With climate change and global warming raising more and more concerns globally, it has become increasingly important to take care of the environment to the best of our abilities. One way of doing this effectively is by properly disposing of waste using appropriate waste disposal channels depending on what item is to be disposed of.
Waste can be classified into two main categories; hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste is managed in more rigid conditions from the legal aspect right down to storage, and disposal. Non-hazardous waste on the other hand has no bad effect on the environment and is handled under less stringent measures.
Defining different types of waste under either of these categories has proven to be a bit difficult because that will mean testing to know their composition. The different types of waste are handled and managed using different means.
How to Dispose of Specific Items in Canada
Waste is managed locally in Canada by the municipal government. Most non-hazardous waste belongs to a category known as Municipal Solid Waste which mostly includes waste from households.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs apply in some provinces to manage particular types of waste. EPR programs ensure the disposal of certain types of products such as; waste from agricultural activities, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), and mercury-containing products, to name a few.
Retail stores and some producers can help by providing useful tips on how to dispose of waste in a way that is environmentally friendly and acceptable or direct you to waste collection points.
Other Ways of Managing Specific Items
Electrical and Electronic Equipment
As digitalization grows exponentially daily, the use of electronics also skyrockets. This has created a lot of problems in managing the disposal of bad electronic equipment as they contain mercury and lead residues.
In Canada, most provinces use EPR programs to manage electronic waste, also known as e-waste. To dispose of most electronic devices search for the nearest electronics recycling drop-off location.
Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Waste
This type of waste involves unused or expired medication whether over-the-counter or prescription and sharps. To manage these, municipal governments have put in place product stewardships (usually pharmacies) that collect sharps and unused/expired medication for proper waste management.
Residues of medication have been found in drinking water, and soil for agriculture amongst others, and this is due to the error made in disposing of them. They shouldn’t be flushed down toilet drains or thrown in the garbage bin like any other type of household waste.
Light Bulbs Containing Mercury
To identify light bulbs containing mercury, look around for the sign Hg which is the chemical connotation for mercury. Fluorescent tubes and fluorescent lamps contain mercury and so should not be disposed of carelessly. Landfills have been found to contain residues of mercury increasingly over the years and in an attempt to curb this, some territories have put programs in place that collect these bulbs, or you can have the bulbs picked up from your home for free. Some retailers take back damaged bulbs and companies that offer bulb disposal services for a little fee. All this is done to make sure mercury does not accumulate in landfills.
Construction Renovation and Demolition (CRD) Waste
This type of waste constitutes a huge percentage of solid waste in Canada, up to 12%. These types of waste contain hazardous substances that can have adverse effects on human life and the environment if not well managed. CRD waste management facilities are being set up on the outskirts of some cities to manage CRD wastes. Some territories are setting up EPR programs that will handle the management, disposal, and recycling of this type of waste.
Apart from disposal methods, waste can also be taken care of by other means such as recycling, donating or reusing for other purposes. Here are a few ways to apply these disposal techniques to some common items.
Hard and Soft Cover Books
If you do not have use for some books again and they are still in good shape, you can consider donating to book clubs or second-hand bookshops. You can also contact local charities and donate to them.
If the books can’t be reused, then put them up for recycling.
Household Goods and Furniture
You can host a garage sale to get rid of some items you no longer use or publish on some sites like Kijiji. Also, you can donate the said items through social services to people coming out of homelessness, refugees, and families running away from abusive homes.
Some household goods like smoke detectors should be disposed of carefully as they contain hazardous substances. Some companies offer a return policy for detectors that are no longer in use.
Fabric and Clothing
Clothing can be donated to the homeless or refugee centers if they are still usable and wearable. If they are worn out and can be given out to people, they can be cut into little pieces and used for cleaning surfaces especially those made of cotton.
Natural fibres can be added to compost but in small amounts. Another alternative for reusing clothing will be to donate to schools for art projects or donate to some textile industries that accept recycling.
The disposal of waste at local levels in Canada makes it easy for control and accountability. This guide gives concise information about the different types of waste and how they can be collected, disposed of, recycled, and/or reused. Following the tips highlighted here will ensure that your waste is being disposed of according to legislative procedure.
Also, following the waste disposal guidelines or channels for the different types of waste does not only make you a good neighbour or citizen of Canada, but it also makes you a good citizen of the world. Fighting global warming, climate change, and other environmental hazards that we face today can only be successful if everyone puts in individual effort for collective results.