5 small things you can do in the new year to reduce waste in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

Published January 31, 2023 at 2:33 pm

5 small things you can do in the new year to reduce waste in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

For those who made it their New Year’s resolution to be more environmentally conscious, feeling like you have to change up your lifestyle can be very overwhelming.

The good news: You don’t have to change much to start living a greener life.

There are many small things you can do in Peel Region that will make a big difference in our collective efforts to reduce waste and create a healthier environment.

These five things are easy to do, and they don’t require you to buy any special equipment – you can use what you already have at home!

1. Toss used napkins, paper towels and facial tissues into the organics (green) bin.

Most of us know to throw away food-related items into the organics bin, but there are quite a few other waste items that go there as well – such as paper items like napkins, paper towels and facial tissues, with about 70% of these items currently ending up in the garbage. That’s 9,000 tonnes a year that can be easily composted. For those of you who find it hard to use a green bin, starting with napkins, paper towels and tissues is an easy way to begin a positive new habit. Remember that Peel Region collects organic waste weekly from the curb!

2. Empty and rinse food containers before recycling them.

Many food containers can be recycled, but only when the food has been cleaned out of them, such as jars of sauce, yogurt cups, and pizza boxes. Throwing these items into the blue bin with amounts of food and liquid still left inside can cause spills onto clean material that can easily be ruined, such as paper or cardboard, thus making them no longer recyclable. Taking a few extra seconds to empty and rinse these containers will ensure they actually get recycled.

3. Keep old batteries in a bag or container until they’re ready for pickup.

Batteries are considered hazardous and can’t be thrown out with the rest of your waste. Instead, they’re collected at the curb twice a year in the spring and fall. Keep all your old single-use and rechargeable batteries (weighing less than 11 lbs) together in one place so you can easily toss them when your battery pickup day rolls around. You can also dispose of batteries, including car batteries and sealed lead acid batteries, at a Community Recycling Centre for free.

4. Keep a reusable bag handy for any shopping trips.

Stores and businesses are beginning to phase out single use plastics, including plastic shopping bags which often end up in landfills or are found littering the environment. You can do your part as a shopper by keeping a reusable bag in your car or purse. That way, you’re always prepared for every shopping trip or when you’re out running errands.

5. Consider buying products that can be reused, whenever possible.

Whenever you find yourself browsing store shelves, consider buying products that can be reused regularly instead of something that needs to be tossed away after using it once. For example, buy reusable containers instead of plastic wrap, or repurpose something you already have for another purpose (like storing sewing materials in an empty cookie tin). Not only is this approach environmentally conscious, it’ll also save you money from not having to constantly buy disposable products.

Small changes can lead to big improvements! Which of these changes will you try making this year to reduce your waste?

More information and useful resources are available at Peel Region’s website – such as their waste sorter which specifies how to dispose of any kind of waste, and their collection calendar to help you remember which bins will be picked up on your next collection day.

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