5 Steps to Reduce Waste at Home

Tips to Reduce Waste at Home

Canadians generate an astonishing amount of waste. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians generated 10.2 million tonnes of disposable waste in 2016, roughly 3.5 tonnes per person, which is about the weight of an elephant. Greenpeace Canada reports that 3.25 million tonnes of that is plastic waste.

We can make a vital ecological contribution by reducing waste, recycling as much as possible, and supporting sustainable brands.

Here are five simple steps for reducing waste at home that will help you shrink your carbon footprint.

1. Level up Your Recycling

We’re all pretty used to recycling old standards like paper and bottles, but did you know there are so many other items you can recycle — everything from electronics to printer cartridges, headphones, cellphones, water filters, styrofoam, and the list goes on!

Our Bring Back the Pack recycling program makes it easy to recycle many types of product packaging, too. In fact, when you shop at London Drugs, you can leave all of your product packaging with us and we’ll ensure as much of it as possible gets recycled. Check out our website greendeal.ca for the complete list of what’s accepted.

Pro tip: A beautiful recycling area in your home will make recycling that much more enjoyable!

2. Reduce Your Energy Usage

Doing an energy audit of your home might sound intimidating, but it can help you to identify areas where easy improvements can be made. 

Look for things like air leaks around windows and door frames, old appliances that aren’t energy efficient or that can be unplugged when not in use, and light bulbs that can be switched with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

You can also replace old thermostats with programmable thermostats and set timers to warm up the main rooms for a few hours in the morning and bedrooms for a few hours in the evening. This will soften your impact on the grid and also on your wallet!

3. Compost, Compost, Compost

Composting is now widely supported through many municipalities, which makes it easy to participate. But it’s also beneficial to set up a raw compost for your own garden. Put any cooked food, bones, or leftovers in the city bins, as they tend to attract unwanted visitors.

Small countertop bins are great for vegetable peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds that your veggie garden will love! 

4. Reduce Your Single-use Plastics Consumption

Single-use plastics are one of the biggest contributors to ocean pollution today — think plastic bags, straws, coffee cup lids, zip-style bags, etc. Take a day to observe your daily habits and notice where you might be able to swap out a reusable container for single-use packaging.

For example, head off to school/work with drinks and snacks in a stylish reusable travel mug and handy washable fabric snack bags.

Reusables can also contribute to better health. For example, the SodaStream soda maker with recyclable carbonation cartridges not only saves plastic bottles but also gives you an endless supply of refreshing sugar-free drinks. Pair your healthy drinks with these washable silicone straws.

5. Support Sustainable Brands

There is no shortage of inspiring companies creating great products while taking care of the environment. The circular economy model supports designs that are optimized to be disassembled and reused, essentially designing out waste. From toilet tissue made from recycled paper, to printer paper made from sugar cane byproducts, these companies are doing their utmost to reduce their impact on the biosphere.

Many of these products are also lovely to use: natural makeup, whole grain cereals, healing teas, and healthy granola bars are easy ways to do good not only for the planet but also for your body.

Modern life inevitably produces waste, but with a bit of effort and some conscious choices, we can make steps toward reducing our waste at home. Shifting our habits a little bit every day adds up to greater peace of mind and a cleaner, brighter future.

London Drugs Recycles 1 Million Pounds of Plastic

London Drugs tallies an important metric in 2018: one million pounds of plastic recycled. Plastic bag use by customers also dropped 75 per cent over two-year period.

London Drugs recycles 12 million pounds of wasteThanks to you and to robust recycling processes and partners, together we diverted 12 million pounds of waste from landfills in 2018, including one-million pounds of plastic recycled.

Customers are more mindful now than ever about their plastic bag use, with a 75 per cent reduction in plastic bags being used in our stores compared to bag use totals from 2016.

“Our updated plastic, cardboard, Styrofoam, and additional material recycling statistics is a culmination of several initiatives London Drugs has undertaken in our stores, head office and distribution centre and just as important is a nod to our customers for bringing in these materials for proper recycling instead of throwing them in the garbage and having them end up in our landfills,” says Raman Johal, London Drugs Retail Operations Sustainability Specialist.

We accept recycling in all of our London Drugs locations across Western Canada and we have Recycling Centres in 39 stores, making it convenient for customers to recycle everything from batteries to styrofoam, small appliances, and more.

In 2018, London Drugs achieved an average 93.5 per cent waste diversion in its stores.

