Banff couple go zero waste, cut all packaging out of their lives

For the last year, a couple living in Banff has been saying no to packaging. That involves bringing their own glass jars to coffee shops to fill up on java, and to grocery stores to carry their cheese home.

They take their pizza takeout home on their own plates

For the last year, Banff couple Amie Nichols and Jeremiah Marsh have been living a mostly zero-waste lifestyle. (Submitted by Amie Nichols )

For the last year, a couple living in Banff has been saying no to packaging.

"You definitely have to go against the grain and do things differently, but it's completely achievable," Amie Nichols told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.

She and her boyfriend, Jeremiah Marsh, started off small by making a promise to each other to "never use another plastic bag again."

That meant bringing their own reusable bags to the grocery store.  

But things really got tricky when they decided to cut all packaging out of their lifestyle, such as coffee cups, plastic clamshells and deli food containers.

That's involved carrying around a lot of glass mason jars.

"They see him coming and they know this guy is the guy who wants us to put the cheese in the jar," said Nichols about what it's like for her boyfriend to shop at their local Save-On-Foods.

'They see him coming and they know this guy is the guy who wants us to put the cheese in the jar.' (Submitted by Amie Nichols)

Making butter in a Vitamix

Finding butter that doesn't come packaged in aluminum foil has been "quite a challenge," said Nichols.

So she decided to start making it herself from heavy cream, which she buys in a glass bottle.

"I can take back to the store and it gets sanitized and reused."

She "churns it" in a Vitamix until it separates into butter and buttermilk. The whole process takes five minutes, she said.

No plastic here! The couple use cotton bags to store their produce and glass jars for just about everything else. (Submitted by Amie Nichols)

Takeout pizza on a plate

While many zero wasters keep detailed logs about how much garbage they produce, Nichols and Marsh have decided not to keep track.

"We both have roommates, so it's hard for us to judge what's actually ours and what's theirs," said Nichols.

The couple avoid all packaging, even the recyclable paper box for their pizza takeout. They bring their own plates to carry their pie home with them.

"I would say 90 per cent of people are excited by what we're doing and they're curious and they want to know more. And there are definitely people who think we are off our rockers."

She said they have no plans to stop.

"We could never go back to the way we were living our lives before."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener