Illustration of Earth, a heat and leaves

So. much. waste.

Did you know that Canadians produce more than 31 million tonnes of waste annually?* That’s 2.7 kgs per person per day!

Most of our waste ends up buried in landfills. For waste to decompose in a healthy environment, such as your compost pile, it requires air and water. These are not present deep in the landfill. Water that drains through the landfill picks up dissolved solids as it goes, which may end up in our groundwater system, not to mention landfills creates greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.

It is up to each of us as individuals, communities, schools or businesses to consider what we are throwing away and the environmental impact this is causing.

* Statistics Canada, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division

Reduce and reuse before recycling

Did you know the three Rs of waste management are in order of importance? Reduce and Reuse before you Recycle. Reusing saves energy, money and landfill space.

Tips for reducing waste

  • Plan your meals to cut down on wasted food
  • Start an “eat me first” bin in your fridge for items that need to be eaten before they go bad
  • Pack lunches with containers not baggies
  • When you go out for dinner bring a reusable container for leftovers
  • Buy a pack of reusable cutlery, chop sticks and straws that you can take with you to avoid single use plastic
  • Use reusable silicone baking cups when making cupcakes, or at least paper wrappers vs foil so they can be composted
  • Buy products with minimal packaging and reuse whenever possible
  • Bring your mesh bag for produce
  • Give gifts of experience instead of items
  • Have a reusable water bottle and keep it in the fridge for easy access

Can’t reduce? Reuse first

  • Donate lightly used goods to charity, or trade them with neighbours
  • Local thrift stores are great places to find unique clothes that you can’t find in stores
  • Wrap gifts with reusable materials rather than wrapping paper
  • Join the upcycling sites on Facebook
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Go to a tailor to fix that zipper on your jacket
  • Fix your electronics or vacuum at the repair store

Can't reuse? Recycle

  • Practice the Green Routine, Strathcona County’s weekly waste collection service

More ideas to reduce waste Permanent link to more-ideas-to-reduce-waste

Image of hands holding a paper cut out of the earth with a heart on it.

Waste Reduction Week

Waste Reduction Week is celebrated across Canada each October. To find out more about what other parts of Canada is doing to reduce their waste visit Waste Reduction Week in Canada


Waste Reduction Week 2023

Make less Monday

Single use items are one of the largest contributors to waste in our landfills. Reducing your use of them isn’t hard, it just takes practice. Try to remember to take your reusable cutlery, straws, take out containers, and bags with you. Make your own beeswax wrap to use instead of plastic wrap.

Image of different types of reusable cutlery.


Textiles Tuesday

The average Canadian throws away 30 - 40kg of textiles per year. Textiles are clothing, towels, drapes, linens, purses, shoes, and other cloth materials. In recent audits we found that approximately 9% of the of the average black cart materials were reusable or recyclable textiles.

Recycling your unwanted textiles reduces waste, benefits the environment and local community and leaves more room in your black cart. The local community also benefits from donated textiles as local non-profit thrift stores re-invest the money they receive into the community. These stores provide jobs and also support many community initiatives.

Waste free lunch Wednesday.

The average Canadian student contributes 30kg of waste per year just in their lunch kits. Packing a lunch using reusable containers and sandwich bags is easy, cost effective and reduces waste.

Need help with lunch ideas? Use this handouts with your kids to make packing lunches a little more fun.

Waste free lunch tips (6.7 MB)

Food Waste Friday

Strathcona County residents waste 4.8 million pounds of food a year. Nearly 48% of our black cart waste is food waste or compostable materials. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions when put into a landfill. However if put in the green cart it will turn into compost and be used to grow food our local producers will make with in one year.

Here are some tips to reduce you food waste.

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Last updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Page ID: 40887