April 1, 2014

Ecoconseil for the month of April: An Effort for the Earth!

For a healthy planet and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: recycling, the development of putrescible materials and changes in our lifestyle must be promoted.

Remember the meaning of the  3Rs: Reduction at the source means a reduction in waste production,    Reuse or reusing items without modifying them and Recycling involves transforming material into a new product.

It is therefore possible to reduce the number of items that are sent to landfills:

by giving them a 2nd life (reuse, recycle or recover).

Tons of items and furniture are sent to landfills every year, even though they are still in good condition. Sometimes just a small repair to an item can make it look like new! When we extend an item’s lifespan, we are working to preserve our planet.

Before throwing away an item that could still be used, consider repairing, reselling, exchanging, donating, reusing or modifying it.

Some transformation ideas:

  •  Turn your old furniture into something more contemporary by applying a coat of paint or stain and changing the handles.
  • Find a new use for discarded items. For example, a kitchen strainer could become a lampshade, wooden boxes could become shelves, and an old shirt could become a painting frock…
  • Discover creative ways to turn egg cartons into crocodiles, toilet paper rolls into flowers, or milk cartons or bottles into bird feeders…
  • Take the opportunity to give away furniture, clothing, toys and other items to friends who need them or to donation centres in your area.
  • Hold a garage sale. Items that are junk for you are not necessarily junk for a neighbor. Previously read books and viewed DVD’s, baby articles, no longer used dishes or sporting goods, are all items that can be sold at low prices.

by reducing at the source.

Each effort you make at home or at work has an influence on your environment.

Avoid overconsumption. Identify your real needs before making a purchase and choose carefully.  Choose recycled or recyclable items that have little packaging. Make long-term purchases and ask yourself the following questions: Should the old item be discarded or not, and is it still useful?

Use washable diapers and facecloths

Cloth diapers are not what they once were. They are much simpler to use and clean and several models are now available on the market. You will also find several comparison sites on the web to help you make good choices. By using washable rather than disposable diapers, you will, on average, save $1000, knowing that the cost of buying cloth diapers is about $600 while the cost of buying disposable diapers is about $1500 from childbirth to potty training.

By enrolling your child in the “A birth, a book, a tree, a healthy environment” program at the Deux-Montagnes library, the City of Deux-Montagnes offers a grant of up to $100 if you choose washable diapers.

Reduce food waste by making informed choices.

In Quebec, some families may throw out up to half of what is in their fridge every week. This is why we need to review and rethink our food habits: buying only what is necessary to cook for the week, making a list before going to the grocery store and not throwing out food the minute the expiry date has passed, but instead checking to see if the food is still good before throwing it in the garbage.

Reduce paper usage by:printing double-sided, reusing the paper to make notebooks or drawing paper for children, choosing to pay bills electronically and by using recycled paper.

Remember to bring and use your reusable bags when you go shopping.

In Quebec, more than a billion single-use plastic bags are annually distributed and later sent to landfill sites, or later end up in our woods, parks and green spaces, or along our highways and shorelines, creating visual and environmental pollution. A single plastic bag takes up to 400 years to decompose.

On July 1st, 2009, The City of Deux-Montagnes enacted a regulation within its territory concerning the prohibition and sale of single-use plastic shopping bags. No person may, in the course of a commercial transaction carried out in the City’s territory, offer for sale, or sell, distribute or otherwise make single-use shopping bags available to consumers. Any person who contravenes this regulation is liable to a minimum fine of $100 up to $4,000.

Celebrate Earth Dayon April 22, 2014 and organize environmentally-focused activities.

Earth Day was celebrated for the first time on April 22, 1970. Today, more than a billion people participate in this event worldwide. In April, learn about activities in your area, and participate in large numbers in various cultural, educational and sensitization activities to help improve our environment and take part in organizing activities and events in your environment, taking the time to think about your carbon footprint.