We will be the first to admit that it can be a little overwhelming when considering adopting a low waste or even zero waste lifestyle. It is seriously daunting considering switching to new products and new methods of doing things, when the concept of zero waste is relatively new and still mostly unheard of. It's hard.
However, when we stop to consider the wide impact that simple, easy and achievable waste reduction steps taken in our everyday lives can help us achieve bigger goals such as our own national zero waste action plan and global (UN Sustainable Development Goals) waste reduction efforts, it is even harder to stand idly by.
“Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste. We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.” The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Canadian Government announced back in June 2019 that it had bold new plans to phase out single use plastics by the year 2021. Stating that by working closely with Canadian businesses, Provincial, Municipal Governments and by following scientific studies and guidelines already developed in the EU, Canada was once and for all, going to take a leadership position internationally and deal with its embarrassing plastic waste problem.
In 2019 Canadians were already throwing away 8 billion dollars a year in disposable packing alone. Then in 2020 with the emergence of the COVID19 pandemic spreading around the world, the need for PPE sky rocketed.
Personally, seeing images of seagulls and aquatic life tangled up in blue N95 masks is heart breaking. Looking at all the disposable gloves now littering the ground and carelessly left behind in grocery carts, even more so. Do we dare speak of the massive amounts of waste, generated by the increased demand for take-a-way only food orders during lock downs? Even the so called eco friendly compostable plastics still take years to break down and cannot go into our curb side organics bins, which all of it does. It is truly horrifying.
Waste is an economic and environmental loss.
It is estimated that over 42,000 new jobs can be created alone from implementing a national zero waste initiative. Creative solutions for dealing with our global plastics problem is not just solved by cutting out plastic straws and take-a-way containers, all though it is an earnest place to start.
We're now realizing how diverting a lot of what we typically consider “waste” from landfills all together, can generate new resources and viable income from repurposing our waste. It makes simple economic sense to address our plastic problem, which is mainly due to negligence and mismanagement of waste in the first place. On the whole there has been a critical oversight in how we misvalue waste and failed to create a sustainable industry in itself. Proper waste management, and landfill diversion, does create new green jobs, valued resources, local products, and revenue.
Tackle local problems first.
It is true. Your biggest impact is often hardest felt where you live. Last year the District of Squamish announced it’s municipal initiative to prevent and decrease the diversion of waste from landfill to 80%, and reduce (per capita) landfill waste to 300 kg by 2021 through a Zero Waste Strategy Plan and these are their recommendations below.
- Reduce your use of single-use items. Practice the habit of bringing your own bag, cup, straw or other commonly used item to reduce waste in our community.
- Compost. Composting food scraps, paper towels, dryer lint, coffee filters and other organic materials is the single most effective way to reduce your garbage waste. If you are unsure as to what materials can go in your organics tote, enter the item in our Waste Wizard lookup tool to find out where to recycle or dispose of it.
- Recycle. Cardboard, mixed paper, plastic containers, and metal such as tin and aluminum cans can all be recycled in the curbside recycling program. Styrofoam and plastic bags, overwrap/film and any glass that cannot be returned for a refund can be dropped off at the GFL Recycling Depot or the Squamish Landfill.
- Consider purchasing items with zero or pure packaging. Buy bulk when possible and look for “pure” packaging products such as glass.
- Set up recycling and compost containers in a convenient place. Keep bins for recycling, organics, glass, bottles and cans where you are likely to use it most, and consider setting up small containers in other rooms of your home, such as the washroom.
- Buy Secondhand. Previously loved goods are an excellent way to cut down on cost and packaging.
- DIY (Do It Yourself). You can make a surprising number of things yourself (and save some serious cash at the same time). From bread to clothing to laundry soap, for recipes check out the Queen of Green website in the Resource section below.
- Get Educated. Read about recycling and going waste-free to learn about what others are doing. Watch The Story of Stuff (video link below), an eye opening animated, short film about the cycle of waste and consumerism. There is a lot of information out there that can help you reduce your garbage.
- Let businesses know how you feel. Writing a letter or calling a company goes a long way.
Only through working together in tandem can we finally move forward in obtaining a true sustainable future. Consuming less wasteful products, and producing less waste overall are small but giant steps that can be done right now. We already know that we need to do better for our environment, our future generations. Remembering that it is often your small shifts that are creating the biggest impact, especially locally.
Making better sustainable choices shouldn’t be hard, and WeFill is proud to provide everyday, practical living solutions throughout the Sea to Sky. Locally sourced Canadian products that make sense, while also keeping more cents in your pocket too because you are not paying for needless packaging and single use containers anymore.
#greenisthenewblack #ditchtheplasticstickwiththeclassics #thiszerowastelife #wefillmobilemarketandrefillery
To learn more about Canada’s Action Plan to Zero Waste, Phase One, and Phase Two (2020) and Strategy Plan, please visit The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s website here. Images sourced Pexels.com.