Results of a waste audit show I need help
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally published Sept. 4 in Town Crier)
I want to reduce my waste output.
It’s not currently realistic for me to produce zero garbage, but I wanted to examine what I’m throwing out to determine how I can lessen my contribution to landfill.
After the 39-day garbage strike, I promised to do my own waste audit and here’s what I found.
I produced one-and-a-half grocery-size bags worth of trash between Aug. 3 to Sept. 3. This includes all trash in my bathroom, bedroom and kitchen garbage bins. But it doesn’t include anything tossed in the blue bin for recycling or organics placed in my green bin.
There was about a cantaloupe-sized amount of waste consisting of about 20 cotton swabs, dental floss, sanitary products and packaging, lots of tissues and a plastic foundation makeup tube.
How can I do better? If I had two garbage bins or a bin divided in two, I could use one side for non-organic waste like dental floss and the other for sanitary products (minus the packaging) and tissues that can go in the green bin. Continue reading →
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Tagged blue bin, garbage strike, Green bin, home trash, Kris Scheuer, landfill, Organic waste, packaging, recycled, Styrofoam, Toronto, trash, waste audit, work garbage, Zero garbage
City rolls our green bins in multi-unit buildings over 18 months
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written for Town Crier Nov. 13/08)
North Yorker Anne-Marie Ambert’s green conscience was eating away at her every time the condo-dweller threw food scraps in the trash.
So Ambert advocated for her building, near Yonge St. and Empress Ave., to be one of 30 test sites for city’s new highrise organic waste collection system.
As a result of having green bin pick-up since 2006, residents here reduced their waste output from five to seven industrial size garbage containers a week down to two, said Ambert, president of the condo board at The Boulevard.
The program was considered such a success here, Mayor David Miller chose this site to launch organic waste collection for all Toronto highrises.
“You have led the way in helping us find out how to do this,” Miller said Nov. 12. “People want to recycle but need tools to make it convenient and part of their daily lives.”
Over the next year and a half, the city will roll out the green bin program in 300 buildings each month until all 4,500 multi-unit residential buildings are on board. This is expected to divert an additional 30,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill, according to city stats.
Anne-Marie Ambert demonstrates how green bin
works in her condo. Photo by Kris Scheuer. Continue reading →
The shocking truth about what many of us are throwing out — and shouldn’t be
By Kris Scheuer and Sandie Benitah
(Originally written for Town Crier Jan 19/06)
Toronto has too much garbage and we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.
That’s if a Town Crier sampling of garbage bags taken from many neighbourhoods across the city is typical of what’s out there.
The results are shocking.
About 80 percent of what we found in the 14 bags (we dug through over 100 bags for a series of stories) was waste that could have easily been recycled if people used their green and blue bins as they’re supposed to.
We’re talking scrap paper, pop cans, food, diapers — you name it — and with each bag we opened, the city’s garbage situation seemed to get more and more dire.
According to city statistics, Toronto sends about 975,000 tons of waste each year to Michigan landfills — that’s enough garbage to fill the Roger’s Centre to the top of its retractable roof.
The city is making an effort to crack down. Come this April, residents across the city will only be allowed to put out five bags of garbage every two weeks. But from the looks of it, some of us won’t be ready. Continue reading →