At the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre we are committed to walking our talk when it comes to conservation and environmental stewardship. In addition to managing our operations and facility resources in accordance with ISO 14001 standards, an international standard for environmental management, our employees and volunteers are genuinely passionate and are deeply committed to sustainability in their daily lives. Our Vancouver Aquarium Green Team works to inspire environmentally conscious decisions and promote the culture of sustainability in our work force by organizing environmentally themed events throughout the year.

Last week, Linh Truong from the Soap Dispensary, visited the Aquarium to lead a sustainable cleaning products workshop. The purpose of the event was to inform staff and volunteers about simple environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional cleaning and hygiene products that have detrimental effects on our oceans and our bodies.

Green ideas from the Vancouver Aquarium

Lihn from the Soap Dispensary in Vancouver leads a sustainable workshop for Aquarium staff.

As Carmen Morales, a research scientist from the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Pollution Research Program, pointed out to the group at the beginning of the evening, products with microbeads and microplastics are having a damaging effect on our ecosystems.

Linh led the team through a series of different recipes from her favourite green inspiration websites including the Vancouver inspired Queen of Green blog. Not only were the recipes easy to follow, they required few ingredients, minimal prep time and offered sustainable alternatives for the everyday unsustainable plastic bottles lining the grocery stores shelves.

Here’s her recipe for quick and easy laundry detergent:

  • 1/2 cup borax (look in the laundry soap isle of your grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup washing soda (Not baking soda. Check health food stores or organic grocery stores.)
  • One cup soap granules (Check health food stores or grate a bar of eco-friendly soap)
  • Optional: 10 – 20 drops essential oil (e.g., lavender, sweet orange, tea tree, lemongrass for their anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties)
  • Add seven litres of water for liquid laundry soap

“The workshop really highlighted the importance of reading the ingredients in cleaning products, which are washed down the drain and end up in our oceans,” said Tanya Otero, volunteer coordinator for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, who is working towards a plastic free 2015. “It’s concerning to know that they are not always listed and that microplastics can be hidden in the mix. I love that you can find alternatives to harmful products right in your kitchen, and that all the ingredients we used are ones I recognize and can pronounce.”

Green tips from the Aquarium

Tanya prepares sustainable cleaning products for her home.

Thank you to Linh Truong for sharing her passion for sustainable household items with us. Less plastic both in our homes and in our cleaning supplies is better not only for us, but for our oceans and wildlife as well.

Looking for simple every-day changes you can make at home? Follow Tanya as she shares tips on living plastic free, or spread your sustainable message even further by signing up for a shoreline cleanup in your community. Learn more about the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada, by visiting us online at shorelinecleanup.ca.

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