Since initiating new plastic bag reduction measures, London Drugs saw plastic bag use by customers decrease by 75.1 per cent since 2016.

Mason recycles at London DrugsThrough this continued commitment to recycling, plastic and waste reduction, a young customer has come forward with similar environmental goals who is going to great lengths to promote plastic reduction.

Mason is an eleven-year-old Lower Mainland boy and the creator of Mason’s Ocean. Mason has been using social media to share important information about the oceans and how everyday recycling actions can significantly reduce our impact on the environment. Mason and his mother regularly use the London Drugs recycling centre to responsibly reduce waste.

“London Drugs is a company that is leading by example by providing easy and accessible recycling bins to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfills and oceans,” says Mason, founder of Mason’s Ocean.

Learn more about London Drugs’ recycling efforts and what we take back.

Meet the 11-year-old Boy Who Will Inspire You to Dive Deeper into Recycling

Mason is only in grade 5, but he is already having a big impact on the planet with his passionate website and social media project called Mason’s Ocean. He (and his mom) are also committed London Drugs recyclers.

Bringing Mason’s Story to the Screen

As a BC-based company, London Drugs is passionate about reducing waste to help benefit our oceans and all the communities we serve. For Earth Month, the London Drugs What’s the Green Deal video team travelled to the Vancouver Aquarium to help Mason share his story.

“When I was eight years old and I watched the film Sharkwater, it was then that I realized I had to start helping the ocean,” Mason says. He posts frequently on his Mason’s Ocean Facebook page and Instagram feed with interesting ocean and animal facts and tips on how people can make a difference with their own actions. We see how Mason puts his heart into saving the world’s oceans, while dealing with a little heart trouble of his own.

Heart Surgery and Healing

In 2018, 11-year-old Mason faced a challenge when he and his family discovered he had a heart condition — a narrowing of the aorta. He underwent heart surgery at BC Children’s Hospital and returned stronger than ever.

“When I started feeling better,” Mason says, “ I decided I should keep on posting and spreading the great news of recycling.”

#BePlasticWise — A Global Recycling Challenge

Lately, Mason has become more focused on the issue of ocean plastic and helping his family to reduce their waste. He visits the Vancouver Aquarium (an Ocean Wise initiative) and stays on top of the issues through its Plastic Wise program. Mason shares the importance of recycling against a backdrop of spectacular marine environments and amazing ocean plastic education exhibits – including Douglas Copeland’s stunning ‘Vortex’ display.

11-year-old Mason recycles at London Drugs

London Drugs is Mason’s Local Recycling Solution

Mason and his mom combine their waste recycling with household shopping trips to London Drugs. From plastic bags to batteries, light bulbs and more, it’s a convenient way to responsibly reduce waste. It also marks a real point of difference in the retail industry. Mason’s mom, Shanna, appreciates the service.

“If I can shop at a local, Canadian-owned company, and know that the company is taking the initiative to recycle their products, then yes!” she says, “I will make the choice to make my purchase dollars count, and I will go to London Drugs.”

11-year-old Mason advocates for clean oceans

When We #RecycleTogether, the Results Add Up

In 2018, London Drugs and its customers diverted over 11,000,000 lbs of materials from landfill. It’s all part of our commitment to a more sustainable retail future.

Mason’s future plans include getting a PhD in marine biology and maybe studying environmental law. “I want to change the laws in favour of the oceans,” he says.

We can’t wait to see what you accomplish, Mason – you are the REAL Green Deal.


Your local London Drugs takes batteries, electronics, small appliances, soft plastics, Styrofoam, and more. For the complete list of what you can recycle, visit http://www.greendeal.ca/recycling.

You can follow Mason’s journey on his Facebook and his Instagram channels.

Why We Recycle These 5 Things (and More)

You can recycle a lot of things at London Drugs, from batteries to small appliances to smoke alarms. But just in case you sometimes ask yourself WHY you bother recycling, here’s a look at five things we take back that really should never be thrown away and the most important reasons for that.

Why We Recycle at London Drugs

Computers

Why you should recycle them: data security

It’s tempting when cleaning out the closets to just chuck that old doorstop of a computer into the alley or dumpster. (Maybe SOMEBODY will want it?) Well, somebody might — and they may have less than noble plans for your data. It’s very hard to completely erase digital memory, so data-carrying devices may have personal information on them that can be retrieved.

