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Friday, November 26, 2010 is Buy Nothing Day, a day set aside to shun our consumptive ways. The day was first recognized in Vancouver in 1992 and has since spread throughout the world.

The Friday after the American Thanksgiving was selected for Buy Nothing Day as this day traditionally in the United States signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping rush.

Buy Nothing Day is a time to examine over-consumption and its effects on the environment and our culture. Specifically, over-consumption is linked to excess waste generation, rising greenhouse gas emissions, negative effects on the air, water and soil quality, and other environmental issues.

Here are just a few waste facts to consider:

  • According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, by the age of 6 months, the average Canadian has consumed the same amount of resources as the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime.
  • The average Canadian produces 997 kilograms of waste per year, according to Statistics Canada.
  • Environment Canada estimated that more than 140,000 tonnes of computer equipment, phones, televisions, stereos and small home appliances accumulate in Canadian landfill cites each year.
  • The CUPE National Environment Committee urges members to stop and consider these impacts and refrain from buying anything on Friday November 26. Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, CUPE members are encouraged to celebrate the earth.