22. Nu Grocery

July 18, 2018

Do you ever walk into a supermarket and get that sinking feeling in your stomach, as you look around at all that wasteful plastic and unnecessary packaging? Imagine getting your groceries in a plastic free environment with no plastic bags and no plastic single use containers. A place with fresh fruit and vegge, friendly staff, plenty of vegan options, and a scale to tare your own jars. 

Canada's capital city is home to Valerie LeLoup's zero waste grocery store Nu Grocery. Started in 2017 Valerie has made her vision a reality - a place where we can buy food without destroying the planet with all that packaging. 

Tune in to find out what it takes to run a zero waste grocery store and learn more about co-founder Valerie as Laura stops into her shop for a visit in Ottawa. 


21. Zero Waste Periods

July 3, 2018

Have you ever heard of collective action? It's basically when a bunch of people make a change in their own lives that, collectively, ends up making a big difference.

The average female will use approximately 11,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. So what if one person switches to reusable period products, but then another woman switches, and another woman... suddenly millions of bags of garbage would be saved from being produced and sent to landfill. Single use sanitary pads and tampons may be small but they pack a nasty environmental punch. Not only are they made with chemicals from the oil and gas industry but they end up in our water systems once used. 

Meghan Adams is an environmental engineer from the American midwest who wrote a paper on sanitary products. She created a survey that received over 1,200 responses all about sanitary product knowledge and use. Her results may surprise you!


In the U.S. alone Meghan's research estimates over 20 billion sanitary period items go to landfill every year. Join Meghan and Laura as we discuss our research we found and also our own experiences with using different period products over the years. 

Further Reading

DeVito & Schecter Dioxins In Tampons

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Toxic Shock Syndrome

Girls Missing School Study


20. Jo Kaminska Foundation

June 20, 2018


Meet Joanna Ruda.


Her company Jo Kaminska Ethical Jewelry has been funding the Jo Kaminska Foundation for years, which focuses on educating others about the dangers of single use plastic overconsumption.


Originally from Poland she’s spent many years living in Sri Lanka and she’s spoken to the UN multiple times regarding plastic pollution. But lately she’s been frustrated as the world keeps pumping out single use plastic with disregard for the consequences – and those consequences are adding up. 




Tune in to episode 20 as Joanna tells us of her travels, the sights she’s seen in Sri Lanka, and how she’s put together an action plan to combat unnecessary plastic. 




19. Plastics & Politics with Catherine McKenna

June 14, 2018



Canada has entered the world stage when it comes to the environment and plastics recovery and reduction.

Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre and Minister of Environment & Climate Change Catherine McKenna knows what's up when it comes to reducing single use plastics - she's also a diver and a swimmer and has seen first hand that the oceans are filled with plastics.


In June 2018 she attended the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, where The Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas, and Resilient Coastal Communities was created. 

Find out what Canada is doing on the world stage, who's leading our Canadian government to a healthier world, and what the Charlevoix Blueprint means going forward not only for Canada but for our world's oceans and our entire planet.


The Charlavoix Blueprint

Catherine McKenna swims to celebrate the C3 Ship that sailed Canada from coast to coast to coast

CBC article about the shrimp industry


18. Restaurants & Tech

June 6, 2018

zero waste, restaurants, tech, apps, feedback app


Meet Josh Walters (front right), one of the men behind the new Feedback App sweeping Toronto’s quick service restaurant scene.

When a restaurant gets close to throwing out leftover food they post a discount on the Feedback App instead. Hungry deal seekers can use the app to find restaurants close by offering discounts in realtime, thus decreasing food waste sent to landfills.


zero waste, apps, tech, restaurants


Not only can restaurants make more money by offering quick discounts instead of wasting food, customers can save money too, and get to know more local restaurants and find new favorites. Feedback even donates meals to charity - find out how on this episode of ZWC.


Feedback App 

The Ontario Government’s Donation of Food Act, 1994 

Kupfert & Kim


17. BPA In Our Diets

May 23, 2018


What is BPA, where is it found, how is it getting inside us, and why is it potentially dangerous to human health? Which age group is most exposed to BPA?

Lorna Harries is an Associate Professor in Molecular Genetics at University Exeter Medical School.

zero waste, BPA  

“She developed an interest in gene regulation and alternative messenger RNA processing in endocrine disease and human ageing. She now heads the ‘RNA-mediated mechanisms of disease’ group at UEMS. She has written over 90 peer-reviewed articles and was awarded the Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Prize Lectureship in 2011. She is co-ordinator of the annual UEMS ‘Men in White’ school outreach with Dr. John Chilton. This event brings in year 9 students from schools stretching from South Devon to North Somerset and gives them hands-on experience of work in a research laboratory. Lorna is a STEMnet ambassador and also an Exeter Catalyst Champion for Public Engagement.”

