Starting a waste reduction program is easier to do with support from all levels – Chief, Council, landfill staff, teachers, and community members. It’s also more likely to be successful and last over time.
A few ways to build support:
1) Educate community members on how to reduce and re-use items along with what can be recycled, and why it’s important to participate. Let them know which items are hazardous and how to deal with them.
2) Make it simple and easy for people to take part in your waste reduction and recycling program, so that it gets off to a positive start. Then everyone can be proud of and share in its success.
3) Let residents know how many hazardous and recyclable materials have been collected and removed from the community, and how they have helped.
Find local champions who are passionate about the environment and the community:
Ask youth to help get community support for new waste reduction initiatives, especially kids who are already involved with other community issues, such as Junior Chief & Council.
Talk to community members who are most unhappy about the current waste situation.
Ask those who come out to a presentation or express interest in reducing waste and recycling to help share information and identify what waste materials to focus on.
ideas to reduce waste & encourage re-use
Ideally, the goal is to reduce the amount of waste coming into your community’s landfill in the first place.
Hold a Community Swap Event
This is an event for community members to share and swap gently used goods they no longer use. Like books, CDs and DVDs, clean clothes, toys, household items (like lamps, dishes, tools), and sports equipment.
Set up a Covered Storage Area for Reusable Items
Set up a covered space at the landfill for community members to leave items such as household appliances that still work, windows, doors, building materials, toys, clothes, furniture, electronics.
Promote Reusable Items
Distribute re-usable shopping bags and coffee travel mugs to community members. Set up a program at the local store to charge for plastic bags to help encourage use of re-usable bags. Encourage “litterless” lunches with re-usable food containers for kids to take to school.
Use Alternatives to Single Use Plastic
Use large, refillable jugs of water at community events instead of individual bottles. Encourage the use of real dishes and cutlery in the community centre and at treaty days instead of plastic or styrofoam.
Host Repair & Skill Training Events
Ask community members who know how to fix small appliances, mend clothes, or repair bikes to help teach others. Organizations such as the W.R.E.N.C.H. (www.thewrench.ca) offer community or school workshops on basic bike repair and tune-ups.
Hold a Spring Cleanup Event
Putting on a spring clean-up is a great way to get community members involved and learning how to reduce, re-use and recycle waste.
Conduct a Community Waste Audit
Doing a waste audit in the community or at the school can help to figure out what types of reusable or recyclable materials to focus on.
Start a Community Garden
Growing food locally helps cut down the amount of waste from packaged food. Plus it’s way more delicious (and fresh)!
Add Composting at the Community Garden
Start composting at your community garden to make the circle complete – grow food, eat food, compost food, add the finished compost to the garden to grow more food.
Organize a Clothing Drive
Sharing gently used clothing is a fun and easy way to change up your wardrobe, save money and reduce waste.
Make Your Own Feast Bundle Bag
Create a personalized bag from an old pillow case and use it to carry your own re-usable plate, cutlery and cup to community feasts. This helps reduce the amount of styrofoam dishes used at events.
Make Litterless Lunches
Skip the saran wrap and the prepacked cheese and salami. Try reusable food storage containers and drink bottles instead.
Switch to Real Dishes
Stock the community centre with real cups, plates and cutlery for events instead of using disposable dishes.
Ask Community Members about their Waste Habits
Learn what community members are currently doing with their waste and recyclable items. This will help identify waste management needs in your community.
Here are two RADIO ADS promoting waste reduction and recycling to use for free on your community radio station or play at a community event. Our thanks to Indigenous Languages of Manitoba for the translations and to Barbara Nepinak (Ojibwe), Byron Beardy (Oji-Cree) and Eric Robinson (Cree) for voicing the ads.
Also, check out this video featuring Hilda McKay Canard and the many clothing giveaways she has organized for Sagkeeng First Nation community members. Find her latest initiative on Facebook: Sagkeeng Community Giveaway Shelter.