Start at the store to reduce waste

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Airdrie residents are encouraged to “Start at the Store” when it comes to reducing waste with the City of Airdrie’s Smart Shopper Pledge program, which was rolled out during national Waste Reduction Week Oct. 16 to 22.

“Waste Reduction Week started back in the mid-1980s as an environmental campaign to help build awareness around issues of sustainable and responsible consumption,” said Leanne Moreira, education co-ordinator with the City’s Waste and Recycling Services. “It’s meant to draw attention to encouraging choices for more environmentally responsible products and services, and to promote actions that would help divert more waste from going to the landfill.”

Reducing waste is the first of the “three Rs” that everyone has heard of, Moreira said, along with reusing and recycling. Reducing the amount of waste being produced is the most efficient way of conserving resources, she explained, since it helps prevent waste from being generated in the first place.

“There are small actions we can all take every day that can help us reduce the amount of waste we are creating,” she said. “Our campaign starts at the store, by encouraging people to really focus and rethink how they shop.”

Throughout the week, City staff have been visiting local grocery stores to help show Airdrie residents how they can make smarter choices while they’re shopping, and to limit the amount of potential waste they bring home with them. Moreira said the City has also been active on social media, sharing tips and suggestions meant to guide shoppers along the way.

Recommendations include bringing along reusable grocery bags, buying in bulk to eliminate the added packaging for single-serve items, and avoiding bagging items unnecessarily, like bananas and other produce that have their own “packaging.”

“For example, if you see a cardboard egg container sitting next to a Styrofoam one, choose the cardboard container because that can be recycled, while the Styrofoam is just waste,” she said. “Maybe instead of getting a pre-peeled orange in a plastic container, you could get an orange that is already in the peel.”

Moreira said Airdrie residents are becoming more aware of their waste and are looking for opportunities to reduce their own consumption habits – especially since the City introduced a curbside recycling program in April to help make the process a little easier.

“Remember, it’s not just this week – we can continue to reduce our waste year-round,” she said. “This is just an opportunity for us to draw some attention to this issue and help provide a bit of education to help people make better choices for our environment.”

More information about the City’s Smart Shopper Pledge and Waste Reduction Week can be found at airdrie.ca

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