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Minimal waste blog: Switch to online!

By Lara Valles

This week is an easy one: stop receiving mail you probably never even wanted in the first place or wasting time printing that ticket you're only going to use Scotiabank Arena (or whatever they decide to call it next year) once!

Advertisements and information 24-7 constantly bombard us; some say we are exposed to 5,000 ads every single day. Take that in for a moment: almost every waking moment you are receiving with information, a lot of it usually quite useless. By taking steps to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you are getting, not only are you helping the environment, but you are also freeing up valuable space for yourself. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3... and then 4!

Step one: Tell'em like it is!

Post a sign on your mailbox that says "No Junk Mail," and you won't get unaddressed advertising mail. If you live in a condo or apartment, you can tape a note at the front and back to make sure the mail courier sees it. 

Step two: If step one is not enough

Remove yourself from advertising mailing lists. Check out this article from Canada Post on how to get yourself removed from marketing mailing lists. If you keep getting unwanted mail from the same organizations, check out their website to get their contact information and send them an email that you want to be removed from their mailing list. If you still want to keep in touch with them, get on their email list instead. 

Step three: Don't print it

For any tickets, download mobile applications or save a digital copy on your phone instead of printing. The year is 2020, almost everyone is on Eventbrite and the vast majority of services accept tickets on your phone or offer online ticked and Apple Wallet integration. Why won't they let you on that grey coach bus to visit your family outside of the GTA, who knows! But for most cases, there are alternatives!

Step four: Keep your online shopping footprint in check

Ask for no plastic, recycled or re-used packaging materials for online orders. Sometimes, if you are ordering multiple items on Amazon or other websites, you can pick between getting your items shipped as they become available or getting it all at once in one shipment. Choosing the second option will severely reduce the carbon footprint of your online shopping. Be strategic and wait to get as much of your shopping into order, it's good for the environment, and it may save you quite a bit of money on shipment. It may be harder to find retailers that offer these options, but they are definitely catching up. 

Do you have other tips for tackling wasteful mail going paperless as much as you can? Share with us on social media with the #RotaractTO and #MinimalWasteToronto or email us at for any ideas or suggestions. 

Lara Valles is the community service director for the Rotaract Club of Toronto. She started her minimal waste journey a year ago and is excited to be a part of this community of people that not only care about the environment but are doing their best to fix it.

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