Friday, 4 April 2008

The New Three Rs

Seemingly forever the three Rs were reading, writing, and arithmetic. Well that has certainly changed. We have been using the new three Rs for quite some time now. Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. Here in Crowsnest Pass we are going to be hearing them much more for the next few years. Alberta Environment has a plan to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills to a limit of 500 kilograms per capita by 2010. Reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling is going to be the major focus of that campaign.

Currently in our area we are sending well over 1000 kilos per capita to our landfill. This number does not just include our personal few bags of garbage per week. It also includes industrial, commercial and rebuilding waste. To achieve this goal is going to require a concerted effort on all of our parts and looking at new ways to reuse materials that take up too much space in the landfill. We are going to have to find ways to deal with the drywall and wood that is currently being taken to land fills from the result of home renovations. Cardboard will in all likelihood be banned from landfills as it can be recycled. Sites will be needed to compost grass clippings, leaves and other organic material generated from our food waste. If you haven't started already reducing your waste you may as well be starting now. The goal to reduce our waste to 500 kilos per capita is a sensible target and should be achievable.

Another problem facing landfills is the litter generated by all those plastic bags we bring home from our retail outlets. When landfill operators start compacting garbage and the big plastic bags break open all those little grocery bags are thrown to the wind. The problem is so severe that in Lethbridge the landfill has to be closed in windy conditions. A simple solution is to start using the bags (as pictured here) the grocery chains are starting to provide for a small fee to bring your groceries home in. I started using them a few weeks ago and they are very convenient. You will never have to worry about a bag ripping and spilling your groceries all over your driveway again. Plus you are helping solve a major problem at our landfill.

Remember, reduce, re-use, and recycle.


  1. Thats a great idea, with the bags.Give people a choice, which is much better than a plastic bag ban!!

  2. Thanks for the comment GP. Yes we will be further ahead if it is done by choice. Consumers are going to have to let business know the whole issue of excess packaging has to be addressed.

  3. Thought you might be interested in this blog post of mine.