Challenge 5 - Choose to Re-use

Choose to Re-Use!

It's the small things that add up. One coffee cup or one bottle of water doesn't seem like much. Now, think about how full a garbage can would be with 250 single use coffee cups, one for every work day in the year?

Now imagine if just 10% of Torontonians (250,000 people) used throw-away cups and water bottles: it would be a nightmare of unnecessary waste!

But if you choose reusables, like a refillable water bottle, or a travel mug, you can help eliminate this nightmare. You save money and you help the environment (bottled water costs so much more than tap water, and Toronto's tap water is some of the cleanest in the world).


  • Get a refillable water bottle and reusable travel mug and commit to carrying them with you. Or, if you're having a coffee or tea at a cafe, ask them to put it in a reusable mug instead of a disposable cup.

  • Snap a photo of yourself using your refillable water bottle or mug and share it with us below.

Take the extra step:
If you already carry a mug and water bottle, choose a reusable to replace another disposable product in your life - for example using lunch containers instead of disposable bags, or carrying reusable cutlery to use when you get take-out food. Tell us about it and share a photo.

Did you take this challenge?

  • Arlynn MacDermott
    Took Challenge 2014-07-09 18:59:32 -0400
  • Stephanie Savoie
    Took Challenge 2014-07-08 21:42:08 -0400
    I have recently bought a Klean Kanteen 12 Oz insulated bottle and I use it for any and every type of beverage I might want to have during the day. I love it!
  • Denise Robichaud
    Took Challenge 2014-07-07 08:46:55 -0400
    I use lunch containers & a thermos. Trying to get always from plastic usage so using glass.
  • catherine sutherland
    Took Challenge 2014-07-06 09:11:17 -0400
    OK, I still don’t have a camera.

    I could improve from challenge 4 and definitely use a reusable mug/cup and carry it with me. I already usually take a reusable water bottle, but sometimes forget. I can put it in a more visible place so I remember it all the time.

    Catherine S.
  • Maliha Tariq
    Took Challenge 2014-07-03 13:22:50 -0400
    I used to use the throw away plastic water bottles, until I realized how much waste these bottles contribute to! Now I carry a silver re-usable bottle which is multi-purpose-can be used for water, coffee, tea etc!
  • Heather Marshall
    Took Challenge 2014-07-02 14:58:53 -0400
    On hot days like today, I’m thirsting for an iced coffee! Good thing I remembered to bring a reusable cup with me! We have spare ‘to go’ cups at our office so staff don’t have to remember to bring them from home all the time!
  • Ria Bilous
    Took Challenge 2014-07-01 13:43:21 -0400
    I got this water bottle at the exhibition last year and it is awesome. It keeps ice cold for several hours!
  • Diane Devenyi
    Took Challenge 2014-06-24 22:05:30 -0400
    I already use reusable cups, bags, take out containers and cutlery so I decided to bring a reusable pouch to the bank rather than use one of their envelopes when I needed to get cash. The teller was really surprised!
  • Deborah Livingston-Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-06-21 09:52:27 -0400
    I always bring a re-usable coffee mug and a re-usable bag for shopping. I think that a bag refund should be implemented for those that bring their own shopping bags.
  • David Livingston-Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-06-20 10:58:18 -0400
    We usually make our own coffee at home to go, but if we are out for coffee, we take our own mugs with us. No one should buy bottled water. Most of our home printing, and much of my at-work printing is done on the back side of previously printed waste paper.
  • Mark Kinoshita
    Took Challenge 2014-06-19 20:42:33 -0400
    We use reusable sandwhich wraps instead of plastics wrap or bags as well.
  • Marny Gibson
    Took Challenge 2014-06-04 12:24:36 -0400
    The water bottle is a constant in my life, and I do have a reusable coffee mug, but I don’t take it everywhere. That is what I’ll change, though I’m not sure how the coffee shop I go to will react – how do they judge the size of the latte when it’s not in one of their own cups?
  • Celia Zhang
    Took Challenge via 2014-06-02 12:25:26 -0400
  • John Cowan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-28 07:21:12 -0400
    I don’t buy drinks to go. Drink at home.
  • Amanda Johnson
    Took Challenge 2014-05-26 14:06:13 -0400
    I save my yogurt containers to use as tupperware, they last a good long time.
  • Amanda Johnson
    Took Challenge 2014-05-26 14:06:10 -0400
    I save my yogurt containers to use as tupperware, they last a good long time.
  • David Simmons
    Took Challenge 2014-05-26 00:28:25 -0400
    I bring cloth bags for my shopping instead of getting plastic ones and use a reusable water bottle when I go to the gym or cycling.
  • Dawn Lyons
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 19:08:36 -0400
    Hmm, again. I rarely get take-out coffee/tea, and do carry a water bottle with me. However, I could add a pair of chopsticks to my backpack (done!) and some cloth serviettes (also done!) . At home we use washable cloth tissues for noses and TC’s (like Toilet Paper, only Cloths — see photo — which are old flannelette bedsheets, some ours, others from yard sales) instead of disposable paper products. Next step would be change over to cloth instead of paper towel for most purposes That will take some doing, but we start on it now.

