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To become a Ocean Wise Plastic Challenge champion, complete the household plastic audit by sorting through your garbage and recycling TWICE or more! At first, you’ll learn what plastic waste your household disposes of most often and then you’ll make a plan to reduce that waste. Re-audit your waste months later to discover if you were successful in reducing your waste! 

To do the audit, you will need to collect 1 weeks’ worth of garbage and recycling. Then, you will look through it to find all the plastic you dispose in a week. It will take you about 30 minutes to do and contributes valuable information to the plastic database and your plastic free journey.  

What you need:

  • About 30-minutes
  • Your household garbage and recycling (We recommend one week’s worth of your household garbage, just record how many days of garbage you’ve gone through.)
  • A space to go through your garbage
  • Gloves and/or tongs (reusable of course) to handle your waste safely
  • Cleaning equipment for when it is time to clean up (e.g. household cleaner, dustpan, cloth/rags)
  • Access to the internet to share your data

Measure your impact and find out how much plastic you are using by taking the household plastic waste audit. Record what type and how much plastic is in your trash and share your results with us using the form below.

Plastic Household Audit

We don’t need one person living a zero-impact life. We need everyone doing their best to lower their impact, together!

Our throw-away culture

Did you know over 348 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually? 

Most people will find plastic, bound for the trash can or recycling bin, in every room in their home. But plastic is not just present in our houses, you will also find it polluting our oceans! It is estimated that 40% of plastic produced is for packaging and singe use items and more than 11 million metric tons of plastic litter enters the ocean annually. Without action this number is expected to triple by 2040! 

The plastic pollution problem

Plastic remains in the ocean for an indefinite amount of time where it causes harm to marine life through entanglement, ingestion, and habitat destruction. 

Plastic pollution in the ocean is also affecting its capacity to mitigate climate change, impairing ocean organisms’ ability to remove carbon from our atmosphere.

Recycling alone is not enough

Here’s a dirty secret: only 9% of plastic products sold in 2016 in Canada actually got recycled. 

Why? Plastic items are designed for a lot of different properties, but recyclability is not one of them. Plastics are often made of different polymers and additives, making it almost impossible to properly sort the items. Some plastics are suitable for recycling, while others are not. If we can effectively sort out all the plastics that are recyclable, there needs to be a market for all recycled pellets, and it needs to be cheaper than virgin plastic. If all those things align, transportation of that recycled material needs to be viable and reasonable. Those are a lot of steps for an item that is used for a few minutes.  

Tip: recycling is the process of turning waste materials into new materials. When we recycle at home we are separating and sorting. This is the first step in the recycling process.

The Ocean Wise Plastic Reduction Program is made possible with additional support from

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