Zero Waste Challenge

There is a lot of waste in our lives. Challenge yourself to reduce your waste to fit into a 1L jar.

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What is the Zero Waste Challenge?

Zero Waste Challenge Waterloo RegionThere is a lot of waste in our lives. The idea of this challenge is to try to reduce your waste as much as possible. Your goal is to fit all your waste destined for landfill into a 1L jar for 7 days or 30 days.

You are encouraged to embrace the 5 Rs of Zero Waste: Refuse / Reduce / Reuse / Recycle / Rot –and in that order–to reduce the waste you generate.

How Do I Participate?

Accept the challenge as an individual, family, household or organization/team.

Didn’t take the Zero Waste Challenge this year?
Do you have feedback on how it went for you and your family?
Take this quick survey! We’d love to improve the Zero Waste Challenge!

Prepare for your Zero Waste Challenge

Get a 1 litre mason jar to track how you do. Learn to act differently using resources such as our Zero Waste 101 series. Start figuring out what can help you meet the challenge such as how to shop for groceries.

Fill your jar with waste destined for the landfill

When your challenge starts everything that can be composted or recycled should go in the green bin or blue box. For questions about what waste goes where, use the Region of Waterloo’s Waste Whiz to find out if something can be recycled or put in your green bin. Or better yet, download the My Waste app offered by the Region for Android and Apple devices.

Personalize the Challenge to You

We encourage you to consider some of the following options to personalize the challenge.

Connect with our community of participants

Learn from other participants in our Facebook group or at our zero waste events. We will send you emails throughout the challenge to encourage you and to share resources to help you along!

Why Take the Zero Waste Challenge?

Reducing the waste you create is an important part of living sustainably. By challenging yourself, your family and your coworkers you will learn the amount of waste you generate and how to reduce it in the future. 

Less waste in the landfill means less greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change. Different choices and behaviours can also mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the production and/or transport of goods and packaging. It even lowers the impact required to recycle materials.

Less waste in our life reduces litter in our communities and natural areas. More than just being an eyesore, litter harms the environment and waterways we need to thrive. 

Personalize Your Challenge

We encourage you to consider some of the following options to personalize the challenge.

  • Use 1 mason jar for everyone in your home (only 1 registration required) or use a jar per person (register individually).
  • If anyone in your home uses disposable diapers, they can be exempted from the challenge since it is a difficult change for a short period. We encourage you though to consider trying an alternative such as cloth diapers.
  • While feminine hygiene products are also exempt from the challenge, you could use this opportunity to try a sustainable alternative.
  • Meat packaging including butcher paper is garbage that can’t be recycled or composted. If you normally eat meat, we encourage you to consider reducing or eliminating the meat in your diet. An alternative is to ask a butcher to put your meat directly into a container you bring from home. We’ll let you decide if you want to exempt meat packaging or figure out how best to track it.
  • Increase the challenge! Stop using single-use plastic, such as plastic water bottles/grocery bags/to-go containers, that you only use once before it is recycled).
  • If you are the only one taking the challenge in your home, consider using a smaller jar.
  • If including your work life is too difficult, take the challenge for your personal life.

Have any Questions?

For questions about the challenge, see if it has been answered by our Facebook group. Still have questions? Reach out! [email protected]

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