We want a waste-free province. That’s the long term vision. And sure, we will probably never quite get there, but it is where we want to go. So how do we get there? We’ve identified six things that would be required for Saskatchewan to reach zero waste:
- There needs to be a strong community – individuals, organizations, businesses, governments – who work together on waste reduction. This is key. We need people from all sectors and we need to work together.
- We’ve all got to tackle the organics. No organics should end up in landfills creating methane when they can be used to create products that enhance our soils. On a higher level, we also need to ensure that edible food is not wasted.
- There needs to be a culture shift away from consuming, toward conserving. This has started in a small way, with people getting together to share ideas on how to use less, but it needs to expand into reuse, repair and getting our happiness from other activities besides acquiring stuff.
- Extended Producer Responsibility programs should be expanded until every product (and package) has an end-of-life home that is the responsibility of the product’s maker. It is our hope that EPR programs, in addition to removing taxpayer burden, will inspire better designs.
- We need to focus on industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) waste. Nearly all Saskatchewan communities have recycling options now, so the ICI sector needs to fully participate. We also need to help the ICI sector find ways to reduce resource use.
- Construction and demolition waste also needs to be tackled. This is an area with tremendous room for improvement, right from the design stage through to deconstruction.
So that’s our take (after a year of considerabe thought and discussion by staff and board members) – if we achieve all six things, we’ll be pretty close to zero waste. Have we forgotten anything? Join the conversation.