By Beatrix Maddocks
Hello! My name is Beatrix Maddocks, and I have spent the summer working as an intern with the Green Neighbours Network of Toronto (GNN) and Canada Summer Jobs in collaboration with the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association Waste Reduction Group (SLNA-WRG).
During this internship, I have conducted surveys on single-use plastic items with restaurants and cafes in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. I am very pleased to say that I have had a wonderful experience interacting with numerous owners and managers in the area. It has been amazing to see the number of businesses taking action on the important issue of reducing waste.
The surveys I’ve been conducting involve discussing the use of reusable takeout services as an alternative to single-use takeaway items. While these services are just beginning to expand within restaurants and cafes, I am confident that their popularity will grow in the near future, as many businesses are interested in the potential of introducing them to their customers.
Another aspect of the survey that connects to the SLNA-WRG is asking whether businesses allow their customers to bring their own container. One amazing way that the SLNA-WRG has reduced waste in its community has been through the creation of "bring your own" (BYO) stickers that it offers to restaurants, cafes, and vendors within the St. Lawrence Market and surrounding area. This initiative, called St. Lawrence Reduces, shows how customers can contribute to reducing waste in their community and how businesses can support this initiative and show concern for the environment.
In addition to conducting surveys, I have also been promoting a website called WalkRollMap.org within the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Through this website, accessibility issues, hazards, missing amenities, and incidents can be reported. Some examples of items that might be reported include large sidewalk cracks, which could disrupt travel for people using wheelchairs, unsafe intersections, and areas that could benefit from the addition of benches.
I can only say positive things about my experience working within the St. Lawrence neighbourhood for my summer internship. The willingness of most managers and owners to complete our short survey and discuss this important environmental issue has been incredible. It is clear that a majority of the restaurants and cafes in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood have a strong desire to make change within their industry.
This experience and internship have given me hope that change is upon us, especially in regards to the environment.
This article was edited by Lumida Editing & Proofreading
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This is where you can find more in-depth information on how to reduce waste in our local communities and live more sustainably.
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