Today’s Parent article

The article about us came out in Todays Parent! In case the link doesn’t stay up for long, here it is below as well!

The Greener House Effect
Insider moves to reduce your family’s eco-footprint

By Steve Brearton

Katherine Magee hosts a special forum July 9-11 to answer your questions about going green!
Heating & cooling
Lighting & appliances
Water down
Household waste
Guilt-free gardening
Eco-friendly water use, laundry and lunches
Fast-facts on greening your home
• Get more tips about adopting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle for your family


Page 5: Household waste
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Canadians produce more garbage than anyone else. Each of us generates a staggering 383 kg of solid waste annually, according to Statistics Canada. That’s roughly equivalent to an entire kindergarten class piling on a weigh scale. And it’s no wonder because when it comes to garbage, small items have a big impact. Take plastic bags. Last year, Ontarians alone accumulated more than 2.5 billion plastic shopping bags — an average of four bags per person, per week. (In 2005, fewer than half of Canadians could recycle plastic bags, but many grocery stores now accept them for recycling.) Still, we are getting better at keeping garbage out of landfill. In 2002, we recycled more than 6.6 million tons of household waste, from plastics and metals to organics and drywall. The 800,000 tons of recycled newsprint represented more than 15 million trees we didn’t have to cut down. But while recycling is a vast improvement over sending our bottles to the dump, we can have an even greater impact by not building up garbage in the first place. That means not accepting junk mail and flyers, and seeking products with less packaging.

Big move: zero-garbage home
At the beginning of this year, Toronto couple Sarah McGaughey and Kyle Glover committed to going 31 consecutive days without producing any garbage — not even dental floss or a sticker from a piece of fruit. “There’s too much garbage and nowhere to put it,” says McGaughey. In previous years, the husband and wife team had produced as little as one black garbage bag yearly. McGaughey, who reached her goal in late Februrary, doesn’t recommend their extreme approach, but says there are many simple things people can do. She suggests spending a week recording the amount of garbage in your household to understand how it piles up, and then reducing that waste in small ways — such as buying food in bulk and bringing your own bags to the supermarket. “We need to add another R to the 3Rs,” she says. “It should be Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle. And recycling should be the last resort.” (For more on Sarah McGaughey’s efforts, visit her website at

Small steps
• Buy things that won’t go into the garbage or are recyclable, such as returnable bottles and refillable containers. Buy loose fruit and vegetables and take your own bags shopping. Avoid over-packaged goods and repair items when possible.

• Even if your municipality doesn’t collect organic waste at curbside, vegetable peelings and food scraps make perfect compost for your garden. (See Guilt-free Gardening for more outdoor ideas.)

• If you have hazardous waste in your home, such as batteries, paint or used electronics, contact your municipality to find out how to dispose of it.

• Buy only recyclable plastics. Many municipalities accept almost all plastics, but in Yellowknife, for instance, they only accept plastic milk bottles for recycling. In Kingston, Ont., they will also accept clean milk, bread and dry cleaning bags when bundled together. Check with your municipality for specifics.

• Buy quality second-hand goods for everything from sporting equipment to building materials. Businesses, such as Re-Use it in Edmonton or Habitat for Humanity ReStores (see, sell refurbished doors, windows and other construction materials that would otherwise have been destined for the landfill.

• Borrow or rent whatever household tools and gadgets that you wouldn’t normally use.

• Use rechargeable batteries.

• Use cloth instead of paper serviettes at meals and for drying hands.



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2 responses to “Today’s Parent article

  1. kim

    wow, i’m having a difficult time thinking that canadians produce more waste than their neighbors in the u.s. of a. love your site….have to link it as a favorite nibble!!! reduce, reuse, recycle!!!

  2. Pingback: 33. No trash week! « Green Me Up, Scotty!

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