Waste Reduction Week in Canada is a national environmental campaign that builds awareness around issues of sustainable and responsible consumption, encourages choice for more environmentally responsible products/services, and promotes actions that divert more waste from disposal and conserve natural resources.
The program’s educational resources and “take action” messaging empower all Canadians to adopt more environmentally conscious choices. Waste Reduction Week in Canada further provides information and ideas to reduce waste in all facets of daily living, creating the solutions to the many environmental challenges we face including climate change, water pollution and preservation of natural resources.
The University of Waterloo has a full schedule of activities to celebrate Waste Reduction Week. To find out what’s happening across Canada, check out their Event List and/or follow @ on Twitter or Facebook
Although we have don’t have an event scheduled, WRGreens area always keen on ways to preserve the environment.
The 5 Rs
There used to be only 3 Rs, but as we’ve become more attuned to the environment, now there are 5 — at least that I know of!
- Unnecessary packaging, which is almost always disposable plastics.
- cloth and clothing made in third world sweatshops
- disposable (usually) plastic products
- cheaply made products that will break and fill up our landfills
- ask suppliers to take back packaging materials for reuse
- Before we buy, ask ourselves… do we really need all that stuff?
- Reduce what we buy through community sharing … join a community toy library
- Do you really need to buy a car or even a bike when there are Community Car Share and Community Access Bikeshare?
- Choose reusable glass or metal water bottles
- hand-me-downs are the new black! Used clothing can be
- donated or traded through Trusted Clothes clothing swaps
- sold at yard sales, auctions
- establish a place to collect used packaging, cord binding, envelopes and other materials that can be reused
- Start a Little Library
- Reuse packaging materials for arts & crafts, or gift wrapping
- newspaper comics
- some photocopier paper is packed in decorated wrapping paper sleeves
- cloth gift bags
- pretty tea towels can serve as kitchen giftwrap
- Reuse equipment parts and fixtures and repair furniture to reduce waste
- Compost kitchen waste into rich composted using a worm composter if you are in an apartment or bear country, if you have a back yard get a composter, but if you don’t wish to compost your own, get a green bin do your food scrap waste will be composted and reused instead of landfilled.
Recycling is a last option because unlike aluminum and glass, which can be recycled indefinitely, plastics will not be converted into new, similar objects. They will be turned into other products such as doormats, textiles, plastic lumber, etc. This is not recycling, but down-cycling. These products will still end in the landfill or as debris in waterways.
- scrap paper, toner cartridges, plastic bottles, aluminium cans, etc
- Donate old computers to Computer Recycling
- appliances, electronics, appliances and furniture to charities or second hand shops
- paper or plastic cups and plates with glass, ceramic or metal reusable dishware
- paper towels with cloth towels,
- plastics with biodegradables and/or durable well made products of glass, wood or stainless steel instead
- plastic seedling trays & planters with biodegradable peat or pressed paper (like egg cartons)
- salt to melt snow & ice with sand for traction or mild fertilizer to melt ice instead
- replace plastic bags with biodegradable bags
- solvent-based paints with water based paints
- Replace hazardous chemical products with environmentally friendly alternatives