Editor's note: We continue our Reducing Your Carbon Footprint series, inspired and informed by a report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Previous posts provide advice on reducing your carbon footprint due to our diet, daily travel choices, and air travel.
Waste Reduction Week is in full swing and we want to remind residents that there are plenty of ways to reduce your waste. Did you know that the City of Toronto manages over 900,000 tonnes of waste each year? Not only does this require significant investments of resources (money, energy), it also takes up valuable landfill space. In addition, the processing of our city's waste accounts 10% of all our greenhouse gas emissions (which cause climate change) here in Toronto, third after buildings (52%) and transportation (38%).
What you can do to help
Here are seven ways you can reduce the amount of waste you generate:
- Reuse: Use reusable bags for shopping and gift giving, reusable bottles and mugs instead of disposables when on the go and real dishes and cutlery at events. When shopping, consider thrift stores and garage sales. There are many businesses part of the City's free Live Green Perks program that carry a plethora of reusable items.
- Re-purpose: Find new uses for things you would otherwise throw away. A few examples include using cookie tins for storage, old yogurt tubs for planters, turning old clothes into rags, using cans as pencil holders and using old jars as vases.
- Swap: Organize a swap with friends or attend one of the many swap events happening in the city.
- Borrow/share/rent: Borrow tools, party supplies, camping gear, sports equipment, board games and toys from a lending library or share things like a lawn mower or ladder with neighbours. You can also rent clothing for special events and join the Toronto Tool Library with special discounts for Live Green Perks members.
Find out more after the jump...
5. Repair: Extend the life of items like clothing, appliances and electronics by repairing them and keep an eye out for repair events in the city. Learn about the City’s Bicycle Repair and Sewing Repair Hubs or look for Repair Café events across the city.
6. Shop Consciously: Plan ahead, buy only what you need and consider the impact of packaging when making purchases. Choose durable products. The more durable a product the longer it will last and the less likely you'll have to throw out and replace.
7. Donate: Give clothing, books, toys and more a new life by donating them.
What is the City of Toronto doing?
One of our key TransformTO goals is to divert waste from landfills by 95% by 2050. This supports the City's Long Term Waste Management Strategy that provides a road map for how the City will manage waste over the next 30-50 years. Additionally, the City is a part of the National Zero Waste Council Circular Economy Working Group, the Circular Economy 100 network, and has been recognized for their circular economy waste efforts in the 2019 Circulars awards. Finally, the City is part of the Love Food, Hate Waste program, which provides you with tons of resources and recipes to help you reduce food waste at home.
Other ways you can help:
- The City collects unwanted electronics for free to ensure they are disposed of safely and kept out of landfill. Find out what's accepted and where to drop off items.
- Visit the Waste Wizard for all your 'what goes where questions' or download the new TOwaste app.
- Read about local champions and innovators that are embracing waste reduction initiatives and helping to grow Toronto's circular economy
- The City of Toronto is seeking feedback on how to reduce specific single-use and takeaway items.