the answer is that you upcycle it, then the planet’s death is a little bit delayed, but ultimately every item that is no longer usable has to be disposed of somehow and somewhere. No recycling promise in the world can lift that weight off your conscience. In Canada only 9% of what you “recycle” actually gets a second life. If the item is made of plastic, it gets 2 more lives at most, but a plastic bottle isn’t turned into a plastic bottle, it is turned into something of lesser value. Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely, but that doesn’t mean that this happens. “Recyclable” never means that the item is actually “being recycled.” So, please remember this.

But even in the best-case scenario where the item is being recycled, this requires massive amounts of energy and as we’ve just discussed, energy has a massive environmental impact, no matter how it is being derived.

In the worst case scenario, the item is being burnt or dumped. This impacts ecosystems and wildlife across the world in many forms, because this burning and dumping doesn’t necessarily happen on our soil, which means that this adds another layer of transportation to the equation. Toxic waste is often a by-product of discarding materials, which adds another strain to the environment, sometimes for generations to come.

The Jobs Excuse

Whenever we talk about reducing consumption, it escalates into an argument of “less consumption equals less sales equals less jobs.” So, let’s clear this one up while we’re at it.

If jobs were the ultimate goal of a company (not profits), they wouldn’t outsource the labour to poor countries. And if you the little voice now argues that it gives jobs abroad, you may be heart-broken to hear that the production facilities of our corporations often destroy local economies in those countries entirely. So, jobs aren’t a factor.

What’s more: Our capitalist system was designed to finance unlimited growth through debt. This debt is eating our working class alive as we speak. And it isn’t large corporations that employ the most people in our developed world either. In fact, the small businesses that are being crushed by large corporations are currently employing 70% of the private working force in Canada, so when they fold up, so will our jobs. 

So in summary:

Buy only what you need, shop local, shop small.

The Solution: Join our WasteLess Society

Wasting Less leads to a happier planet, happier planet, and a happier wallet.

Wasting Less Saves Money

Sure, sometimes you really need an item. What we’re referring to when we talk about monetary savings are those wants and conveniences and impulse buys. Those you can usually wean yourself off of and save a lot of money in the long run.

Join Your Local Buy Nothing Group

If you’ve never heard of buy nothing groups, today is your lucky day! Chances are that whatever you need or want may be available from someone who no longer needs or wants theirs. Hence, you may even be able to get the item for free! This solves someone else’s problem and yours at the same time. Magic! 

Think Before You Buy

Before you add an item to your cart at the store, examine it carefully.

  • What is it made with?
  • Where was it produced?
  • How is it packaged?

Before you click that “buy” button online, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need it?
  • What will I do with it?
  • How will it get here?
  • What packaging will come in?
  • What uses do I have for this item AND its packaging?

It’s our mission is to help Canadians
waste less
by learning to truly reduce consumption and breaking free from wasteful habits!

Get Involved

Let's Connect

Phone: +1 (604)-500-8376

WasteLess Society
c/o Connie Reichelsdorfer
PO Box 55028
Southgate Mall PO
Nanaimo, BC V9R 6L0

2021 – WasteLess Society. All rights reserved.

Created with in Nanaimo, BC.