vermaculture

Meatless (Wasteless) Monday

I’m a vegetarian already, so Meatless Monday is my lifestyle anyways. So, for the fun of a challenge, I decided to double up my sustainability objective today with a Meatless, Wasteless, Monday meal

After hearing about the Trash is for Tossers blog this week, I was inspired to follow one of the blog’s recipes for tonights dinner. Trash is for Tossers is run by a Lauren Singer from New York, who lives a zero waste lifestyle. The blog coaches readers on which aspects of our lifestyle are completely unsustainable, and how to find alternatives. Tonight, I modified Lauren’s recipe for a zero-waste Egg Salad Sandwich.

So here it goes. First things first, before heading to the grocery store I loaded up on cloth bags and used mason jars to use as alternatives to plastic bags. 

Despite my notions that I was well-prepared, upon arriving I realized that I was going to be extremely limited for options. A lot of low waste recommendations that I’ve seen in the past mention farmers markets and local vendors. I realized quickly that this is due to the fact that almost everything in the grocery store has some type of plastic or unsustainable material packaging! Even the fresh produce!

I wasted a fair amount of time walking around in disbelief and frustration at the unnecessary packaging I had never even noticed. But, I finally managed to find avocados without stickers, celery out of the bag, spring onions with no elastic band, unpackaged cucumbers, eggs in a recycled box, and fresh buns with bio-degradable bags. I didn’t really need to use the bags for the buns, but I had a purpose in mind for them.

The recipe was really easy to follow, so I made enough for myself and two roommates dinner and the next day’s lunch. We all loved it, which was really exciting to me, since neither of my roommates are vegetarians. 

Yum!

Afterward, I dampened and shredded the egg cartons and paper bags, and threw them into our vermaculture compost (worms!) with the vegetable scraps. This is why I decided to use the bread bags. Between four roommates, we always have plenty of food to add to the worm bins, but never enough ‘bedding’. 

We got our Red Wiggler worms from a workshop with Dave from the Leaf Ninjas last year. They are doing really well, and they help us eliminate some of the inevitable household food waste. I would definitely recommend them for Calgarians, as our weather can make outdoor composting a challenge. As an added bonus, the ‘worm castings’ are super nutritious for the soil in your garden!

So that’s that; a fairly easy, waste-free, vegetarian dinner. Despite the initial frustrations, I ended up enjoying today’s challenge and I actually learnt a lot about my daily habits. This might have been the biggest personal insight from this project so far, and I will definitely be a lot more aware of my grocery shopping impact in the future. 

-Shelby

Started my vermaculture farm today! I spent my entire morning digging up redworms (eisenia fetida) deep in the compost pile. Gloved of course ;)

I used a plastic tub with 12 holes drilled in the bottom to allow for proper drainage. For bedding I used paper strips at about 70% moisture. That’s about what the red-worm’s body moisture is so that’s what their environment should be.

I dug a hole in the bedding and placed a small amount of compost in. I then placed it in the basement, using a black plastic bag to cover it, keeping moisture in, and light out!