Calling all businesses and residents in the Okanagan!

Take the Great Okanagan Waste Reduction Challenge to measure and reduce your waste during the fall of 2023.

On behalf of GOWRC partners and GreenStep…

‘We acknowledge our presence on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded tm̓xʷúlaʔxʷ (land) of the syilx / Okanagan people who have resided here since time immemorial. We recognize, honour, and respect the syilx / Okanagan lands upon which we live, work, and play.’

What is this all about?

It’s simple: we want the Okanagan Valley, from Osoyoos to Vernon, to significantly and measurably reduce the amount of waste we generate!

Why is this happening?

Did you know that when we add it all up, the Okanagan Valley generates approximately 590 kg of waste per person, per year? This is 91 kg more the BC average! We want to change this.

The waste we generate ends up in our landfills, which in turn produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to climate change. Landfills also have a limited capacity. We want to make our existing landfills last as long as possible, so we don’t need to use up more land to dump our waste!

The goal of this program is to inform and guide residents, businesses, schools and other organizations on their  waste reduction journey: helping you to understand and measure how much waste you are currently generating, and then challenge you to reduce your baseline waste-line.

Where is this happening?

Throughout the entire Okanagan Valley, South to North, from Osoyoos to Vernon.

Who is eligible?

Everyone in the Okanagan! 

  1. Residents in single-family and multi-family homes, including townhouses, condos and apartments
  2. Businesses, institutions, and other commercial entities
  3. Elementary and high schools
  4. Government offices and facilities 
When is this happening?

The waste reduction challenge will run from September 25, 2023 through November 17, 2023. The results will be announced on December 15, 2023.

How Do I Take the Challenge?

Click the Take the Challenge button to register. You will be asked if you are taking the challenge from home or if you represent a business/school/government, or other commercial waste customer. Please select the appropriate option, and enter your contact information so that we can share tips and further guidance for the duration of the challenge.

To ensure a fresh start, empty all of your garbage and recycling bins on your regular garbage and recycling collection day. If you have depot bins for items like refundables, glass, etc., take these to the depot so that all of your bins are empty. Then, proceed to collect your waste as you normally would for one week.

*For commercial waste, if your waste collection is more frequent than weekly, use a shorter timeframe that reflects your pick-up frequency, ideally at least two days of waste.

On the morning of your next scheduled waste collection day (please find detailed guidance here) measure how much waste you have produced.

  1. First estimate how full each garbage and recycling bin/bag is, e.g. 25%, 50%, etc. 
  2. Next, determine what size your bins or bags are. Usually, the volume will be written on the package that your bags come in, or on the side or bottom of the bin, e.g. 60 litres (L). 
  3. Finally, multiply the size of the bin/bag by how full it is. For example, if a 60 L bin or bag was half (50%) full, you would multiply 60 L x 0.50 = 30 L, so there is a total volume of 30 L of waste. 

Once you have collected this information, enter and submit your baseline waste-line data using the online form by October 20, 2023. You will then have until November 17, 2023 to reduce your waste and submit your final results.

Now for the fun part! It’s time to learn about how to reduce your waste, and share your progress along the way. See the Reduce Your Waste page for further guidance. 

As you progress, it’s a good practice to visually inspect your waste each time you take out your waste and recycling, to see if there is anything that does not belong, and then place it in the appropriate bin. If you can, please share pictures of your journey on social media platforms including Instagram and/or Twitter along with the hashtag #GOWRCChallenge

Before the challenge deadline on DATE, repeat the visual waste audit using the method outlined in step 3 and 4, and submit your results, including any pictures of your journey. From here, you’ll be able to see if you’ve managed to reduce your waste and improve your waste diversion practices!

At the end of the challenge, all submissions will be evaluated, and winners from each category will be selected to win prize packages. We will also conduct random draws from all participants that have submitted their results, and give away additional prizes.

GOWRC is live!

Welcome to the Great Okanagan Waste Reduction Challenge. We are officially open! 

Get ready to measure and reduce your waste. We have a lot of resources available to assist and guide you through the program. 

Also, please watch out for an email to register for a webinar that will provide you with further guidance on the program and what needs to be done.

Happy sorting!

Frequently Asked Questions

The challenge is open to all residents, living in single family homes and  multifamily homes (condos, town houses, apartments). Schools, non-profit organisations and government offices are also eligible for signup. If you don’t fall in any of these categories, please contact us and we will assist you.

Yes! We have partnered with our sponsors to award exciting prizes to winners in each category. Additionally, there is also going to be a draw in each of the categories and even more prizes will be awarded.

We will review the results you shared, along with all of the pictures you submitted and posted on our social media channels. We strongly encourage you to retain all notes and pictures that you took along your journey for evidence.