Environmental issues are a hot topic these days, usually from two angles: reducing waste and reducing the use of resources. Below is a list of a few resources to start, as being more informed can help us be more effective in achieving these goals.
On Managing Waste and Recycling
1. Waste Free Edmonton: Waste Free Edmonton is an interesting local initiative that helps raise awareness for creative ways to reduce the amount of garbage you produce. The website is www.wastefree.ca and you can also follow their very active Facebook and Twitter pages.
2. City of Edmonton App’ WasteWise’: While most homes would have the two-page colorful charts that help us with sorting our garbage, there is an app and a website that can help with this as well. The WasteWise app from the City of Edmonton is available both for Android and Apple smartphones. Information on waste sorting, garbage collection dates and more are available right on your screens and at your fingertips. Just search ‘City of Edmonton WasteWise’ on your computer or your phone’s app store.
3. Edmonton Eco Stations and Reuse Centres: There are a lot of items that don’t have to be thrown into the garbage bin and landfills right away, such as old furniture, bottle caps, electronics, or half-empty cans of paint. Bringing them to Eco Stations or Reuse Centres, which are services from the city, is worth looking into when doing your spring cleaning. You can check the weblink for information, or through the WasteWise App: https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/garbage_waste/eco-stations.aspx
Getting reused materials instead of buying new
1. Habitat for Humanity Restore: This place is kind of like a Home Depot and a thrift store combined. The items in the store are donated by individuals and companies, so you can buy things like light switches, toilet bowls, tiles, tools, or old furniture. The prices are similar to market rates, or slightly cheaper, and all proceeds go towards their local initiatives to help make home ownership attainable for low-income Canadians. https://www.hfh.org/restore/ is where you can search for the nearest location.
2. Online Stores like Facebook MarketPlace, Consignment Stores and Kijiji: Buying items that are not only wallet-friendly but environmentally-friendly as well is a win-win situation. By giving these items a chance to be used by someone else, there is less waste rather than throwing these out.
3. Community Garage Sales: The good old fashioned garage sale is another great way to buy pre-loved items for cheaper. Walking around your neighbourhood during the weekends can help you spot one, and subscribing to your community league’s newsletter or online pages can keep you updated on when they will take place.
Going Beyond the Home: Initiatives to Contribute To
1. Boomerang Bags: For those of you who, like me, took Home Economics classes as a child, here’s a great opportunity to use those skills and make a difference. The Boomerang Bags program, with the help of volunteers, makes cloth grocery bags available for free at local stores, so that customers can use them instead of getting a plastic or paper bag. For crafty people, making tote bags is easy and a great way to volunteer. They even have “sew-cial” parties where people get together and sew a bunch of bags during a single event. It’s a nationwide initiative, and you can search the Edmonton Chapter on Facebook by typing Boomerang Bags #YEG.
2. Edmonton Tool Library: Do you have a project like renovating a part of your home, or making an item like a cabinet? A tool library is like a book library, but for tools. This can save you money from spending hundreds of dollars for a table saw or a drill that you may only ever use twice. Borrowing can also save the environment! For more information, you can check out their website at http://www.edmontontoollibrary.ca/ or follow their page on Facebook!
While this is in no way an exhaustive list, the goal is to encourage seeking information and assistance for any type of challenge, not matter how big or small, how common or uncommon. For any readers who are not directly served by the area where the outlined organizations are listed, it is likely that equivalents are available by searching the topic and adding the name of your location.