Each time I have a piece of trash to throw out, it ends up in one of four places: the compost bin, the paper product recycling bin, the plastic recycling bin, or the trash. But there are times when I have something and I'm not quite sure where it should go because I'm not certain it can be recycled. Is this for the paper bin? The plastic bin? Ummm...help?!...
In comes TerraCycle.
"TerraCycle is a highly-awarded, international upcycling and recycling company that collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material into affordable, innovative products. TerraCycle is widely considered the world’s leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable, post-consumer waste."
Here's what TerraCycle is all about:
So basically, you collect and send your non-recyclable or hard to recycle trash to TerraCycle and they will recycle or upcycle it into park benches, backpacks, shopping bags, and more. They collect all types of trash—from MP3 Players, to candy wrappers, to laptops.
See all of the types of trash TerraCycle is currently accepting.
So how do you get your trash to TerraCycle so they can repurpose them? The best part is that there is no cost to participate in their programs. Just sign-up for an account and choose the types of trash you will be collecting. When the box you are collecting the trash in is filled, download a free shipping label and ship it off to TerraCycle. Once they receive it, they will credit your account with points. TerraCycle points can be redeemed for a variety of charitable gifts, or donated to a non-profit organization or school of your choice.
Pretty easy, right? This can be done at your home as a family, in classrooms, and even with co-workers in an office. It's is such a great way to teach your kids about upcycling and the importance of not just mindlessly throwing things away. It's always a good idea to have a thought process involved when deciding how to dispose of a hard to recycle product. When those times come when you can't decide, check with TerraCycle to see if they will accept it.
Ghosts, goblins, witches, and zombies—it’s that time of year again when all things scary come out to give us a fright. But did you know that the ingredients in the Halloween makeup your kids (and you!) use may really be the scariest things about Halloween?
In a study conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, it was found that the majority of conventional Halloween makeup on the market contains heavy metals such as lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium.
The study also stated that most manufacturers may not even be aware that these ingredients are in their products:
"Due to a lack of manufacturer testing and regulatory oversight, it is possible that the companies are not even aware that the products are contaminated. These contaminants likely get into the products when poor-quality ingredients are used."
It’s a known fact that lead is found in most mainstream cosmetic brands*, and unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list “lead” on their labels, whether they know it's there or not. Since there is no safe level of lead in children, it’s important that we protect them from it. Lead exposure in children can cause brain damage, it's a carcinogen, and it can cause learning disabilities.
* Pick up Gillian Deacon’s book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick for some great info on avoiding toxic chemicals in cosmetics and body care products. It’s a great informative read filled with tips and recommendations.
But how do you know if your Halloween makeup contains these harmful ingredients? Just because it says non-toxic or hypo-allergenic on the label, does not mean that it is free of heavy metals such as lead. This is why it’s scary—because by reading the label; there is no way to know. Ingredient concoctions in most cosmetic products are proprietary.
Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid exposing yourself and your children from these ingredients. Here are a few ideas:
Of course, the best way to avoid toxic Halloween makeup is to avoid it altogether. Go for a costume where makeup is not a necessity. A positive to doing this is that there is little to no cleanup after trick-or-treating. And sure, some may argue that the makeup is only worn once per year for a short period of time, but it's still unnecessary exposure. Why take the risk? Keep in mind that all of this does not only apply to Halloween face paints, it also applies to face paints applied at fairs, play makeup, and of course, adult makeup.
There are some great, natural, non-toxic, mineral-based face paints on the market such as::
There are numerous recipes on the internet for homemade, non-toxic Halloween face paints using common kitchen ingredients. Here a few:
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
Not long ago, I shared the method I use to make my own homemade pumpkin puree. So now, it's only fair that I share my favourite way to use up that puree, right?
The season of "everything pumpkin" makes me happy because I can do this and not feel bad about it:
Yes, I am one of those people who loves everything pumpkin, and honestly, I don't get sick of all the pumpkin recipes being shared during this time of year.
I actually make these muffins year-round. It's impossible for me to wait to make them only during fall because, well, they are lightly spiced, they pair perfectly with a cup of tea on a chilly day, and they are delicious. I'm pretty sure you will agree.
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (plus extra for greasing muffin tin)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 6 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F
Line a muffin tin with liners or generously grease the inside of each cup with coconut oil.
Whisk the two tablespoons of ground flax seeds with six tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit until it thickens. This mixture is known as "flax eggs" and is used as an egg replacement in vegan baking.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
In a large bowl, add the coconut oil, flax mixture, and vanilla. Stir in coconut sugar and pumpkin until blended.
Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined taking care not to over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the largest muffin comes out clean.
If you don’t have a problem with wheat, use 1 3/4 cups of regular flour instead of the gluten-free flour and omit the xanthan gum.
I'm often asked about the flavour of coconut sugar and coconut oil affecting the taste of a recipe. Coconut sugar, an unrefined sweetener, does not taste like coconut at all. It has more of a brown sugar/molasses flavour and works extremely well with baking. It can be used as a substitute, cup-for-cup, for regular sugar in baking recipes. Coconut oil will also not affect the flavour of your baking. The oil on its own does have a coconut flavour, but that flavour does not come through in baking at all, you will not notice any difference in at all. Coconut oil is also healthier for you than regular oils.