Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Packaging included? No. Why not?

It's one of those good news/bad news stories...

The good news is that the Liberal government inherited a good recycling policy ~Extended Producer Responsibility ~ and made it better.

BC became a world leader in the 1990s for introducing a series of landmark recycling laws. The new laws relieved the poor hapless local governments who have been picking up after the Throw-Away Society at taxpayer expense and put responsiblity right where it belongs, on the producers of the stuff that becomes waste.

This gives the producers an incentive to reduce their waste.

When the Liberal government took power in the early 2000s, they developed a "framework" recycling regulation to replace the collection of stand-alone regulations that had been brought in by earlier governments.

It is a good piece of legislation. It sends a clear signal to all producers of throw-away products that they will be responsible for providing recycling programs for their products. And then it allows the government to move methodically, updating the legislation by adding one product category at a time. The producers have time to organize the programs.

This month the government did just that. It added more categories of electronics products to the regulation, giving the producers 18 months to get programs in place to take back small appliances, toys, radios, cameras and a whole long list of consumer electronic products that were not included in the regulation before. The new products are spelled out in a "schedule" in the regulation.

But the bad news is that the Liberal government did not include electronics packaging in the regulation, despite the fact that the Recycling Council of BC and others have sent letters urging them to do so.

This means that all the styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic and cardboard that come in the new equipment you buy to replace the old one has no where to go.

The Liberal government failed to do what NDP Environment Minister Moe Sihota did in 1994, when his government oversaw the roll-out of a new regulation that required paint companies to take back old paint.

The paint companies tried to avoid taking back paint cans and pails, claiming that it wasn't their responsibility. Sihota simply amended the regulation so that it covered the paint packaging as well as the leftover paint. Today, the paint industry recycles tonnes of cans and pails as well as old paint. They don't like it much, but maybe that will prompt them to come up with containers that are refillable? easier to recycle?
Write to the Premier ( and ask:
Why wasn't packaging for electronics products included in the amended Recycling Regulation?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who is measuring incinerator toxics in agricultural land? Nobody!

When the GVRD (now Metro Vancouver) fired up its new incinerator in Burnaby in 1988, there was a requirement to test the soil and vegetation for heavy metals and other harmful substances produced by incinerators for three years following the facility's start-up.

A report was produced in 1990 that found lead, mercury, cadmium and other harmful substances in various crops in the six agricultural sites in Richmond, Delta and Burnaby that they tested.

The report recommended that "a routine soil and vegetation monitoring schedule be established."

But ongoing monitoring of soil and vegetation is not being carried out.

Instead, the Ministry of Environment requires only "source" and "ambient" monitoring, which includes smoke stack monitoring and an ambient monitoring station on the roof of the Burnaby South High School.

The rationale for not monitoring levels of toxic substances in soil and vegetation is that "it is not scientifically possible to determine the source of any contaminants found in the soils and to link soil sampling results directly to emissions from the incinerator."
If you don't measure it, it doesn't exist.

Pic: Burnaby incinerator, August 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Get recycling off the curb

We are used to thinking of recycling as an extension of our garbage service.

And indeed it is. Garbage and recycling co-exist side by side on the curb, two parts of an "integrated" waste management system.

Because it's part of the garbage system, recycling has been falling more and more into the service mix of the garbage industry who contract with our local governments. They are doing their best to make it look more and more like garbage.

They cater to the laziness that made us become the Throw-Away Society in the first place. No more simple sorting to separate the nice clean paper from the sticky yogurt cups. People want convenience.... but it comes at a cost.

If we want to do recycling right we have to liberate it from the garbage system. Local governments can build the tax base by supporting local recycling shops where materials are kept clean and source-separated, instead of competing against them by providing dumbed-down recycling.
Only by doing it right will we get a sustainable recycling economy.
Pic: What a waste.... Gibsons BC

Friday, November 21, 2008

No more closed doors

On November 13 I received an email from the province inviting Zero Waste Vancouver to participate in a new Working Group On Waste.

On November 18 I received the Terms of Reference for the Working Group.

