By Larraine Roulston:
This month celebrates Waste Reduction Week (WRW). In Canada, the event falls during October 16-22. The UK gears up for its European Week for Waste Reduction during November 18-26. These annual events promote building environmental awareness around issues of sustainable and responsible consumption. It is a week of education and events demonstrating methods of how to reduce waste in all facets of our daily lives.
In Canada, the movement began as early as the mid-1980s when a number of recycling councils and environmental groups across the country began holding events. By bonding together to share resources, their expanded efforts resulted in announcing a national annual official week scheduled prior to Halloween — a perfect time to promote safe homemade makeup for face painting, costumes from either your closet or a thrift store, tips to host a zero waste party and, finally, composting the Jack-O’Lantern.
To launch the week, many city councilors officially issue a WRW proclamation. They may also sell composts at a subsidized rate and offer free compost to residents. This year, Canada’s recycling councils have designated the following theme events for each day:
- Monday: The Circular Economy
- Tuesday: Textiles
- Wednesday: Champions and Innovators
- Thursday: Plastics
- Friday: Food Waste
- Saturday/Sunday: Swap, Share, Repair
Individuals & Organizations can become involved by
– Hosting a zero waste event.
– Setting out unwanted “Free 2 You” items at curbside for those passing by to pick up. This is also referred to as “Freecycle.”
– Organizing a neighborhood drive for scrap metal or textiles.
– Setting up a 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) display at community centers or other public locations.
Teachers often gather ideas from online educational environmental resource kits. Many schools participate in the waste-free lunch challenge where monetary prizes are distributed for the best diversion efforts in composting organics and eliminating unnecessary packaging.
During the week, students can also become engaged by
– Attending a WRW assembly that can include a toy and book swap.
– Designing posters.
-Writing letters to political leaders and newspaper editors about the importance of protecting the environment.
– Practicing public speaking on the PA system to announce recycling facts or create short 3Rs skits.
– Learning to vermicompost by obtaining red wiggler worms.
– Inviting guest speakers from local businesses that are leaders in recycling and who are advancing towards the circular economy.
– Gathering items such as corks, bits of packaging, egg cartons, paper cylinders, etc., to create artwork.
– Touring a recycling depot or a composting facility.
-With resources and videos available to businesses, the week provides a perfect opportunity to demonstrate their commitment towards sustainability. Employees within their workplaces, if they have not already do so, can continue to become more sustainable by
– Discussing their company’s role in advancing the circular economy.
– Conducting a waste audit.
– Replacing large garbage cans with recycling bins, and placing organics collection bins in their cafeterias.
– Bringing a reusable mug for daily beverages.
– Investigating low carbon power sources which have a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions.
This decade, make every week WRW!
Larraine writes children’s illustrated books on composting and nature’s pollinators. Fun and Factual. Visit, www.castlecompost.com