Waste Reduction Week is a country-wide campaign that encourages Canadians to reduce their ecological footprint through the principles of circular economy, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. The program’s primary purpose is to celebrate our environmental efforts and achievements while encouraging new innovative ideas and solutions. By focusing on the 3 “R’s” – Reducing, Reusing and Recycling, we can minimize the amount of waste ending up in landfills and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced.
Waste Reduction Week in Canada starts on the third Monday of October every year:
- 2019: October 21 – 27
- 2020: October 19 – 25
- 2021: October 18 – 24
- 2022: October 17 – 23
- 2023: October 16 – 22
Visit the Waste Reduction Week in Canada website for additional information on this campaign. Check back soon for information on how the City will be participating in this year’s campaign.
In 2016, approximately 2.3 million tonnes of residential waste was disposed of in landfills in British Columbia, with the average person disposing of an average of 472 kg of garbage. The most effective way to reduce waste is to try to avoid creating it in the first place. By following the hierarchy of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), a significant impact can be made. Reducing household waste can be easy when you think about what you’re buying and where it will go after you are done with it. See below for some ideas on how you can reduce your waste and how you can make every week waste reduction week!
- Plan ahead. Use a grocery list when shopping to avoid buying food you don’t need. Modify recipes so you only make what you think you will actually eat.
- Buy in bulk. Purchase grocery store items from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container to avoid unnecessary packaging.
- Try a new recipe. Over ripe fruits can be used in smoothies or pies and wilting vegetables are great for soup.
- Store it right. Proper storage and understanding best-before dates will help stop spoilage and food waste.
- Waste-Free Lunch. Replace plastic bags with reusable containers or thermoses.
- Be take-out savvy. When eating on the go, skip the paper napkins, condiment packages and plastic utensils.
- Drink tap water. Abbotsford and Mission’s drinking water undergoes thousands of tests each year to ensure that customers are provided with clean and safe water. Residents can take pride in their drinking water – it continually meets or exceeds quality standards set out by the province. Drinking tap water instead of bottled water is waste free too!
- Buy local. Locally made items don’t need to be shipped long distances and typically have less packaging.
- Choose high-quality. Choosing to buy durable, long lasting items helps them to stay out of the landfill. Carry out research before making major purchases and make durability and reusability your primary decision-making factor – not price.
- Choose minimal packaging. Opt for brands that have little to no packaging, and avoid disposable items.
- Give less garbage. Holidays and celebrations can generate an extraordinary amount of garbage. Consider giving gifts of culture, wellness, time and experiences that don’t generate waste.
- Skip the straw. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw.
- Avoid single serve. Avoid individually wrapped items and single-serve containers.
- Go paperless. Sign up for electronic bills, unsubscribe from junk mail, or even send paperless party invites. With the advance of technology, you can save paper and time.
- Repair. Extend the life of items like clothing, appliances and electronics by repairing them.
- DIY (Do It Yourself). Look online for ways to make your own “green” cleaners, laundry detergent and beauty products.
- Grasscycle. Leave clippings on the lawn when mowing. The clippings quickly decompose and return nutrients to the soil and less material is sent to your compostable waste bin.
- Bring reusable. Think about common single use items that could be replaced with reusable versions. Travel mugs, shopping bags, cotton or mesh produce bags, jars and reusable utensils are great examples.
- Avoid disposable. Avoid using items like disposable dust cloths and cleaning wipes around the house and instead use cloth rags.
- Donate. Before throwing something away, ask yourself if it is still good enough for someone else to use. Try listing it for free on Kijiji and other online sites or donate to a local thrift store or charity.
- Buy secondhand. Check out local thrift stores, online sites or garage sales before buying new.
- Borrow, rent or share. For items you don’t use often, consider borrowing, renting or sharing with a friend or neighbor before owning them or buying new.
- Wrap wisely. Wrap gifts in reusable materials such as cloth bags, dish towels or receiving blankets that can be used over and over again.
- Repurpose. Find new uses for things that would otherwise be thrown away. Consider using cookie tins for storage, turning old clothes into rags, and cans as pencil holders.
- Compost! Approximately 20% of average household garbage is compostable waste. Diverting food waste and other organics to your compostable waste bin is the single most effective way to decrease the amount of waste going to garbage.
- Recycle! A great way to reduce your garbage is to make sure you are up to date on what can and cannot be recycled. Not sure where an item goes? Visit the Waste Wizard at abbotsford.ca/wastewizard for sorting tips on how to properly recycle or dispose of hundreds of items.
Convenience. Convenience sounds like a little thing, but it has a big impact! Ensure your waste sorting station is set up in a convenient location to ensure it will actually get used. People are more likely to use sorting bins if they are placed in kitchen areas rather than in a garage or outside.
- Empty, Clean & Dry. Clean your recyclables before placing them in the blue bag. Items don’t need to be spotless. A quick rinse is all you need. This will help reduce pests, odours and mess and will result in more material actually being recycled.
For more information on how to reduce food waste, visit Love Food Hate Waste.
- Waste Reduction Week in Canada
- Recycling Council of British Columbia
- Zero Waste Canada
- National Zero Waste Council
- Be Waste Wise
- The Story of Stuff
- The Clean Bin Project