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Global Goal #12: How KCJ is integrating responsible consumption practices

We all have a role to play in building a better future

Erin Johnston
August 18, 2020

Each month, the UN chooses one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to focus on and this month it’s all about Goal #12: Responsible Consumption and Production. In order to achieve this goal by 2030, we must reduce global food waste, generate less trash by reducing, reusing, and recycling, and encourage corporations to adopt sustainable practices (see the full list of targets here).

Like all of the UN’s Global Goals, achieving Goal #12 is no small feat and depends on buy-in from individuals and corporations around the globe. As intimidating as it may seem, we can find encouragement in the many positive actions already being taken. So how can we join in?

We’ve got to walk the walk

Here at KCJ, we spend a lot of time talking about the Global Goals. Through our #kids2030 initiative, we’ve integrated them into everything we do, from our lesson plans to the way we source some of our materials, like our reusable tote bags or notebooks made from recycled paper. We all know that it’s easy to talk the talk — but to make change, we’ve got to walk the walk. That’s why this month, the KCJ team is tackling our own consumption habits and determining how we can minimize our personal waste. Here’s a look at what we’re doing:

Evaluating our consumption and identifying ways we can improve

Before making any big changes, it’s important to take stock of the kind of waste we’re producing on a daily basis. This way, we can more easily identify what types of waste we’re creating and how to shift our habits to reduce it.

To do this, Bernat, a Curriculum Developer in Montreal, took a photo of all of the waste he produced in one week. The majority was organic and destined to be composted (yay!) but he did end up throwing out a few food containers. “I should reuse and buy in bulk”, he reflected.

Bernat's Weekly Waste

Bernat’s weekly waste, sorted by recycling, garbage, and compost.

Try keeping a list or snapping a photo of the things you throw in the garbage throughout the week. We bet you’ll be able to think of some more sustainable solutions!

Reducing our plastic waste by using alternatives

Many KCJ team members have already adopted certain sustainable habits into their day-to-day lives. There’s so much we can learn from each other, so we’ve been sharing our favourite sustainable swaps.

Kyla, a Community Developer in Newfoundland, keeps sustainability in mind at the grocery store. “I always use reusable bags when shopping. Our KCJ totes are amazing produce bags!”

Kyla's KCJ tote bag with fruits.

KCJ tote bags are a great alternative to plastic bags.

Other team members gave their bathrooms an eco-friendly makeover. “I use organic cotton pads to take my makeup off and a biodegradable toothbrush!”, shared Bry, our Brand Manager in Montreal. Becca, a Community Developer from PEI, gave us all a tip for taking greener showers: “I've been using shampoo and conditioner bars for the past year or so. The bars last so much longer than liquid!”

Shampoo bars.

By using shampoo and conditioner bars, Becca reduces plastic waste generated by bottles.

Turning Education into Action

Knowledge is power. In fact, one of the targets of Global Goal #12 is to ensure that people everywhere understand how to live a sustainable lifestyle. So join us in our mission to learn all that we can! Kids can start by asking questions about the items in their own kitchen or bathroom cupboards:

  • Where did they come from?
  • How many people helped make them?
  • How did these items end up in my home and how many stops did they make along the way?
  • What happens to these items once I’m done with them?

With this in mind, kids can start to think about who is making the decision to use less sustainable items, like unnecessary single-use plastic. Is it their school? Big companies? The government? To ensure a better future for our planet, we need systemic change that is supported by personal actions. What sustainable alternatives could grown ups put in place instead? It’s only by asking these questions and sharing concerns with decision makers that we can influence real change on a large scale.

We can all be part of positive change!

What sustainable practices have you already incorporated into your life? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way? Share your solutions with us on Twitter or Facebook so that we can all keep learning and improving together! Just remember: what might seem like a small action to you is all part of a much bigger, worldwide impact.

Inspired to reduce your plastic use? Stay tuned for our #Kids2030Challenge, coming October 2020. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know when the challenge launches.