About Canada Reduces
Our mission is to reduce plastic and packaging waste in our neighbourhoods by inspiring both neighbours and neighbourhood businesses to take on waste reduction together.
Canada Reduces is a network of local groups
formed by neighbours to promote waste reduction habits in their community.
A meeting of Green Wave West's Reducing Waste project team, in 2019, at Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre
Our goals are to inspire neighbours and neighbourhood businesses to work together to increase opportunities to shop local and waste-free and to inspire people to do something about the steady stream of single-use plastics in their homes.
We all know it: we are in the midst of a huge waste crisis. Every day we flood the planet with plastic products without a solution for when we are done with them, and we expect nature to deal with it. But plastic does not decompose back into soil. Plastic only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces – microplastics. It ends up as a toxic substance everywhere in our environment: not only in our landfills, but in our oceans, lakes and rivers; in the soil; in the animals; in ourselves. Because we are animals!
Because plastic is something we use every day it presents a daily opportunity for us to make a change. We can all reduce our plastic output - and this website offers zero waste tips and connects you to many zero waste experts.
But big, urgent problems must be tackled at every scale and every level, and the level we work on is the neighbourhood. We need businesses that offer alternatives to single-use-plastic shopping. And we’ve seen that if many neighbours want it, neighbourhood businesses get inspired to make changes, too.
Roncy Reduces Sunnyside Beach Clean-up
Canada Reduces believes that we increase the power and impact of our waste reductions efforts when we organize at the local level. Through neighbourhood-based groups that bring together residents and businesses to advocate for positive change, this network is building healthier communities for ourselves and for future generations.
In addition to being a resource for individuals progressing on their zero waste journeys, this site is a space where people who want to make a difference can learn from the experiences of established Reduces groups, access organizing and outreach tools, and receive support from other neighbourhoods. Each group brings its own approach and has the freedom to create and innovate to best serve their local community.
Local willpower is a remedy for global environmental despair. Working locally makes this initiative manageable and impactful.
You likely already have some ideas about where to start and whom to talk to in your neighbourhood, plus you'll benefit from it in your daily life. And when you get to know local businesses and receive positive feedback from neighbours you feel more connected with your community. It’s also a gift to your community because people feel proud to live in a caring and environmentally friendly neighbourhood.
"Roncy Reduces has made a huge impact in our neighbourhood by bringing much needed awareness to the single-use packaging problem. Since their introduction we’ve seen an increase in customers bringing their own containers for food and drink and many local shops and cafes are now offering BYO programs. We wish every neighbourhood had their own Roncy Reduces.”
Lisa Labute, the Goods, Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
In early 2019 in Toronto, one determined Roncesvalles Avenue community member, Tina Soldovieri, decided to take to the streets to make a difference for her community, and for the future. Because she was battling single-use plastics in her own household, she decided to reach out to her community to reduce waste with her, and thus Roncy Reduces was born. A team of dedicated neighbours armed with a “BYO Container” sticker began to canvass businesses. They asked business owners for the permission to skip disposables and bring reusable packaging from home.
"For me, the big motivation is to think that I'll be gone, my children will be gone and there's still the plastic that we used one single time."
Since Roncy Reduces launched, many other communities have followed suit. The Reduces Community spans many neighbourhoods in Toronto and beyond, including Ottawa, Hamilton, Owen Sound, Orangeville, Barrie, Caledon, Aurora and more. And a few hundred stores and restaurants now let customers bring their own containers thanks to the initiative.
It has quickly become a movement, and the speed and scale with which it has spread shows how eager people are for plastic-reduction solutions, and to be a part of building a healthier future for life on the planet.
What do we do at
Roncy Reduces was the first group in the Reduces Community, started in January 2019 by neighbours in Toronto's Roncesvalles neighbourhood. In 2021 the Green Neighbours Network produced this video about them to highlight their efforts and contributions.