It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada. And it has been running from October 21st and will go until the 27th. The idea behind waste reduction week is pretty simple; to help provide Canadians with a way to celebrate our environmental efforts and achievements while encouraging new innovative ideas and solutions. The program comes with a theme for every day of the week, which kicked-off on Monday with the Circular Economy and will wrap up on Sunday with e-waste.
But you don’t have to go back in time or wait until the weekend to have all the useful information being provided; because they broke it down for us on wrwcanada.com.
What is a circular economy? To understand that you need to know about the linear economy. Products have historically been designed for convenience but with no consideration of the waste left behind. Take a raw material, make something, use it, and dispose it; that is a linear economy. The solution is in the circular economy where we design products so resources can be reused and reinvested in new products again and again. It’s a bit like recycling; but where recycling is about taking the waste left behind by a product and reusing what can be salvaged – in the circular economy, recovery and material reuse is part of the design and manufacturing process of the product from the beginning.
Did you know the average person throws away 37 kilograms of textiles each year, and 95 per cent of those clothes could be reused or recycled? Globally, textiles waste has increased dramatically due to the rise in clothing consumption and production. There are ways to reuse or re-wear old clothes, and if you aren’t interested in pursuing these options there are places to donate to that will.
Celebrate the champions and innovators who are disrupting traditional business models to embrace waste reduction initiatives. Tell the stories that celebrate what is possible when organizations approach waste reduction positively and progressively and those that are moving the conversation on waste reduction forward to what the next great innovation will be. Examples can be found in a few of your Good News Stories of the Day, including one about Lego, another about Rulon International, and let’s not forget Ryan Hickman! Sharing these stories of champions and innovators can inspire others as well as encourage those who are acting.
Since the 1950s 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been generated around the world and only 23 per cent of those plastics have been recovered or recycled. It is estimated that an additional 12 billion tonnes of plastic will be lost to disposal by 2050. But did you know that some shampoo bottles, shoes and other materials are being produced using plastic waste recovered from oceans? You can now build a deck with recycled plastic lumber and buy boots made from plastic water bottles. Join on Thursday to learn more about how companies are turning plastic waste into a business opportunity.
We have spoken about Food Waste before on this site. But Waste Reduction Week in Canada wants you to go a step further and take the pledge and commit to making choices that will keep your food from becoming waste. You can take the pledge as an individual, school, business/organization, household, or community. Find out more about it here.
It is far too common in our society to simply throw something out when we are done with it. When our pants get a hole in them, they go in the trash. When we are done with our coffee cup, it’s tossed. When we are done our book, it might get recycled. But swapping, sharing, or refurbishing extends product / material lifecycles and diverts them from disposal. On the weekend of Waste Reduction Week, they are encouraging Canadians to think about the lifecycle of their materials and learn more about sustainable consumption, the sharing economy, and extending the life of materials through reuse.
Did you know that globally last year, the total amount of electronic waste reached 44.7 million tonnes and only approximately 20 per cent was recycled? With such rapid advances in technology and endless new innovative products released every year, electronic waste will quickly become one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Did you know that Brantford’s Household Hazardous Waste Days also include electronic device recycling drop off? It’s true! But there is also so much more to be done. That’s what this day is for.
Hopefully by the end of this week you will have learned more about how to live in a way that reduces the waste produced, and that you’ll be inspired to encourage others to do the same. This list is just a start, check through the links and learn as much as you can.