That’s why London Drugs’ computer recycling takes extreme care to track data-carrying devices and destroy the hard drives before they leave our stores. Our recycling partners also have security measures and ALL of our electronics are broken down into materials here in Canada before being shipped anywhere else. Got an old computer, PDA, or cellphone? Recycle them with us.

Batteries

Why you should recycle them: chemical recovery

Besides stored electrons, batteries also contain complex compounds that can be harmful to the environment. Fortunately, many of these materials are also valuable enough to recover for use in remanufacturing.

Lithium, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, and zinc are some of the elements that are recovered from battery recycling. These are not good to have in our landfills or waterways. So drop your batteries off at London Drugs (here’s what will happen to them). We take rechargeables, alkalines, button batteries, and specialty electronics batteries (under 5 lbs).

Light Bulbs

Why you should recycle them: Mercury

According to one study, one gram of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake.

Many fluorescent-type light bulbs contain traces of mercury, so it’s a good idea to keep them out of our ecosystems. We take compact fluorescents (CLFs), LEDs, even Christmas lights and fluorescent tubes up to 48”. Just be sure to avoid bulb breakage while recycling. Seal the bulbs in a zip bag and put them in a box.

Soft Plastic Bags and Overwrap

Why you should recycle them: To help keep our rivers and oceans clean

If you can stretch soft plastic or poke your finger through it, you can recycle it at any London Drugs. Plastic bags, overwrap, and stretch film are accepted at all of our stores. This plastic is also easily blown out of garbage containers, trucks, and even landfills, which means it may end up in rivers or oceans. The soft kind of plastic is very recyclable and is made into things like park benches and plastic deck lumber. (Crinklies and other flexible packaging are recyclable at our BC stores.)

Styrofoam

Why you should recycle it: To use up less landfill space and avoid plastic ‘crumbs’ in the environment

Styrofoam, or ‘Expanded Polystyrene’, is actually a very recyclable material. Our recycler partners take the air out of it, condensing the foam down until it is virtually solid plastic. Then it is sold on commodities markets to be remanufactured into picture frames, mouldings, and more.

The list goes on and on. See everything you can (and should) recycle at London Drugs. Do the right thing (it feels good!)

Why We Recycle at London Drugs

Quick Tips to Recycle Your Beauty Products

Beauty Product How to Recycle Quick Tips London Drugs

It may come as a surprise, but even though a lot of us know the importance of recycling (especially amidst growing concerns for the health of our planet), not all Canadians are aware of what can be recycled. A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled (whoa!) and each year about 8 million metric tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean. 

An annual awareness campaign, Zero Waste Week, reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. Our beauty routines affect the environment, and that’s why we want to find ways to support us all in becoming more conscious of what we do with items like our empty shampoo bottles and hairspray cans.

Let’s face it—recycling beauty products can feel like a daunting task. With so many different materials in packaging, sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s recyclable or destined for the trash. So, we’ve laid it all out for you to make the process smoother.

Your Quick Recycling Checklist

Local rules: It’s important to look into your local recycling rules, as every city has varying restrictions. Your local government website is a great place to start.

Recycling logo: The recycling logo is a good indicator that an item is recyclable. 

Lather, rinse, repeat: Yes, you do have to rinse out bottles before you recycle them!

Green Beauty Products London Drugs Blog

Let’s Talk Packaging

Cardboard: Cardboard is a very common form of packaging for cosmetics. You can easily break down the boxes your products came in and place them in the recycling bin.

Plastic: Your empty shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, and moisturizers don’t belong in the trash! These plastic containers can often be recycled alongside your other plastics. Don’t forget to include the lids!

Glass: Rinse your empty bottles and toss them in the recycling bin with your other glass items.

Pumps: Pumps can be tricky as they often contain multiple materials (a metal spring and cap for example). Just remove the metal spring and place the cap back on the bottle before you toss it in the appropriate recycling bin.

We’re Here to Help!

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed with the details? We’ve got good news! London Drugs is happy to accept recyclable packaging for cosmetics and beauty products that we sell, including:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic lids and pump sprayers
  • Clear plastic clamshell-style packaging

Recycling Beauty Products the Right Way London Drugs Beauty Blog

Unfortunately, we can’t accept glass, lipstick tubes, or nail polish containers at this time. The recycling industry is still working on how to recycle small items like this. As most of the facilities use automated machines, small items like lipstick tubes are often missed and end up back in the landfill.

