July 11, 2018 5:35 pm
Updated: July 11, 2018 6:32 pm

‘Package-free’: How a Verdun family reduced household waste to the size of a soup can

WATCH: As waste issues plague some Montreal neighbourhoods, residents say it’s time to reconsider how we live and what we throw out. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, a Verdun family has found a way to cut back on their household garbage.


Jessica Morales says she’s stubborn, and that has helped her make a significant change in the way her family lives.

“They think I’m crazy,” she grins, “but they’re also inspired,” she says of her friends.

Her and her family have managed to reduce their garbage significantly.

They were throwing out about two shopping bags of garbage every week. Even their recycling was a lot.

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“Our recycling bin was probably about as tall as me and we’d be putting that out every two weeks or so” she tells Global News.

READ MORE: CDN-NDG borough turns to blue-collar workers to help ease recycling chaos

That prompted them to reduce their waste even further. Their garbage can is now an old soup can, the size of a large mason jar. Even their recycling is now down to a box that’s smaller than a milk crate that they rarely fill.

They started by changing their shopping habits.

“By buying mostly fresh produce instead of packaged snacks and pre-made meals and things like that,” she explains. “Making a lot of things from scratch.”

She buys groceries in bulk, brings bottles to stores for refills so the bottles don’t get tossed into the recycling bin, and they strive for package-free whenever possible.

She says, “It’s kind of simplified our lives. We weren’t so overwhelmed with choices because [now] our choices were a little bit more limited.”

READ MORE: Recycling dos and don’ts

Because they’re buying less food, they waste less, and they find their new lifestyle is helping them to save money.

Morales is a full-time mom for now and she admits not everyone can do what she does.
“It’s just about making adjustments that will suit your family and your family life,” she explains.

Robin Simon agrees. He opened the Chez Robin grocery store in Verdun a year ago where shoppers are encouraged to bring containers for refilling.

He says all the containers are sterilized before being refilled. The whole process makes it easier for his clients and encourages them to reuse to reduce waste.

He thinks that with all the problems that municipalities are having because of China’s refusal to continue accepting recycling material, people need to change.

“I think we’re at that point where everyone has to do their own share. “Seriously,” he says. “For me it’s been my mentality since I was born.”

Morales has found that her family’s new way of life is influencing the people around her.

“They think I’m crazy but then they start doing little things and they realize that I’m not so crazy,” she laughs.

It’s all about taking baby steps, she says.

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