It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada. What does that mean?

We all work hard to reduce waste and lessen our carbon footprints. So let’s celebrate our environmental efforts and achievements with Waste Reduction Week!

While waste reduction is an ongoing effort—and Waste Reduction Week is a year-round program—October 18 to 23, 2021 is a week where we will celebrate our goal setting and our determinations, while learning how to further our waste-reduction efforts.

It’s all about being encouraged to further reduce waste!

Every day this past week, we took a look at ways we can reduce waste and the principles behind waste reduction. Education is a vital part of this program—as is motivation and inspiration. Let's close out Waste Reduction Week 2021 with the Sharing Economy


The Sharing Economy

Earlier in the week we learned about an important pillar of the Circular Economy: the concept of access over ownership.

When we engage in the Sharing Economy, we are opting to rent or borrow a good instead of owning it. You're probably already familiar with this concept, even if the term is unfamiliar. Heck, you might already be engaging in it without knowing. Take for example, a traditional library where one can borrow reading materials; from this concept sprung tool lending libraries and toy libraries. Fast-forward to today and the sharing economy looks a lot different. So much so, that "few of us think twice about hopping into a stranger’s car... thanks to the mobile apps that connect us."

The advent of the Internet and peer-to-peer technology advanced the sharing economy in areas like accommodation (Airbnb and VRBO), transportation (Uber; Evo and Modo for carsharing; Bike Share in Toronto and Mobi in Vancouver), music and video streaming (Spotify and Netflix), online staffing, and peer lending/crowd funding (KickStarter and GoFundMe). The global revenues of these five sharing economy sectors are estimated to grow from $15 billion in 2013 to $335 billion by 2025That's a lot of sharing! 

For consumers, the sharing economy often appeals first to the wallet. Why buy a tuxedo or wedding dress for a one-day event when you can rent it? Why book your family into a hotel when an Airbnb offers a full kitchen and a washing machine? Why buy a car outright when you can pay by the minute? But there are environmental upsides, too. When items that may have previously been consumed in a single-use manner are shared among many, manufacturing demand for that item falls and precious resources are saved. When we digitally stream movies or listen to music, we no longer require plastic disks which reduces packaging and shipping-related waste associated with physical goods. What's more, when goods are shared, we place more value on craftsmanship and construction. When we shed the single-user mentality, businesses that produce quality-built goods are rewarded. 

It is worth noting that the sharing economy is not without its faults. Government regulation is often required in order to protect consumers and sometimes citizens themselves. For example: is the Airbnb you're renting legal? Is the GoFundMe you're about to contribute to fraudulent? Is the item you're buying second-hand or trading for accurately represented by the seller? It's a good rule of thumb to be particularly mindful when engaging with sharing economy vendors. 


How Can I Engage in The Sharing Economy?

  • Whenever you feel compelled to make a purchase, consider whether a sharing economy option exists
  • When shopping, choose items that are designed to be reused rather than disposed. Sometimes you'll find paying a bit extra for quality and/or brand means achieving a higher re-sale value. 
  • If you have a skill, consider joining a website like Swapsity that allows you to barter for services without spending money
  • Do you need to declutter? Instead of giving your stuff away for free, trade it for things you need on a website like BUNZ


Waste Reduction Week in Canada Events:

Canadian zero-waste laundry brand Tru Earth is a proud supporter of Waste Reduction Week in Canada.

To join in the 2021 celebrations, Tru Earth will host an official Grand Opening of their Tru Earth Store at 3210 St. Johns Street, in Port Moody, BC.

Events are on from October 18 to 23 at their flagship store:

  • 15% off all purchases
  • Free giveaways with every purchase
  • Fun prize draws daily
  • Virgin Radio will be onsite October 23 for the official Grand Opening celebrations

Follow on Instagram to join the fun!


About Waste Reduction Week in Canada

This is the 20th year of Waste Reduction Week in Canada. While Canadian Waste Reduction and Recycling Weeks have been organized since the mid-1980s, in 2001, this national Waste Reduction Week program was formally implemented by the Circular Innovation Council. This program today has the support of many not-for-profit environmental groups as well as all provincial and territorial governments in Canada.

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