We’re working toward a goal of recycling everything we sell one day. Thanks for working with us to get there! We’re here to make it easy for you to feel good about consuming your favourite beauty products conscientiously.

Upcycle This: 5 Cools Crafts to Do on a Cold Day

Upcycler Extraordinaire Denise CorcoranUpcycler and crafter extraordinaire Denise Corcoran (Thrifty By Design) has a passion for turning ‘junk’ into new and funky pieces. From refinishing furniture to repurposing discarded items like wine corks into jewellery, she believes there is no limit to what a bit of time and know-how can create and save from the landfill. Here Denise shares 5 of her favourite upcycled crafts.

Do you ever look in your recycle bin and think you could make crafty magic happen with your recyclables? I do. All the time!

So many items you find in your recycle bin can be repurposed into fun rainy day projects. From mason jars (which you can find at London Drugs!) to cereal boxes to tin cans… there are simple DIYs that turn used objects into treasure. And the bonus for all of us is that you help keep these objects out of the landfill. Here are a few easy upcycled crafts to get you started!

1. Mason Jar Lanterns

Mason jars are super trendy when it comes to upcycling. One easy project is to refashion the mason jar into a lantern. By decoupaging tissue paper on the outside then adding a tea light in the mason jar, you’ve crafted an easy lantern. You can even step it up a notch by taking a Sharpie and adding a face or design to the decoupage.

Step 1: Grab some mason jars of various sizes and ensure they are clean.

Upcycled mason jars

 

Step 2: Tear up pieces of tissue paper. Either use one colour or try mixing it up with various colours.

Upcycled crafts

 

Step 3: Add a coat of Mod Podge or liquid white glue to the mason jar.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars

 

Step 4: Add pieces of tissue paper to the glued area. Then coat the tissue paper with more Mod Podge to smooth out the paper and seal it.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars

 

Step 5: Continue step 3 and 4 until the mason jar is completely covered with tissue paper. Allow to dry.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars

 

Step 6: Insert a regular or LED tea light into the mason jar to create a lantern.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars

2. Cereal Box Organizers

One of my favourite go-to items from my recycle bin is cereal boxes. They’re perfect for DIY stationery, art, gift boxes, or gift tags. They’re also perfect for your office to organize your papers, magazines, or mail. It doesn’t take much to turn an empty box into a swanky organizer for your kitchen or office.

Step 1: You can use any size of cereal box to create your DIY office organizer.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

 

Step 2: Measure and mark where you want to trim the cereal box.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

 

Step 3: Use scissors or an X-acto knife to trim the box.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

 

Step 4: Cover the cereal box in old wrapping paper using a glue stick or Mod Podge.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

 

Step 5 (optional): Jazz up your organizer with ribbon or funky tape trim to add a bit more pizzazz.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

Step 6: Upcycle more boxes to create a set of organizers.

3. Wine Cork Stamps

There are some super fun DIYs out there when it comes to upcycling wine corks. You can turn wine corks into a boat, fridge magnets, or even repurpose them into jewelry. So many possibilities! On a cold day why not stay in, make wine cork stamps, then use them to decorate handwritten notes or to create your own stationery. Just be careful when creating your stamps since you’ll need an X-Acto knife.

Step 1: Find wine corks with dense cork to use for your stamps. With a pen, outline your stamp design. Also add a line about a 1/4 inch along the wine cork.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks

 

Step 2: Cut your design out using an X-Acto knife. Cut into your design and then into the line along the side of the wine cork. This will remove the cork to create your stamp.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks

 

Step 3: Keep cutting until you’ve fully exposed your design.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks

 

Step 4: Start stamping! You can use an ink pad or acrylic paint to create your design for DIY cards, gift tags, etc.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks

4. Tin Can Shaker

Depending on the size of the tin cans you have on hand, you can refashion them into a pencil holder, a planter, or maybe even a cute robot. I love turning a boring tin can into a musical instrument. All you need is rice and beans for the inside of the can, and a balloon and duct tape for the top. It’s that easy to take your junk and make some funk. One of my top go-to craft materials is duct tape. You can get patterned duct tape that is an easy way to jazz up your shaker.

