One of the best ways to have a positive impact is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills! Calgary is a big city and each person can generate around 1000 kg of waste per year!
Landfills are a band-aid IMO. You take your garbage and you stick it in a hole in the ground… Great idea? Nope! But that’s the problem, there are no great ideas for managing the waste we have, other than just reducing it in the first place.
So here goes: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I’m sure you’ve all heard that saying before, but here are some easy tips to get you started:
Ask yourself; do you really need that? We live in an age of too much stuff and single-use items. You have 4 frying pans at home, do you need this one meant specifically for a single egg? Probably not 🙂
Reduce impulse buying and make a wishlist instead. Keep items on that list until you decide that you truly do need it, or that you can make do without it.
Before you throw something out, take a minute and decide if you or someone else could still use that item. Much of what we throw out is still a usable good that could be donated to Salvation Army or Value Village.
Rip a pair of jeans at the knee? Turn them into shorts! Being mindful about what you’re throwing out can save a lot of waste from the landfill.
Have one of those blue bins out back? Great, that just made it so much easier! Check out the link here to the City of Calgary’s website on what you can and can’t put into those bins. No sorting required, just dump in all in! Many cities are starting curbside recycling pickup, so check out your local municipality for information!
I’ve got a second bin right next to my garbage for all my recycling. Takes some remembering at the beginning, but it soon becomes second nature to divide the recycling from the garbage. The bins are the same size and I honestly have to empty the recycling one more often!
Next step, compost! If you’ve got a recycling system going, you soon realize that most of your waste is food! There are some ways to help there:
1) Get a compost bin! If you’re in an apartment, this isn’t too easy, but some neighbourhoods now have green bins for all your compost. If not, don’t fret, you can still get a composter for your backyard.
2) Divert from the garbage! Got the skins from peeled potatoes or the ends of carrots that you’re going to throw out? Stop right there and grab a freezer bag instead! Throw all your veggie cuttings, or produce that’s close to going bad, in a freezer bag until you’ve got about 5 cups worth. Add it to a pot with some salt, pepper and a bay leaf and you’re making veggie stock!
Got some tips on reducing waste in your home or workplace? Let’s hear ’em!