April 16, 2019 4:33 pm
Updated: April 17, 2019 5:28 am

London Clean and Green urges community to ‘refuse’ for the environment

Jay Stanford, the head of London's waste management department, announces the start of London Clean and Green.

Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Reducing, reusing and recycling is what London Clean and Green has encouraged Londoners to do for the past 23 years, but this year it’s urging the city to “refuse.”

The 24th annual London Clean and Green launched on Tuesday.

READ MORE: London’s Clean and Green initiative back for 23rd year

Since 1996, London Clean and Green has been advocating to make the city more eco-friendly.

Director of Environmental Programs and Solid Waste with the City of London, Jay Stanford, made the announcement. He told Global News Radio 980 CFPL that Londoners need to refuse to use certain items.

“We realize some things shouldn’t occur in the first place. We have to refuse certain items to make sure they never become litter,” he said.

“Refuse a plastic bag, refuse a bag for your muffin. Refuse a coffee mug when you can use a reusable travel mug.”

Forty community groups and organizations have partnered with the city to promote waste reduction.

Shannon Hawke, a co-facilitator of Zero Waste Forest City (one of the event’s partners) talks about this year’s focus on refusables. “Shifting our habits towards more sustainable alternatives is something we can all do to reduce our waste production.”

Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

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The event runs for 12 days: the first 10 involve community-wide litter prevention, while the final weekend will see Londoners spending 20 minutes picking up garbage at school, work or in their neighbourhood.

“We do fill about two full garbage trucks, or about 20 tonnes of litter,” Stanford said. “That is a lot of material that was once on the ground. People take pride and send their photo of their clean-up. It’s amazing to see parents, families, and friends all in one photograph.

“We need to train everyone that Clean and Green is the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: Meet the people who are rejecting single-use plastics and waste in London

Reimagine Co., a zero-waste demonstration hub and store, joined London Clean and Green this year. Co-founder Heenal Rajani shared that a little can go a long way.

“We aren’t going to fix the world by using reusable straws instead of plastic straws,” Rajani said. “But that can be the start of a conversation, or someone’s first entry point about thinking about waste, is when they see you picking up that straw or see you using that reusable straw.”

Those in the community looking to participate in the 24th London Clean and Green can find more information on the city’s website.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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