Read more at https://medicine.exeter.ac.uk/people/profile/index.php?web_id=Lorna_Harries#W5JBmbcALyr5Ffs4.99

Lorna recently headed a research study about BPA levels in the diets of teenagers.

Read her full study here: An engaged research study to assess the effect of a ‘real-world’ dietary intervention on urinary bisphenol A (BPA) levels in teenagers.

Change petition for BPA labelling in packaging:



16. Zero Waste Flowers

May 8, 2018

The flower industry packs a large carbon footprint by using airplanes for transport, refrigerated trucks, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, plastic packaging, cellophane, little plastic trinkets, and balloons and ribbons that end up on our beaches and can strangle wildlife. What a mess!


Local farmer Melanie Harrington of Dahlia May Flower Farm doesn't use any of these harmful aspects of the flower industry yet her blooms are healthy, beautiful, and bountiful.


Find out how Melanie grows and sells flowers sustainably in the Bay of Quinte region and why her business is booming.


Dahlia May Flower Farm


15. Environmental Defence With Tim Gray

April 25, 2018

environmental defence


The Director of Environmental Defence Canada, Tim Gray, joins the Countdown to speak with us about legislation in Canada that's leading to waste reduction on a massive provincial scale.

Five cent plastic bag charges have shown to be more than 85% effective in reducing plastic bag use and Environmental Defence is pushing Ontario to introduce a bottle return program that will see bottles returned for 10 cents - it's proven to work! Ontario produces about 3 billion plastic bottles a year but only 1.5 billion make it into the recycling system. A bottle return program will see upwards of 90% of those bottles returned.

Did you know that there are lobbyists in this world who want to DOUBLE OUR PLATIC PRODUCTION to increase their sales? If the plastic industry doesn't take more responsibility for plastic recovery then citizens may get so fed up with plastic pollution that we push for single-use bans in general.

Laura also gets the chance to ask Tim what Canadians, as a freezing cold and large nation, can do to curb our carbon footprint when we have long distances to travel and homes we need to significantly heat just to survive our cold winters.

This is Tim's article in the Toronto Star on how Canada can lead the way forward against plastic waste at the G7 Summit.

We talk about the Great Lakes, Canada's microbead ban, and how governments can take action to reduce waste by setting targets and introducing penalties.

If you're interested in paving out an environmental career for yourself Tim gives some valuable advice for those wanting a meaningful, purposeful job that helps the environment and reduces needless waste.

Environmental Defence Canada


14. Sea of Life: Julia Barnes

April 10, 2018

Our mindless overconsumption is out of control on a planetary scale and our oceans are being emptied at an alarming rate. A lot of fish that are taken from our oceans today lose their lives but aren’t actually consumed by humans – what’s happening to our oceans?

julia barnes, sea of life, zero waste

Julia Barnes is the award-winning filmmaker behind Sea of Life. For as long as she can remember Julia has been passionate about the natural world, but it wasn’t until she was 16 that she realized the world she loved was in jeopardy. After watching Rob Stewart’s documentary Revolution and learning that the world’s coral reefs, rain forests and fisheries are expected to be gone by the middle of the century she was compelled to take action to protect the world she loved from human destruction. Film was the most powerful weapon she could imagine so at the age of 16, with no film experience, she picked up a video camera and set out to make a documentary to raise awareness about the biggest threats facing the planet and inspire audiences to turn things around.

oceans, zero waste, save our oceans


Sea of Life Movie


13. Natural dyes: Sustain Clothing

March 27, 2018

Sustain makes healthy, sustainable clothing from organic, natural fibers that are good for your body and good for the world. Unlike traditional manufacturing processes they avoid using petroleum-based dyes and toxic chemicals that harm the environment and can absorb into your skin. Sustain's selection of plant-dyed clothing is made with certified organic materials and traditional ayurvedic processes. Also, by using pesticide-free plants for both fabrics and dyes, Sustain actively reduces harmful chemicals in the atmosphere. Together we can help reverse the cause of global climate change and save our own skin.

Kat, the founder of Sustain, has given us coupon code ZEROWASTE for a 15% discount

Sustain Clothing