Billings, Central Manitoulin partner to co-host Waste Reduction Week

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Waste Reduction Week promotes sustainability through reducing, reusing and repurposing

KAGAWONG – Central Manitoulin and the Township of Billings will be co-hosting Waste Reduction Week 2020 from October 19 to 25. Activities include a food waste pledge, a youth art contest, a bottle and clothing drive, online virtual events and a community garage sale and swap market. 

“Waste Reduction Week is one of my most important events of the year as we humans are consuming resources faster than our planet can provide them,” said Chris Theijsmeijer, a member of the Climate Action Committee for the Township of Billings. “This year’s Earth Overshoot Day was August 22, so for the rest of the year we’re using resources that would have been needed for future years. It’s not sustainable and we’re sacrificing future generations if it continues. Reducing waste will reduce our consumption of resources overall to keep our society on a sustainable budget.”

“Waste reduction also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through reusing materials (we don’t need to buy new ones), repurposing materials if they can be used in other ways and reducing our consumption rate of materials and energy,” he added. “When we consume less we also reduce the production of GHGs. Another option is to refuse to buy some things because their packaging is excessive. Less packaging also means a reduction of GHG emissions.” 

One of the themes of this year’s Waste Reduction Week is reducing food waste. Reducing waste also lowers GHG emissions, said Mr. Theijsmeijer. “If we waste less food we will need to buy less food. If we buy less food we need to produce and transport and sell less food. All of these industries produce GHGs so reducing consumption of food also reduces GHGs within the agricultural, processing, transportation and sales of the modern food industry. Even if we are processing our food waste efficiently at home, such as using composting, reducing the amount of food waste still makes a difference in this way.”

The theme for the art contest is ‘The Net Zero Future.’ Age categories are 0-13 years and 14 years and older. All youth art submissions will be considered for inclusion in the community Climate Action Plans as space permits. Submissions are by email to centralcc@eastlink.ca and must include a one to five sentence description of how the artwork demonstrates a net zero greenhouse gas future. 

“It’s fun,” said organizer Kim Neale, climate change co-ordinator for both municipalities. “Climate change and related issues such as waste can be intimidating. We need to think more about what is happening as opportunities.”

Ms. Neale hopes the online virtual events will provide a forum for innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs. ‘Glass recycling has been cancelled—what can we do about it?’ is an informative session about glass recycling. Glass recycling was cancelled by third party recycler GFL on Manitoulin, in some municipalities with only one week’s notice. This discussion will explore options for replacing glass recycling in our communities. 

‘Plastics Ban’ explores the question, ‘how will the single use plastics ban impact our community?’ This session will discuss that ban, how it will impact greenhouse gas emissions in our community and how we can prepare for the change. “We need to start thinking about these things as opportunities,” said Ms. Neale. “These changes are happening. What can we here on Manitoulin Island do to adapt? How can we turn this ban into a business opportunity in our community?”

The garage sales and clothing drive will be held from 10 am until 1 pm on Saturday, October 24 at the old church (market) in Kagawong and on Sunday, October 25 at the Lions Pavilion in Mindemoya. “A lot of people have been cleaning out their closets and homes during COVID,” Ms. Neale said. “The garage sale is a good, safe way to get rid of some clutter and socialize. COVID-19 protocols will be followed for physical distancing and mask wearing.” To reserve a table at the garage sale to sell, swap or giveaway email centralcc@eastlink.ca by October 22. 

You can also bring clothing donations for Manitoulin Family Resources to either garage sale location. Gently used winter clothing including sweaters, jackets, mittens, hats and winter footwear for youth and adults are much needed items.

Additional information will be posted on community Facebook pages. Anyone who has questions or would like to volunteer can contact Kim Neale at 705-377-5726 in Mindemoya or centralcc@eastlink.ca.