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I met Charmaine Smuts at a SALT (South African Ladies in Toronto Facebook group) coffee catch up in Oakville probably over 2 years ago now. Charmaine was in the throws of developing Envi Products, an online store supporting her passion, of trying at best, to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Charmaine talks about 2020 being a year of incredible growth, education and an imperfect journey to living a zero-waste lifestyle, with the emphasis on "imperfect" because eliminating plastic and general waste is just not viable in a family with kids and not always cost-effective, hygienic or practical. True, I know this well.

The Smuts family have tried to live by the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) and have an extra R -which they have created as Replace! I love that. The family has such amazing stories to tell living in many developing countries. It was only until they got to Canada, that they could truly recycle.

Along the journey of how to embrace the now 4 R's, they were disappointed to discover that that only 9% of Canada's plastic waste generated annually is recycled and much of it ends up in our landfills no matter which bin we put it in. What? When Charmaine pointed this out to me I was also a little disappointed. Sigh.

With all this information and much social media images of amongst others, plastic straws floating amongst sea life, could only ignite some sort of action. And so Envi Products was born. I have shopped at Envi and bought gifts for friends from this slick, clean and professional store. Beautiful organic cotton mesh vegetable bags, bamboo cutlery, bamboo toothbrushes, silicone lids and beeswax wraps to name a few. I own the most beautiful glass water bottle that has a crystal inside it. Love this product and use it everyday. Charmaine now has a blog too, The Eco Mom ( Read these very informative articles, here's my best one: Are You Adding Plastic to Your Diet? I salute you Charmaine! No matter how small we start, we can make a difference. If everyone could see it that way, what a difference it would make.

Happy zero-wasting people. It's time.



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