How to Green Waste: Queen of Green Coaching project
Waste is a huge topic, and can be somewhat confusing to some. A lot of people think that all waste should go in one bin, which is not good for the environment.
If you live in Edmonton like me – I’ve put together an Edmonton-specific guide to recycling and waste here!
Here are some tips from the Queen of Green on how to green waste:
Recycling (blue bin) dos and don’ts
Check with your municipality to find out HOW to sort things properly so they actually get recycled! 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. You can even download the Edmonton WasteWise app and search for specific things to find out where they should go!
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.
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? The Queen of Green has other tips for recycling less here.
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. London Drugs accepts batteries and electronics for recycling. Best Buy also has an electronics and battery recycling program. Check out the list of accepted items here.
Best Buy has a Trade-In program where you can bring in electronic devices in exchange for a Best Buy gift card (depending on the value of your item). Apple also has a Trade-In program for credit towards your next purchase or an Apple gift card, or if it’s not worth anything to them, they’ll recycle it for free.
Think Recycle also has an electronics recycling program that donates funds to the David Suzuki Foundation!
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!
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.
I hear you on the brown matter for composting. One thing we have lots of this time of year is dry leaves. I keep a pile of them next to my compost so I can put a layer of leaves on top after each layer of kitchen waste. This works until I run out of leaves! Dried grass clippings are OK but they have to be dry (like hay) to count as brown matter.
That is a great tip, Fiona! The leaves are just flying around everywhere in my yard, I need a way to make them stay in a pile. 😛 And I had avoided using dried grass clippings for awhile because we had so many weeds.
for easy browns try used paper that has minimal ink. shredded paper is especially nice, also paper bags that have been reused to exhaustion, contents of the vacuum cleaner bag–in our house, mostly cat hair (we have no synthetic rugs), bits of old worn out cotton cleaning rags, sawdust from a neighbor’s home workshop, and leaves in autumn.
Thanks for the great tips!!