Pledge to End Waste - Adrie

An aluminium can on a green background

Waste Free Month Done... Waste Free Life Begins!

Ok, so my waste free month is technically done, and I realized that living waste free isn't as hard as it sounds; especially at Uottawa. We have this fantastic recycling program here where practically ANY type of plastic can be recycled at any recycling station on campus! This makes living waste free a lot easier!

 During this month I learned a few things.  Mainly I learned that living waste free is the most difficult when you go out places. When you go to a restaurant or a function it is almost impossible to know where your food scraps and things will end up because you can't control that. I also stayed at a hotel with my family and I realized that it's pretty hard to live waste free there because there is no compost or recycling, and even though we put our recycling in a box; who knows where it is going to end up?!

Also, living waste free was impossible at my work. I work at BeaverTails on the canal and even though nearly everything we dispose of is recyclable or compostable  we only had a garbage bin. I would see people throw whole empty apple cider jugs and recyclable cups in the garbage every day! I tried my best to remind my boss every shift that we really should do something about this (I think he got pretty annoyed), but we never did. Well we did get a green bin, and as much as I hounded the other employees, I was one of the only ones to use it! So that's something to work on.

Other than that, the only difficult thing to do was to change my habits. These are some of the things that I did to live waste free:
  1. I turned my garbage bin into another recycling bin. So then I could separate plastics and papers in my room and I didn't have a garbage can to throw things in!
  2. I kept a bag of non-recyclable plastics and I just took them down to one of the recycling stations every so often.
  3. I held on to things when there was no recycling around. So for example when I got a frozen hot chocolate at Second Cup, instead of throwing my straw wrapper into the little garbage hole on the counter I just carried it outside to the nearest recycling center (which was just outside the door)
  4. I was constantly googling " is _________ recyclable?" and asking all of the fabulous people at the sustainability office for help. 
It was really just a matter of being conscious of where I was throwing things out. Now that I've developed these habits I've realized that living waste free isn't really that difficult at Uottawa (No wonder we are the Recyclemania champs!). I feel like this experience really opened my eyes and helped me to realize that I can actually live my life and produce minimal (if not no) garbage.

~ adrie s - uOttawa student

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