#HaltonWasteChallenge While Travelling

Hello Friends of Halton Green Screens,

Neelan and I recently spent our first weekend away since starting the #HaltonWasteChallenge in October 2015. We went to Montreal with the baby. And I’m happy to say, it was surprisingly easy! Major considerations for us were:

  1. Cloth diapers away from home (and our washing machine)
  2. Waste-free snacks for the drive there and back
  3. Getting my message across at stores and restaurants while practicing my French

 

Cloth Diapers

I have to say, as much as we like the cloth diapers I was dreading travelling with them but it was a piece of cake! They are a little bulkier so they took up more space, and since it was just two nights we brought the dirty diapers home to wash them. I just brought the washable bag out of our diaper pail and emptied the dirty diapers into there every time we were in our room. The diaper pail bag doesn’t seal but with the dirty diapers in the trunk there was no diaper odor to deal with on the drive home!

One nice thing about the cloth diapers when we’re out and about (whether locally or on a trip) is that they almost never have poop explosions, but I was unlucky enough to have our worst explosion so far while along at a restaurant (sorry if this is TMI, especially for anyone who is not used to poopy diapers)! Neelan and our friends were elsewhere at an event that was not baby-friendly, so I was having a great day doing all the things people don’t like to do with me. The explosion cut my fun a little short, and that was one instance where it would have been nice if I could have just thrown everything in the garbage – including a cute but poopy baby outfit – and not given it a second thought. It would have helped a little bit if I at least had a second pair of hands to help hold those flailing little baby feet, or if this restaurant had a change table in the washroom.

The real test will come later this summer on a longer trip (camping) where I will have to wash the diapers by hand. We will see if I still like them then.

 

Waste-free snacks

I finally made some homemade crackers! I have been planning on doing this ever since I first watched “The Clean Bin Project” and saw Jen making crackers with her pasta maker. I chose not to pull out the pasta maker this time and just used my hands and a rolling pin. They were super easy, super cheap, and super fast. And they tasted like crackers. Next time I will use the pasta maker because they could have been a little thinner, but they were definitely a success. Even after the challenge ends, I don’t think I will ever again purchase crackers with packaging now that I know how easily I can make them myself. In this batch I just threw in some sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Next time I may experiment with other flavours.

 

I also baked some banana, coconut, and oatmeal cookies, and we took packaging-free fruit, but the crackers were the new waste-free experiment here.

 

Getting my message across in French

When in Quebec I like to practice speaking French. I would say that I am conversational in French, but not fluent. I was a little bit nervous about making my waste-reducing requests in French. I knew ahead of time that English is almost always an option in Montreal, but I have so few opportunities to practice French that I really try not to switch to English. I forgot to look up the word for straw before we went and didn’t remember until we were already at a restaurant, but our server had already switched to English by the time we ordered our water. So I used the English word. And when I went into a little place to order some vegan poutine to go, I just handed them my container and they were happy to use it. So really I was worried about absolutely nothing.

I am not much of a shopper generally, but I am a sucker for used bookstores. The first few months of the challenge I had to avert my eyes as I passed my favourite used bookstores to avoid the temptation. In Montreal, I was very grateful for the exception that allows me to buy secondhand baby necessities!! Books are definitely baby necessities, and I did not yet have many French kids’ books. I didn’t have ANY French kids’ music. So I got to spend hours browsing through used book and music stores for the sake of my baby’s brain. Part of me felt like this was cheating a little bit and thought that I should have found ways to enjoy the vacation without doing any shopping, but a bigger part of me was way too happy to find some great French books and music for the little one.

 

I am thinking my next post will focus on temptations avoided, close calls, and the little failures that have been adding trash to my bin. Bye for now!

 

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2 comments

  • Anna West

    Hi Heather,

    Congrats on the birth of your baby!! This is a great challenge, I’m really impressed with your commitment! I have traveled with cloth diapers many times. When we had washing facilities it was easy. But we did use cloth diapers on our 5 day backcountry camping trip in Algonquin when our youngest was 11 months old. While that was certainly more of a challenge, it was possible with some creativity! I’m not sure if you’ve done your camping trip yet but thought I would share what I did in case it is in any way helpful to you :)

    We used flat diapers with wool and PUL covers. We had a bunch of birdseye weave cotton flats that we bought used and also some flour sack towels that we bought very cheap at Walmart. Both are very absorbent and dry super-fast! We used a small pail to handwash the diapers with our regular laundry detergent (Nellie’s) which is biodegradable. We rinsed them lots of times and then hung them to dry. It worked really well because they are easy to wash and dry fast. You could hand wash other types of diapers (we have used pretty much every kind there is) but we found these the easiest ones to use while camping. When you’re done with the flats they can be sold or used as cleaning rags (we did both!).

    Good luck and feel free to message me if you’d like to chat further :)
    Anna

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