Citizen Challenge #5: Recycle, Reduce and Regift

Though we might not like to admit it, Canadians are wasteful. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of garbage head to Canadian landfills. In fact, Canadians today are disposing of more household waste than ever before, including food, food containers, clothing and even appliances. The good news is that there are simple and cheap ways to reduce the amount of stuff we send to the landfill. We just have to remember the 3 R’s:  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

For our next citizen challenge, we are encouraging all Canadians to find alternative uses for things they might otherwise throw away. How can you reuse your old t-shirts, jars, plastic bags, newspapers and magazines? Here are a few tips to get you started:


  • Make putting it in the trash a last option: Don’t just throw things in the garbage. Lots of things can be recycled: glass, cardboard, many types of plastic, metal cans, paper. Check your municipality’s website to find out what’s okay to put in the blue bin.



  • Buy and use less! A key part of reducing waste is simply consuming less. The less we buy, the less waste we produce. Next time you go shopping, ask yourself if you really need it. Instead of buying cheap clothes every couple of months to fit the latest trends, invest in good-quality pieces that will last you many years and keep you looking fashionable. Or, instead of going shopping at the mall, go shopping in someone else’s closet: gather a group of your friends and host a clothing swap!
  • Make wise packaging decisions: Next time you head to the grocery store, bring along reusable bags and whenever possible, buy food with minimal packaging to reduce your waste. Some stores will even allow you to bring your own reusable containers to fill with bulk items like nuts, cereal, and baking supplies.



  • Share and re-gift: They say one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. If you don’t have a use for something, share it with someone who does. Repurposing old furniture and other home decor items can be an especially fun creative outlet.
  • Make it litterless: Disposable coffee cups and styrofoam or plastic takeout containers account for a lot of our total trash per capita. Invest in a reusable mug and food containers and bring them along to your favourite coffee shop or takeout place for all the convenience of an on-the-go lunch, with none of the waste.

Tell us how you follow the 3 Rs and share your tips with others by using our hashtag #ThinkCreateDo!