Cottage life is coming to a close this season. Have you been eco friendly this year? There’s only a month left of prime-time sunshine and a scant amount of weekends left to soak them up. If you’re lucky enough to count yourself a cottage owner or visitor, then you’re likely a nature lover, drawn to the great outdoors for the scenery, fresh air, clean water and wildlife that makes Canada beautiful and rugged.
I cheerfully belong to the owner category, #blessed to be a proud owner of a tiny two-bedroom spot in Kawartha Lakes. Pristine water, friendly people and deep woods keep me coming back, making the pilgrimage weekly from the city in search of a little solitude. I was raised camping, spending summers in Temagami, portaging and paddling through lakes and bays, and forming the start of my deep love of the environment.
So it’s with that spirit that I do my best to inspire those around me, especially my flock. Spending all the time outdoors has been bliss, I’m careful to leave only footprints behind and drag as little trash back with me as possible. Here are a few things I’ve learned in reducing waste at the cottage.
COFFEE ON DEMAND
I’m a better person after a coffee, there’s no easy way around it: coffee is an absolute necessity. But with people waking up early, or super late, Nespresso makes it easy to have cafe-style coffee even in the rugged outdoors. With a variety of flavours, blends and formats, we stow a glass jug of pods and let guests help themselves, knowing that we can recycle all the pods safely back in the city.
LEAVE POPS ALONE
You might be on a well, or bring up your own H20, but either way, water is your best bet, and most versatile if you spring for a SodaStream. Whether you’re mixing cocktails up for the crew or adding some bubbles to the lemonade for the kids, it’s flexible to make custom flavours up on the fly, creating crowd- pleasers for everyone.
The coral reefs are a complete wreck and a lot of that pollution is pouring off our skin, right into the ocean. Hawaii, Mexico and other beach-filled hotspots have now started to ban certain sunscreens, so isn’t it time we investigate what we’re doing up north too? It’s all about the benzenes baby, with oxybenzone and octinoxate acting as key culprits in what’s polluting our waters. Mineral-based sunscreens offer decent protection, you may need to reapply a few more times or end up looking slightly ghosty for the first while, but the formulas are coming, and it’s time to give green beauty a boost. Alba Botanica makes a stellar lineup of safe sunscreens too.
TURN GREEN TO BROWN
While I have an extra green bin up north, and lug the ‘extras’ back with me, my compost pile is worth its weight in gold. Not only do I never need to buy dirt for the garden, but I can turn my leftovers into the soil, nourishing the grounds and turning my old onions into new fresh mint. Since trash panda predators are fierce, we don’t put any sweet stuff in there. We’ve had luck with eggshells, coffee grounds, and any and all veggie peels or odds or ends.
Single-use plastics have no place in the emerald forest. Instead, think ahead, and buy biggie sizes to dole out snacks and sweet stuff. These adorable little Colibri zipper-top sacks are a pop of fun and are useful for just about anything you can imagine.
Got a green tip for us? Leave it below!