Step 1: Grab a tin can from your recycle bin. You can use any size for your DIY shaker.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

 

Step 2: Fill it with rice, dried beans, or anything else that will be good for making music. You don’t need much — maybe 3-4 tablespoons.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

 

Step 3: Cut the opening of your balloon. You want to remove this since you’ll be stretching the balloon over the opening of the tin can.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

 

Step 4: Stretch the balloon over the opening of the tin can. Ensure it’s tight and that the balloon stretches down the tin can.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

 

Step 5: Cover the tin can with funky duct tape. This ensures the balloon stays in place plus adds some funk to your shaker. Feel free to add other embellishments.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

5. CD Mosaic Frame

You can take an old CD and make gold with it. CDs can be cute animals, coasters, or even art. You can even upcycle the CD case into a frame for your art! A cool but messy DIY would be to cut up old CDs and create a mosaic. You can dress up an old frame or table using repurposed CDs, adhesive, and craft paint. I use white craft paint to mimic grout around the pieces of CD.

Step 1: Take an old frame or score one from a thrift store that has a flat surface.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

 

Step 2: Gather your supplies — a pair of scissors, old CDs, and some adhesive.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

 

Step 3: Cut up your old CDs. This can be a bit messy so be prepared. Cut the CDs into a variety of sizes.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

 

Step 4: Add glue to the surface of the frame then add your pieces of CD.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

 

Step 5: Keep adding pieces until the frame is covered.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

 

Step 6: Cover the frame with white acrylic paint. Allow to dry. Rub or scratch the CD pieces to remove the white paint. Then you’re done.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Based in North Vancouver, B.C., Denise Corcoran is the author is Raw Crafts: 40 Projects from Hemp, Jute, Burlap and Cork. Sharing her enthusiasm for crafting and upcycling, Denise facilitates ‘Crafternoons’ throughout Vancouver where participants of all ages and skill levels learn how to make things from unorthodox materials. She was a featured panelist at the Craft Council of BC talk called ‘Craft, The Environment & Our Community’. She was also the inaugural BC Champion for the fourth annual Culture Days, a national, nonprofit 3-day event promoting culture throughout Canada. Denise is also a Creative Expert for the Salvation Army Thrift Store, sharing thrifting tips and simple upcycling DIYs. 

Home Recycling Zone Makeover

How to make your recycling area cleaner, greener, and more beautiful!

Recycling things right is a lot easier if your home recycling zone is organized and looking fresh. Here are some ideas (and products) to help you turn your recycling corner from dumping pile to decorator drop zone!

List Your Local Recycling Streams

Regional recycling regulations vary, so look online for the latest on curbside pickup streams for your municipality. This will help you decide how many bins you will need and what sort of space you’ll require. Here are a few links to some of the major municipalities:Check out your regional recycling regulations

Choose a Bin System

A set of stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home.

Stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home

Small – For Apartments & Condos: If all you have is the corner of a closet, the Sterilite Weave 3 Drawer Tower is a tidy solution. Combine with a 6L Good Natured Kitchen Compost Collector.

Recycling solutions for small family living

Medium – Perfect for Small Family Living: Sterilite Stacking Drawers are a great modular system that can stack vertically or side by side. Each has a 26L capacity to hold lots of recyclables. Combine with a 7.1L Sureclose Foodscrap Container.

Recycling solutions for Bigger Homes and Extended Families

Large – For Bigger Homes and Extended Families: If you have dedicated recycling space in a mud room or garage, consider a set of 39L Tall Recyclers by Good Natured. (They are even made from 90% plant-based materials and no nasty chemicals!) Line with a plastic bag for easy emptying. For compost and food scraps, up-size with the Good Natured 8L Tall Compost Collector.

Beautiful recycling zone home solutions

Decorator – Recycle with Style: If your recycling zone is part of your living area, create a clean, neutral-tone statement with NeatFreak storage bins in a NeatFreak Stackable Shelf. Even your compost can dress up with a London Drugs brand compost bin in grey bamboo or stainless steel finish.

Have Fun with LabelsCreate custom labels for your recycling bins

Using your local recycling stream list as a guide, create some custom labels that match your bins. Create and print them on sticker stock from your computer, or make it a family art project. Your recycling, your look!

Set up an Area for Special Recycling

There are a lot of things you can recycle beyond what gets picked up at the curb. Your local London Drugs takes batteries, electronics, small appliances, soft plastics, Styrofoam and more. A Good Natured Curbside Recycler Bin makes it easy to grab on your way out the door.

Set up an area for special recycling

Have a Grand Opening!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where. Because now your recycling zone ROCKS!! And that’s the REAL Green Deal!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where

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