Welcome to Waste Reduction Week in Canada! Some of you may not have even know that this week exists. Some of you may not even know that it is currently October! This year has been crazy, but it’s important to keep remembering and celebrating things that are important, like our values, even if it looks and feels different this year.
My waste reduction game has certainly taken a hit this year. With restaurants, cafes, and shops refusing reusable containers, more garbage was finding itself into my home. Many of our foods are packaged, shipped, stored, and purchased in ways that create a lot of single-use waste for our system. Shopping for food this year has become very strategic, and we have been relying heavily on “refusing” and my least favourite R: recycling.
Enter, the circle economy, in which the point is to circulate, or reuse materials and products, and phase out pollution and waste. We currently do not exist in such a system. Single-use is pushed by consumerism, and marketing targets us to believe we need all the upgrades, replacements, and single-use fast items. Because then we will be happy, like the people in the advertisement.
What we should be doing is designing a system where the economy does not hurt the environment – rather a symbiotic kind of relationship, each helping the other. I dream about such a system. A beautiful, magical system! It is possible. We just have to stop supporting the current system and demand change. SIMPLE. Not.
However, one person can move a mountain, so let’s start pushing.
How do I fit into this? I suppose I started by changing my mindset about the way I was living, and really discovering what my values were and are. For some reason I had never thought about it before 2013 when I was asked to take over a project for an environmental non-profit organization. It was in that project we focused on waste reduction in our region, involving local schools and organizations. It was in that time I watched the Clean Bin Project documentary, which opened my eyes about the global waste issues. I decided that if the system wasn’t going to change overnight (duh), I was going to have to make my own changes.
And if we really live by our values, then making these changes is not that difficult. What are we as humans if not adaptable?
The circular economy focuses on reusing, thus reducing, and sharing of resources. Making things last. Basically, how our grandparents grew up! If we think about life – everything happens in cycles: seasons, moons, water, day and night, and all the life cycles. So, our “stuff”, should do the same thing, from our housing materials to the way we create, use, and store energy. I don’t have all the answers, but I won’t ever stop learning and changing to do right by the planet.
What does circular mean to you? Do you live by your values? Have you many any lifestyle changes that fit into the circular model? Did you find it challenging? Beneficial? What kind of magical system do you dream of?