    Perhaps a campaign to get our local coffee shops to provide and/or fill reusable mugs? I must admit, I am pretty tired of cleaning up used TH, etc. paper coffee cups (which are not recyclable per the Waste Wizard http://app.toronto.ca/wes/winfo/search.do"><a href=“”http://app.toronto.ca/wes/winfo/search.do">http://app.toronto.ca/wes/winfo/search.do">http://app.toronto.ca/wes/winfo/search.do"> ) from my shrubbery!

    OK, this will take some organization and negotiation, but I will go there and report back.
    Ding!!! Got it! Next birthday, anniversary, Father’s Day, any occasion at all, they get a reusable mug! Meantime, I will seek to reduce my paper towel usage. Oooooh, it will be hard, I love my paper towels! But I love the earth more, all said and done.
  • Barbara Hickling
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 17:57:10 -0400
    The whole family has re-usable water bottles and various clips and straps so they are fully portable. In the summer we put a few ice cubes in to help keep it cold longer.

    If you’re concerned about your kitchen cutlery going a.w.o.l. in kid’s lunches, you can buy inexpensive yet still durable and reusable cutlery at places like Ikea or on Spadina.

    We’ve written ‘no utensils’ across the top of our favourite take-out food menus to remind us to ask for no utensils when we order.
  • Andrew J Holownych
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 15:35:32 -0400
    i reuse so much already – coffee mug, water bottle, lunch container, those big plastic salad containers, glass jars, kitchen cloths, shopping bags (even those smaller mesh bags for produce). what else can i reuse??? i’ll find out and reuse it!
  • Shawn Vanderheyden
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 06:08:46 -0400
    i like that you picked up on ‘carrying reusable cutlery to use when you get take-out food and that others have done this too.’

    amazing how hard it is to convince restaurants to put left-over / take-out food in a reusable container that we bring … but we continue to do so.
  • Emily Green
    Took Challenge via 2014-05-20 10:19:53 -0400
    I stopped buying tissue boxes and paper towel awhile ago. I’ve now been using handkerchiefs and reusable napkins and cloths. I always use a reusable bag. It’s been a very long time since I’ve said yes to a plastic bag at a store. I actually feel weird now if I ever have to carry a plastic bag, because I’m just not used to it anymore. I now have a compact reusable bag that I keep in my purse so I don’t ever have to worry about forgetting my bag.
  • Farah Motani
    Took Challenge 2014-05-18 21:04:22 -0400
    I always carry around my reusable water bottle with me to the gym, school, work, everywhere! From my experiences, coffee and tea places will let you use your own bottle/mug and some even give discounts!
  • Mieke Foster
    Took Challenge 2014-05-16 12:10:59 -0400
    I’ve been doing all of the above for so many years that it is second nature and to do otherwise goes totally against the grain. I have yet to take reusable serviceware into a restaurant that uses disposables but if an establishment has disposables I will take them home with me to manage properly at home or elsewhere. For example, if I have a container similar to a Tim Horton’s cup, I will place it in a Tim Horton’s recycle bin.
  • Patricia McPhail
    Took Challenge 2014-05-15 07:39:14 -0400
    It is very rare for us to use disposable cups and we never buy water in plastic bottles.
  • Katherine-Anne Skinner
    Took Challenge 2014-05-13 12:57:56 -0400
    I am hardly ever without my coffee mug and if by chance I forget it, I won’t allow myself the coffee or tea I want unless I have the time to sit in the store and get a china one. Makes me remember it next time, especially because my beverage stays hotter, the way I like it, because of my travel mug! Now I’m into the water season and have my refillable bottle ready for use.
  • Marilyn McKim
    Took Challenge 2014-05-12 21:24:27 -0400
    When I order sushi from the restaurant downstairs, I amuse them by bringing the same plastic bag and napkins and chopsticks they gave me the first time I ordered food from them. I use permanent chopsticks and no napkins if I can help it. I never buy bottled water, using a stainless steel container instead on trips of more than 2 hours.
  • Terrie Tucker
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:51:04 -0400
  • Judy Newman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:11:27 -0400
    Yes. Cloth napkins are another reusable item for packed lunches. If you don’t have any, you can pick them up at Goodwill or Value Village for next to nothing.
  • Paul Roppolo
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 23:37:21 -0400