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What I Threw Away In A Single Day!

Having a hard time rethinking reduce and recycle? Join the club! I decided to take on the challenge and go ‘low waste’ for a day.

Breakfast was the first hurdle. Opening the fridge revealed a sea of jars, bottles, and cartons, so after bundling up, it was off to the grocery store to grab some food. Despite good intentions, it was less than 45 minutes into the challenge before the first slip up. 

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If you cannot stick around for a washable mug, use a reusable to-go cup.

Shopping without caffeine is a non-starter, so an Americano to-go it was, with the intention that I would do better for the rest of the day. Now caffeinated, it was time to hit the produce aisles, armed with re-usable produce bags. Back on schedule! But what to do with the coffee cup? Thanks to Recycle BC I am able to pop it into my curbside blue box with other cartons and containers.

In fact, it is surprising how much of packaging Recycle BC accepts for recycling when sorted properly, such as:

  • Cardboard including molded and corrugated cardboard boxes that can go in your yellow bag or mixed paper cart
  • Containers that can go in your blue box or container cart like:
  • Cartons and boxes for frozen desserts, milk-type beverages and sauces
  • Plastic jugs, bottles and jars with screw-top lids
  • Plastic containers, tubs and lids
  • Empty single-use coffee and tea pods
  • Aluminum and steel cans and lids
  • Aluminum foil wrap and take-out containers
  • Empty aluminum aerosol containers
  • Glass bottles and jars that go in your grey box or glass bin

Now ready for the day, grabbing a to-go cup this time, I headed out. Leaving a little earlier afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the cool air and walk over the Burrard Bridge, before hopping on the bus. The traffic wasn’t great, so a magazine in my bag allowed me to kill time and relax. This was a cheat too, however you can pass it on to someone else once you are done, and if it gets too dog-eared, it can join the coffee cup in the curbside recycling, but this time with the mixed paper.

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Lunch bags and containers are recyclable using labelled blue bins.

Packing a lunch avoided the plastic packaging pre-made food often comes in, although plastic containers can be recycled as long as they are cleaned and put in the blue box or container cart.

Once the work day was done it was home to feed the furbabies. Making their food and treats from scratch cuts back on the number of cans hitting the recycling. Even so, Recycle BC will take steel and aluminum cans as well as aluminum foil.

Seizing an unexpected window of time, I took the opportunity to brave the weather and head to the gym with my reusable water bottle. If not reusable, at least I know I can recycle plastic, in my blue box, and non-deposit glass bottles and jars in my grey box.

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Buying an electric vehicle or using car sharing services helps immensely.

As I popped on my MP3 player, I wondered how we avoid packaging if we want to purchase technology.
Buying second hand is one way, but for those that want new, Recycle BC offers recycling for plastic bags, plastic outer wrap, and foam packaging at recycling depots around the province.

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After the gym, it was off to an evening function on the SkyTrain. Home late and starving and with no time (or desire) to head out to the store a second time, it was back to the fridge and the remains of last night’s take-out. While not zero waste, I took some solace in the fact that I was cutting back on food waste by not throwing out my uneaten food, and I will reuse the plastic take-out carton. If not – you guessed it – down to the blue box it will go.

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Canada's west coast ecoluxury lifestyle magazine.

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Dominique HankeDominique Hanke (47)

Editor-in-Chief / Publisher
Dominique is a designer, stylist, fashion writer, and milliner. Her work has been seen on the runways of Vancouver, New York, and Paris and has appeared in local and international media. High-profile clients have included Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Arrow), Erin Cebula (E.T. Canada) & Miss America, Mallory Hagan.

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