I immediately sent an email to the province outlining concerns about the group's Terms of Reference.
On November 20, I spoke by phone with the province outlining my concerns.

I said I was concerned about the focus of the group. The "key question" set to the group was: "How can BC better utilize the carbon and energy that is currently going to waste." I said the focus should be on how we can prevent carbon and energy from going to waste, rather than finding opportunistic ways to exploit waste as if it were a "renewable" resource.

I said I was concerned about the make-up of the group. Why was the Canadian Energy from Waste Coalition at the table, but not the Georgia Strait Alliance?

But most of all, I said, I was concerned about the "confidentiality" clause in the Terms of Reference.
Does this mean, I asked, that Zero Waste Vancouver could not speak publicly about any concerns we had about whether the Working Group was asking the right questions?

And I was told that, yes, that's what it means. "We wouldn't want you saying those sorts of things publicly."

I explained that unlike the other "stakeholders" on the group, Zero Waste's stake is public awareness and engagement in public policy on waste. Our core purpose is to engage the public in a conversation about what sort of policies we want to have in place to solve our waste problem.

Three hours later I received a phone call from the province advising me that the government was withdrawing the invitation to Zero Waste Vancouver to sit on the Working Group.

I later confirmed that the government also withdrew its invitation to the Sierra Club to sit on the Working Group.

Now we have a Working Group on Waste made up of the waste-to-energy industry and its customers (our regional districts), along with several businesses who are part of the waste supply chain including:

Encorp Pacific, who would love to be able to burn all the hard-to-recycle beverage containers they collect through the deposit system;

Metro Waste, who sort out the mess that is collected through single-stream curbside recycling programs;

International Composting Corporation, who are finding that the markets for compost are just as sluggish and fickle as the markets for paper and plastic and are looking for alternative uses for organic wastes.

And none of us will ever know what is said behind those closed doors. But you can be sure that the Premier and his government will listen to their recommendations seriously.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The next three years

Municipal elections only come around every 3 years in British Columbia. What do we do the other 1,095 days?

Zero Waste Vancouver wants to make it easy for you to be informed and involved in waste issues in your community between now and the next election.

We'll tell you who is representing you at City Council and Metro Vancouver. We'll tell you when important decisions are coming up when your politicians need advice from you.

The next three years could bring a lot of exciting changes in our communities -- or it could be the same old same old. The thing that will make the difference between same-old-same-old and exciting change is citizen input.

We'll help you be part of the change.

So first go out and vote. Check the results of our candidate survey. See which candidates cared enough to respond to the poll, find out where they stand, and reward them at the polls.
The responses to our survey keep coming in. Here are some more candidates who said NO to incinerators: Dave Loewen (Abbtfd), Sue Halsey-Brandt (Rmd), Chris Jones (PoCo), Candace Gordon (Maple Rdge), Ernie Daykin (Maple Rdge)....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Special mention for the Work Less Party

In our survey of the civic election landscape this season, one electoral organization stood way out in front of the others for the depth of its analysis of the waste problems we face and the solutions available to us.

The Work Less Party platform features a detailed plank of waste policies and positions. And it's right on the front page.

Rightly so.

Our waste problem is intimately linked to the whole range of other problems facing our communities, from marginalization of local artists, to depreciation of the natural environment, to neglect of the homeless, to loss of jobs overseas -- all the way to the emptiness of our lives, spent working too hard just to support our "endless consumption."

The Work Less Party position on waste is a tough one. They want our cities to set rules and enforce them. They want to hold producers responsible. At the same time, they want to create economic opportunities in our communities from activities that reduce waste. Their waste solutions are part of their broader program of localization, innovation, building government from the grassroots upwards: community based governance.

Don't let the funny name fool you. Some of their solutions are more practical than others, but the Work Less Party is starting a conversation that many other candidates we surveyed are ready to join. Especially in the turbulent economic period we are entering, new solutions will be the only ones available to us.

Voting for Zero Waste

Interested in knowing where your favourite civic candidates stand on Metro Vancouver's plan to build waste incinerators?

See our news release to learn the names of the 80 candidates across the Metro region who have gone on record as opposing incinerators in anyone's backyard.

