By Julia Funk, Aribah Khan and Eriselda Lleshi
This year LEAP club has been focusing a lot on waste. You may have noticed our posters on the wall during Canada’s Waste Reduction Week, or even bought a yummy grilled cheese sandwich for our fundraiser. Waste comes in all shapes and forms. What we need from you, is to become more aware of it. Keep reading to find out more about three very big forms of waste; food, textile, and electronic waste.
Food waste is becoming an increasingly big problem. There is over $680 billion in food wasted every year but even so, there are 795 million undernourished people worldwide… less than one-quarter of all wasted food is enough to feed them ALL. Not to mention that food waste is also water waste (due to growing, production etc.) and with water pollution rapidly depleting our oceans, we don’t need to waste a single drop more. The only way things will get better is if we each do our part. You can start off by making sure you only buy what you need and checking your fridge every few days to make sure nothing is going bad before you get to eat it. A handy tip is to keep a “Eat First” Bin in your fridge. Even if something does go bad, don’t throw it out. I repeat do not throw it out! There are thousands of decomposers drooling over those scraps –so be a good citizen and feed some of your local earth worms. In return, we get fresh compost which can be used to grow more food. For more information and live counts on food waste check out : http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/world_food_consumption_statistics/world_food_waste_statistics.
Textile waste is one of the least spoken about forms of waste, yet it has an immense impact on our environment. Textile waste is a material that is deemed unusable for its original purpose by the owner. In North America, over 9.5 million tons of clothing are sent to landfills every year even though 95% of these clothes could be reused or recycled. In Canada alone, we produce enough textile waste a year to make a mountain three times the size of the Rogers Centre! In today’s consumerist society we do not realize that we have increased our clothing consumption from 50 billion new garments in 2000, to over 100 billion in 2017. This huge production of clothes is using 1/3 of the world’s fresh water resources. So what can you do to help reduce the impact of your clothes? The options are endless; reuse them, give to homeless shelters, donate them to second hand stores like the Value Village, or even give them to big retail stores who recycle them! Visit http://citywasteservices.ca/2016/12/15/the-essential-guide-to-clothes-donation-and-recycling-in-toronto/ to check out more on what to do with your unwanted clothes.
E-waste is an informal term to describe the consumer and business electronics which are nearing or at the end of their useful life. This applies to any electronics such as your cellphones, laptops, tablets, and etc. A staggering 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronic waste is generated worldwide every year, but only 11.4% of it is recycled. When electronics end up in landfills the toxins they contain such as mercury, lead, and cadmium contaminate our soil and water. Recycling these electronics instead will allow valuable resources to be reused as well as decrease their harmful effects on the environment. The amount of E- waste can be minimized through the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Firstly, reducing the e-waste can be done through good maintenance of your electronics and careful decision making when first buying the electronics. Our functioning electronics can also be reused by donating them or selling them. Also, even if a product cannot be repaired, it can be recycled. There are many organizations that manage e-waste recycling such as EMCO disposal services, Recycling council of Ontario, and Greentronics computer recycling. You can make a difference and make our world a greener place by decreasing the use of these hazardous e-waste products. If you believe that your electronic is “trash,” do not throw it in in the trash! Bring it to any home hardware store, a drop-off Depot or even our schools very own Electronic Waste Bin found in the main office. Click the following link to find out more locations and more facts about our electronic waste: https://www.recyclemyelectronics.ca/on/where-can-i-recycle
These are only three forms of waste but there are many more. We hope you will all become more mindful of your consumption and the impact of the waste you create. There is always a right way to dispose of items and we hope that you will choose the greener option. Your contributions to making the world a greener place are more significant than you think. As we work towards our goals one step at a time, keep in mind, it all starts with YOU!
Look forward to more articles by the LEAP Club to help “Make Forest Hill GREEN Again”