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getting started

We look at the journey towards zero waste as a practice and an ongoing process of both learning and change. We can move forward with mindfulness and a willingness to change even one thing at a time. Some people may start with committing to bringing their own coffee cup or water bottle around with them, while others who are at a different place in their journey may be looking to eliminate things like plastic wrap and plastic bags from their lives. The point is to start thinking about where things come from and where they end up – the whole lifecycle, especially with things that are only used for a short time. It’s not about perfection, but a process – and remembering that it’s not an all or nothing thing. It’s about intention – we need everyone do this imperfectly and not just a few doing it perfectly!

tips to get started using the 5 R's

refuse

Refuse plastic bags and carry a tote or reusable bag.

Refuse plastic water bottles and use your own reusable bottle.

Refuse take away coffee cups and use your own reusable coffee cup.

Refuse plastic and polystyrene take away containers by taking your own Tupperware or glass jar to restaurants.

Refuse plastic cutlery with your take out.

Refuse to buy packaged items that are available or can be substituted by a similar item in the bulk section. Bring your own linen/mesh bags as most stores only provide plastic bags for filling. Examples: Grains, Beans, Seeds, Nuts, Pasta, Chocolate, Snacks, Flours, Dried Fruits.

reduce

Reduce the paper mail you receive by opting for paperless options for your bills. (Enmax, Atco, Rogers, Teksavvy)

Reduce paper receipts when offered by choosing to have your receipt emailed to you. (Calgary Library, Small stores with iPad point of sales systems)

Reduce the packaged items your purchase at the supermarket by choosing items that are available or can be substituted by a similar item in the bulk section. Bring your own linen/mesh bags as most stores only provide plastic bags for filling. Examples: Grains, Beans, Seeds, Nuts, Pasta, Chocolate, Snacks, Flours, Dried Fruits.

reuse

Vegetable scraps — Vegetable scraps such as garlic, onion, celery, carrots, herbs are perfect for creating your own vege broth. Store them in a jar in the freezer until you have enough to make a broth. Read our blog post for more details.

Glass jars - When you're at the super market, select products based on convenient sized glass jars that you can use to store pantry goods or leftovers. Our favourite is the large ADAMS Peanut butter jar.

Junk mail - Use paper junk mail to line your compost bin.

Towels - Cut into small sizes for kitchen cloths or rags.

Plastic brushes — Reuse your old dish brush, toothbrush and other brushes for outdoor use.

recycle

Complete list of what can be recycled in the Calgary blue cart. 

Compost vegetable & fruit peels.

rot

Compost vegetable & fruit peels.

Compost your leftovers.

Complete list of what can be composted in the Calgary green cart.