You like to do good by the world and buy products and goods from materials that can be recycled. You play your part, sorting your recyclables like plastics, cardboard, paper etc., using organic material on your garden or separating it in a composting bin. But what happens when you think you are doing the right thing at home and find out that building management companies aren’t obligated to recycle? Yes, that’s right, buildings in Ontario do not have to recycle and can take all your rinsed blue box materials straight to landfill.
While most buildings provide a convenient garbage disposal system with access to chutes on every floor, the same convenience is not always offered to residents for recycling. The majority of buildings require residents to take their recyclable materials to a less convenient centralized location. To recycle, more effort is often required. Most multi-residential condo buildings in Toronto have hire private waste management companies to handle their waste disposal and these companies are not required to recycle material for their clients unless hired to do so, which usually comes at a premium cost and involves maintenance fees hikes. This is the reason why municipal waste audits have revealed recycling rates are significantly much lower in multi-residential buildings than single family homes.
If you find yourself in a building that doesn’t recycle, here are some ideas for you to make sure you still play your part and help the environment:
Buy Refillable Products
Buying food in bulk is great as you only have to buy what you need, is cheaper and when you finish the products there’s no packaging to dispose. Just search for your closest bulk food store and give it a try.
People love carbonated water and drink at least a bottle per day. But instead of buying it from the grocery store in a single-use plastic bottle, you can easily make it at home. It tastes great, can be poured into a reusable bottle infinite times and when the CO2 cylinder is empty, you can exchange it at your store.
You can also buy your oils and vinegars from stores that accept your old container to re-fill it and get a discount.
You can also refill your household and personal care containers from a bulk household and food stores. There are options to refill your detergent, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and body lotion at local shops.
Buy Products With Little To No Packaging
Have you noticed that some brands sell their products in big boxes full of packaging? One of the reasons why they do this is to sell you products with attractive packaging but at the end of the day you most likely don’t focus on the product, and whether you really need it. So, when selecting a brand also think about the packaging they use and if there are more ecological options.
Avoid Using Plastic Bags At Retail And Grocery Stores
This is the one of the simplest things you can do. You can either buy a reusable shopping bag (preferrably one you can always carry with you like these ones) or start using that textile shopping bag you got at one of your favourite stores or as a gift. It’s that easy!
Buy Second Hand
Online websites like Kijiji, eBay, Facebook Marketplace or brick & mortar thrift stores, are great sources to get what you need, at a fraction of the price, and in really good condition. These items most likely don’t come with their original boxes or packaging but are still in perfect shape, without anything to throw away.
Buy From The Farmers Market
Supporting local farmers is not only a great way to contribute to the economy but also get fresh, healthy produce. What you may have not realized, is that by buying from them you also reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging. Just remember to bring your reusable bags (see ‘Avoid Using Plastic Bags’
Reuse Gift bags
Giving a present to your loved ones doesn’t mean that you also have to spend on a nice bag. Instead, keep the ones you got at Christmas or birthdays and reuse them for other gifts. Lots of people do that with their family and friends, and it’s awesome to see them being rotated and reused. If you have good wrapping skills, you can even think about using catalogues or magazines that are in good shape to wrap up your gifts. This is a smart and creative idea that your loved ones will likely appreciate.
If you have any other great ideas on how to reuse, recycle and reduce waste that you would like to share, please post them below!