Rethinking society’s relationship with waste


Here’s one of the stories that we share in our 2017 Report to the Community about how we help you live sustainably.

For five days, use one Mason jar to hold all of your home’s garbage destined to be buried in a landfill. In October 2016, 123 people across Waterloo Region accepted the Zero Waste Challenge.

For most of us, our day-to-day lives generate a lot of garbage as we live in a society where that is the norm. We generate so much waste that we need to manage it and have programs to divert it. All of that work is important and necessary, but is it really enough?

The zero waste movement says no and Reep Green Solutions agrees. It is time to go beyond managing waste and instead live sustainably by reducing waste and taking better care of our natural resources.

If participants in the Zero Waste Challenge wanted their jar to be as empty as possible, they needed to think about decisions they usually make automatically. They needed to think about what to buy when grocery shopping or where to shop. They also needed to think about how they could send less waste to the landfill by improving their recycling or composting.

Natalie Heldsinger and Jackson Smith of Waterloo took part in the challenge as a way to improve upon their commitment to reducing their environmental footprint. “We found using the Mason jar made us hyper-aware and conscious of the choices we made,” said Jackson.

The challenge motivated them to think more about their choices and participating in the challenge with other community members and sharing their progress increased their sense of commitment.

“One benefit of participating as part of a community challenge,” said Natalie, “was being able to share lessons with other participants. We were able to share our experiences and learn from others, which made a difference. We found that shopping at farmers markets significantly helped to reduce packaging.”

In the 2017 challenge, more people are expected to participate! And by supporting each other, we can rethink our society’s relationship with waste.

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