What can I do to make a difference in the waste that I generate each day?
This is a question that strikes me every morning – as we are in the position of waste management educators and talkin’ trash around town. Thoughtfully considering my purchasing decisions, I often have the opportunity to make significant changes in my overall consumption habits. This is not something that comes naturally, but with practice and with intent.
Imagine a world where we don’t ship our garbage to a landfill in another country, by barge and by rail. Imagine a world where we aren’t constantly bombarded with ‘disposable’ packaging in nearly every item we purchase.
Consider the coffee cup that you throw away after one use. The aluminum lined wrapper of your mid-day snack (healthy or otherwise) or the unnecessary plastic packaging on any number of household items. When I consider these I have to also consider the alternatives. The to-go coffee mug is an easy one and simply building the habit of carrying it with me everywhere I go is a simple recommendation that I share with others. But the snacks and the ‘items’ may be harder shifts to change. Buying in bulk has helped me make this shift on my snack routine and leaving my packaging at the store at least limits what goes into my recycling pile, but it still doesn’t eliminate the fact that the packaging is created in the first place.
Product Stewardship is an important movement in making the manufacturers take responsibility for the incredible amount of waste that they generate through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The Let’s Talk Trash team is working with the Product Stewardship Council and will encourage Powell River’s retailers to work with EPR programs as they roll out over the next few years.
According to a waste audit conducted in 2009, nearly 40% of our waste stream is composed of organic material. Reducing our food waste from going into the landfill is the question that is currently being considered by the Composting Advisory Committee and promoting backyard composting is the main objective of the new Compost Education Centre.
We all know that the younger generations will inherit what we leave behind and we have a grand opportunity to help them understand the impact of our current waste habits. This was the task at the recent launch of the Destination Conservation workshop at James Thompson as our community youth joined together to perform a waste audit of a school trash bag and consider their consumption and recycling habits.
These initiatives all meet the objectives of the Let’s Talk Trash team, which is to promote waste reduction and move our community down the path to zero waste. This week launches Canada’s Waste Reduction Week and we officially launch the letstalktrashpr.com site. We hope that you’ll find this website and blog as a valuable tool and we welcome your feedback.