This week’s blog post focuses around the topic of our latest podcast – Reduce, Reuse Recycle for the planet with Michelle Dias. You can click here to listen to the full episodeWe’ve also kicked off our second Planet Clean-Up Month, where info can be found all about the event by clicking here! Michelle Dias teaches us what the three R’s REALLY should be, with a little bit of a C mixed in there! Michelle works for the Waste & Recycling Services at the City of Calgary. She has been a naturalist and environmental educator for over 20 years, and has always felt curious and inspired by nature. 

Below we’ve shared some tips and information Michelle shared with us on the podcast. Some of the information below will be Calgary, AB specific, so please check the rules for the recycling and composting programs in your municipality.

The Three R's

REDUCE (as much as possible, first)


And if you can’t do either of those, RECYCLE (recycling does require a lot of energy, so put YOUR energy into the first two!).


Try products with less packaging, like laundry detergent strips, or bar shampoo and conditioner

Remove purely recyclable items from your kitchen, such as Ziploc bags, and use reusable jars or bags instead. You can buy reusable sandwich bags and although the invest may seem large to begin with, it is worth it in the end!


Get things second-hand. There are tons of secondhand resources including Facebook Marketplace, MEC Used Gear, Consignment stores and so much more. 

Reuse items like jam jars and other containers! You can use jars as water glasses, and re-use butter or sour cream containers to store leftovers.


The three categories of recycling are: Containers (plastic, tin, glass…think kitchen and bathroom packaging), paper, plastic bags

Loose bags do not belong in the blue cart. Plastic bags should be stretchy material and bundled all in one, so they do not fly away at the facility. Crinkly plastic bags, like pasta bags are not collected

Household items like toy trucks, shoes, and toothbrushes are not for the blue cart (when recycling, think about packaging over items)

Black plastic can be a challenge to recycle in some systems, because of black conveyer belts camouflaging the items and the scanners not recognizing them

Recycling metal, glass, and paper is way more valuable than recycling plastic (although, we should still recycle plastic that can be recycled…or reduce it in the first place!)

Rule of thumb: anything smaller than your hand cannot be recycled. For example, Starbucks lids or to-go sauce containers. However, if recycled at the locations you received them, they usually have a program to recycle!


[In Calgary, specifically] no food packaging and plastic can be composted, even if it says compostable (remember, it also takes a lot of resources to make compostable containers)

Some offices or festivals have their own compostable systems that can handle compostable containers

Food, yard scraps & cat litter can be composted

Paper towel is compostable in most places

All of these tips and practices are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to implementing solutions to help preserve our beautiful Earth. The more people follow these practices, the more of an impact they can make. Thank-you for following along with this week’s blog post & podcast! We hope you love our Earth as much as we do and will work to help us this month by following these practices and cleaning up the outdoors! Sign up for Planet Cleanup here!

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