REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! Everyone knows these three words. They’ve been part of our eco vocabulary for decades. Did you know that these words are in a particular order for a reason? Reduce always comes first. At school and at home, our first priority is to REDUCE. Reduce the garbage we create. Reduce the paper we use. Reduce the food we waste. Reduce the use disposable containers. Reducing means making wise choices when we are shopping for our families.
If reducing, for one reason or another, is not an option, then our second mandate is to REUSE. Reuse the other side of the paper. Reuse a shopping bag. Reuse a water bottle. Pack a lunch with reusable food and drink containers. Even Jackman staff are encouraged to tote a reusable coffee cup to school. Reducing and reusing go hand in hand. We need to plan ahead and take action to minimize waste.
Finally, if we are unable to reduce and unable to reuse, then recycling is our last eco friendly option. We need to RECYCLE as much as we can. Recycle papers. Recycle plastic food and drink containers. Recycle other types of packaging. There's one problem however - Recycling can tricky. We have to educate ourselves about what can and cannot be recycled.
Unfortunately, when reducing, reusing and recycling don’t work, our waste goes to a landfill. There’s a familiar saying about garbage – “just throw it away!” Truth be told, our garbage doesn’t really go away - it just goes somewhere else. And for Toronto, that somewhere else is about 200km west, in a landfill near London, Ontario. And here’s the thing - if Toronto continues creating garbage the way we do right now, this landfill will be full in 10 years. Then what? The city has a problem on its hands. Diverting our waste from landfill is a high priority.
At Jackman, we have been collecting school waste data for years and we use this information to guide our waste reduction program. We take waste reduction seriously. It’s our responsibility. It’s everyone’s responsibility. Together we can make a difference. Please join us on this journey towards greater waste reduction.