Managing editor

Trash talk

A recent move by China to tighten recycling requirements has thrown municipal recycling schemes across Canada into turmoil.

In a riot of clamouring bottles and backfiring brakes, a week’s worth of your trash gets trucked off to be recycled. It's all very comforting to those of us who brag that we recycle everything – unless, like half the planet, your town was selling your discards to China.

After years of buying over 50 per cent of the world’s scrap paper and plastic to fuel its growing resource-hungry economy, China announced it’s through with being the world’s “garbage dump” and, as of January 1, barred imports of our recycling it says are too often contaminated with garbage and even hazardous waste.

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Nude food

By Adria Vasil
Zero-waste grocery stores are beginning to appear across Canada, with the aim of curtailing the scourge of food packaging.

The letters glazed on the large shopfront window promise something most grocers don’t typically offer: food in the buff.

This is Nu, Ottawa’s first zero-waste grocery store, where virtually everything on offer comes stripped of packaging, or naked as the name suggests in French. Inside the airy 1,700 square foot space, you’ll find display cases of fresh fruits and vegetables, with no cling wrap, Styrofoam trays or spools of plastic baggies in sight. A wall of shiny stainless steel containers offers an array of oils, vinegars and soy sauce not to grab and lug home – these jugs have taps with rows of refillable glass jars sitting beneath them (in case you forget to bring your own containers from home). Even mayonnaise and ketchup come in bulk here, in the refrigerated case next to slabs of tofu, cheese and, on Thursdays, hummus.

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A taste of country: the rise of young, female farmers

Farming has traditionally been a male-dominated pursuit, but a new crop of younger female farmers is working to change that.

Down a gravel driveway, beside an old glass greenhouse and three plastic-sheathed hoop houses bursting with tomatoes and cucumbers, sits a large faded wooden barn. Inside, a handful of farm workers amble in one night a week to debrief, or, more accurately, de-stress. “We do a yoga night Tuesday nights,” says Bethany Klapwyk from under a sun-bleached yellow and green Beaver Lumber ball cap. “Just with the team. Because honestly, we’re all very sore.”

Klapwyk is careful to ensure that everything on this farm is done sustainably, not just to keep the soil in balance but so she and her farm team can keep humming along healthily, too. She’s the co-owner here at Zocalo Organics, an 83-acre property dotted with greenhouses, veggie gardens, hayfields, cedar forests and wetlands in Hillsburgh, an hour and a half north west of Toronto. And at 27, she's one of the nation’s youngest farm operators, part of a burgeoning movement of female agriculturists in their 20s and 30s seeking to work the land differently, sustainably, ecologically.

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Lights, camera, compost!

By Adria Vasil
Eco-conscious actors don’t necessarily work on eco-friendly sets. But the film industry is starting to take action.

If you’re up on your celebrity gossip, you’ll know Bradley Cooper recently drove to dinner with his ex in a Prius, and Jennifer Lawrence shops at Whole Foods with colourful, reuseable shopping bags.

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The mindful corporation

Self-meditation techniques aimed at getting present have uncertain effects on people, planet and profit.

SAN FRANCISCO – Executives from Google, Facebook and Instagram are all taking turns on a hotel conference room stage sharing business insights with an audience of 2,000. They’re not, as you might expect, clicking through slide shows about user growth or retention rates. Instead, they’re swapping pre-meeting meditation techniques, pausing to “get present” and laying out the benefits of a compassionate workspace.

This is Wisdom 2.0, a conference where meditation gurus and technology leaders converse about living mindfully in the modern world.

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