Waste Reduction Week 2020 Themes:
Circular Economy Monday
What Is A Circular Economy?
“A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems”. – Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2020)
Why is it Important?
Our current system is no longer working for people and the planet. When we make products, we extract limited resources from the Earth- which we then use, and eventually throw away when we no longer need them. Take-make-waste. We call this our linear economy.
Time for Change.
It’s time for our linear economy to evolve. “We must transform all the elements of the take-make-waste system: how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving economy that can benefit.
Principles of a New System:
- Design out waste & pollution
- Keep products & materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
According to WRW Canada (2020), the average Canadian throws away 81 pounds of textiles annually. On the other hand, North Americans send 10 million tonnes of clothing to the landfill every year- 95% of which could be reused, repurposed, or recycled.
- The World Bank estimates that textiles dyeing and treatment contributes up to 17-20% of all total industrial water pollution
- It takes 2,650L of water to make one cotton shirt
- 1 trillion kilowatt-hours are used every year by the global textiles industry. That equals 10% of the total carbon impact.
What is E-Waste?
Electronic waste includes any unwanted electronic equipment, such as:
- Smart devices
- Used cables
- Fluorescent lights
How Much Do We Waste?
In 2017, Canadians generated over 638,300 tonnes of e-waste- and this number is only expected to climb. By 2025, it’s estimated that Canada and the U.S will cumulatively generate 9.25 million metric tons of e-waste in that year alone.
- Globally, humans dumped a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste last year, equivalent to the weight of 350 cruise ships.
Why Is This an Issue?
These numbers indicate an increase of over 21% in the last five years.
- Only 17.4% has been recycled
- One tonne of discarded phones or PC's can contain up to 280 grams of gold, silver, copper, platinum or other high-value metals, $57 billion of which, could have been recycled.
- It takes roughly 530 lbs of fossil fuels, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 5 tons of water to manufacture a new computer.
Visit Waste Reduction Week Canada to learn more about this national campaign, and discover several educational resources!
PLASTIC WASTE THURSDAY
Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been generated around the world. This is the equivalent weight to 80 million blue whales!
- Only 9% is recycled, 12% is burned, and 79% is disposed of or littered in the environment.
- The plastics industry forecasts to produce over 34 billion metric tonnes by 2050
- Over time, plastics break down into smaller micro-fragments, creating a by-product called microplastics.
- Microplastics now exist on every extremity of the planet, and more locally, in Lake Superior! Our lake now contains up to 30,000 microplastic particles per km2.
- As a result of biomagnification, the average person consumes 1769 microplastic particles a week from water consumption alone.
FOOD WASTE FRIDAY
Why Is Composting Important?
- When we throw away our food, it goes to a landfill. Here, buried under layers of waste and without access to light or oxygen, it cannot decompose properly.
- Over time, this food rots and degrades, emitting a harmful greenhouse gas called methane.
- With 40% of municipal landfill materials being organic food waste, these potent gases encourage the warming of our planet, otherwise known as the climate crisis.
What Can You Compost?
- Fruits, veggies, coffee grounds, filters, tea leaves & bags..
- Plants, grasses, garden clippings, wood chips, needles, cones, manure
- Vacuum, dryer, & sweeping dust
- Dry dog or cat food
- Old wine
What Items Do We Avoid Composting?
- Pet droppings
- Butter, milk, cream, oil
- Fish skins
- Enrich your garden soil with nitrogen-rich moisture and nutrients
- Reduce the need for chemical fertilizers
- Reduce methane emissions from landfills
- Lower your carbon footprint
Waste reduction programs are funded by the City of Thunder Bay, delivered by EcoSuperior.
For more information on any of these programs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (807) 624 2143.