Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s Position Statement on the Reduction of Single-Use Plastic Items
Single use disposable plastic items including take out containers such as cups, plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives, plastic straws and stirrers, plastic bags and plastic water bottles pose a serious environmental problem around the world.
These items are used once and are often discarded in our streets and parks. Plastic items do not go away, they simply break down into increasingly smaller pieces.
Plastics fragments can release toxic chemicals into the environment and can be a serious health risk for humans and animals.
It is time for all of us, including both residents and businesses in Maple Ridge, to get serious about reducing the consumption of single use disposable plastic items.
REDUCE – Choose to avoid single use items. “Just say NO to plastic straws.” Support regional strategies and/or bans on single use items.
REUSE – Choose to bring your own coffee cup or shopping bag. “Just say NO to plastic grocery bags and disposable cups.”
RETHINK – Choose the environment and our future over convenience.
Lately, there has been a lot of focus on single-use plastic issues in the media. It’s encouraging that people are becoming more aware about this issue and taking action.
Did you know every piece of plastic ever created still exists on our planet today? This is because plastic never goes away, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
There are a number of issues with having this much plastic in our environment:
1. It never goes away.
2. It absorbs chemicals. This means recycled plastic cannot be made into food-grade containers and absorbed chemicals in non-recycled plastic may be released into the environment or any animal that ingests it.
3. Animals of all sizes mistake pieces of plastic as food, both on land and in the water.
4. Chemicals absorbed by animals affect their endocrine (hormonal) systems and can be passed to their offspring or passed along the food chain if they are eaten by a larger animal.
But look around you – how many other plastic items do you see that don’t fit into the “packaging” category and are not recyclable? What could you use as an alternative? How much plastic do you come in contact with each day?
Ridge Meadows Recycling also has local screening rights to some great movies about this issue:
The Clean Bin Project: “Is it possible to live completely waste free? In this multi-award winning, festival favourite, partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least garbage Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the problem waste. Even as Grant and Jen start to garner interest in their project, they struggle to find meaning in their minuscule influence on the large-scale environmental impacts of our ‘throw-away society’. Described as An Inconvenient Truth meets Super Size Me, The Clean Bin Project features laugh out loud moments, stop motion animations, and unforgettable imagery. Captivating interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and TED Lecturer Captain Charles Moore, make this film a fun and inspiring call to individual action that speaks to crowds of all ages.”
A Plastic Ocean: “In the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre our researchers found more plastic than plankton. A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.” Filmed in multiple locations around the world, “A Plastic Ocean” fearlessly tackles one of the largest and most wide-spread problems in our modern world.
Email email@example.com if you are interested in setting up screenings for your school, office, or community group. We also recommend “The Lorax” to introduce the topic to younger audiences.
There are also a number of easy ways for YOU to start reducing your use of single-use plastic TODAY. Check out these tips & ideas:
Thank you for choosing the environment over convenience!
In this newsletter, a reminder of the designated Canada Day stat holiday on MONDAY JULY 2 – NO RECYCLING PICKUP, an invitation to join us for a public tour of the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot, our summer students prep for Plastic Free July, and an introduction to a NEW category of items accepted at the Recycling Depot – “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging”…
Don’t miss the awesome activities at the Celebrate Earth Day festival coming up on Saturday, April 21! Our “DIY: Make it, Grow it, Fix it, Share it” theme includes TINKERbell Station & our 2nd Repair Cafe in the Greg Moore Youth Centre (south-east corner of Memorial Peace Park), the Familly Freecycle and Cycle Recycle Free Bike Draw, a Special Haney Farmers’ Market, a Food Truck Festival, interactive booths & activities, entertainment stages & roving performers & flash mobs and lots more!! It’s only on from 10am – 2pm, so come early, come hungry, and bring your broken stuff for repair!
Ridge Meadows Recycling Society has received funding from Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to organize Maple Ridge’s first Repair Cafés. Repair Cafes are pop-up events where residents can bring their broken items (small appliances, jewelry, clothing, small toys or furniture, etc.) and there are tools, materials, and volunteer “fixers” available to help residents learn to repair their stuff!
-Bring reusable shopping bags with you to stores
-Keep giving experiences & memories in mind instead of buying “stuff” that may end up in the trash
-Purchase handmade durable and reusable decorations &/or gifts from a local charity or craft fair
-Use newspaper or comics, or wrap gifts with reusable cloth bags, clothing items, or towels
-Consider buying a potted tree that can be transplanted into your garden after Christmas
-Use a timer on your tree lights so you’re not wasting electricity while sleeping or away from home
-Bring old Xmas lights to RMRS bins at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, the Pitt Meadows Family Rec Centre, or the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot for recycling
Pay attention to what kind of gift wrap you buy – plastic gift wrap or foil printed paper is NOT recyclable. Only buy paper wrap that can be put in the yellow recycling bag.
When UN-wrapping gifts, pay attention to what will happen to the gift wrap. If you unwrap presents carefully, most wrap can be reused for many years to come. Remove ALL ribbons, bows, and other decorations to store and use again next Christmas.
Hosting Parties or Events
-Use reusable plates & cutlery (& napkins!) if possible
-Pack leftovers in reusable containers (you can even give these to guests to take home…)
-Compost all food scraps & paper napkins
Recycle Curbside: Red Box – Plastic Packaging: plastic bags (put together in one bag), trays, packaging & containers Blue Box – Cans & Cartons: eggnog cartons, ice cream cartons, tin cans, aluminum foil & pie pans Grey Box – Glass: glass apple cider jugs, wine bottles Yellow Bag – ALL Paper & Cardboard: PAPER gift wrap, cardboard packaging, paper gift bags, paper coffee cups NO: -NO ribbons or bows -NO foil or plastic wrapping -NO chip bags
-Bring your live trees to be chipped or composted at the green waste drop-off area of the Transfer Station
-Recycle all accepted paper & plastic packaging curbside or at the Recycling Depot
Recycle at the Depot:
-Old or broken… electronics & media (DVDs, CDs, cords, chargers, speakers, hard drives, USB drives, & earbuds), cell phones, batteries, small appliances (coffee makers, slow cookers, microwaves, toaster ovens), electric guitars or keyboards, other electronic toys, Xmas lights
-Styrofoam packaging (no peanuts)
-Unused paint & paint cans, aerosol paints
-All lamps & lightbulbs
For more information, phone us at 604-463-5545, visit our website at www.rmrecycling.org or “Like” us on Facebook. Or, join our mailing list to stay up-to date on all our new programs, schedules, and events!
Happy Holidays from Ridge Meadows Recycling Society staff, board members, Supported Work Program participants, and volunteers!