Zero Waste 101

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is the...

"...conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health." - Zero Waste International Alliance

What is the Zero Waste Hierarchy?

The Zero Waste Hierarchy expands on the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - highlighting the prevention and best uses of resources, then leading down to landfilling as the last resort. By practicing Zero Waste principles, we can:

  • Minimize the need for raw resource extraction.
  • Keep materials that have already been produced within the loop, diverting from the landfill.
  • Limit the end-of-life impacts on the environment.

Zero Waste Hierarchy new

*Hierarchy adapted from the Zero Waste International Alliance

Tips for Staying Low Waste During the Pandemic

If you have any questions or low-waste tips to share, please email!

At the grocery store / market / farm stand:

  • Leave your reusable bags in your vehicle.  At the till, keep your groceries loose and place them back into the cart, no single-use bags are needed.  Once you get back to the car, pack your groceries into your reusable bags!
  • Car free?  Find the least bulky reusable bags you have, and fold and store them in your purse, backpack or pocket.  Once you're back outside and at a safe distance from others, load the groceries from the cart to your reusable bags.
  • Buy what you need.  Say no to food waste by making a meal plan, and sticking to it when you're at the grocery store.

Getting take-out food:

  • Support restaurants that offer low-waste food packaging: keep it minimal, ensuring any items are compostable or recyclable.
  • If you're eating at home, let your restaurant know you do not need cutlery, napkins/wipes or condiment packages.

Inside your home:

In the yard:

Making online purchases:

In situations when buying locally isn't an option, use the tips below to reduce waste in your online purchases.

  • Email, phone or open a chat with the retailers' customer service team, and ask them to make a note on your account for low waste packaging.
  • Keep watch for retailers offering low waste options (see Amazon's “Frustration-Free Packaging”).
  • Bundle your purchases into as few shipments as possible, avoid 2-day shipping. 
  • Reuse or repurpose the packaging.
  • Recycle in your Blue Cart: cardboard, paper wrapping.
  • Bring to a depot: plastic bubble wrap, all-plastic mailing envelopes and overwrap.
  • Garbage non-recyclables: paper mailing packets with bubble wrap lining.




Contact Us

Zero Waste 250-756-5390
Monday to Friday | 8:00 - 4:30

Last updated: August 19, 2021

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