Canadian Registered Charity (855745220RR001).


Zero Waste

zero waste

Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste? We like to think of Zero Waste as a lifestyle or set of principles that encourage consumption reduction through reusing and recovering materials that would otherwise be sent to recycling facilities or landfill. While it may be difficult to attain a completely Zero Waste lifestyle, it is indeed possible to attain a minimal waste lifestyle! 

What does a zero waste lifestyle look like?

It might surprise you to know that a Zero Waste lifestlye probably doesn't look too different from the lifestyle you are currently living. Refusing plastic and packaged materials, reusing what you can, and being more mindful of your consumption habits are key to adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle. 

Five top principles of zero waste according to the experts

National Geographic: How People Make Only A Jar of Trash a Year

1. Refuse - Refuse to buy anything with packaging 

  • Take advantage of refilleries and bulk stores in your community, ditch single-use materials, shop at thrift stores & opt for borrowing or lending items rather than purchasing (saves $$$ and a lot of plastic and petroleum based materials!) 

2. Reduce - don't buy items you don't really need 

  • 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. Or, sell at a garage sale or through online platforms

  • 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

3. Reuse - repurpose worn out items, shop for used goods, and utilize reusable products like steel water bottles 

  • Did you know that electronic stores like Best Buy & Staples have a drop bin to recycle old CDs/DVDs and cases? They also accept batteries, cell phones, game controllers, appliance cords & cables, ink and toner cartridges, old markers, pens, and mechanical pencils. 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 the Halton Waste Management Site on RR#25 has a drop bin for natural wine corks, old eyeglasses, old/broken hockey sticks 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)

4. Compost

  • Halton Region has a comprehensive and manageable green cart collection program. If you have yet to install a green bin collection at your residence, check out some helpful tips here

5. Recycle 

  • 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 putting alcohol empites in your blue bin? Instead, 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!

  • 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. 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


List of accepted biodegradable dishware & food packaing


Fibre-based dishware and food packaging is accepted in the Green Carts and Green Totes. These materials can be purchased from: 


Wooden cutlery is accepted in the Green Carts and Green Totes. This cutlery can be purchased from: 


Paper cups are accepted for use in the Green Cart or Green Totes. Paper cups are not to be stacked, as stacking causing challenges at the composting facility. Paper cups can be purchased from: 

Plastic cups are accepted for use in the Blue Box or Blue Totes. Plastic cups are not to be stacked, as stacking causing challenges at the recycling facility. 

Note: Styrofoam and any plastic cups claiming to be compostable/biodegradable are not accepted. 

Plastic cups can be purchased from:


BurlingtonGreen invites you to learn about a variety of waste-related topics by clicking on the links below:

  • Learn about BurlingtonGreen's annual Community Clean Up Green Up event here.
  • Learn about BurlingtonGreen's popular & impactful event greening service here.
  • Learn about the bottled water issue here.
  • Learn about waste management in Halton here.
  • Learn about keeping parties, events and functions clean, green and environmentally friendly with our Event Greening Guides here.
Check out the great video clips below

Picturing Excess

Bottle This