QofG-WASTEWaste is a huge topic – which means there are endless possibilities for making changes to go greener! Here are some tips from the Queen of Green on how to green waste:

Recycling (blue bin) dos and don’ts

From the Queen of Green herself – including links to big cities in Canada to check what’s accepted in your city for recycling. If you live in Edmonton, check the What Goes Where? guide to refresh your memory on what goes in the garbage, recycling, and eco-station.

Reduce is the first “R”.

(Read about my top R’s for going green here.) How much packaging is entering your home? How about purchasing fewer prepared foods, buying in bulk and packing waste-free lunches?

Got a baby?

Switch to eco-friendlier diaper options or fall in love with cloth diapers.

Recycle less!

Reuse that glass pickle jar – it is easy to wash (dishwasher-friendly), has an air tight seal and doesn’t leach any toxics like Bisphenol-A (BPA). Store leftovers (even in the freezer), store dry goods or pack your lunch! What other items could you reuse or repurpose and stop recycling?

Minimize household energy waste.

Save energy with small changes to household habits. Maybe it’s time to kill vampire electronics – turn off and unplug. Here are some of my tips for being more energy-efficient.

Hang laundry to dry.

Or shrink drying time with wool dryer balls. Check out my post on greening your laundry here!

Recycle batteries, old paint, electronics, small appliances, and gardening chemicals that seem to pile up in our garages and basements.

(These can all be taken to an Eco-Station in Edmonton.) About 96 per cent of the materials in mobile devices are recyclable, but only 12 per cent of used mobile devices are being recycled in Canada. In Edmonton you can recycle your old cell phones at London Drugs, bring to an Eco-Station, or to an Electronics round-up.

Try Recycle My Cell to find a drop-off location in your area.

They accept cell phones, rechargeable batteries and more. The brand or condition doesn’t matter and it’s free!

Call-2-Recycle will take used household batteries.

This includes single-use and rechargeables, too.

London Drugs has a “bring back the pack” program.

Read more about it here! Bring in the receipt and they’ll recycle cell phones, batteries, disposable cameras, small appliances, and the packaging (like Styrofoam)! Recycling fees apply to items not purchased in store.

Future Shop and Best Buy will also take electronics as well as DVD, CDs and cases for recycling.

Future Shop also has a Flip Your Tech program where you can bring in iPod & MP3 players, tablets, cellphones, laptops, games and gaming consoles in exchange for a Future Shop gift card (depending on the value of your item.

Here’s the Queen of Green’s list of recycling FAQs from car seats to wedding dresses and drywall!

Donate something!

You’d be surprised at how much of what you’re not using is needed by someone else and how easy it is to give. Chances are that if you aren’t using it, someone else will! You could also join a local swap page to sell or give away your items!

Start composting or vermicomposting.

Only 30 per cent of Canadian households compost. With households still responsible for half of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions, why not start there? Your garbage is about 40 per cent organic waste and composting keeps all that garbage out of the landfill. Backyard composters are cheap. I actually got mine through redeeming Air Miles! Find more advice in this handy Composting Do’s and Don’ts factsheet or read about composting FAQs here!

I am definitely making a goal out of improving my composting. I use the composter to put all of my kitchen scraps but am not good at getting the “brown matter” to balance it out. I’m going to work on figuring out how I can do that to be more effective in my composting.

What struck a chord with you on the list above as something you can do?