Waste Not Want Not – Around the House

April 2017 - Community & Environment

None of us mean to be wasteful. But an eye opening study by the Conference Board of Canada says otherwise.

In 2005, they measured the garbage production, energy consumption, water usage and other factors by 17 developed countries around the world. While Canadians earned an A in some categories like water quality and use of forest resources, overall we ranked a D average, especially in the garbage we produce – more than any other country in the study: 777 kg of garbage per person versus an average 578 kg – and twice as much as the top-ranking Japan. We also use nine times more water than best-ranked Denmark.

So what can we do?  A lot, with just a little effort. Start by being mindful, and then challenge yourself and your family to see how little you can throw away. By the way reducing waste doesn’t mean recycling more…it means respecting, re-using and repurposing something to the end of its life, and then disposing off it responsibly.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to get you started…


  • Bring your own bags and containers when shopping – that includes shopping for fruit and veg
  • Take your own reusable mug out for coffee
  • Pack lunches and leftovers in reusable containers
  • Use a plate to cover a dish of leftovers rather than plastic wrap or foil
  • Use and reuse anything as much as you can – like both sides of a piece of paper, or (washed) zip lock and other food-safe plastic bags
  • Start a conversation with your local coffee shop and retailer about replacing their plastic, single use items to something more eco-responsible
  • Mend, darn, glue, repair rather than toss
  • Ask the post office to stop delivering junk mail.


  • Use anything only once:
  • Single-use shopping bags
  • Plastic straws, coffee cups and lids, stir sticks, drink boxes, water bottles
  • Individually wrapped items, snack packs, and single-serve containers, styrofoam egg cartons
  • Paper napkins, paper and plastic plates, cutlery and cups; and balloons
  • Buy items in bulky or clamshell packages
  • Let the tap run or drip.


  • In bulk to reduce packaging
  • Refillable, returnable and reusable products
  • Concentrated soap and laundry detergent
  • Items made of recycled content
  • Paper and aluminum binders, refillable pens and pencils.

For inspiration, check out www.zerowastehome.com.

Did you know?

  • Packaging makes up 30% of weight, and 50% of trash by volume.






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