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Waste Reduction Week in Canada's origins can be traced back to the mid 1980s when a number of environmental organizations, recycling organizations and municipalities began holding recycling and waste reduction days or weeks. Many of these events were provincial in nature. In Ontario, the efforts were led by the Recycling Council of Ontario which London has been a long standing member. In 2001, these provincial organizations decided to pool their resources and expand their efforts into a national event called Waste Reduction Week (WRW) in Canada.
Waste Reduction Week in Canada aims to inform and engage Canadians about the environmental and social ramifications of wasteful practices. It strives to educate, engage and empower Canadians to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost materials before they become garbage. These same messages are key for London residents and businesses.
The City of London supports the need for a "week" that focuses on waste reduction. However, it should be fully recognized that waste reduction must occur every week. The 3Rs - reduce, reuse and recycle - have become part of everyday life. Reduce is the most important of the 3Rs. If we can reduce the amount of waste produced, we are conserving resources and limiting the need to reuse and recycle. Reducing waste will directly affect the amount of landfill space required, natural resources required, greenhouse gases produced and will save a municipality money in disposal costs.
How Much Waste are Londoners Reducing?
The citizens of London have done a very good job in reducing the amount of waste generated. In 2015, 45% of the amount of materials produced by householders are managed through initiatives such as home composting and grass cycling, curbside collection, composting of yard materials and leaves, and using the Community EnviroDepots. These activities represent about 71,070 tonnes of materials per year no longer destined for waste disposal (Table 1).
Table 1: Residential Waste Diversion in London - 2015
|Waste Diversion Program||Est. Tonnes||Percentage||Includes...|
|1. Organics (Compostables)||35,410||22%||- includes home composting, grasscycling, and Centralized Composting: curbside leaf and yard collection program & materials delivered to Community EnviroDepots, Christmas tree recycling, and grass clippings|
|2. Recycling||23,720||15%||- includes curbside Blue Box program, multi-residential Blue Cart program, recyclables delivered to the Community EnviroDepots, public space bins and electronics|
|3. Other Programs||11,940||8%||- various programs for wood waste, scrap metal, white goods, used tires, renovation materials, LCBO containers through deposits, etc.|
|Total Waste Diverted||71,070||45%|
|Total Waste Delivered Directly to Landfill||88,570||55%|
Total Waste Managed
Reduce - Avoid Making Garbage in the First Place
We would like to highlight some suggestions to help you reduce waste every day:
- Purchase products that are returnable, reusable or refillable
- Bring your own reusable shopping bags
- Buy in bulk
- Avoid single use products
- Double side your printing and copying
- Reuse old paper for notepads. It can be cut to custom sizes and simply bound with a staple.
- Compost. Over 30% of household waste is organic materials. Composters can be purchased at the City's Community EnviroDepots, at local hardware stores or you can make your own. For more information about composting, visit the Composting Council of Canada.
The following websites also provide a significant amount of information on waste management ideas:
- Waste Reduction Week
- Recycling Council of Ontario
- Thames Region Ecological Association (TREA)
- Stewardship Ontario
- Recycle Your Electronics