More trash heading to the landfill as plastic use increases during the pandemic
KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 pandemic has meant more hand washing, more sanitizing and more trash finding its way into the landfill.
Single-use and disposable items are more popular due to COVID-19.
Fenigo, an eco-friendly store in Waterloo, has seen business plummet this year.
Owner Jana Campbell said the zero-waste lifestyle store and distributor has seen a 90 per cent drop in sales. Fewer people are coming in to buy reusable bags, bottles and cups.
"So many stores are now saying, don't bring your own bag, so we're going back," Campbell said. "It took so many years to get to this point where reusable bags became normal and now we're going back and people say don't bring your bag."
Waterloo Region says the pandemic has meant an increase in garbage, green bin and recycling.
"We did see a considerable spike in March and April, probably about a 20 per cent increase in some of the services we offer," the region's waste coordinator Kathleen Barsoum said. "That can be substantial."
The region says the biggest increase is in single-use plastics.
"In recycling, we weigh by tonnage," Barsoum said. "But when you think of the weight of each item, an increase of one tonne is an increase in an awful lot of items."
Residents in Waterloo Region are reminded to properly sort and recycle plastic, since it can have an environmental impact if it ends up in the landfill.
Campbell said she's disappointed to see more single-use plastic. She's encouraging people to come up with creative, eco-friendly alternatives.
"Maybe we have to create more waste, but we should be conscience of what we are doing every day," she said.
The region says garbage production is slowing down, but is still higher than the levels before the pandemic began.