There are over 35 million Canadians creating garbage. Natural Resources Canada claims the average North American will, in his or her lifetime, throw away 600 times their adult weight in garbage. By this estimate, a 68 kg adult will leave a legacy of 40,825 kg of trash, or about 41 tonnes.
Sustainable waste management demands that we be financially responsible in how we deal with our waste, while doing so in a socially-acceptable and environmentally-sound manner. We need to assume responsibility for the waste we create, and help those tasked with the job of disposing of it so that the fewest resources possible are used and the least amount of environmental impact occurs. Embracing the 3Rs hierarchy: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - in that order - is the first step to sustainably managing your waste, whether at home, at work or elsewhere. In so doing you will be lowering your waste management costs, reducing harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the release of pollutants that harm human health, saving energy, conserving resources, and reducing the demand on landfill space and waste treatment technologies.
In a growing number of jurisdictions, waste audits are either recommended or mandatory. For example, establishments within Ontario’s Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sectors (IC&I) must comply with Ontario Regulation 102/94 which requires them to both perform a waste audit and develop a waste reduction work plan. Conducting a waste audit will show you how wasteful your organisation is,how well various waste streams are separated (such as paper, plastic and metal recycling, biomedical, organics, landfill), and the degree to which each may be cross-contaminated. Having the audit results by waste commodity will help you further understand how your organisation purchases and uses products and materials, including the rationale for their choices.