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Waste showdown lowdown – Week 1

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First-round recap: Second fridge an early favourite

BC Hydro Power Smart's quest to discover what British Columbians consider the No. 1 most ridiculous waste continues this week. Voting started last Tuesday with the initial 32 wasteful acts being voted on, and we're now down to a final 16.

Here are the 16 first-round winners and who they face in round two. Vote today.

  • TV left on for pets vs. game console left on
  • Phone upgraded every year vs. desktop computer
  • Long, hot shower vs. drafty doors and windows
  • Second fridge vs. heat left on overnight
  • Solo commutes to the office vs. non-rechargeable batteries
  • Bottled water vs. using the drive-through
  • Plastic grocery bags vs. paper coffee cups and sleeves
  • Disposable mops and cleaning cloths vs. recyclables put in garbage

So far, British Columbians are clearly united on some strong views on certain wasteful acts and products. Other first-round match-ups were much closer.

Here’s a look at what we’ve seen so far from the voting, by category:

Screen Time

Many of us love our pets, but it’s clear the majority feel leaving the TV on for the dog or cat when you’re gone for the day is wasteful – at least when compared to watching a fireplace on your TV screen. Perhaps waste in the context of a cozy holiday gathering is more acceptable than Fido watching Judge Judy reruns at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon? We’ll see how British Columbians feel this week when our TV watching pets are put up against a left-on game console.

We love our screen time, and sometimes the allure of having the latest and greatest technology can get in the way of our efforts to be ‘green’. Voters were divided on whether having a TV in every room or upgrading your phone every year is more wasteful. We’ll see what happens this week when annual phone upgrades go up against the desktop computer.

Heat, water, and light

Voters also had a hard time deciding whether a long, hot shower or leaving the lights on when you leave the room is more wasteful. In the end, the shower took the heat by a narrow 52%. Opinions were more on par when it came to washing clothes in hot water or having drafty doors and windows, with drafty doors and windows winning out as the more wasteful offender.

The battle between having a second fridge in your basement or garage versus incandescent lighting was no contest. The second fridge moves on to the next round with 78% of voters agreeing that it’s more wasteful – the highest percentage of votes in all categories.

We'll see what happens this week when drafty windows are put up against a long, hot shower and that second fridge competes with leaving the heat on overnight.

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Disposable truths

Ah the price of convenience. Single-use grocery bags, disposable cleaning cloths, putting recyclables in the garbage, and paper coffee cups all won out in their respective categories.

When up against paper bills, single-use grocery bags had the second highest percentage of votes in all of the categories (77%). This opinion aligns with the push in recent years for using reusable cloth bags when shopping. This week, we'll see how those plastic bags do when up against paper coffee cups, which narrowly won over letting food spoil.

Easy way out

Perhaps, most surprisingly, voters felt that driving around to try and get your baby to sleep wasn’t nearly as wasteful as a solo commute to the office – although it’s likely the majority of us do the latter. Wasting water is another hot topic, but when it came to bottled water vs. a sprinkler watering the sidewalk, bottled water was seen as the bigger waste. This week, we have solo commutes against non-rechargeable batteries and bottled water vs. using the drive-through.

Have your say – get voting!