We reduce waste together.
Photo credit: Chris Cabral
“For me, the big motivation is that I'll be gone, my children will be gone, and there's still plastic that we used one single time.”
Find your Reduces Community
Reduces groups have sprung up all across Toronto, from Etobicoke in the west to Kingston Road in the east.
CITIES & TOWNS
What started in one corner of Toronto has been replicated across Ontario. Find out if there's one near you.
What are the strategies to reduce waste?
BRING YOUR OWN reusable shopping, produce and bulk bags, Mason jars, takeout or deli containers, coffee cups, water bottles, juice cups, napkins, straws… you name it. Locate shops that accept BYO near you:
Find your local refill station – whether it’s at a zero-waste shop or in a hardware store - and fill up on everything they have to offer: hand & dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaners, and shampoo into your reused jug, bottle or mason jar.
The ‘Reduces’ movement helps consumers be more aware and ask the question, “What exactly is going on with our waste?”
Like me - through this initiative, I discovered the truth about where our waste is really going, and why it matters. And BYO is an opportunity that all of us can participate in together to reduce waste."
Shinji Yamaguchi, Gushi Japanese Street Food, Cabbagetown, Toronto
How big is the plastic problem?
Canadians throw away about 3.3 million tonnes of plastic each year.
Only nine percent is recycled.
Canada’s National Observer 2021 (1)
Every piece of plastic ever produced is still around (unless it was burned - which just turns it into air pollution instead of land pollution)
Science Advances 2017 (2)
On Midway Atoll, 40 percent of albatross chicks die due to dehydration and starvation from trash filling their bellies providing no nutrition
A study on three of the Great Lakes (Superior, Huron and Erie) showed the abundance in surface water was approximately 43,000 microplastic particles/km2. Samples from Erie, Ontario, and surrounding rivers showed abundances of microplastics between 90,000 and 6.7 million particles/km2. These levels of microplastics are similar to or exceed concentrations found in ocean gyres like the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” The microplastics found are largely textile fibers, plastic fragments and spheres.
Georgian Bay Forever 2018 (4)
In 2021 a developmental biologist discovered that chemicals found in plastics cause extreme developmental defects to
ScienceDirect 2021 (5)
... our use of plastic is a really big problem!
What it means to 'go circular'
If each of us had our own landfill we would quickly realize that creating a pile of garbage behind our home that does not decompose is unsustainable. But our piles – products made from finite resources for today's single-use, take-make-waste habits – are whisked away and invisible, and we tend not to think about their many harmful effects.
However, we can learn from nature and change our culture of single use and disposal to become one of circularity. In a circular economy, products are designed to be reused as much as possible and – at the end of their life – refurbished or truly recycled into recyclable products or composted and returned back to soil.
Out and about in the community
Click for captions
Is it a good deal for nature?
By Samantha and May, Fern Avenue Public School, Toronto, 2019.
This incredibly moving two-minute film was the winning film of a waste reduction school contest organized by Roncy Reduces. Students at elementary and middle schools in the Roncesvalles area were asked to create posters or videos that inspire people to reduce plastic waste. You can visit the winning posters, and more, in our art section.
We acknowledge the land we are on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabek, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Toronto is in the Dish With One Spoon Territory, a treaty between the Anishinaabek, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and newcomers have been invited into this treaty. It binds us together to share this land and treat it with respect and responsibility to make sure the dish is never empty for generations of living beings to come. It’s the best call for sustainability that we can think of.
However, we have maneuvered ourselves into lifestyles that fill up our land with trash. A landfill where all of our daily trash accumulates and stays for hundreds of years has become normal to us. The City of Toronto alone has 160 full and closed landfill sites. Where is it all supposed to go if we use and throw away things every day?
The land needs to be seen as a wonderful dish again that feeds all living beings including us humans, and not something that can be filled with garbage and plastics that poison land and water.