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Waste Reduction Week in Canada Celebrates Achievement and Encourages Improvement

Waste Reduction Week in Canada Celebrates Achievement and Encourages Improvement

For 16 years Waste Reduction Week in Canada has been highlighted in calendars to remind and encourage everyone on the importance of reducing waste. Canadians are proud of their environment and have been recognized around the world for recycling programs.  However, work can still be done; among OECD countries Canada ranks 26 out of 35 by only recycling and composting 24 per cent of its municipal waste.

 "Waste Reduction Week in Canada is a unique campaign that raises awareness about the consequences of waste, highlights the challenges, and celebrates achievements," says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario. "There a fine line between knowing and doing, and we want Canadians to take action."

Each day of Waste Reduction Week has a theme focused on a current waste issue, and offers educational opportunities as well as hands-on experience through events in communities across Canada.

Monday, Oct. 16: The Circular Economy: The transition to a circular economy is being adopted by cities and organizations around the world, which moves forward from the industrial model of take-make-dispose. The circular economy redefines products and services to maximize resources and eliminate waste. Canadians can accelerate the transition by supporting products and services that embody circular economy principles.
Tuesday, Oct. 17: Textiles Canadians, on average, will dispose of 37 kilograms of textiles (clothing, linens, rags) every year. This equivalent to every Canadian throwing out 215 t-shirts. What's more is that it also takes 2,600 litres of water to make a brand new t-shirt, and 95 per cent of what is currently thrown away can be reused or re-worn.
Waste Reduction Week in Canada encourages communities to host a clothing swap to extend the lifecycle of apparel, and reminds Canadians to bring gently used material to retailers that offer take-back and thrift stores for reuse and recycling instead of throwing them in the trash or storing them in the back of the closet.
Wednesday, Oct. 18: Celebrating Champions and Innovators: Organizations across Canada are disrupting traditional models of consumption to embrace waste reduction. Waste Reduction Week in Canada celebrates champions and showcases innovation that drive us toward a circular economy and reduce waste.
Thursday, Oct. 19: Plastic: Since the 1950s 8 billion tonnes of plastic has been generated around the world and only 23 per cent has been recovered or recycled. At our current rate of disposal there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. While nearly every household in Canada has access to recycling and most types of plastic can be recycled, Waste Reduction Week reminds Canadians to prioritize the 3Rs hierarchy and look for ways to reduce and reuse before recycling.
Friday, Oct. 20: Food Waste: 183 kilograms (404 lbs.) is the weight of how much food every Canadian will waste each year, which is like throwing away $1,456. Food Waste Friday reminds Canadians to live by this mantra: buy what you need, eat what you buy, compost the rest.
Canadians can also visit and take the Food Waste Pledge where individuals, schools, organizations, households, and communities can challenge themselves to learn more about meal planning, food storage, and embracing their inner chef with leftovers in their refrigerator.
Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 21-22: Swap, Share, Repair: Swapping, sharing, and repairing items maximizes their use, extends their lifecycles, and keeps them away from landfill. Your unwanted items could be someone else's treasure. On the weekend of Waste Reduction Week Canadians are encouraged to think about extending the lifecycle of material. Resources are available, along with event listings where anyone can list or join a community event to swap, share, and repair.
Get Involved
Throughout Waste Reduction Week Canadians are encouraged to join the conversation on social media: #WasteReductionWeek. Share photos and video of personal waste reduction initiatives, and highlight products or services that embody the spirit of waste reduction.

For more information on Waste Reduction Week in Canada, including resources, tools, events, and champions profiles, visit

"We all take pride in Canada's vast natural resources and know we need to take action on climate change. By educating ourselves, making small simple changes to our habits, and being conscientious about our choices we will make a difference," continues St. Godard.

