Holiday Wish List, New Year’s Resolution: Healthier, Eco-friendly Lifestyle, a blog entry

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We’re in the thick of the holiday season, and the countdown is on for New Year’s resolutions. Ahead of the “new year, new me” social media posts, take a pause and think about your holiday wish list. Reflecting on how this year ends can give you a healthy, positive jump start into the new year.

2019 has been shaped by a lot of awareness on issues surrounding the environment. The Holiday season offers an opportunity to take stock of what we have – the people in our lives and the beauty and complexity of our natural world. Build on this happy momentum as you head into a new year!

If living healthy and having a more eco-friendly home is something you value, here are actions you can take this holiday season to bring with you into the New Year as your New Year’s goals.

Realistic, Simple Ways to Live Healthy and Be More Eco-Friendly this Holiday and into the New Year

1) Leave wishes out of recycling and become a better recycler.

An eco-friendly future is one where we divert waste from the landfill, not fill it up by accident. And this starts in your home.

Waste management may not be the sexiest topic surrounding a healthy, more eco-friendly lifestyle, but it is an important and simple one. While we’ve been taught it’s important to recycle, it’s even more important to recycle right. Especially during the holiday season when more shopping and gifts amount to more new things in the home, it’s important to know how to properly dispose of your materials.

Most people think they’re good recyclers because they toss everything in the blue bin, under the assumption their local facilities will recycle all of it or sort them. This is called wish-cycling: wish-cycling is the primary poor recycling habit that harms recycling programs. Non-recyclables like greasy pizza boxes can contaminate recyclable items, making them unfit for recycling and sending batches of recycling to the landfill.

So, stop wish-cycling! “How?” you ask.

Memorize your municipality’s collection requirements!

Or, more realistically, use an app that tells you exactly what does and doesn’t belong in recycling, like Recycle Coach. Check what services and information we have for your municipality and download the app from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store. Bonus: it even sends you reminder notifications of when to put out your garbage, recycling, yard waste, depending on your municipality’s requirements and schedule.

For everything else that you can’t avoid throwing out or procuring in the first place, think about reusing, repurposing, composting, donating or even selling the items before tossing them in the garbage.

2) Include more vegetables in your grocery list.

We can’t have a list about living healthy and more sustainably without a nod to good ol’ greens. Aside from vegetable production emitting less greenhouse gasses than meat production, did you know that consuming vegetables leads to feeling fuller longer while still packing fewer calories?

Protein-rich, high-fiber items like beans, peas, and spinach achieve two goals at once: 1) you will support agriculture that produces less harmful emissions for the planet 2) while keeping up with your household’s nutritional needs.

If you have a large group to help feed this holiday season, add more vegetable dishes in the menu to help fill your guests while remaining within budget and staying on a healthy course.

If one of your new year’s resolutions includes weight loss, continuing to include more vegetable dishes in your menu helps too! Vegetables typically have fewer calories, after all. And because we often will choose what is readily available to satiate hunger, having vegetables and fruits on hand means you will be more likely to reach for them instead of unhealthy snacks and food items.

(Disclaimer: we’re not prescribing one diet over another, just that the act of adding more veggies to your shopping list will be conducive to the goal of living healthier and being more eco-friendly at home. Happy eating!)

3) Enjoy the outdoors more!

What better way to be environmentally friendly than to be friendlier with the environment? Being outdoors – even just going for a walk – is a simple way to live a healthier lifestyle, while also fueling your mission to be more eco-friendly at home and outside of it.

This holiday season and beyond:

  • • Get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
  • • Feel refreshed and inspired just from spending twenty minutes in the open air.
  • • Improve your memory and restore mental energy.
  • • Relieve stress by going out in nature!

The holidays can be a stressful time for many because of the many obligations and social expectations emphasized during this season. A simple walk amongst trees can help bring down your stress levels. It also is an ideal place to ask for quiet and peace from relatives.

After your guests have gone home, being outdoors instills in us our interconnectedness with nature. It reminds us why it’s important to dispose of plastic straws properly in the first place and why to reduce, reuse, and recycle right at all. When you embrace your place in our natural world, you’ll find it can do wonders for your health. This Holiday and for your New Year’s resolution, this can be an easy goal.

