Zero Waste in 5 "easy" steps
Getting to Zero Waste is a big goal for our region (and any region), but if we all work together, we can get a lot closer to Zero Waste than we are now. All it takes is making small, easy adjustments to everyday habits (e.g. buying less, reusing more).
There are 5 steps to Zero Waste: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. These steps follow a very deliberate pecking order (or hierarchy), starting with the most important step (refuse) and ending with the “least important” step (recover). Zero Waste principles can be applied at home, at work and at school.
- REFUSE = BUY LESS STUFF
Save money and the earth’s resources by buying only what you need. Buy things that last a really long time and are made locally. Otherwise rent, borrow, share, repair, refurbish or re-upholster! More
- REDUCE = SAY NO TO WASTE
Stop trash from entering your home, business or school. Say no to excessive packaging, and don’t buy disposable or single-use items (e.g. paper napkins, juice boxes), or things that contain hazardous chemicals. More
- REUSE = PASS IT ALONG
Be creative! Find new ways to use old things. Repurpose them via a local thrift store or the CVRD Free Stores, or pass them along to others to repair or resell. Just keep things moving and out of the landfill. More
- RECYCLE = SAVE THE VALUE
Massive amounts of energy and resources are needed to make things like batteries, light bulbs and plastic bottles. Preserve this value by recycling, not trashing. You can recycle hundreds of things for free in the CVRD. More
- RECOVER = USE THE ENERGY
There is no such thing as waste. There are only wasted resources. Even the tiniest piece of material contains a huge amount of value. Used frying oil can become fuel, tires can be turned into all sorts of new products, and any residual garbage that is left over after everything possible has been refused, reduced, reused and recycled can be used to make energy.
Zero Waste hierarchy
This is how the hierarchy works:
- The best idea is not to create any waste in the first place (refuse).
- If you do create waste, try to make as little as possible (reduce).
- Then try to find other uses for this waste when you want to get it out of your home or workplace (reuse).
- If you can’t find ways to reuse the waste, then make sure you preserve the value of the resources that are contained in that waste (recycle).
- As a final option, any leftover waste can be used to create new forms of energy (recover).