Waste Reduction Week in Canada is organized by a coalition of non-governmental, non-profit groups and government organizations from each of the 13 provinces and territories across Canada. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @wrwcanada

 Waste Reduction Week quotes:
"Walmart is proud to support Waste Reduction Week in Canada as part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and supporting local communities. Walmart Canada is working towards a goal of creating zero waste across our operations, and we're well on our way toward meeting that goal -  today, we divert about 81 per cent of our operational waste from landfill. We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners and our customers to further reduce waste in our stores and the communities where we operate." Andrew Telfer, Manager, Sustainability, Walmart Canada
"At the Beer Store, we work to demonstrate that the circular economy is a proven concept that ensures products and materials are recycled to their highest end use through the least impactful processes. Through the deposit return programs we manage, and the support of our great customers, we worked together to divert just over 380,000 tonnes of containers and packaging from landfill in 2016. We encourage individuals and other organizations across Canada to engage with Waste Reduction Week in Canada, and learn more about this sustainable environmental and economic model." Ted Moroz, President, The Beer Store.
"Waste reduction is a core strategic initiative at A&W as we strive to lead the industry by example. In our effort to reduce waste going to landfills, we started by making big changes to our packaging. We have been serving A&W Root Beer in frosty glass mugs since we opened our first restaurant in Winnipeg in 1956. Today, we serve cold drinks in glass mugs, hot drinks in ceramic mugs, fries and onion rings in metal baskets, and our breakfast is served on real ceramic plates with stainless steel cutlery. Together with our Guests, we are diverting over 90 million pieces of single-use packaging from landfills each year. We are proud of our progress but we have so much more to do. As innovations evolve, so do our practices. In partnership with Waste Reduction Week in Canada, we want to celebrate champions and innovators that are taking action to move the conversation forward as it relates to waste reduction." Tyler Pronyk, Director, Distribution, Equipment & Packaging, A&W
"Our ambition is to be the most sustainable protein company on earth, and eliminating waste in our operations plays an important role. We are proud to partner with Waste Reduction Week in Canada, and support its take action approach that encourages Canadians to reduce their waste." Tim Faveri, Vice-President, Sustainability & Shared Value, Maple Leaf Foods
"As a leader in organics waste processing we know first-hand the amount of food waste that is generated along the entire value chain. We are thrilled to partner with Waste Reduction Week in Canada to encourage Canadians to take the Food Waste Pledge, and make sure that nothing good is left to waste." Chris Guillon, Vice-President, Finance, Stormfisher Environmental.

 Background Stats
Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory notes that in 2015, approximately 30 Megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (eCO2) were generated at Canadian landfills, of which 19 Mt eCO2 were ultimately emitted.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the disposal of organic material in landfills is estimated to be about four per cent of the national GHG inventory, and food waste is about half of all organics disposed.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Canada recycled and composted waste 24 per cent of its municipal waste (2013), which ranks Canada 26 out of 35 countries. Germany leads at 65 per cent.
On average, every Canadian will generate 720 kg (1,587 lbs.) of waste that goes to landfill.
Statistics Canada data on national waste disposal (in tonnes):
Canadian Provincial Total Waste Disposed (2012) / (2014)

Nova Scotia: 365,079 (2012) / 364,193 (2014)
Newfoundland and Labrador: 391,571 (2012) / 415,158  (2014)
New Brunswick: 492,938 (2012) /  508,115 (2014)
Saskatchewan: 957,670 (2012) /  940,595 (2014)
Manitoba: 1,017,663 (2012) /  1,026,522 (2014)
British Columbia: 2,604,147 (2012) /  2,721,309 (2014)
Alberta: 3,913,924 (2012) / 4,097,584 (2014)
Quebec: 5,584,621 (2012) /  5,714,630 (2014)
Ontario: 9,208,839 (2012) /  9,165,299 (2014)

Canada: 25,013,204 (2012) / 25,103,034 (2014)

Textiles: Globally, textiles waste has increased dramatically due to the rise in consumption and production. The number or new garments produced annually now exceeds 100 billion, which is double the amount compared to the year 2000.

Plastics: If an average family of four were to recycle all of its mixed plastic waste, nearly 150 kilograms pounds of carbon equivalent emissions could be reduced annually.
Producing 36,000 tonnes of plastic bottles requires energy equivalent to 49,210,353 litres of gasoline. Recycling a tonne of plastic bottles saves approximately 280 litres of gas.
Line-up 64,000 CN Towers side by side and they span from Vancouver to St. John's. That's also the equivalent to how much plastic has been produced globally since the 1950s: 8 billion tonnes. Of that only 23 per cent - or 15,000 CN Towers - have been recovered or recycled.

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