I was chatting with my youngest daughter the other day. We were discussing a pretty big concept, for such a little girl. My daughter asked why we have to sort our garbage into recycling and compost when it isn’t always sorted at school, it isn’t always sorted when we go out, when everyone else isn’t always sorting their garbage? Great questions, really great questions. Her questions led to a discussion about personal responsibility. A conversation about how every individual person’s actions have an impact on our society as a whole. Kind of a big concept for a seven year old to understand.
Our discussion lit a spark. Our discussion reignited my desire to have a positive impact on the environment around us. Our discussion made me realize that my girls are old enough now to learn how their small actions can have a big impact. So, the Family Eco-Challenge was born. Over the next year our family will make small changes that we hope will make a positive environmental impact. Some of our changes will be minor and others will be major. Along the way we will discuss the reasons why we are making each change and how we made the change. 52 weeks, 52 changes, 4 people and 1 big difference.
We are kicking the Family Eco-Challenge off with something that I have been wanting to do for a long, long time. In the city of Toronto, where we live, the city’s Solid Waste Management Services collect household waste divided into recyclables, compostables and waste. We are very fortunate that our sorted household waste is collected at the curb. Since the program began we have been diligently sorting our garbage. Except the garbage we generate in our bathroom. Everything that went into the bathroom garbage can, went into the garbage…unsorted. I knew that we were putting compostable items in the regular trash, but what could we do? Well, why couldn’t we sort the garbage?
Okay, bathroom garbage can be pretty gross. You know the garbage that goes in there; dirty tissues, used dental floss, sanitary products, empty shampoo containers, toothpaste tubes, etc. There is no way I am going to sort this stuff by hand…after it has been disposed of. Enter our new, second garbage can.
The addition of this little garbage can means that we can sort our waste as we throw it out. The large garbage can (labelled with a “C”) will be used for compostable items; soiled paper products, sanitary products, etc. The small garbage can (labelled with a “G”) will be used for actual garbage; plastic from wrappings, dental floss, etc. Any of our bathroom recyclables will now be taken directly to the recycling bin in our kitchen. I truly believe that we will end up filling our compost can much faster than our garbage can. We will be sure to let you know how things go. How much waste will we divert from the landfill?
The Green Bottom Line: The green bottom line is that the addition of this garbage can in our bathroom, will result in our household diverting more waste from the landfill. A small change, it cost us $12 for the new garbage can, that will have a big impact on our household waste and the environment.