Waste Free Challenge - recap

Over ten weeks in 2014, TEA's Waste Free TO Challenge asked Toronto residents and communities to take ten steps to reduce waste, share their ideas and stories, and win prizes. Thousands of people participated, and hundreds took the Challenge online - what we found surprised us.

TEA developed a website with ten simple actions that anyone can take to help go waste free.

 Outreach Waste Game

To get the Challenge out to as many people as possible:

  • We trained 'Waste Champion' volunteers to test the Challenge, promote it and share their experiences.
  • We partnered with other groups (e.g. CASSA in Scarborough) to adapt and promote the Challenge to specific communities
  • We gave workshops and presentations to community groups and attended dozens of events

Some of the results:

  • The main reason for taking the Challenge was to get and share creative ideas to reduce waste
  • 66% of those who answered identified 'Too much packaging' was the biggest waste problem they face, the next closest was 'Litter' at 11%
  • More than half of those who live in a large apartment or condo didn't have Green Bins!

Many of those who took the Challenge reported already doing many of the steps - whether they knew it was good for the environment or not. E.g. repairing things instead of throwing them out, buying second hand, or avoiding bottled water.

Those who took the challenge shared great and creative ideas about going waste free by repairing, sharing or reusing things! 

  • Heather found a place to repair her jeans when they started ripping
  • Ria put up the City waste calendar to help her roommates know what goes in each bin
  • Chris bought paint brushes and looked for recycled plastic bristles 
  • Joan turned some old blankets into custom dog-beds for her friends' pets
  • Emily started carrying reusable lunch containers to restaurants for take out

Check out the Challenge, our blog about what we did at the TEA office, and share your stories!

S. Wineland