In an effort to raise awareness of how single-use packaging and products can quickly add up and impact the environment, AWARE helped youth at the 2016 Whistler Children’s Festival give life to Dino, the trash-a-saurus! This was important because at AWARE we hope that single use items, such as coffee cups, straws, plastic bags and water bottles become extinct – like the dinosaurs. Whistler’s youth have also been great advocates for reducing single-use items, with Spring Creek students joining AWARE’s call for the community to eliminate plastic bags.
Single-use items have a huge environmental cost, since they:
- are energy and resource intensive to create and transport around the globe;
- are used for a very short period of time, sometimes just for minutes;
- go through a resource intensive process of recycling or worse, they end up buried in the landfill for centuries to come!
We can each reduce the amount of waste we generate by bringing our own reusable mug, water bottle or bag and choosing to refuse single-use items.
A great example of this is the seemingly low impact plastic bag, one bag doesn’t seem like much but when considering the bigger picture the impacts are huge. There are roughly 55 million plastic bags used per week in Canada. With Canada’s population being just under 34 million people, this equates to 1.6 bags per person per week or 84 bags per person per year. So in Whistler, with 9,595 full time permanent residents, we would use 805,980 plastic bags/yr and that does not account for the annual 2.14 million resort guests!
Remember: the best way to reduce our waste is to not create it in the first place! There are lots of options for reducing waste and most start with re-thinking our current habits. The graphic below from the Gaia Institute provides some great inspiration around rethinking our current consumption choices.