Do your part to reduce waste

Last week was Waste Reduction Week (Oct 19-25). The purpose of the week was to raise awareness about the need for all of us to think about and manage our waste responsibly, and the importance of practicing the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle.

At Halton Region, we are a leader in sustainable practices, both in the workplace and in the community through our waste reduction programs and services, and education efforts with residents. In our Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, ‘Protecting the Natural Environment’ has been identified as one of our key priorities. Our goal is divert 62 per cent of our waste from the landfill, and we are already well on our way.

Thanks to the participation of Halton residents in our waste management programs, we have already achieved a waste diversion rate of 60 per cent, and these efforts have already extended the lifespan of our landfill from 2012 to 2044. This means that we offset the one billion dollar cost of a new landfill, which is great news!

I encourage all residents to continue to work together and look for way to reduce your waste. Here are some tips under each of the 3Rs:

Reduce

  • Buy only what you need.
    • Reduce waste by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Rent or borrow items that rarely get used.
  • Buy all-purpose household cleaner or make your own.
    • Don’t buy different cleaning solutions for each role.
    • Remember that in most cases, vinegar and water cleans just the same.
  • Make enough food to have leftovers, or just enough that you don’t have to throw any away.
    • Use leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Choose products with little packaging.
    • This way, less packaging ends up in the Blue Box or garbage. This can include buying in bulk. This will save you money as well as reduce waste.

Reuse

  • Pack a waste-free lunch.
    • Use reusable containers for lunches and snacks, a thermos for water and juice, reusable cutlery and a cloth napkin so nothing gets thrown out!
  • Choose products that can be reused.
    • For example, rechargeable batteries, cloth napkins and reusable drink bottles.
  • Bring your own bags when shopping.
  • Lug a mug.
    • Bring a reusable travel mug to the coffee shop. Many offer small discounts for using a reusable mug too.
  • Donate or buy from or have a yard sale
    • Support local charities by donating reusable clothing and other household items that are in good condition. Visit halton.ca/reuse for a list. Yard sales are also great ways to reuse items. Have one yourself, or check out classified ads for yard sales in your neighbourhood.

Recycle

  • Recycle or have a bin in every room.
    • Look at putting a bin in different rooms in your house for collecting recyclables or organic items. For example, in the bathroom, collect plastic shampoo and soap bottles for your Blue Box, and collect used facial tissues for the GreenCart.
  • Clear out the basement and garage.
  • Think about recycling when shopping.
    • Single serve yogurt cups go in the Blue Box, while yogurt tubes go in the garbage.
    • Paper egg cartons go in the GreenCart and clear plastic egg cartons go in the Blue Box, while Styrofoam egg cartons go in the garbage.

Practicing the 3Rs helps preserve our natural environment for future generations, so Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”