There's plenty we can do at home to help the planet

Dig in for Earth Day

If you missed the memo, April is Earth Month, and this coming Saturday (April 22) is Earth Day.

Making smart, sustainable choices has come a long way from merely recycling the week’s newspapers and returning a pile of glass containers. It’s a part of daily life.

The recycling bin under my kitchen sink gets full much faster than it used to, and even though I have no green thumb to speak of, I’m pondering herbs for the patio.

(Hint: if stink bugs make you feel like you’re in a B-list horror movie, plant fragrant herbs like lemon and mint. These will supposedly keep these miniature dinosaur-like stinkers away.)

Speaking of things that need sunlight to grow, plant-based foods have also come a long way since the days of “Tofurky,” which debuted in 1995 and is still around.

There’s a growing worldwide organization dedicated to upcycled food and preventing food waste.

Summerland-based Crush Dynamics Inc. is a member, and recently partnered with fellow member Big Mountain Foods to enhance some of the latter’s products. Crush Dynamics takes the remnants of wine production, for example, and turns it into a nutritious ingredient and flavour enhancer.

I am a huge fan of Good 2 Go snacks, especially the Blondies and Brownies, and Cola Gummies from SmartSweets.

Of course, I discovered some of these treats on a trip to Costco, but at least I carpooled and picked up items for a friend so she wouldn’t have to make an unnecessary trip.

One choice, and one step at a time, or one “push for better” at a time, according to SodaStream, a company that has prevented five billion single-use plastic bottles from being used, while at the same time making the world a little more sparkly with its at-home “carbonator.”

The gentle ‘“whoosh” and “hiss” as the bottle fills with bubbles is oddly satisfying, though much like my missing green thumb, I have yet to perfect my SodaStream button technique. I often end up with a bit of spillage on the counter, which I wipe up with a reusable micro-fibre cloth.

By no means am I doing absolutely everything sustainably. Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think Coffee Crisp wrappers or Cheetos bags are recyclable, and until it’s warm enough to plant the aforementioned herbs, there’s a mesh bag of Bounce dryer sheets tied to my patio railing.

These lavender sheets are also an attempt dissuade the stink bugs from coming inside, but I’m pretty sure the bugs are mocking me.

Editors note: Following publication of this column, additional information was provided about what can and cannot be recycled, so Allison Markin provided this note:

'I stand corrected, as an astute reader has pointed out, chip bags, candy wrappers and other flexible plastic packaging are recyclable at depots in B.C. Not sure about an item? Visit RecycleBC where you can look it up and learn if it goes in your blue bin or needs to be taken to a depot for recycling."

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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