Plastic Free July kicks off July 1st on Canada Day. Large events such as Canada Day is one of our largest waste generating days of the year as we often produce more food waste, disposal of single-use items, and often leaving behind litter.

Recently, Ontario Parks has seen an increase of litter from visitors in their parks:

Visitors who come for just the day may leave even more behind, as they bring everything for a disposable family barbecue, like disposable cups, plates, cutlery, tablecloths, and all of the wrapping and containers. Many of which end up scattered on the ground.

So while we do still think of our parks as clean environments, visitors cause our parks to produce tonnes of garbage from these clean and natural environments.

Let’s celebrate without the waste.

1. Tableware

  • Use what you have. Bring reusable dishes, utensils and cups and wash them afterwards.
  • Bring cloth napkins, snacks in reusable containers, and tote bags to carry your items.

Reusable dishware with food and drinks on a picnic table.

2. Decorations

  • Get creative with what you already have:
    • glass jars are centrepieces,
    • holiday lights,
    • paint your own flag on old fabric.
  • Use a reusable fabric tablecloth instead of using disposable plastic tablecloths.
  • Opt to buy decorations that can be kept and reused or go thrift shopping.

3. Clothing

  • Before you go out and purchase an entirely new Canada day outfit, check to see if you have anything at home that can be used or upcycle an old t-shirt.

4. Food

  • Have leftovers? Reduce your food waste by bringing reusable containers with you or your guests to take home.
  • Bring food without the plastic. You can also find a variety of food with plastic-free packaging (i.e., fruits, veggies, and nuts).
  • DIY food you would normally buy in the packaging, such as making homemade chips, dips, granola, popsicles, etc.

5. Lastly, leave nothing behind.

Remember not to litter. Make a conscious effort to continue to recycle, compost and dispose of waste.

Follow the 5 Rs of Zero Waste:

  1. Refuse using disposable items such as single-use plastic items: disposable cups, plastic bottles, straws, plates, cutlery, plastic wrapping and plastic bags.
  2. Reduce. Consume less and focus on necessary purchases rather than splurging on things you don’t need.
  3. Reuse what you can. Switch to sustainable alternatives rather than using disposable items.
  4. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce, or reuse.
  5. Rot the rest. Compost what you can such as food waste and compostable items.

Remember being zero-waste or plastic-free is just about doing what you can. Aim for effort rather than perfection. Keep in mind that these zero-waste event tips can be applied beyond Canada Day to future events. We hope that we can all enjoy these celebrations without the waste!

Note: Thank you to Kathleen Weary for helping contribute to this sustainability tip of the week!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in ,
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