Going full circle: how you can embrace waste reduction for Circular Economy Month

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Published on
October 10, 2023
Garbage and recycling
An Ottawa Tool Library volunteer in a green t-shirt and black baseball cap examines a kitchen knife.
An Ottawa Tool Library volunteer examines their work while fixing a kitchen knife. Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tool Library. Photographer credit: ME Cavett.

Feature story

October is Circular Economy Month, making this the perfect time for you to explore innovative ways to minimize waste generation, learn how to give old products a new life and recycle materials.

But what is a circular economy? It’s an economic system designed to minimize waste and make the most of the resources we have now. Unlike a traditional linear economy, where we buy, use and discard, a circular economy promotes the continual use, re-use and recycling of products and materials. Imagine your old toys getting new life with another child, an empty soda becoming a new can or your potato peels being used to help grow new crops instead of ending up in a landfill. It's a smart way to take care of our planet by using resources wisely and reducing garbage.

Unsure where to start? Here are a few ideas on how you can embrace waste reduction and participate in a circular economy.

Repair and upcycle

There are ways you can prevent household objects from entering the landfill and save money at the same time. Instead of replacing broken items, try repairing them or upcycling them into something new and useful. Don’t worry if you don’t have the tools or knowledge to make the repair. The City is collaborating with Ottawa Tool Library to host a Repair Café!

Bring your broken items to the Repair Café at City Hall on Saturday, October 14 between 10 am and 3 pm. From broken vacuums to that annoying hole in your favourite sock, volunteers will do their best to help you get your item repaired and useable once more. There is no charge and no need to register in advance. To be mindful of time and space, please only bring one item for fixing. If your item is missing a piece or needs a replacement part, please bring that as well and make sure any textiles that need fixing are cleaned first.

Reuse and regift

Ottawa has many amazing shops and markets where you can explore gently used products from furniture to clothing to designer bags. Not sure where to start? On Friday, October 20, the Annual Thrift Roadshow will be held at Jean Pigott Place in City Hall from 10 am to 12 pm. This event, led by Councillor Steve Desroches and Councillor Marty Carr, is a great way to meet members of the local thrifting community. Don’t miss the fashion show at 10:30 am! While you’re downtown, you can also stop and snap a photo with the OTTAWA sign in the ByWard market, which will be blue and green on this day to celebrate Circular Economy Month.

You’ve heard it before: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Many communities have buy nothing groups on social media where you can gift to your neighbours items that you might otherwise throw out. And you might pick up a few free treasures of your own in the process. These groups reduce waste and promote the reuse and sharing of otherwise unwanted items

Become BFFs with your three bins

Hands up if you were the recycling captain back in your elementary school days! Knowing which items go in which bin can help divert a lot of waste from the landfill by composting or recycling instead. If you’re not sure where a particular item goes, the City has you covered with its Waste Explorer. There you can search up common household items and learn of the best way to dispose of it.

For more tips on how to reduce waste, visit ottawa.ca/wastereduction.

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.