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Zero-waste living a success for Victoria family of 4

06/25/2015 05:48 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 05:59 EDT
For the past two months, Katelin Leblond has used a roasted red pepper jar as a garbage can for her family of four. It's part their journey toward a zero-waste lifestyle.  

"I tried to find the biggest jar I could find so it was less daunting," she told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"Mostly, it's produce stickers. Ties for produce. There's Band-Aids in there. Dental floss."

- Recycling Council of B.C. aims for zero waste 

Leblond was inspired by a YouTube video of a family living waste-free.

"The woman featured in the video, zero-waste guru Bea Johnson, was instantly catapulted to the Oprah Winfrey status of awesome in my world. It was my 'Aha!' moment," said Leblond.

"I just thought, if they can do it, I can do it."

Beating expectations

"We never thought when we started that we would get to the point where we would say we wouldn't have a trash can.

"We just thought we would start, and start by reducing the number of things that we have in our home, learning to say no to things we don't need, and just learning to make our consumer choices consciously."

"You have confidence from looking back and saying, 'Okay, we've come this far.  Why not see if we can take it to the next level?'"

For Leblond, paring down has given her family a greater appreciation for the little things in life.  

"When you can indulge, when you go to a restaurant and you can choose something on the menu that you don't have at home, that feels special." 

She hasn't crunched the numbers yet to see whether this mode of living is saving her money, but she suspects that's the case. She plans to open up the books once she hits the one-year mark. 

Blogging on PareDownHome.com 

Leblond and her business partner Tara Smith-Arnsdorf launched their blog on Earth Day "to document our journey and to bring awareness to the lifestyle, and essentially to show people that we haven't morphed into green quote, unquote hippie monsters. 

"We're still normal. We still have a sense of style. We really want to start a conversation and have people think about their consumption habits," Leblond said.

Biggest challenges

"It's learning to say no and anticipate what people are going to offer the kids: going to the dentist, toothbrushes and packages, the treasure chest, stickers at the grocery store, the vending machine after swimming lessons.

"Those things are fleeting. The kids think they want them for five seconds, and then they're on to the next thing. We need to remind ourselves of that," Leblond said.

"We've grown up with traditions. In our mind, we think we're depriving our kids of things if they don't experience the same things we experienced. Essentially, that's not the case. We just have to create different traditions."

To hear the full interview with Katelin Leblond, listen to the audio labelled: Pare Down: Zero waste living.

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