Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two bags or less

How many bags of trash do you send to the curb on garbage day? Could you send less?

There is a great initiative underway at the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission, challenging residents to commit to generating less household waste each week. By signing up for the “Two bags or less” challenge you commit to keeping your household garbage to two bags, or less, every week (four bags every collection period).

The idea is that if people are given a limit, or volunteer for a limit, then there will be a material reduction in over all trash generated. It’s a way to prepare us for the imposed limit that is coming.

Before starting the initiative the Commission completed a trial with 200 households in Hampton over the summer and into the fall. The results of the study showed that even voluntary limits to garbage can reduce the amount of waste set at the curb.

Most residents are already putting two bags or less to the curb every two weeks but the program is starting with a very generous “limit” to get people thinking. They’ll gradually reduce the amount over time as residents ease into the idea. What the eventual limit will be I don’t know.

There are environmental and economic incentives to diverting waste to more environmentally-friendly channels – like recycling paper and plastic and composting food waste. Composting alone can save a small fortune. Municipalities pay $28 per tonne in tipping fees for compost. But when residents put food and yard waste in the garbage, the tipping fee is $108 per tonne.

Last year the Fundy Solid Waste Commission recycled 6,100 tonnes of recyclables. That saved a lot of space in the landfill, diverted almost $660,000 in garbage tipping fees, and helped to ensure the reuse of our natural resources.

Knowing how to reduce your household trash is the first step in waste reduction.

Simple recycling will reduce your household garbage by nearly 50% and visiting the blue bins is getting easier and easier since you hardly have to do any sorting now that there are just three sorting bins: one for corrugated cardboard, one for paper & boxboard, and another for plastic, metal & milk containers. By the way, corrugated cardboard has the highest resale value of all recyclables so don’t put it in the trash!

Composting can reduce your household waste by 40% and is practically effortless since it gets hauled away for most of us.

Buying less and considering packaging as you make buying decisions are other ways to reduce your household waste.

Only you know how much effort you’re putting into waste reduction but chances are you could be doing more. Whether you sign up for the challenge or not, being mindful of how much you send to the curb is the first step in getting your household trash down to an environmentally and economically sustainable level. We’re down to one bag or less every two weeks and I’m sure there are still more ways we could trim. Visit http://www.fundyrecycles.com/ for more info on “Two bags or less” and fore more waste reduction tips.


Unknown said...

You would be proud Bridget - we have one bag garbage weekly plus one (sometimes two) bags of recycling every two weeks - St. John's does recycling every second week...

hope all is well with you!

Bridget Oland said...

Hi Veronica!
Sorry I'm just finding your message now. So you have curb side recycling in St. John's? Lucky you. I'm hoping we'll have it soon around here.

It's great to hear from you!