Canada’s Waste Reduction Week (Oct 15-21) – Just A Place To Start…
Canada’s Waste Reduction Week (WRW) occurs around mid-October and is a good time to reflect on how we, as individuals, can participate in waste management. Because some people are so overwhelmed with Earth’s problems, they feel that their contributions have no real consequence in the end. For others, social barriers can be an issue. A lady we once knew confessed that she did not want to be seen buying used items or being concerned with power use. She was worried people would see her as cheap – a scrooge – when the family was so affluent. Yet, she was very careful to be seen with recycling bins out on the curb on pick-up day, because THAT was thought to be the thing to do socially. WRW is a good time to put an end to these negative thoughts and feelings of false pride. Waste reduction is not about ego – it is about the health of the planet and of our nation.
Communities would be wise to look at Nova Scotia’s waste reduction success and try to emulate it in their area. With the highest waste reduction rates in Canada, Nova Scotia has reduced landfill contributions by 46% – saving about million per year – simply by making the most of the organic and recyclable materials. Curbside recycling service (Blue Box) is available to 99% of its residents and 76% now enjoy curbside organic service (a.k.a. Green Box). Many cities are encouraging compost bins for those with access to a yard and worm bins for those who don’t.
People will find that they do not have to put the trash out as often, because both the odors and volume are greatly decreased. Many garbage collection companies offer discounts to homes with reduced waste as a fiscal incentive. Businesses, such as restaurants and coffee shops could reduce their waste removal costs by a huge amount simply by recycling their organic waste.
We can also help the waste management industry run more efficiently. For instance, when only full garbage bags and Blue or Green boxes are put out on the curb, the garbage truck does not have to stop as often and waste fossil fuels inefficiently while idling. (Incidentally, vehicle idling is responsible for 3% of the air pollution problem.) Similarly, by collapsing items like cardboard and paperboard (cereal or pet food) boxes before recycling we are ensuring that space is used more efficiently – thereby reducing the number of bins needed for transporting materials.
Recycling alone, has a huge impact on the environment. Studies have shown that if 100 apartment units practiced maximum recycling, it would save 21.93 thirty-foot trees, 26.86 cubic yards of landfill space, 8,389 kilowatts of electricity, and 77.4 pounds of air pollution in just one year!
So you see, these seemingly small choices and efforts towards waste management really do make a difference.