Pledge to End Waste - Kazlyn

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An aluminium can on a hot pink background

Living waste free is a huge learning experience. Even before I began my official two week period of Pledging to live waste free I had become more aware of the amount of waste/recyclables I go through and was already trying ways to cut back on the waste I produce. Watching the documentary "The Clean Bin project" and learning from the Office of Campus Sustainability, I had already acquired useful tips on how to live waste free before my official two weeks. The amount of items able to be recycled on Campus is amazing, which helped me be able to recycle more. So I admit I was at an advantage to someone who hadn't thought about how to live waste free and who began cold turkey for the Pledge.

Since I became more aware of my waste, I have come across situations that I wouldn't have thought twice about if I hadn't been trying to cut back on waste. Take for example paper towels in the campus bathrooms. If there are no hand dryers and only paper towels, I could not throw out the paper towel in the bathroom garbage..I had to either bring it home with me to put in my compost or find the nearest recycling centre to dispose of it properly. Along with my Nalgene water bottle, and travel coffee mug, I have also started always bringing a tupperware container with me, wherever I go, so I can put my compost in it and bring it back to my house to put in the compost there.

After becoming aware of my waste and trying to reduce my environmental footprint, I rarely go shopping at the mall, so the only real place I could be producing waste is with the food I buy. I slowly found ways to cut back on the amount of waste during grocery shopping, which is easier than people think if you become aware of it. For example, instead of buying my spinach every week in the plastic clam shells which would have to be recycled when empty. I reuse just one of these clam shells and get my spinach loose leaf using a plastic bag (that I also reuse) then transfer the spinach to the clam shell (the spinach stays better for longer in these containers I find). Since I had a stock pile of those clear plastic bags from the grocery store I now bring these bags with me when I go grocery shopping so I do not have to use any new one for my produce.

During my waste free two weeks my homemade granola ran out, and I had to buy cereal from the grocery store - but after finding out that the plastic bags that the cereal come in can be recycled at the campus facilities, this has made be breathe a bit easier when buying them. My roommate and I now bring these (as well as other plastic items that can't be recycled by the City of Ottawa facilities) to the school for recycling.

There are many other examples of how I have learned to cut back on waste, which as I look back now are easy to do! Just becoming aware of the facilities available for recycling and learning a few tricks of the trade, on a typical week I have almost nothing (except for maybe a few pieces of floss) in my garbage bin. This has been a real eye opening experience for me and I know I will continue to live as waste free as I can! And I will forever be on the look out for composts and recycling stations.

~ kazlyn b - uOttawa student

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