Special to The Lake Report
You can diminish your carbon footprint by reducing or eliminating some of the products you consume or by cutting some of your waste by switching to different products.
Let’s have a look at reducing electronic waste first.
There is a waste depot in Niagara Falls at 5030 Montrose Rd. where you can drop off your old electronics: phones, laptops, desktops, radios, tuners, amplifiers, speakers, television sets and printers. Go to niagararegion.ca for more info on what can or cannot be recycled. During the pandemic, call before you go to the drop off sites to make sure they are open (905-980-6000).
Buy a new tank printer that does not use ink or toner cartridges. A typical cartridge will print 250 to 500 pages before it runs out. These new printers have four built-in tanks that you refill with liquid ink. The bottles of ink can deliver 2,500 to 5,000 pages per bottle set. At a cost of $100 per set, this supply of ink should last a typical user a year – saving you money and reducing waste.
Purchase rechargeable batteries. Small alkaline AA or AAA batteries cost about $1 apiece. The cost of each rechargeable battery runs about $4 to $5. With a life expectancy of two to seven years with 500 to 800 recharging cycles, you can save a lot of money. You’re also throwing away fewer batteries.
Check to see if the item that needs batteries can use rechargeables. Smoke detectors, for example, will not work with them. You can recycle old batteries at stores like Home Hardware or Home Depot.
What about reducing household waste? Limit your use of plastic wrap. Tupperware containers are useful for saving leftovers or if you’re a Ziploc bag fan, wash them with soap and water to reuse them more than once. Once they are unusable, you can recycle them with your plastic bags in your grey bin. Also, don’t forget the margarine or butter containers that you bought at the grocery store are actually free Tupperware.
Recycle your food waste. Keep a small composting bin under the sink lined with a compostible bag, throw in it vegetable peels, fruit peels, paper towels, dirty Kleenex and other biologic items that can be composted. This goes into the green bin.
If you are worried that meat, fish, pork and poultry waste will start smelling funky after a couple of days under the sink, keep it in a compostible bag in your freezer and dump it into the green bin the night before collection day.
Remember that eggshells are great to prevent slugs from invading your vegetable garden, some of your plants love coffee grinds and teabags are great for roses as they acidify the soil. Bones, onion skins and garlic skins make great additions to a broth if you’re making your own soup.
If you have a renovation project house and you have leftover building materials, remember the ReStore Habitat for Humanity store on Bunting Road in St. Catharines.
Go to its website and see what the store accepts. Items like light switches, wall plugs, light fixtures, door handles and locks with keys, clean carpeting and various materials are welcome, if they are in good condition so they can be resold.
Gently used clothing can be recycled to the Salvation Army or Goodwill store. Other clothing that is not in pristine condition or old towels and rags can be dropped off at the Niagara Falls recycling centre where they will be regenerated into other materials.
* Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Robin Jinchereau has degrees in human biology and business administration. He is retired from a long career in the pharmaceuticals industry and has been fascinated for the last 45 years about how to reduce waste.