By Larraine Roulston:
October marks the celebration ofWaste Reduction Week in Canada (WRW). This year the event falls from October 15 to 21. The UK will host European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) during November, from the 17th to the 25th. Annual events promote building environmental awareness around issues of sustainable and responsible consumption.
The week is set aside to educate and engage citizens with activities that demonstrate methods to reduce waste. These are Canada’s special theme days:
Monday kicks off festivities with information regarding the “Circular Economy.”Historically, products have been designed for convenience, with little or no thought to the amount of waste generated. The extraction of raw materials used for a short duration is the concept of a “Linear Economy.” The solution to creating zero waste in the circular economy is to manufacture products so that resources are reused and reinvested. Quality items should be purchased with the intent of being reused, refurbished or dismantled.
Tuesday focuses on Textiles. Fast Fact: “The average person discards 37 kilograms of textiles each year, 95% of which could be reused or recycled.”Due to global rise of clothing production, textile waste has increased dramatically. To avoid clothes from being discarded, secondary schools In Ontario and British Columbia have been organizing in-school collection drives for used clothing. The school that collects the most textiles per student during the “I Give A Shirt Challenge” is awarded prize money.
Wednesday is set aside to celebrate the champions and innovators who are disrupting the traditional “business as usual” mindset of disposable products in favor of shifting the focus towards the reuse of valuable resources.
Plastics Thursday highlights how we can become more resource efficient in order to reduce the volume of plastics being manufactured and discarded. It has been estimated that since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been generated worldwide; only 23% of those plastics have been recovered or recycled.
Food Waste Friday challenges communities, institutions and businesses to reduce the amount of food entering landfill sites. Individuals can accomplish this by embracing leftovers, storing fruits and vegetables so they will last longer, planning meals efficiently, making grocery lists, being aware of expiration dates, and taking along a container to package what you might not be able to consume while eating out.
Saturday is Swap, Share, Repair Day when residents set out a “Free 2 You” collection of items for others to gather. Support your local consignment and thrift stores with your donations and purchases. The Habitat for Humanity Restores are excellent places to find building supplies and furniture. The “Right to Repair” legislation has now been introduced in 17 U.S. states. Refurbishing and revamping — also a great way to extend the life of products.
Sunday confronts E-Waste.The United Nations reported that an estimated 50 million tons of e-waste are generated annually. Our computers, mobile phones, as well as everyday household electronics compose one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. All pose a threat to our environment if they are not recycled.
Europeans still have several weeks to gear up and engage in their EWWR waste reduction events. Let’s focus on making every week Waste Reduction Week.