The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change recently released a statement on the state of Ontario’s waste. More specifically, on how we can reduce our waste. For those who aren’t aware, the average person in Ontario produces approximately 1 tonne of waste per year. Kudos to the many people taking steps to reduce their footprints, but as a whole, we need to do better. We need to make a concerted effort to create a waste-free Ontario.
In 2014 alone, about 11.5 million tonnes (of waste) were generated in the province – that’s nearly a tonne of waste per person every year.Residential data for 2014 based on former Waste Diversion Ontario and non-residential data for 2012 based on Waste Management Industry: Business and Government Sectors, 2012, Statistics Canada.
While recycling helps, the unfortunate truth is that only 25% of our waste is recycled. Obviously our blue boxes aren’t doing their job. Whether that is due to misuse or not being used at all, isn’t the only issue. The bigger issue is the amount of disposable items we create every day and the lack of responsibility producers have in retrieving those resources. Many of those resources are salvageable in a circular economy.
So What is the Solution?
There are more solutions than one. We need to create more policies to enforce and encourage producers to recover the resources they use. London is in the process of reviewing and revising its resource recovery strategy. Part of that process involves the possibility of increasing London’s waste recovery from 45% to 60%. Of course, recovery and reuse of materials needs to become a priority instead of using raw materials in the first place. And while the manufacturing industry can help close the resource loop, we all have a role to play in reaching a waste-free Ontario.
Steps You Can Take As A Consumer for a Waste-Free Ontario
- repair items
- reuse items (Load of Rubbish donates any reusable items to area thrift stores)
- choose package-free items when shopping (think bulk food stores with your own containers and farmers markets)
- use travel mugs and reusable water bottles, carry your own straw or refuse them in restaurants, skip take-out or provide your own containers
- plan your meals to reduce food waste
- compost (either through city-wide or backyard composters)
- recycle smarter (learn what is acceptable in blue bins in your community, and what the rules are for recycling items; ie. clean, empty, paper & cans separated)
- be conscious of how you dispose of e-waste and hazardous waste
- host a yard sale, attend community cleanups, visit repair events and swap meets
- support companies committed to a greener future and a waste-free Ontario