4) Choose natural alternatives to clean your home.

Whether it’s cleaning in preparation for a holiday dinner or for your New Year’s resolution, it can be beneficial to review your cleaning products.

Here are simple and natural alternatives to harsh cleaning solutions for a more eco-friendly home.

  • • Want a fresh smelling kitchen? Instead of using air fresheners, drop cinnamon sticks in a pot of boiling water and let the scent fill the space. What a way to greet guests into your eco-friendly home this holiday!
  • • Baking soda is cheap and an all-around cleaner, polisher, and fungicide.
  • • White vinegar is a great cleaner, with important disclaimers. Tip: Water-stained sink? Plug the drain and fill it with a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Let it sit for a bit before rinsing and wiping it dry.
  • • Lemons and grapefruits are good for spot-cleaning copper-bottom pots and pans and fixtures. Lemons are also good for cleaning glass.

Even products that are advertised as “green” or “natural” can contain ingredients that are irritants if not outright dangerous. They can contribute to respiratory problems, allergic reactions, headaches. A clean home should not be at the expense of your health or the health of our planet.

The environmentally friendly solutions above come with minimal packaging, so less garbage and recycling are required. Also, you’ll be avoiding the use of harsh chemicals that don’t break down during treatment after going down the drain can enter waterways and pollute aquatic wildlife.

Know any more eco-friendly at-home solutions for keeping your home clean? Leave them in the comments.

5) Avoid personal care products that contain toxic ingredients for gifts or yourself.

Whether for gifts or your own vanity table, you can choose personal care products that are more eco-friendly and friendlier to healthy living.

Here are a few common ingredients to watch out for and avoid:

Microbeads are polyethylene (read: a plastic substance) scrubbing beads used in exfoliating facial and body washes. Microbeads give the illusion of a more satisfying exfoliation because of the texture. Once washed away from your face and body, these tiny plastics go down your drain and into the oceans, where they pollute aquatic life.

Preservatives BHA and BHT commonly found in lipsticks and moisturizers have been linked to aquatic life death and genetic mutations in amphibians. In humans, it can be an allergen and has been classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer among other issues.

Triclosan is often found in antibacterial products like hand sanitizers, soaps, and even toothpaste. When washed down the drained to our waterways, it has been linked to cases of biochemistry change in amphibians, fish, and even plants! In your journey to healthier living, it can be harmful in increasing antibiotic resistance, meaning an increased seriousness of infections.

Make it a habit to read the label and recognize toxic ingredients to avoid. There are more ingredients than the above listed to avoid; on the bright side, there are even more solutions to natural alternatives that support your goal of healthy living and a more eco-friendly home!

This Holiday and into the New Year…

The holiday season can be a fun, festive time full of gifts and events. It can be easy to indulge and even think to yourself that you can make up for less healthy and less eco-friendly habits when the new year comes. But adopting new good habits can start everyday! Instead, use the holiday season as a springboard into a healthy and eco-friendly new year.

Have fun and good luck on your holiday festivities and on keeping your New Year’s resolution!

Got New Year’s resolutions related to the environment or your health? Tell us your new year’s goals and how you’re planning to achieve them.

HOW TO KNOW IT’S TIME FOR A NEW CAREER, a blog entry

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4 questions to ask yourself if you’re considering a switch. Is it time for a new career? If you have ever questioned whether to change gears in your profession, the start of a new year is a fitting time to reflect on this question and take action.

Below are four questions you can ask yourself to determine if it’s time for a new career.

1. Did you arrive where you are now on purpose?

Many of us have taken jobs for reasons outside of purpose or passion, while dreaming of a different path.

Perhaps after school, you took a job just for the money. Maybe you’re a new immigrant who took on a position just to fill your resume. Maybe life threw you a curve ball that required you to take the first role you could find. You may even be at a job that was meant to be temporary until your boss saw how effective you are. Whatever the practical reason, you settled for a job, maybe even getting promotions or switching companies throughout the years.

