As the community’s first ‘library of things’ that invites members to borrow things like camping equipment, sports equipment, party supplies and tools is set to open, York Region has released a report that provides updates on its waste management plan.
“York Region’s strong waste reduction efforts are resulting in a decrease in the amount of waste generated,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. Regional Council has also announced its “strong support” of a deposit return program for single-use plastic aluminum and metal drink containers.
According to the SM4RT Living Waste Management Plan 2018 Annual Update 2018, the waste generation rate decreased by 4.5 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017. Approved by Regional Council in 2013, the plan’s focus is on moving away from the traditional linear model of economy of “take, make and dispose” to a more sustainable circular economy which considers product and packaging design, consumer choices and reusing, recycling and composting as a better way to manage waste.
The Balanced Scorecard, a report that’s updated annually and measures progress on programs delivered as part of the SM4RT Living Plan, highlights initiatives in a number of areas designed to address challenges to achieving sustainable waste practices.
On the issue or products and packaging, for instance, the region is advocating the provincial government to make producers fully responsible for collecting and recycling their products and packaging – a motive it believes will encourage producers to make better packaging and product designs that are recyclable.
On the issue of influencing consumer choices, meanwhile, the region provides opportunities for reuse and repair through innovative programs such as repair cafés, curbside giveaway days, textile diversion and lending libraries. The first Lendery opens July 10 at Milliken Mills Library in Markham.
Finally, on the issue of increasing diversion through recycling and composting, the region says it provides convenient, easily accessible recycling programs, generating energy and reclaiming resources, such as metals from waste, and increasing the opportunities for recycled material to become new products and packaging.
The region promises to update and refine the initiatives of the SM4RT Living plan to ensure it’s well-aligned with the province’s shift towards a circular economy. Visit york.ca/sm4rtliving to learn more.