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Waste Prevention

​ Every year local governments in Canada spend approximately $3.2 billion managing 34 million tonnes of waste, according to Statistics Canada.

Waste generation is a global problem and Canada is among the worst offenders, producing more garbage per capita than 16 other OECD nations, according to the Conference Board of Canada. It's time to do something about it and the solution is not better waste management but waste prevention. 

Waste Prevention: The Environmental and Economic Benefits for Canada

Waste prevention consists of actions that prevent or reduce waste from being created in the first place. This concept and its role in the circular economy is not well understood in Canada. To address this gap, the National Zero Waste Council commissioned a first of its kind report identifying fifteen waste prevention interventions for six important economic sectors in Canada and estimating the impacts resulting from these interventions.

Waste Prevention: The Environmental and Economic Benefits for Canada articulates the environmental, social and economic benefits of implementing waste prevention interventions in the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, plastics and retail sectors. The waste prevention best practices featured in the report could have profound impacts on the environment and economy. These interventions have the potential to prevent 5 million tonnes of CO2e emissions and 4.9 million tonnes of waste per year (including 1.1 million tonnes of plastics) while creating about 20,000 jobs and $41 billion in additional revenue.

Waste Prevention: The Environmental and Economic Benefits for Canada  

The Circular Economy

In today's economy, we extract resources, manufacture and use products for a short time, and then dispose of them as waste. This linear "take-make-dispose" model of production and consumption generates too much garbage and puts pressure on finite natural resources. By contrast, in a circular economy, the way we design, produce and use products is transformed to eliminate waste, keep materials in high-value use and regenerate natural systems.

Circular Economy Diagram

Spearheaded globally by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy represents a positive vision for the future – one where economic development does not come at the cost of the environment. It goes beyond treating the symptoms of our wasteful economy to addressing the root causes – eliminating waste by designing it out and preventing it in the first place. What's more, shifting to a circular economy, supports job creation, economic development, and innovation as well as environmental protection.

Circular Economy Butterfly Diagram

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