Every year, each Canadian produces 720 kg of waste – more than any other developed country. Here are 10 simple ways to reduce waste at home.
1. Shop eco-friendly with reusable bags
With cities like Montreal banning the distribution of plastic bags in stores, reusable grocery bags are already commonplace across Canada. Futhermore, they can significantly help reduce the number of plastic bags collecting in our landfills.
2. Ditch disposables in the kitchen
Sure, plastic wrap, tin foil, paper towels and plastic zip bags may be convenient – but they create a lot of waste. Try using a silicone baking sheet in place of tinfoil or parchment. When cleaning, swap out paper towels and single-use wipes for microfibre cloths you can wash and reuse. Reusable lunch containers and washable snack bags will keep your food just as fresh and will minimize the amount of trash coming from your household on a day-to-day basis.
3. Say so long to single serve – bulk up instead
Items like snack packs, coffee pods and disposable cutlery save a little time and effort, but the packaging generates a lot of unnecessary waste. Try sticking to foods that have zero packaging or take your reusable containers to the bulk store and stock up – and save time and money on your shopping!
4. Say no to disposable water bottles and coffee cups
Contrary to popular belief, disposable coffee cups are not recyclable, due to the inside coating they have. For coffee on the go, use a travel mug. It's just as convenient, and it can save you money too! And why not try a double-insulated bottle that can handle both your hot and cold beverages!
5. Reduce food waste
Did you know Canadians waste $31 billion worth of food every year – and 47% of it is produced in the home? Before putting food to the trash, ask yourself if it is so far gone that you really need to throw it out. Take the habit of noting the expiry dates of food in your fridge and planning your meals accordingly. If food goes bad, compost it! Composting transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich soil.
6. Join buy-and-sell groups
Did you know Canada's second-hand economy is alive and well? Keep your no-longer-needed items out of landfill and make some fast cash. There are dozens of online buy-and-sell web sites. Yes, someone could be interested in that blender that you never used, the skates too tight for your kid or the pine coffee table in the basement – they'll even pick it up and pay you in cash!
7. Try a new way to buy (and sell) clothes
Need some new clothes? Why not check out your nearest second-hand store? And while you're at it, the clothes you no longer use could be perfectly wearable for someone else. Try donating them to consignment or thrift shops, swapping clothes with friends, or even repurposing them as cloths and rags.
8. Find a new home for old furniture
Why not give your old furniture a new home? Donate it to a local charity, put it on the curb with a "free" sign on it, or post an online ad to sell it or give it away. Some donation centres even offer pickup services for used furniture.
9. Dispose of e-waste responsibly
Old computers, TVs and other devices are placing an increasing burden on Canadian landfills. These devices have components that can contain potentially harmful chemicals, so before you put your e-waste at the curb, find out if the manufacturer has drop-off programs, or find recycling programs in your province.
10. Choose paperless billing
Paying bills can be fast, easy and paper-free! Why not spend an hour switching all your paper statements to electronic delivery sometime this week? Enter your invoices' due date on your online calendar or set up automated payments so you don't have to worry about missing a payment.
For more on this topic, visit:
Reducing Municipal Solid Waste
Waste Reduction Week in Canada
The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, expert advice.