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Windfall Ecology Centre
Day Three: Change Your Waste Habits
Most of us have heard and advocate the term NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) when it comes to landfill sites, but somehow not seeing how much waste we produce and send to landfills has perpetuated the "out of site, out of mind" manifesto and established poor waste habits in Ontarians.
Waste diversion programs in Ontario keep 2.3 million tonnes of recycled and composted products from going in the trash but there is still 10 million tonnes of waste that reaches landfill sites. (Statistics Canada, 2006)
Fortunately, there is a lot we can do everyday to change how much garbage goes to the landfill.
Using a composter can divert about 90% of the food waste from going to a landfill. Landfills prevent waste from degrading, so by maintaining a composting system it allows organic waste to be used productively in the gardens. The average Ontarian creates 385kg of waste/year; by composting you could reduce that to 115kg waste/year.
In York Region, the Green Bin Program allows residents receiving curbside waste collection to divert their compostable products from the landfill. The nine local municipalities in York Region are responsible for providing residents with Green Bin containers and collecting the Green Bin material from your curb. The Green Bin material is then composted by the Region.
Not sure what can or cannot be composted? Unsure when your compost gets curbside pick-up? For those residing within York Region, click here for all the information regarding the Green Bin Program.
For those living outside of York Region check your Regional website for up-to-date information on compost programs.
Recycling programs divert waste from going to landfills, but currently 35% of recyclables still end up in the garbage. Recyling requires minimal work but has monumental results in creating a greener, cleaner community.
In York Region, the Blue Bin Program works much like the Green Bin Program in that municipalities are responsible for providing residents with Blue Bin Containers and collecting the Blue Bin material from your curb. From here the recycled products go to a Waste Management Centre to be properlly sorted and shipped out to become new products for consumers.
Not sure what can or cannot be recycled? Unsure when your recycling gets curbside pick-up? For those residing within York Region, click here for all the information regarding the Blue Bin Program
For those living outside of York Region check your Regional website for up-to-date information on recycling programs.
Bring Old Appliances, Electronics and Batteries to Take-Back Centres
If you have old electronics wasting energy or space throughout your house there are often recycling programs that will take them free of charge. Do What You Can (http://www.dowhatyoucan.ca/) is a program designed to help you find local approved recycling centres and select from a rapidly expanding roster of municipal, retail and other ‘take-back’ partners of old electronics.
The Ontario Power Authority has several programs to help residents save energy and money by recyling old appliances. The Great Refrigerator Roundup is for residents who would like to get rid of an old inefficient fridge. Ontario Power Authority will come to your house and haul your old fridge out of your basement or storage area free of charge, and take care of it in an environmentally responsible manner. While they are there they will also pick up old window air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Book your appointment online http://everykilowattcounts.ca/residential/fridge/ and read the eligibility requirements.
If you have old batteries that you need to dispose of you can usually drop them off at locations such as Best Buy or Radio Shack but it is best to phone ahead to a location near you to ensure they have a battery drop off program. Another option is to use Battery Broker Environmental Services Inc. (http://www.batterybroker.on.ca/index.html), a company committed to the collection and proper disposal of all types of waste batteries. Better yet, invest in reusable batteries. Reusable batteries can save you hundreds of dollars a year and save you from having to find a location to dispose of old used batteries.