Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the first three words Canadians learn when taught to protect the environment from plastics. All three of the “R’s” play an important role in sustainability, but reducing waste is more important than you think. If we focus on reducing our individual plastic use, we can avoid the unnecessary use of essential resources, including materials, energy, and water.

We live in the age of disposable products and heavy plastic packaging. Although these products are often convenient, they can impact the environment. In Canada, we generate over 3 million tons of plastic waste a year, and one-third of that amount is from plastic packaging. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone it has made almost half of Canadians more aware of the amount of waste they generate. Some simple ways to reduce your plastic waste include:

  1. Choose products with less packaging
    Often products contain additional packaging used for advertising purposes. This packaging is not necessary and more often ends up in the waste. When shopping, looking for options with minimal packaging.
  2. Look for biodegradable products.
    These products break down naturally, so they don’t put as much of a burden on the planet. You can find biodegradable swaps for just about any product. For example, Lysol has new disinfecting wipes that are biodegradable and that are compostable, appropriate for municipalities that contain the appropriate composting facilities. They can break down in as little as six weeks in the proper setting and are just as effective as their traditional wipes, killing 99.9 percent of germs.
  3. Buy products in bulk
    To reduce waste, look to purchase products that can be found in bulk and decanted into smaller reusable containers. By doing this you will avoid additional packaging waste.