Canadians dispose of 22 million tonnes of waste each year. Imagine 6 football fields each piled one kilometer high with garbage!
In the Greater Miramichi Region, all of our “garbage” is sent to the Red Pine Sanitary Landfill in Allardville. However, when we take a peek at what’s inside those garbage bags, we find that about one third of our waste is paper and paperboard, another third is yard and kitchen waste, and the rest is composed of glass, metals, plastics, textiles, wood and other materials. We all know that paper, cardboard, metals and plastics can be recycled and that yard and kitchen waste can be composted, so only a small percentage of what we traditionally throw away is actually garbage. Those recyclable and compostable materials are valuable resources that should be reused and recycled into new products.
The information on these pages will teach you about Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.
Step 1 – Reduce
The first step in managing solid waste is to REDUCE the amount that we generate. Less waste generated equals less waste being transported to a landfill.
Packaging in Canada accounts for 30% of the waste stream being sent to landfills. Each family produces about one tonne of packaging waste per year. When purchasing products, take a good look at the product you plan to purchase. Is it double- or triple-wrapped in layers of plastic and cardboard? Is the extra packaging necessary for safety reasons or is it mainly to make the product look attractive? Whenever possible, purchase products with the least amount of packaging. Buying in bulk also reduces the amount of packaging to be later disposed of. You’ll not only save money but will be acting in an environmentally responsible manner.
For more tips on reducing waste, visit www.recyclenb.ca.
Step 2 – Reuse
Did you know that a lunch packed with reusable items is typically 45% less expensive and contains 89% less waste than a lunch packed with single use items?
After reducing the amount of garbage we throw out, the next step is to reuse what we can.
Tips for Reuse
- Donate unwanted items to a local charity.
- The Salvation Army accepts used clothing and household items. The items should be clean and in good condition. Give them a call at 622-6447 or drop them off at their store at 231 Pleasant St. (Newcastle).
- Have a yard sale.
- Swap leftover paint with neighbors, friends and family.
- Make arts and crafts projects from metal cans, glass jars, bits of fabric and paper scraps.
- Reuse plastic and glass containers.
- Pack leftovers or a lunch in an old margarine container.
- Keep odds and ends in a glass jar.
If you have tips you’d like to share on how to reduce or reuse, send them to the Greater. We’ll add them to our website!
Step 3 – Recycle
Recycling is the recovery of useful materials. Paper and cardboard, plastic, and metals can all be recycled into new products. Organic materials can also be “recycled” through composting. For more info on composting, visit our Compost section.
- Bring your beverage containers to a redemption centre
- Start a backyard compost pile
- Participate in local recycling programs.
Facts to Ponder
A tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees 1,700L of water and 4,102 kWh of energy. It reduces air pollution by 27g and landfill space by 3 cubic meters.
Enough aluminum cans are recycled in Canada each year to provide the total energy needs to 15,000 households for 12 months.
Recycling steel is cheaper than mining ore.
Recycled plastic produces durable high quality carpet for your home or business.
If all Canadians recycled paper, 80 million trees would be saved each year.