Melissa Gorrie co-founded the grassroots organization Waste Free Edmonton in February 2018. This organization was created to address waste in Edmonton, particularly single-use products. Their current campaigns include working with City Council to create a plastic bag bylaw and encouraging local businesses to go straw-free, or straw-on-request. In the future, Waste Free Edmonton would like to establish a youth ambassador program to help push for plastic-free schools and support efforts to reduce waste generated during Edmonton’s festivals.
Recycling, though important, is relied on too heavily when it comes to plastic waste.
"It’s not really recycling, it’s downcycling," Melissa mentioned. "It’s not like one bottle is going to be turned into more plastic bottles; it can only be recycled into something of a lesser product...and that eventually ends up in the landfill."
The energy needed to recycle that product contributes to our city’s greenhouse gas emissions. To avoid this, the waste needs to be tackled at the source. Consumers and businesses need to put effort in to reducing their use of plastics and single use products.
"A lot of the onus is on the consumer at this point because the system is set up as such to push the single-use plastic on you," warned Melissa.