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The art of saying No

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The more we accept items that will inevitably end up in landfills, the more demand we generate for those unsustainable items. 



A key focus of Zero-waste or low-waste living is reducing overall consumption, lessening the impact we have on the planet. Refusing, the art of saying "No," is the first "R" in the Zero-waste hierarchy. Refusing to participate in unsustainable consumer practices is one of the best ways to lessen the amount of waste we produce, lowering our eco-footprint. Overconsumption of easily disposable items is becoming a worldwide crisis. You see, easily disposable items of low quality are cheap, but these cheap items often are costly for the environment, using significant energy and resources for production and disposal, all for an item that will often only be used once. It's time to refuse!


Here are some tips to help refuse waste and lessen your impact on our planet:



  • Use reusable bags, coffee cups, water bottles, takeout containers, cutlery, and straws. Work towards replacing all of the disposable items in your life with reusable items, check out our Reuse tips.

  • Visit local Farmer's Markets and Stands for the freshest selection of local produce, usually offered package-free. No matter where you're shopping, forgo the plastic produce bag and if you must bag items checkout reusable alternatives like The Market Bags, a local small business creating handmade reusable produce bags from upcycled fabric.

  • Shop bulk using reusable containers, check out our Shop Local Directory for Okanagan businesses offering BYOC programs

  • Visit local bakeries, butchers, delis, and fishmongers who support bringing your own reusable containers or provide sustainable packaging options

  • Avoid freebies like pens, swag bags, stickers, and other items that are destined to add clutter to your life and likely end up in the landfill

  • Take pictures of pamphlets or business cards, accept the information but not the physical item

  • Refuse junk mail, leave a note on your mailbox or visit the Canada Post depot nearest you to formally request no junk mail

  • Refuse newspapers full of flyers and junk mail, read your news electronically and enjoy all of the information with none of the waste 


The simple act of saying "No" has the power to dramatically lessen the amount of waste you produce, while also lessening the demand generated for unsustainable items.

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