Waste Reduction Week
October 19-25 is the 19th annual Waste Reduction Week in Canada, which challenges everyone to reduce their ecological footprint and inspire unique, creative ways to reduce waste.
During this week, we encourage you to get outside and pick up litter in your community.
- keep cleanups small, safe and with members of your own household
- practice physical distancing by staying at least two meters apart from anyone you don't live with
- protect yourself by using personal protective equipment like gloves when picking up items.
For more information on what Ontario is doing, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/act-on-litter
There are actions all of us can take to put litter in its proper place while staying at home and physically distancing. You can do this by:
- Reducing waste: giving old products new life instead of throwing them away. For example, using old containers for storage.
- Diverting waste: recycling or composting materials when and where possible to divert waste away from landfills. For example, by using your blue and green bins.
- Preventing waste: stopping waste before its created. For example, by choosing to buy goods with less packaging.
- Properly disposing waste: making sure anything that does belong in the trash, such as disposable gloves and masks, is places in properly tied or sealed garbage bags to keep our neighbourhoods clean and safe
Why it matters
We generate nearly one tonne of waste per person every year in Ontario. It is estimated that almost 10,000 tonnes of plastic debris enter Ontario's lakes and rivers each year.
- almost 50% of waste is diverted through blue box or green bins
- 70% of general waste materials from residential, commercial and industrial locations end up in landfills
When food and organic waste breaks down in landfills it produces harmful greenhouse gases.
What you can do
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours, or one game of hockey.
Almost every plastic item we've made since the 1950s is still in our environment.
- donating gently used plastic toys instead of throwing them away
- using your own dinnerware instead of plastic or paper plates
- swapping your plastic water bottle for a reusable one when you're on the go
Tips for around the house
- Become an expert on what goes in the green bin and blue box
- Reuse or properly wash and recycle take-out food containers
- Use up leftover produce in your fridge by making a batch of soup or stir fry
- To cut down on paper towel use, use a dishcloth with soap and water to clean your surfaces
- Make a zero-waste air freshener with a few simple household ingredients
- Upcycle your old jeans into a DIY dog toy
Tips for around your backyard
- create your own compost station outside for your garden soil
- Use old towels to clean your outside windows, table tops and chairs
- Create a seed nursery with toilet paper rolls before planting
- Reuse cracked or damaged ceramics as flower pots
- Create a "bee hotel" using things from around the house
- Prevent food waste by growing what you need. Learn how to grow your own sprouts.
Tips when grocery shopping
During the COVID-19 outbreak, if you need to go out, here are some tips:
- Avoid food waste by planning your meals in advance and buying groceries for your weekly recipes.
- Purchase beeswax food wraps instead of plastic wrap
- Purchase reusable straws instead of plastic straws
- Mason jars are handy and can be reused for multiple purposes.
What the Town has done
- Sorted waste receptacles have been added to Town facilities and downtown areas;
- The organics 'Green Bin' has recently been added to Town Hall to remove organic waste from the waste stream and keep out of the landfills;
- Water bottle filling stations are utilized in some Town facilities and parks;
- The Town has launched the Single-Use Plastic Reduction Program; and
- Litterless lunches are promoted in Town facilities.