BECOMING WASTE WISE | Resolve to be Waste Wise

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With the beginning of a new year, many of us make resolutions to exercise more, live healthier, spend less money, reduce our environmental footprint, spend more time with loved ones, or simply make life less hectic. Resolving to become waste wise can help you accomplish all of these things.

Increase your exercise by wising up on composting. Start by aerating or turning your backyard compost at least once a week during non-winter months. In the fall, rake your leaves, stockpile them in bins or bags, and add the leaves to your compost each week as carbon. This keeps your compost at an optimum level of 50 per cent carbon and 50 per cent nitrogen (food waste). When your compost is finished, spread it out on your lawn or around your trees, or mix it with your garden soil. Composting is great exercise and all fitness levels can benefit from this activity.

Live healthier by evaluating your plastic consumption. Get informed on the health risks from exposure to chemicals found in many plastics and body care products. This knowledge will steer you away from many single use plastics and products that pollute our landfills and waterways. Not only will your health benefit, but also the amount of waste you produce will decrease.

Save money by analyzing how much food your household wastes each week. In order to reduce your food waste, make sure to shop with a list so you only purchase what you need. Stop buying or consider buying less of the food products you consistently throw away. Freeze leftovers and perishables before they go bad. Experiment with new recipes for baked goods, soups, stews, or smoothies as a way to use vegetables or fruit that are over-ripe, frozen, or cosmetically undesirable when fresh. These changes to your habits will save you money and reduce your waste.

Reduce your environmental impact by getting serious about recycling. Learn where to recycle batteries, paint, electronics, tires, used oil, cellphones, lightbulbs, and appliances. Use your curbside recycling or nearest recycling depot to recycle your household packaging and printed paper. Keeping all these recyclable items out of our landfills conserves resources, conserves landfill air space, reduces landfill leachate generation, reduces methane gas production, and reduces the impact on our environment.

Spend time with your family by jumping into waste wise projects. Build a backyard composter out of old pallets with your family this year. You will bond with your loved ones and teach them to take responsibility for the waste they produce. Why not create a family challenge to see who can produce the least amount of garbage? Recycling waste is better than disposal, but not creating the waste in the first place is even better. These are just a few ideas of how waste wise activities can bring your family together.

Lastly, make 2017 less stressful by reconsidering gifts. Find out what activities your family can participate in together so that you can create memories, rather than garbage, over the next year and during holidays. Activity gifts help reduce the hectic feeling that often accompanies the holiday season and provide your family with memories that will last a lifetime.

Join the Cariboo Regional District in 2017 by resolving to become waste wise and make a difference.

Learn more by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/caribooregion, visiting us online at cariboord.ca, or looking for our waste wise articles in your local paper. For more information on the Waste Wise Program, call (250) 398-7929. More details on Waste Wise activities and events can also be found at ccconserv.org.

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