A couple of years ago, I discovered my local library offers access to ebooks for free. The entire online collection is accessible through an app called Libby. I’m a member of the Montreal library and the BanQ library—both provide access to their online collections through Libby.
Follow these steps to get set up with your local library online:
Decide which device you want to read from
Choose from a tablet, iPad, Kindle, or Kobo. Keep in mind, Libby doesn’t work on Kindle for Canadian libraries, but it is available for American libraries. If you’re in Canada, read a lot, and prefer an e-ink screen, it might be best to choose Kobo.
Become a member of your local library
If you’re not already a member of your local library, stop by for a visit and sign up! It’s quick and easy and is usually free. You can ask the librarian about their digital collection and learn how to start borrowing books online.
Find out which app your library uses for ebooks and download it to your device
Once you know how to access the library from your device, you can start borrowing right away. I use the Libby app for both my library subscriptions. Once you download the app, you can search for your library and enter your login details:
You can then start placing holds and borrowing books right away! Each library has different limits on holds and loans. Keeping a few books on hold means you’ll always have something lined up. With Libby, if you’re not ready for a book when it becomes available, you can choose to pause the delivery for a few days or weeks.
Other ways to read sustainably:
Share books among friends and family
Purchase ebooks for your Kindle or Kobo
Purchase used books from your local second-hand book store or Facebook marketplace. I also discovered an option on Amazon to purchase used books (this is also available for many other products!):
Having the entire library available from my device has motivated me to read more than ever, and I hope you will too!
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1. Invest in a reusable coffee cup
Coffee is the most common beverage after water for adults. Coffee is the most popular hot beverage and the number one food service beverage in Canada. 14 billion cups of coffee are consumed in Canada every year, and 35% of coffee is consumed “to go”.
The number one way you can eliminate coffee waste when you’re on the go is to invest in a reusable cup. There are a lot of stylish reusable coffee mugs available that you can keep by the door and take with you whenever you’re heading out.
Rather than buying a coffee every day, invest in a coffee maker, buy high-quality coffee beans, and make your coffee from home.
These are some great eco-friendly and affordable coffee maker options:
The Aeropress makes a great-tasting strong cup of coffee. Best of all it’s fast and easy to use. Depending on how you like your coffee, there are various ways you can make it (do a Google search and you will find many methods from devoted Aeropress fans).
If you are making your coffee from home, it’s possible to purchase reusable cotton filters rather than paper. Most reusable filters are compostable, made from organic cotton, and end up being more economical long term. CoffeeSock makes filters for drip coffee makers, Chemex and Aeropress.
Most bulk food stores allow you to bring your own containers so you can purchase your coffee without the packaging waste. Some coffee shops will also allow you to BYO containers. To keep the coffee fresh at home, make sure to package it correctly in an airtight container.
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares her story and lays out the system by which she and her family have reached and maintained their own Zero Waste goals—a lifestyle that has yielded bigger surprises than they ever dreamed possible. They now have more time together as a family, they have cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40%, and they are healthier than they’ve ever been, both emotionally and physically.
Stylish and completely relatable, Zero Waste Home is a practical, step-by-step guide that gives readers the tools and tips to improve their overall health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for their families—and the planet.
Minimalism meets DIY in an accessible guide to household waste reduction.
We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.
This practical guide shows you how by changing your daily habits you can eliminate plastic from your life in 30 days. A Zero Waste Life is a guide to the small changes you can make to radically reduce your waste, without losing your lifestyle. Based on 30 lifestyle “rules” and handy tips, this practical book offers a fresh “can do” approach to reducing your waste and living a cleaner, kinder life. Isn’t that what we all want—a life of happiness, a life of luxury, a life that isn’t wasted?
Learn how to build your own zero waste kit, prepare real food—the lazy way, make your own DIY household cleaners and toiletries, be zero waste even in the bathroom, and more. The table of contents includes:
Learn how to reduce your footprint at your own pace with simple steps like carrying reusable shopping bags, more intermediate steps like mending your own clothes, and major steps like creating a garden-to-cafeteria program at your local schools.
