roncy reduces toronto

Toronto neighbourhood is cutting down on plastic in a big way

It's no secret that plastic waste is doing a number on our planet and the many creatures we share it with, but a single human being can't save the world from six decades worth of pollution — not on their own, anyway.

Like the many individual business owners who inspired corporations to adopt straw bans, a growing number of community groups are coming together in the hopes of changing how everyone uses and treats single-use plastics.

One of those groups can be found in Toronto's Roncesvalles Village.

"Our goal is to reduce single-use plastics and packaging in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood by encouraging both consumers and businesses to practice waste reduction together," writes Alison Jessamine of Roncy Reduces by email.

"Plastic garbage can be found everywhere, including as microscopic pieces in our food and water," she continues. "The good news is, much of the plastic we use can be avoided."

Roncy Reduces aims to help locals minimize their use of plastics in several ways: First, they encourage the purchase of reusable coffee cups, water bottles, food containers and string or cloth bags for groceries.

They're also making it easier for consumers to figure out where they can take their reusable vessels.

"Participating neighbourhood businesses display our 'Roncy Reduces' sticker at the door, letting you know that they accept your reusable containers whenever possible," explains Jessamine.

"Some stores display the sticker simply because they sell reusable containers."

Over 40 businesses in Roncesvalles now have Roncy Reduces stickers on their doors, according to campaign organizers.

Many of them even give discounts to customers who bring in their own reusables. Welcome Pharmacy, for instance, rewards customers with 25 cents off if they bring their own shopping bags in, while Extra Butter Coffee slashes its price per pound of coffee beans to just $1 for those who bring their own containers.

Jessamine says that nine other community groups are currently looking to replicate what Roncy Reduces is doing in other neighbourhoods.

Those who are interested in learning more can hit up a "public evening on waste reduction" and film screening at the Revue Cinema on June 5.

"Feeling overwhelmed by the news about plastic waste in our world? Need some positive input?" reads a listing for the event "Find out how easy it has become to ditch packaging because so many shops and restaurants in Roncesvalles have joined Roncy Reduces."

Lead photo by

Jason Pham


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