Single-use plastics pile up in Durham | Circular Economy Month | Waste Reduction Week in Canada

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Single-use plastics pile up in Durham

DURHAM — No, someone didn’t prank Durham Region by leaving mounds of recyclables at its Whitby headquarters.

Rather, Durham put the trash there to illustrate how many recyclable products are consumed every day.

What’s amazing about the pile is it’s only one-third of single-use plastics collected every day in the region’s Blue Box program. The pile is more than two metric tonnes.

Each year, more than eight million plastic bottles are collected in the program and that works out to 22,000 single-use plastic bottles each and every day.

The display is in recognition of Waste Reduction Week, which runs from Oct. 21 to 27.

At the conclusion of the Durham Regional council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23, Chairman John Henry urged councillors to take pictures of the mounds to share with constituents to show the magnitude of plastic being used every day.

“In Durham Region, we like to remind residents of the five Rs: rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. During Waste Reduction Week and all year round, the most impactful R is reduce,” Mirka Januszkiewicz, director of waste management for the Region, said in a statement. “Even when a product can be recycled, it can still have a negative impact on our environment. We encourage residents to think of ways they can reduce their use of single-use plastics every day.”

The region has recently taken steps to reduce single-use plastics in its facilities. There are now reusable eco-containers for take-out meals in the cafeteria at regional headquarters, and plastic straws have been replaced with compostable straws.

Earlier this year, Durham stopped the sale of bottled water at the headquarters, with staff and visitors encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles that can be filled at one of two filling stations.

Wednesday, Oct. 23 was Imagine A Day Without Water.

“Since installing water bottle refill stations in the Durham Regional Headquarters building, more than 155,000 single-use water bottles have been saved,” John Presta, director of environmental services, said. “Imagine the impact residents can make by choosing Durham Region tap water, instead of bottled water, every time.”

To learn more about Waste Reduction Week in Canada, visit, For more details about Imagine A Day Without Water, visit

For more information about waste reduction, visit