Waste Not Everyday is your step-by-step, day-by-day guide to simple, progressive lifestyle changes that will have a big effect on what you throw out, and on the health of our planet. With tips, tricks, recipes, motivation and inspiration, Erin Rhoads, well-known author of Waste Not and passionate waste advocate,takes you on a gentle journey towards zero waste, day by day.
Packed with delicious recipes, natural remedies, gardening tips, crafts, and more, this indispensable lifestyle reference from the popular blogger makes earth-friendly living fun.
Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life–from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, baking sourdough loaves, quilting, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies.
Sustainable lifestyle blogger and professional Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – offering tips, tricks and 18 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether its by making your own toothpaste, converting to renewable energy sources, reducing your consumption of plastic, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference.
If you want to save the planet, but your to-do list is already pretty long and remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task, then this is the book for you. Covering every aspect of our lives from the stuff we buy and the food we eat, to how we travel, work, and celebrate. This book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life, alongside a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.
For every area of your household—kitchen, cleaning, wellness, bath, and garden—Julia shows you how to eliminate wasteful packaging, harmful ingredients, and disposable items. Practical checklists outline easy swaps (instead of disposable sponges, opt for biodegradable sponges or Swedish dishcloths; choose a bamboo toothbrush over a plastic one) and sustainable upgrades for common household tools and products. Projects include scrap apple cider vinegar, wool dryer balls, kitchen bowl covers and cloth produce bags, non-toxic dryer sheets, all-purpose citrus cleaner, herbal tinctures and balms, and more, plus recipes for package-free essentials like homemade nut milk, hummus, ketchup, salad dressings, and veggie stock.
Live Green is a practical guide of 52 sustainable living changes – one for each week of the year – you can make to be more self-sufficient and reduce your impact on the environment.
Live Green tackles all areas of your life from your cleaning routine, home furnishings, food shopping, fashion choices, natural beauty and Christmas, and has all the ingredients to help you achieve a more sustainable year.
Cleaning is something we all have to do, whether we enjoy it or not. In supermarkets we are bombarded with the sheer number of plastic products available that clean anything and everything. However, these products contain a cocktail of chemicals that can have a severe effect on our health and the environment we live in.
Clean Green will show you how to tackle each room and cleaning task in a natural way. Featuring a collection of eco-friendly recipes to make your own hand wash, dishwashing liquid, stain remover, toilet cleaner, air freshener, and more. Learn how to create your own products that are safer to use and keep your home sparkling clean.
This accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, will help you make the small changes that make a big difference, from buying a reusable coffee cup to running a clean-up at your local park or beach. Tips on giving up plastic include:
Washing your clothes within a wash bag to catch plastic microfibers (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean)
Replacing your regular shampoo with bar shampoo
How to lobby your supermarket to remove unnecessary packaging
How to throw a plastic-free birthday party
How to convince others to join you in giving up plastic
When we’re out and about it’s easy to forget about the waste we accumulate through take-out food, coffee, or shopping trips.
These are our top 8 items you can pack to help curb waste while you’re on the go:
These are great when you’re heading to your local Sunday market or off to the grocery store.
Reusable water bottle
Landfills are overflowing with discarded plastic water bottles which take up to 1000 years to decompose. Keep a reusable water bottle with you whenever you’re heading out the door to avoid adding more plastic bottles to the waste pile.
If you’re going to meet friends for a picnic in the park, why not pack a lunchbox with your favourite foods to take with you? You could also opt to use your lunchbox to store any food you pick up while you’re out.
One of the most versatile items! Great to take with you when meeting up with friends, to the grocery store, or folded in your handbag in case you ever need it.
Keep a set of bamboo utensils in your bag so you can forgo the plastic knife and fork with your next take-out meal.
There are so many great options for reusable coffee cups, this is a staple that you can keep by the door so it’s ready whenever you leave the house.
Straws are one of the top contributors to plastic waste around the planet with millions discarded every day. This is another easy item to keep stashed away in your bag, you never know when you might need it.
Take a pass on the paper napkins and use a cloth napkin instead. These are also handy for cleaning up any unforeseen spills!
Avoid creating any unnecessary waste on your next outing by keeping a small kit ready to go! We also have lots of options available in our store, take a look!