April 22 is Earth Day – this year with a campaign theme of Environmental & Climate Literacy. Knowledge is power so we are celebrating all month by sharing about how to reduce waste in the kitchen, around the house, in your closet.
First, let’s talk about waste. Waste is not just about throwing something useful away. It’s considering true cost of making, shipping, storing and disposing of all our stuff – all the time, the money, the space, and the impact on our environment.
Here’s are some things to think about…
- In Canada, we throw away about $27 billion worth of food every year – more than half of what we buy
- Over $2560 trillion dollars are spent worldwide on clothing, shoes and luxury items every year (2010). How much do we really need?
- In China alone, the textile industry creates about 3 billion tons of soot each year, and discards millions of tons of fabric when dyed the wrong colour
- Up to 75% of used office furniture – up to 8.5 million tons – ends up in a landfill every year.
- Toxic chemicals used in adhesives, paints and thinners, flame-retardants, plastics, polyurethane foams, and textiles leach into the soil.
- The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic, causing the deaths of over 1,000,000 seabirds, and more than 100,000 marine mammals every year (2006).
- The World Bank estimates that, by 2100 (in just 4 years), growing global urban populations will produce three times as much waste as it does today. The annual cost to manage it will rise from $205 billion to $375 billion. We pay for that in our taxes – and where are they going to put it all?
The good news is that we can all do something about it:
- Get educated to understand the issues, and to make wiser choices
- Think twice before buying
- Choose products made of sustainable and recyclable materials
- Use fully what we own, then upcycle or recycle responsibly
Follow us in this series as we talk about waste in the kitchen, in our homes, and in our closets.