By Julia Hernández Malagón
This year's celebration is a great opportunity for you to do your part to reduce the environmental impact of your participation.
Want to contribute to a greener city and festival? Keep reading!
1. Choose a sustainable costume
Trying to think of what your this year’s costume will look like? Try upcycling!
Chances are that you have old shoes, masks, or T-shirts that you have been stockpiling. Well, this is the time to use them! Maybe you could use that old dress in the corner of your wardrobe to make a fun and creative costume.
Try to find better uses for your old clothes and accessories and get innovative by using recycled materials—such as newspapers, cardboard, and packaging—to complement your costumes.
Involve your kids and encourage them to participate in making their own costumes. They’ll be blown away by all the creative ideas, and it’ll be good for them to learn how to make things for themselves.
You can find some fun ideas on Pinterest here.
If you don’t have the time to create your costume from scratch, you can always borrow it from a friend, swap for it, or rent it.
If you do end up buying your costume new, try to use it for as long as you can or donate it at the end of its shelf-life.
2. Try to avoid glitter
Glitter can be a big part of the celebration of the Caribbean Carnival. However, due to its composition of aluminum and plastic, it’s very detrimental to the environment (Yurtsever, 2019). Because we’re just using it for fun, is it really worth the environmental consequences?
This year, consider using alternatives to complement your costume!
Some neat options include:
3. Use public transit, walk, or bike to the event if you can
Not only will this help you to avoid traffic and maybe even get to the event faster, but by using public transport, cycling, or going on foot, you will also contribute to reducing the environmental impact of your celebrations.
Travel usually constitutes a great amount of the emissions from events. Each year, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival attracts millions of visitors and is considered the largest cultural celebration in all of North America.
If each of us does our part, we can make a meaningful difference.
4. Minimize your waste
Among the most unsustainable aspects of the Caribbean Carnival is the ensuing waste, including plastic cups, throwaway plates and utensils, and food scraps.
To avoid having to use plastic cups, bring a reusable cup, which you can also decorate to match your costume. You can also bring your own reusable utensils to avoid the use of plastic ones, and politely decline drinks with plastic straws.
And when you’re done with the party, just make sure that you put each kind of waste in the proper disposal receptacle. If you’re not sure whether something should go in the recycling bin, organics bin, or garbage bin, you can reference your city’s or waste collector’s resources for more information.
For example, did you know that the City of Toronto has a handy tool called the Waste Wizard? This searchable feature helps you figure out exactly where each item should go!
5. Finally, spread the word
Encourage your friends and family members to reduce their environmental impact with these simple tips.
We can implement the principles of the circular economy both in our daily lives and during special events such as the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Not only will doing so be beneficial for you in many ways (such as by helping you save money, get creative, and have fun while also getting rid of old stuff) but you’ll also contribute to a more sustainable world.
Happy Caribbean Carnival!
Yurtsever, M. (2019). “Tiny, shiny, and colorful microplastics: Are regular glitters a significant source of microplastics?, Marine Pollution Bulletin; Perosa M, et al. (2021) “Taking the sparkle off the sparkling time, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2021.
This post was edited by Lumida Editing & Proofreading.
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