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Simcoe County > WasteEducation

Environmental Education

food reduction tip graphic.jpg

​Did you know that 58% of food produced in Canada (amounting to 35 million metric tonnes) is wasted every year? This costs the economy almost $50 billion annually.

To help you and your family stretch our groceries and wallets, we have put together some quick tips that will help your food last longer, save money and reduce food waste!

Let's change the way we value food.

Food Storage & Preservation Tips:

1. Moisture speeds up the decaying process. Take produce out of plastic bags and dry or wrap in a tea towel if they are wet. Place in a breathable produce container or your crisper and do not wash until you are ready to eat it. Do not rip fruit off stems until you are ready to eat it, this also speeds up decomposition.

2. ​Go through your fridge, freezer and pantry every week before you plan your shopping trip and make a list of items that need to get eaten first. Organize your fridge into zones so you know where everything is. Bring items to the front, don't let them hide and spoil. Eat the most perishable items first (for example raspberries only last a few days while potatoes can last a month if stored in a dry, cool and dark space).
​3. Love your Leftovers! Instead of ditching your leftovers, give them a makeover. Get creative. Try looking up recipes that will use up these items. https://lovefoodhatewaste.ca/get-recipes/
​4. Make a weekly meal plan. Consider how you can make multiple meals out of one item.
5. ​If you have an abundance of vegetables and are worried they will spoil before you can eat them all, try making soup or blanching them before freezing. This technique preserves your produce and keeps it from going mushy upon thawing.
​6. When trimming the ends off onions, celery and carrots, pack them away in the freezer. Do the same with bones until you have enough of each to make broth.
​7.  Did you know you can regrow your lettuce from the end cut that you would normally dispose of by placing it in a bowl of water? Better yet, grow your own garden from seed.
​Take the Food Waste Pledge (https://wrwcanada.com/en/food-waste-pledge)
Check out more resources Food Waste Resource Page (Food Waste Resource Page)
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Windy waste collection days can lead to unintentional litter scattered across your street which is unsightly and can eventually end up in our waterways creating other environmental impacts.

We have put together these helpful tips below to ensure your waste stays put in the right place:

 Tips to Reduce Windblown Litter:

1. Stack/nest your recycling boxes with heavier items on top

2. Do not overfill your recycling box, if you need more capacity, flatten boxes or items

3. If it is windy, do not place material out the night before; have out by 7am on collection day

4. Ensure that garbage bags are tied securely or if using a garbage container, fasten the lid

5. Avoid attracting animals or pests from getting into your waste receptacles by rinsing containers and meat trays first

​6. Use a raccoon latch on your green bin; if yours doesn't have one call Service Simcoe at 1-800-263-3199 or service@simcoe.ca

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​While reducing waste is the first and most important of the 3Rs, we inevitably still end up with waste items in our households bound for disposal.  

Don't be so quick to throw that item in the blue box or garbage, find a new purpose in reusing everyday items.

Here are some tips to give your single-use items an extended life:

 Tips to Reuse Items at Home:

​1. Craft supplies – save your old paper towel/toilet paper tubes and egg cartons to make kids crafts. Small containers such foil tarts can be reused over and over for painting.
​2. Freezer bags/containers – When you are finished with the frozen fruit, rinse the resealable bags out, re-label and use as freezer bags for other items. Large yogurt or cottage cheese containers are great for freezing liquids such as extra soup or spaghetti sauce (just be sure to leave some airspace for expansion).
3. Milk bags & bread tabs – Don't throw out your old milk bags, they are actually quite durable and handy. Cut the top open first and wash in warm, soapy water then hang upside down to dry. They can be reused to store cheese, for sandwich bags or to freeze items. Save your old bread tabs and elastics and use to fasten the milk bags shut. You can also reuse bread tags to organize wires and keep your earbuds untangled!
4. Salad dressing containers – wash out thoroughly and reuse to store your own homemade salad dressing. The large Caesar salad dressing containers are great for a spill-proof way to store liquids while camping.

5. Pump / spray containers – wash out thoroughly and reuse to store your own homemade cleaners or soaps. Pour concentrated laundry soap into dispenser (and re-label) as a way to accurately measure soap while using less and saving money

​6. Gardening -
  • You can use egg cartons/flats for a seedling starter, just poke a drainage hole in the bottom
  • Repurpose an old milk jug to make a garden shovel
  • Make planters out of old tires, plastic soda bottles, milk crates or cinder blocks
  • Make your own backyard composter out of wooden pallets

7. Wood scraps – save your old wood scraps and see what you can make out of it.

8. Coffee Cups - set a few paper coffee cups aside to use when you are disposing of used oil or fat/grease. You can pour the liquid into the cups then put it in the fridge or freezer to thicken. Once liquid thickens or freezes, place in your green bin.

repair.jpg​In 2017, UN member nations signed an agreement to work toward 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030 known as SDGs. Simple things like repairing items rather than disposing of them and replacing will help us work toward these SDGs:

-Sustainable management and efficient use of resources
-Substantially reduce waste through prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Household Items: 

​1. Electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste with over 52 million metric tonnes estimated globally by 2021. Don’t replace your old electronic device just because there is something new on the market. If you do need to replace yours (and it is beyond repair or resale) please ensure it gets recycled at a County Waste Facility or through the curbside electronic collection.

​2. One man’s trash is the other man’s treasure. Buying and selling items on resale websites saves you money and extends the lifespans of landfills currently nearing capacity.

​3. Repair household items such as ripped pants or a squeaky door instead of replacing them. There are many resources and tutorials online and repair clinics are beginning to be more and more popular.

​4. Buy for quality. While it is tempting for purchase dollar store items at a fraction of the cost, you can almost bet the item will break within the first 48 hours and end up in a landfill forever. Instead purchase something of higher quality that will last for years.


Important COVID-19 Notice:

Due to provincial guidelines around restricting gatherings and the County's efforts to help flatten the COVID-19 curve in relation to the spread of the virus, the County has cancelled all County-sanctioned public events, gatherings for the foreseeable future and will not be attending external events/festivals or gatherings until government sanctions are lifted. We strongly recommend anyone planning to hold an event in the over the next few months to adhere to public health recommendations.​

The Environmental Education Program helps inspire individuals to take active roles in reducing, reusing and recycling at home and at school for a healthy tomorrow.
This program does not apply to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia.

​Elementary Schools (Grades 1-8)

Elementary school presentation During the presentation students will learn the importance of the 3Rs, how waste and compost are recycled, the role waste plays in every day life, the impact of individual actions, and how to generate less waste at school and at home. The presentation is 30 minutes.

Secondary Schools

Group of secondary studentsStudents will learn about waste management, the recycling process, steam contamination, composting, diversion programs, the role waste plays in every day life, the impact of individual actions and landfill operations.
The presentation is 30 to 45 minutes.

Community Groups

Community GroupsWe offer presentations for youth, service, cultural and religious clubs and organizations. During the presentation waste reduction techniques will be discussed, as well as the recycling and landfilling process. Please call at least one month in advance.