If this resonates with you, you’re not alone. If you’ve held on to a dream while securing your daily life, it may be time for you to chase it.

2. Is work bringing you down?

Half or more of our waking hours are spent at work. Your work baggage can easily follow you outside of the workplace. A 2018 survey by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in partnership with Morneau Shepell revealed that70% of respondents said work had a negative impact on their overall mental health.

If you feel down every day and can trace it back to work, it may be time for a change.

3. Are you attracted to other industries?

Whether your interests have changed or you have always been drawn to a particular industry, new industries are blossoming and growth opportunities are unfolding every day.

For example, the tech industry in Canada is booming. CBRE reports that 29% of all tech talent in Canada is based in Toronto, making it the largest tech talent pool in the country and fourth in North America. At the same time, Randstad states that Toronto’s tech job market is the fastest growing in the country with a 14% year-over-year increase and a whopping 52% growth from the last five years.

IT World Canada asserts that the tech job market is growing so rapidly that there may be a shortage of tech talent in the next five years. If you can see yourself in this in-demand industry, it may be time to turn your interest into a career. Career colleges like triOS College can put you on the fast track to a career in technology.

If growth in other industries excites you, it may be time to shift gears.

4. Do you earn enough?

Money is a great motivator to keep a job even if it no longer serves your happiness. Having said that, the pay you received years ago may no longer be enough for the responsibilities you hold.

Randstad shared a list of the 15 most in-demand jobs of 2018, their growth anticipated to continue in the new year. Below is the list along with the pay you can expect for each occupation:

• General Laborer – $15.90 and $18.39 per hour
• Sales Representative – $52,000 to $64,000 (junior level)
• Accountant – $63,000 to $75,000
• Engineering project manager – $74,000 to $92,000
• Business Analyst – $73,000 and $87,000
• Customer Service Representative – $37,000 to $43,000
• IT Project Manager – $92,000 to $114,000
• Account Manager – $75,000 to $92,000
• Software Engineer – $83,000 to $99,000
• Forklift Operator – $16.59 to $19.42 per hour
• Recruiter – $59,000 to $71,000
• Administrative Assistant – $44,000 to $52,000
• Assembler – $17.62 to $20.63 per hour
• Machinist – $22.36 to $26.81 per hour
• Receptionist – $35,000 to $41,000

A few of these occupations may require years of education, experience and accreditation. Many of them are simpler to pursue. With the right resource in place like more education, within two years or even less, you can become an Administrative Assistantstart your career as an IT professional, eventually managing projects; or make a pit stop at earning a diploma in Accounting & Payroll Specialist on your way to becoming an Accountant.

If financial security has been the primary motivator for your career, know that plenty of well-paying opportunities are waiting for the right people to fill them.

What’s next?

Has reflecting on your experiences and goals led you to the conclusion that it’s time for a new career? If not, congratulations on being gainfully employed. If yes, then an exciting journey awaits you!

A more content, comfortable, and exciting life is within reach. The great news is the journey doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may have once thought. Research your options for more education, ideally choices that offer hands-on experiences. Career colleges can help you reach your goals faster by providing career-specific programs with tangible outcomes, and usually in shorter periods of time and with more scheduling flexibility. Career colleges are a bridge to the workforce, and your work is a step toward a more fulfilling, exciting life.

If you feel you need a new career and you’ve been waiting for a sign that now is the time, take this as your sign.


This post was written for triOS College as part of their Student Admissions Resources. You can find the original post here.

Father of Waste Hierarchy Talks About Circular Economy and Zero Waste


This global crowdsourcing campaign centered on be Waste Wise’s then-upcoming interview with Ad Lansink, the “Father of Waste Hierarchy”. Designed all digital graphic assets and executed campaign on Twitter, collecting questions and comments about the circular economy and zero waste. 

Find the article that used the crowd-sourced questions in the link above.

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WORK BEYOND AUTOPILOT, a blog entry

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Virtual Team Work | How can your virtual team work beyond an auto-pilot setting and into engaging work habits?