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Waste Reduction Week

October 20, 2010

Waste Reduction Week. Great idea, I mean, who wants more waste? But how do you go about doing it? Checking in on the Waste Reduction Week Ontario website reveals that their theme this year is Recycle My Cell, sponsored by recyclemycell.ca. I think this is a cool idea. Get that eWaste taken care of and a perfect chance for  high school students to get involved in waste reduction, and to consider the impact that the latest smartphone or tablet computer has on the environment, but what about small, easy changes that can be made at home? What sorts of changes can I make that reflect an all-around commitment to reducing my ecological footprint?

Aside: Apparently Atlas is getting pretty tired of hauling all our waste around. From October 1 to November 15, he’s hoping you’ll Ease My Load. The ideas great, but I think it’s a bit odd that they ask you to print off a copy of the cut out and include it in pictures for the challenge. Isn’t that generating waste (paper, ink, power) for waste’s sake? If I’m taking any challenge pictures I might just try to edit the logo in instead. That would be change number 0.1

I started looking for small ways I can make changes this week to reduce waste. Sure there are the easy ones, turn off your lights, turn down the thermostat (our furnace isn’t on yet, that’s for November!) shower don’t bathe, yada yada. But here are a few of the less common ones I’ve decided to adopt:

Make my own bread and dessert. I have a bread machine and I rarely use it. Not only am I able to save on packaging and processing (and money) but I also control the ingredients. And since I’m attempting to shift my lifestyle to a more healthy one this really appeals to me. Also, I buy most of my baking ingredients from bulk/natural food stores so packaging is reduced.

Use unpaper towels. It’s easy to grab the paper towel and feel good because you’re using the select-a-size, and of course you throw it in your composter or green bin when you’re done, but then you’ve still got manufacturing and packaging as areas of waste and you’re throwing out a tree that wasn’t quite ready. I’m the first to admit that I’ll still use a paper towel because there are some things I do NOT want in my washing machine (and I cloth diapered people!) there are many of every day clean-ups, messes and jobs that can be done with a reuseable cloth. Did I mention I cloth diapered? Well actually I made V’s diapers, so I have tonnes of yummy, absorbent diaper material lying around just waiting for a few quick serges to turn it into an unpaper towel. Not crafty? There are many sellers on etsy who would be happy to help you out. Another re-usable cloth idea, I created pads for my swiffer wetjet so I wasn’t constantly throwing those little cloths out. Sure with my frequency of cleaning there’s really no danger that I’ll fill a landfill anytime soon, but why add to the mess. And a third thing, all those baby facecloths? Perfect for wiping noses and sneezing into.

Bring my lunch to work. Eating leftovers, double bonus for this one. Saves money, saves on packaging, the bad stuff associated with fast food, and I’m not throwing food out. I did this a lot when hubby worked nights then I somehow got out of the habit. Then I got my bank statement, that really adds up! Back to the bagged lunch for me. Bonus for using a ChicoBag to transport.

Freecycle and Full Circles. There is tonnes of stuff hanging around my house just waiting for a new owner. It’s easy to drop stuff off at the charity shop, but have you ever taken a look at the dumpsters behind those shops? Filled. Either out of season, too old or worn to be saleable or undesirable for other reasons. But there are tonnes of resourceful people out there on the reuseit network just waiting to recycle, reuse, love or transform your items. Be honest in your ads and you’ll still find takers.

I have other thoughts rolling around in my head, and I hope to share more this week. I welcome any ideas you have, I’m always willing to adopt sensible solutions.

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