Waste Reduction Tips

Waste is an issue, we just have too much of it. Waste Watchers wants to help you reduce your waste with some great waste reduction tips. Check back often for more tips so we can all reduce more waste!

Find all your waste sorting answers

Not sure if you can recycle that plastic fork? Can you compost your McDonald’s cup?  The City of Hamilton has created a list of all the waste you can think of and where it belongs. This is the best resource you can use to make sure your waste is sorted correctly:

Garbage and Recycling – What Goes Where?
Set up sorting stations throughout your home
The kitchen is the most common place to find a greenbin, recycling bin and garbage container in most houses, but recyclables and items that can be composted are generated throughout a home.

Place a container for ‘dry’ greenbin items (tissues, pet fur, etc) in your laundry room, bathroom and bedroom – this will drastically reduce how much waste goes into the garbage in your home.

Make sure you have a place to recycle paper near your home work station. Even better, have a tray for paper that is Good On One Side (GOOS paper) so that it can be reused before recycled.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is the perfect time to go through your closest, cupboards and other storage areas and clean out whatever stuff you aren’t using.

Be thoughtful; Do you still need the item or are you saving it ‘just in case’? It is something you could rent or borrow if you needed to use it? Is it something you could get by without?

Donate any reusable items to a thrift store or charity near you and feel better; you now have less stuff to clean, less stuff to organize and less stuff to worry about. This leaves you with more time to relax, read, get outside and enjoy life!

Read the Zero Waste Home blog and be inspired!
Bea Johnson writes about creating a Zero Haste Home and gives great tips and advice along the way. Be inspired by her example to create simple changes in your life that can greatly reduce the waste your create.
For example, try making waste free lunches. Max (in Grade 5) shares how he makes a waste free lunch in the video below:

Go Beyond the 3Rs

The 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are great for helping us make less waste, but there are many more Rs that you can use!

If you don’t need it, refuse it. This is a great way to make less waste, avoiding plastic bags, paper napkins, straws, disposable coffee cups, etc.

When something breaks, try to repair it before throwing it away. Repairs are often easy, needing only some thread, a new battery or glue. Sometimes repairs can be difficult, especially because most items are no longer built with repairing in mind, but there are many sites available with instructions and replacement parts.

Need a tool for your repairs? Check the HARRRP Tool Lending Library, a way to borrow tools for free. http://harrrp.ca/tool-lending-library/

Before buying something new, remember what you already have. Check your fridge/closet/etc before shopping, nothing is worse than coming home with duplicates you don’t need. Remembering what you need is also important, shop with a list to avoid forgetting things and needing to make extra trips.

Reuse gift bags and tissue paper to reduce waste!


Reduce Holiday ‘Stuff’

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends but it’s also a time that creates a lot of waste and needless ‘stuff’. A few ways to reduce some of the ‘stuff’ over the holidays include:

  • Rethink gift wrapping by reusing gift bags, tissue paper or wrapping paper from years past, create your own wrapping paper from stencilled newspaper or paper bags or try giving gifts without any wrapping, the gift is the same either way
  • Give a gift that isn’t ‘stuff’ – try giving a donation to an organization that works on issues the receiver cares about or give experiences like a home cooked meal or trip to a conservation area or museum
  • Change the way you give gifts – organize your family or friends to give less gifts, have everyone draw only one name and have them give a gift to just that one person, everyone has less stress because there are less gifts to buy and everyone receives less stuff!
  • Think before you buy – if you are buying gifts be sure to think before you buy, plan your gifts and give things that the recipients wants or will find useful


Watch The Story of Stuff: http://www.storyofstuff.com/movies-all/story-of-stuff/

This fun 20 minute video will get you thinking about the ‘stuff’ in your life and if you really need it. Take inventory the next time you go shopping, is everything you’re buying necessary or is some of it bound to be waste in only a few months?

Cut down on the unnecessary stuff you bring home and you’ll cut down your household waste! Refuse that plastic bag and don’t buy that cute little trinket, they are designed to just become waste.


Start Freecycling!

The Freecycle Network

Freecycle is a network of people that want to reuse and keep things out of landfills. It is a great place to offer a piece of furniture, that box of books or other reusable items around your place. You get connected directly with the person that will be reusing the item. It’s also possible to find reused items, like kitchen items, craft supplies or a stroller.

Search for the Hamilton group and join today, you never know what you can keep from landfill by using this site before you decide to throw something out or buying something new! http://www.freecycle.org/