Updated: Feb 10
Before I share some tips on how you as a homeowner can help do your part for the environment, I want to share a few statistics on garbage and recycling that may come as a shock.
These numbers are from a 2019 article posted by Radio Canada International entitled Canada among worst waste-producing countries: study.
🌎 Canada is the eighth-most waste-producing country in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) which includes countries such as Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
🌎 On average, Canada sends 510 kg of waste per capita to over 10,000 landfills across the country every year. This places Canada fourth among OECD countries.
🌎 Canadians recycle only 20% of their total waste, about 145 kg per person,
🌎 Canada ranks worse than the United States (the largest producer of waste per capita) in waste management.
While these statistics are only a couple of years old, it is upsetting to see that my country which prides itself on its environmental policies and programs still produces waste at these alarming rates!
More and more people are becoming attuned to the damage we are doing to our planet, and the impact our actions have on future generations. Climate change, greenhouse gases, and holes in the O-Zone layer are all real threats our planet faces daily.
What may seem like a trend, is a movement of people looking to pivot from our current "disposable consumer culture" and create long-term, sustainable solutions from soap bars to the paint you put on your walls.
What can you do as a Homeowner?
There are lots of things you as a homeowner can implement to help the environment.
Remember, you are not responsible for the world, only your carbon footprint. Even making small changes to your lifestyle can result in large rewards.
Also, be patient! Making eco changes to your home takes time and will not happen overnight. You also don't have to go complete "zero waste" to still see the benefits!
Listed below are 10 simple changes that you can start implementing right now!
1. Shop Mindfully 🛍️
When out shopping for items, remember - everything should have a purpose.
2. Mind your 6 R's ♻️
Reduce waste & what comes into the home
Reuse items you already have before buying new ones
Rethink both how you shop & how you live in your space.
Re-gift unused items or donate them to local charities to help your community.
Repurpose items instead of buying new - Upcycling!
Recycle items mindfully so they don't end up in a landfill.
3. Start a Compost 🌱
This is a great solution for both helping the environment and cutting back on food waste ending up in landfill and producing harmful methane gas.
4. Buy Natural 🧣
Think about changing out chemical-based products in your home such as lotions, cleaning products & laundry detergents for those that are plant-based. The environment & your skin will thank you!
5. Remove Plastic 🚫
When looking to update your home, look to replace hard plastic containers & other household products with sustainable & recyclable ones that can be reused and won't end up in a landfill.
6. Shop Local 🏪
To help reduce carbon emissions & air pollution from items being shipped and transported, consider purchasing items locally, either from small businesses or farmers' markets (your community will thank you!)
7. Donate Items 📦
This is a great solution to reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills! Check out my post Top 10 Items to Donate Right Now for some inspiration!
8. Go Zero Waste 🗑️
Consider transitioning/purchasing items that come in minimal to no packaging to conserve resources & reduce pollution so you can feel good about the items in your home.
9. No Single-Use Products 🔄
Break away from the current Disposable Consumer Culture and exchange those single-use products for sustainable, reusable & natural products.
10. De-clutter a Space 🏡
Last, but certainly not least, is taking some time to de-clutter a space in your home. Completing the exercise, either by yourself or with a Professional Organizer will allow you to make the space functional while also creating an "awareness" or inventory of what you do have before you purchase more.
Eco Professional Organizing
As a Professional Organizer, I want to do my part to help the environment by only using naturally based cleaning products (the Attitude Brand is my favourite!) as well as compostable garbage bags & gloves and reusable cloths for all In-Home Organizing jobs.
I also try to keep to e-documents as much as possible for assessments, invoices, quotes & client agreements. If the Client requests a paper copy or if I need to print something, I use recycled paper in my printer.
Eco is not only for clients. My office supplies are all eco-friendly! This includes pencils, pens, white-out, highlighters & even Post-it Notes all made from recycled or natural materials. Also, if at all possible, I try to take transit to clients' homes (if possible) only driving my vehicle when necessary.
Finally, as part of my care package to homeowners, once the organizing activities are complete, I include a PDF detailing Eco options and awareness of the environmentally friendly products on the market that are easily accessible either locally or online.
Now that you're prepared with the knowledge and tools to decrease your carbon footprint & increase the love of your home, I challenge you on April 22nd (Earth Day) to try to do at least 1 good thing for the environment!
🤞🏻Remember, there is no "Planet B" so try to do what you can to take care of our planet while also reclaiming the appreciation you have for your home.
About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.