Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Recycling and Waste

Recycling Tips For Seniors

Today's seniors grew up in an era when most everything was reused or repaired and very little was thrown out. We have since changed to a throw-away society. How we get back to "the good old days" may be difficult or unfamiliar to some. This fact sheet will give you some tips to help you practice the three Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle, for the sake of the environment and future generations.

Reduce First

Not creating garbage in the first place is the best way to deal with it. Consider these tips:

  • Avoid over packaged products. Packaging accounts for one third of all our garbage. Not all of it is necessary.
  • Buy durable products that are long lasting. It's no bargain to buy a cheap product only to have to replace it, and create garbage, after a short time.
  • Look for products and appliances that are easy to repair. Often an appliance can be repaired to avoid throwing it away.
  • Avoid disposables. Switch to reusable products at home. That cuts down on the amount of garbage created.


means giving a product or package a second chance instead of throwing it out after just one use.

  • Reuse your plastic shopping bags when you go shopping or better yet, use cloth shopping bags, which can be used over and over.
  • Send old furniture and clothing to charities or second hand shops. They're also great places to shop for bargains.
  • Repair appliances and equipment, rather than replace, where possible.


  • Contact your municipal office to find out what recycling opportunities are available in your area. If there is a recycling program, prepare your recyclables according the instructions.
  • If you do not yet have a recycling program for your building, contact the superintendent to discuss how one can be set up. (see the fact sheet "Recycling and Waste Reduction in Apartment Buildings", in this series, for details about how to set up a recycling program.)

Deposit-Refund System

All beverage containers (except milk products) now carry a 10 cent deposit. You can get a 5 cent refund back if you bring the container back to your nearest Enviro-Depot. You can also bring newspapers, corrugated cardboard and milk cartons to the Depot for recycling. If you can't get to an Enviro-Depot, there are still options available.

  • Participate in your community's recycling program, if possible. If you put a beverage container in a blue bag or blue box, it will be recycled, although you won't collect your refund. The municipality however recovers the refund and that helps pay for the collection program.
  • Donate your containers to charities operating bottle drives. A senior's group or residents association may want to collect beverage containers to raise revenue for their activities. Giving them your containers helps support community groups.
  • Combine your refundable containers with a neighbour or friend to bring them back to the Depot. Cooperation among neighbours accomplishes two things. It gets material recycled and it gets people together.
  • If someone is bringing in your groceries or helping around the house, they may also make arrangements to return the containers for you.
  • The deposit does not apply to powdered and concentrated juices or to milk products. Also, if you switch from single serving sizes to larger containers, the result is not only lower overall deposits but cheaper per serving costs.

Changes For The Better

Some of the changes we have to make may be unfamiliar at first. But soon we will become used to thinking about reducing, reusing and recycling. That way we can help protect the environment, for ourselves and future generations.

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