It’s no secret that Canadians love “stuff.” Every month, we spend an average of 42 billion dollars on retail goods – close to a whopping one thousand dollars per person, per month. It’s no wonder our landfills are reaching capacity so quickly, with each Canadian generating over 1,700 pounds of waste annually.
All the solid waste found in landfills causes soil and water contamination, and makes a hefty contribution to greenhouse gas emissions through the methane gas produced by decomposition. As landfill piles grow higher, these risks to the environment grow with them.
If we all took responsibility however, we could collectively make a positive dent. Here are some ways to keep your household waste out of landfills, and in places it best belongs:
Put food in the right spot: It’s bad enough that we waste food, but worse that it often ends up in landfills. Donating excess food to shelters or food banks is always appreciated. If items need to be discarded, consult your community’s “Green Bin” composting program for the best course of action.
Opt for rechargeable: Chemicals in disposable batteries can be very harmful to the environment if they leak. Rechargeable batteries are cheaper in the long run, and can help protect the planet.
Donate gently used clothing: As people make room for their new seasonal fashions, clothes often go from the hanger to the garbage. Almost all clothing can be recycled or donated, and there are countless places to do the latter – at over 3,000 Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline drop boxes across the country, for example.
Don’t ever trash plastic: Plastic is versatile and can be reused many times over, but only if you recycle! Despite years of recycling education, millions of plastic water bottles end up in trash heaps. Do your best to always recycle your plastic, and consider switching to reusable water bottles.
For more information about waste diversion, check your community’s recycling pages and your city council’s environment day schedules. For more information about the Canadian Diabetes drop box program, visit diabetes.ca/dropbox.