Have you waited for a day to kick back and celebrate all the recycling you have done? Or to bask in the glory that is your compost heap? Well then, I have great news for you: Waste Reduction Week is happening October 18 to 24! So spray champagne wildly about! You earned it. Just remember to recycle the bottle. The event aims to empower Canadians, to increase awareness, but also to encourage the adoption of more environmentally conscious choices in our lives. By making small changes, we can send a powerful signal to government and businesses that the days of disposability are over. 

Zero Waste Yukon and Raven Recycling celebrate this event each year, not only to raise awareness, but also to celebrate how our communities have succeeded. It is remarkable that across our territory, places considered remote by some, we have developed recycling and compost systems of which communities across Canada are jealous. It’s even more remarkable that we have achieved this without multinational waste companies, or through large-scale external investment, but rather by the efforts of members of our community. We’ve gone from non-profit, penny-a-bottle recycling, to a reduction in greenhouse gasses equivalent to 89,000 tonnes in the last 10 years through recycling; from composting worms hidden away in basement containers to a city wide green bin system. 

This year, Raven and Zero Waste Yukon are not celebrating alone and have collaborated with the City of Whitehorse, Love2Thrift Whitehorse Community Thrift Store and other community organizations to host a series of events that highlight the successes of our community. This includes our city compost program, which continues to grow with the development of new facilities at the landfill. We’re also celebrating the work of the Love2Thrift Store, not only because of their work to reduce waste, but also to provide equitable access to clothing. In partnership with Computers for Schools Yukon, we will be offering a free e-waste pick-up service as a reminder that in Yukon we have free e-waste recycling at Raven. We will also use social media to feature individuals and businesses throughout the week that have found new solutions and new ideas to reduce their own waste. 

The narrative about environmental issues is often focused only on the negatives. Many of us can lose our motivation or capability to change what feels like overwhelming challenges. It is this sense of doom that takes away our sense of control and limits our potential to dream of a better future. Although it’s true that we have lots of work yet to do, we can look back at individuals in our community who were the first to say “we can do this better” and changed their communities forever. Furthermore, when we know what we have achieved and can dream of something better, then we can stand up to those who say it’s too hard. It is that strength of community that can demand better policy from our politicians or tell businesses that it’s time for them to step up for the community. 

To follow Waste Reduction Week in Yukon, follow any of Zero Waste Yukon’s social media pages, or for more information on the event, visit: wrwcanada.com.