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Waste Reduction Tips

Category: News
on 17 October 2016

Waste Reduction Week Canada was Oct. 17-23, 2016. Here are some helpful tips for reducing your waste in Halton all year long:

  • Reduce waste at the source: use your own re-usable bags or containers where permitted. Avoid taking free giveaways that you don't really need that you will just throw out. Avoid things like styrofoam cups, plates, containers that can't be recycled in Halton's blue bin program. Be "waste conscious" at the point of purchase and make decisions accordingly. How will you dispose of that item or its packaging when done with it? Maybe there's a better choice, or maybe you don't really need it at all.

  • Are you using your blue & green bins properly to avoid contaminating the system?  Some people think anything plastic or styrofoam can go in Halton's blue bins – not true. Styrofoam is not permitted, and general plastic such as toys, hangers, bags, wrappers aren't accepted either. See Halton's Put Waste In Its Place search tool.  Special note regarding coffee cups:  In Halton, plastic lid goes in blue bin, paper cup goes in green bin (if no green bin available, find one or take it home to put in your green bin; otherwise cup goes in garbage. The paper cup doesn't belong in Halton blue bins).

  • Are you still throwing plastic bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, beverage case wrap, toilet paper or paper towel case wrap in the garbage? Take them to the drop bin at your local Walmart or other participating retailer. (Clean & dry material. No salad bags or biodegradable bags. Only put in what the bin says is allowed, to avoid contaminating it. It also helps to cut off any stickers.) These items don't belong in Halton's blue bins. If you put them in the blue bin, they can cause problems in the system and will end up in the landfill anyway.

  • Still throwing metal objects in the garbage? (eg. old frying pans, broken kitchen utensils, nails/screws, old garden tools, metal light fixtures, old plumbing fixtures, etc).  Save them up in a bucket(s) and take to your local metal scrap yard. You might get a few bucks for them, but importantly you'll be reducing waste, GHGs, and conserving resources. It's best if you can separate the different types of metal (steel, aluminum, brass, zinc), but some scrapyards may take as is, you'll just get a discounted rate for it. Enquire as to their policies. There are a few scrapyards in Burlington and several in Hamilton that accept walk-ins from the public.  You can also take scrap metal to Halton's waste management site on RR#25, but just be aware that a small fee is charged. Or, give it to that nearby neighbour who collects scrap metal...there's usually one around. It's a shame to see it go in the garbage.

  • Are you putting alcohol empites in your blue bin? (beer, wine, liquor bottles, cans, wine bags, etc.)  Take them back to the Beer Store for your refund. The Beer Store is a high-end recycler and your empties will often get recycled 17x more than in the blue bin. Did you know they also take back plastic 6-pack rings for recycling?  Keep them out of the landfill and keep wildlife safe at the same time!

  • Does that household item really need to be replaced? Can it be repaired, cleaned or refinished instead? Can it be donated? Take old household goods in decent condition to a local donation centre such as Salvation Army Thrift Store, Goodwill, Value Village, the ReStore (check their websites first to see what they accept -- matresses and baby items are generally not accepted.)  Or, sell at a garage sale.

  • Did you know that Best Buy has a drop bin to recycle old CDs/DVDs + cases?  They also take batteries, cell phones, game controllers, appliance cords & cables, ink and toner cartridges. You can also drop off general e-waste there, or take to a participating fire station in Burlington, or wait for a community fundraiser that is collecting them.

  • Did you know that Staples has a drop bin to recycle old markers, pens, mechanical pencils? They also take batteries, cell phones, old printer ink & toner cartridges.

  • Did you know that the Halton Waste Management Site on RR#25 has a drop bin for natural wine corks, old eyeglasses, old/broken hockey sticks (someone makes furniture out of them!), and aluminum crutches? They also have a container bin to drop your old wood (eg. furniture, lumber, etc), plus clean drywall end-cuts (note: disposal fees are charged for these items; they repurpose the items for use at the landfill).

  • Did you know Terracycle has a cigarette butt recycling program?  Are you a smoker or know someone who is?  Save up those butts, along with any carton wrapping (foil wrappers, cellophane wrap) and send them to Terracycle to accumulate points. Points can be redeemed for gifts, or donated to a non-profit of your choice (such as BurlingtonGreen!). Shipping is free for 3 lbs or more. Help keep this toxic waste out of the landfill, and send it in to be processed and repurposed. Note: 1 large zipper bag of butts weighs about 1 lb, which equals 1 point accumulated in Terracycle's system, which corresponds to a value of $1. Terracycle has several other free recycling programs to participate in. They also have zero waste boxes you can purchase to recycle other special items (fees paid go to cover shipping costs when box is full). Learn more about Terracycle here.