This October, let’s love this place, reduce our waste

Big Moves

Whistler is making BIG MOVES for our climate. When we act together, small steps become BIG MOVES

Whistler’s Climate Action BIG MOVES Strategy identifies the six most impactful action areas we need to focus on as a community to reduce emissions and make Whistler a more climate resilient community. We all have a role to play! The RMOW, in partnership with Whistler’s environmental charity AWARE, has created Small Steps for BIG MOVES: 12 months of climate actions we can each take to support Whistler’s six BIG MOVES.

TAKE ACTION! This October, let’s:

Reduce our waste

Reducing our waste is an easy / achievable and affordable action supporting BIG MOVE #6: Close the loop and shift toward lower carbon consumption

Every year in October, communities across Canada celebrate Waste Reduction Week. This year’s 20th anniversary  celebration, October 18 to 24, 2021, is a fun week to learn more about the circular economy, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. It’s a topic so important we’ve dedicated an entire month to it!

Whistler has long been a leader in community efforts to reduce our community waste. While the average British Columbian produces 549 kg per person of garbage in a year (roughly the weight of a horse), Whistler decreased our landfilled waste in 2019 to the equivalent of 325 kg per person, but we still have a long way to go! Whistler’s 2021 Zero Waste Action Plan aims to reduce landfill waste by 80 per cent, from nearly 12,000 tonnes trashed in 2019, to 2,400 tonnes by 2030. That means we still need to dramatically reduce and design out waste. A great approach to waste is to remember that the best way to reduce waste is to avoid creating it in the first place.

Big moves 6

Ready to take action? Let’s try one (or some) of these Small Steps for BIG MOVES:


Reusable items have come a long way and they make it so much easier to say no to single use plastics. Some simple steps include picking up a collapsible coffee cup that fits in your pocket or an insulated mug, keeping your reusable bags handy and personal utensils, like cutlery in a pouch at the ready. Better yet, jump on those opportunities to sit and enjoy rather than taking a meal to go. Once you start making the switch you’ll spot endless opportunities.

Check out these top tips from AWARE on reducing personal plastic waste.


Knowing how to read “best-by,” “sell-by,” “use-by” dates coupled with simple tricks to keep food fresh longer can keep your fridge and pantry full longer. Drying, preserving and freezing are all great ways to ensure you enjoy all the groceries you buy. Food waste is so important we will have a whole month dedicated to this in August

Learn how to keep your food:

  • Check out the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Keep It Fresh Guide
  • Create a ‘use first’ area in your fridge to put items that need using soon in one spot
  • Remember to rotate! So that if you have a few of the same item the newest one gets pulled forward for use first rather than pushed back. 


On average, we only wear 50 per cent of our clothes: the rest sits unused in our closets. Simply wearing our clothes more is the most direct action we can take to capture value and design out waste and pollution in the textiles system. Clothing can often be repaired or reimagined to prolong it’s lifespan. 

Make the most of what you’ve got:

  • Drop ‘fast fashion’ in favour of clothing that lasts and is based on timeless styles
  • Donate to / Buy from the Re-Use-It-Centre (you will also be supporting WCSS programs like the Foodbank)
  • Check out Whistler’s consignment, vintage and ‘previously loved’ clothing stores


Could a new varnish or fresh coat paint bring an item back to life? Can that comfy couch be re-covered? Could that old dresser become a workbench? There are lots of ways to extend the life of furnishings. 

Get creative:

  • Check out the Re-Build-It-Centre for second hand furnishings  
  • Watch for community repair cafe’s and collective garage sales
  • Get tools for your projects at the WCSS Tool Library 


Where waste can’t be avoided, we can make sure it’s disposed of or recycled the right way. Take a couple minutes to refresh your knowledge of Whistler’s waste management systems to ensure you’re putting your waste in the right place. Both the Nesters and Function Junction Waste Depots have attendants you can ask for help with troublesome items. If you can not find disposal labelling or are unsure please put items in the landfill to avoid contamination of compost / recycling. 

Learn more here:

What We Heard ~ Stories Shared

Thank you for sharing your stories! 

Check out these small steps for BIG MOVES that some of our community members have taken: 

  • Kim started a zero waste refillery store in Whistler! Frustrated with a lack of local refill options, Kim took it upon herself to provide a place where people can refill containers for household products like dish soap, cleaners and other items.  Thank you,  Kim, for creating this excellent option to help reduce packaging consumption and associated waste in Whistler!
  • Alison makes conscious efforts to limit the amount of stuff she buys. “Do I really need it? Is it a ‘need’ or a ‘want’? Can I borrow or rent it instead?” These are some of the questions Alison asks herself before making a purchase.  Thank you, Alison, for making conscious choices to help minimize waste!    

We invite you to share your stories about your small steps for BIG MOVES every month. There’s a chance to win some great prizes if you submit a story! Have a look at our November theme: 

Check Out These Waste-Related Quick Facts:

The average British Columbian produces 549 kilograms of garbage in a year, roughly the weight of a horse.

Only 9 per cent of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills and about 29,000 tonnes finds its way into our natural environment.

This adds up to more than $1,100 of food from our homes each year. Uneaten leftovers and spoiled food make up over 25 per cent of the waste discarded from a household.

The resources required to support this consumption make the clothing industry one of the world’s biggest polluters. For example, it takes 2,600 litres of water to make one new t-shirt.

While most of this could be reused or recycled, sadly only 15 per cent of all unwanted clothing is collected while the rest ends up in landfills. To put this into a visual context, globally, one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second.

Even More Waste Reduction resources to explore:

Ted- Ed: The Lifecycle of a t-shirt

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