This week, October 21st to 27th 2019, marks the 19th Waste Reduction Week in Canada, so we wondered how we can make it easy for you to participate and make a difference. Your participation is more important than you think because a million small improvements in households can have a big impact when compounded. So, join us in committing to integrate 1 waste reduction improvement in your daily life this week! Show up for the planet in all your imperfection and be part of a movement to reduce Canadian waste going to landfills (25 million tonnes in 2019*).
What is Waste Reduction Week?
Founded in 2001 by the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO), Waste Reduction Week in Canada is an initiative that centers around the principles of circular economy, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. The national program is designed to celebrate Canada’s environmental efforts and achievements, while promoting inventive ideas and solutions to encourage Canadians to implement more eco-friendly practices and reduce waste within their daily lives. As a result, we can all work towards combating climate change, water pollution and preserve natural resources.
Waste Reduction Week Canada has set a theme for every day of the week to raise awareness of seven different aspects of waste reduction. Participants can decide on which areas to support based on their own interest.
ssMonday: Circular Economy
Circular Economy embraces an access over ownership approach of products, encouraging people to only buy products designed to be reused, refurbished, and dismantled. Additionally, it calls on people to support those companies that offer take-back of products after they are done using them.
Tip: Before you buy a product, be sure to research the company’s recycling policy, what materials are used in their packaging, and the ease and affordability of changing parts to ensure the product adheres to the core values of a circular economy.
There has been a sharp hike in textiles waste because of the rise in clothing consumption and production. This day is meant to raise awareness on the environmental consequences of fast fashion, as well as provide pertinent information on where Canadians can go to donate their clothes for rewear/reuse.
Tip: There are several nonprofits and businesses across Canada where you can donate any unused clothing, including The Salvation Army, Diabetes Canada, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, and Value Village. In addition to drop off locations, many of these organizations offer a pickup option from your home.
Wednesday: Champions & Innovators
This theme day celebrates communities, individuals or organizations that are disrupting traditional business models to implement waste reduction initiatives. Canadians are encouraged to send their story to [email protected] or to post their stories on social media with the hashtag #WasteReductionWeek.
Did you know? Earlier this year, Loblaws partnered with US-based circular shopping platform Loop to give Canadians a way to responsibly consume various household products in durable packaging. The products are delivered in Loop’s specially designed reusable shipping totes; when the consumer is finished with the product, the packaging is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused. Nice, right? Now, that is creative thinking!
Plastics Thursday raises awareness about the simple changes all Canadians can make in their everyday lives to reduce their overall plastic footprint. Canadians are asked to adopt the circular economy practice of purchasing products whose design and business models are intended to reduce plastic waste.
Tip: When possible, try picking products packaged in materials other than plastic or bring your own containers, such as glass bottles, reusable shopping bags, biopolymers (aka liquid wood), polycaprolactone (PCL), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) or Polylactic acid (PLA) polyesters, and starch-based polymers.
Friday: Food Waste
It is crucial to make informed decisions that will prevent your food from turning into waste. Food Waste Friday encourages individual, school, businesses, organizations, households, and communities to pledge towards reducing their food waste.
Tip: Some smart and realistic ways to reduce food waste include properly planning meals to buy and serve what you need, saving and eating leftovers, properly storing food in the fridge and freezer, treating expiration and sell-by dates as guidelines, and keeping track of what food you throw away.
Saturday: Swap, Share & Repair
Swapping, sharing, or refurbishing extends the life of a product and its materials. We can prevent an item from ending up in a landfill by considering one of those options before throwing it away. This day encourages Canadians to consider the lifecycle of product materials and educate themselves about sustainable consumption, the sharing economy, and extending materials’ lifecycle through reuse.
Tip: There are several local repair stores in many neighbourhoods that offer free or affordable repair on select days of the year. Additionally, tool sharing resources such as the Toronto Tool Library or bartering services like Bunz allow you to share or swap products.
Electronic waste is growing at an alarming rate, with last year’s global waste amount reaching 44.7 million tonnes. Less electronic waste can be achieved through circular approaches to product design, business models, procurement and recycling. By integrating a focus on circularity into products at the design phase, we can ensure these products can be repaired, re-used, recycled or returned so that they are no longer being dumped in our landfills.
Tip: Learn more about how you can recycle any unused electronics with us with the ADL Process public drop-off program.