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  • Marie Mullen

Canada Celebrates Circular Economy Month

Canada celebrated Circular Economy Month last October 2023 by running their first-ever public awareness campaign of its kind dedicated to educating and empowering Canadians to support an economy that protects the planet and prioritises their people. The Circular Innovation Council is the leading voice of this campaign. This council is dedicated to engaging Canadians across the nation to better understand the issues of waste and the opportunities provided by a circular economy. 

Each week had a different theme from circular economy principles to environmental benefits and waste reduction as well as social and economic benefits. Throughout the week individuals, businesses, governments, and schools were provided with resources on each theme which included literature and fact sheets about circularity as well as actions each group can take to accelerate the circular economy transition. For example, in Week 1 Introducing the Circular Economy, businesses were called upon to improve resource efficiency and create closed-loop systems, and schools were asked to reduce waste and teach circular economy principles in their curriculum. 

This campaign was successful at providing awareness as seen in the many social media posts. A wide variety of governmental agencies, businesses, cities, and citizens became involved. Businesses like Telus promoted the collection of pre-loved devices to give them a second life and the Toronto Zoo set goals for net zero waste to landfill by 2027 and net zero water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Cities across the nation lit up landmarks, like the City Hall in Airdrie, in blue and green to promote Waste Reduction Week and remind citizens to be aware of their actions. Other events and initiatives included swap events, art installations, repair cafes, and community cleanups. 

The Circular Economy Month celebration has inspired action. A new pilot program launched in conjunction with Circular Economy Month is tackling the issue of single-use plastic waste. Grocery retailers, including Metro, Sobeys, and Walmart Canada, are implementing a reusable food container program. Customers can buy food in reusable containers at participating stores and return the containers through options like neighbourhood drop-off locations. With the help of technology, containers can be tracked through their movements to ensure proper washing and distribution efforts. This program is set to launch in Ottawa in mid-2024. 

Canada is taking strides to implement circular economy systems. This month-long event can be an inspiration for other nations to make the transition as well. If the campaign were able to spread to other places and be celebrated across the world, the transition to a global circular economy would be accelerated. 


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