The opposition to incineration in our region spans the political spectrum. It reflects a broad commitment to waste reduction rather than band-aid solutions like landfilling and incineration.

Notably, in Vancouver the Vision/COPE/Green slates responded to the survey opposing incineration but neither the NPA nor any individual candidates on that ticket chose to respond to the survey.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recycling retrenchment

Last April Zero Waste Vancouver posted an urgent comment about "single stream" recycling. This refers to curbside recycling programs that collect all materials -- paper, bottles, cans, plastic -- in a single container.

We cautioned that single-stream recycling is a bad idea because the materials lose value when they are all mixed up together. The perceived benefits (simpler for the public, larger quantities of material collected) are more than offset by the disadvantages.

The current economic downturn is putting communities that collect recyclables in a single stream at even greater risk.

Recyclers across North America are reporting that recycling markets are tanking. Because of reduced consumer demand, there is also reduced producer demand for recycled materials. This means recycling markets are becoming very picky about quality.

A consultant who works with recycling brokers just stated on a recycling listserv that "quality is a huge issue right now and commingled
recyclables do not hold as high a value than single stream collected."

Another consultant who works with the paper industry confirmed: "domestic paper mills are now able to drive down the prices they pay for fiber and they can now choose among sources for the highest quality. This means that single stream processors with commingled bales of fiber are in the weakest position and they're the ones scrambling for storage facilities because they're having trouble selling their materials. Clean, sorted fibers have the widest market options. Only a limited subset of mills can use commingled fibers, so the more processors that produce that, the more limited their options."

Even before the economic downturn, a 2002 study by Eureka Recycling in the US found: "Single-stream collection — where all recyclables are put in one container — proved to be more expensive because a lot of sorting is required before the materials go to market. It also resulted in higher contamination and more materials being thrown out."

Citizens need to inform themselves about the reality of recycling markets and educate the public and their elected representatives about the importance of keeping materials clean and separate.

Pic: Eureka Recycling

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rainy weekend fun

Get out of the rain this weekend at the second annual Re:Vision Art of Recycling show. Plan to spend plenty of time browsing this tiny show full of works of art that have been created out of scrounged items ~ things useful, beautiful, odd, playful, or thought provoking.

See how fun it will be when we have no-where to go but our landfills and attics for raw materials...

Saturday features music by SWARM. Sunday will have a workshop with Ruby Dog's Art House making "altered books."

Don't miss it. It's at the Granville Island Hotel, 11 - 5 Sat & Sun.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Economic collapse extends landfill life

Metro doomsayers can breathe easier. We may not have to ship garbage to the US after all. Economic collapse may save the day.

Last week I sent out a query to Zero Waste associates asking if anyone is seeing declines in waste volumes.

Seattle waste manager Jenny Bagby reported declines in their waste that began in December 07. Waste volumes down overall 8.3% from a year ago.

A consultant based in Phoenix said his clients are reporting dips of 10% to 40%, depending on the company's core business or the waste stream they deal with.

Jerry Powell, who publishes Resource Recycling magazine, said the bigger declines are in construction waste, but they will be seen in commercial and residential waste too.

Last week at a waste conference in Courtenay, Jerry told all the delegates something they already knew: not only is waste down, but the markets for recycled materials are "in the tank." The other end of the slowdown. Wayne Turner in North Carolina mused that landfill disposal may be "our new crystal ball."

Interestingly, while waste and recycling are down, compost volumes are not. Dan Knapp in the California Bay area noted that plants keep growing even when manufacturing is down: "Compost facilities may turn out to be more or less 'recession-proof'."

Knapp: "This could be a good argument for having compost facilities in every community instead of concentrated on agricultural lands. The tip fees and product sales from compost disposal can then act as a stabilizing force within the local economy.?

Is there a lesson here for Metro Vancouver?

No one's backyard!

The early results of our candidate poll are pretty interesting. They suggest that Metro will have trouble finding backyards for their six incinerators.

We sent out 278 surveys on Monday (to all the candidates that had posted email addresses). By noon today we had 81 responses and 77 completed surveys.

We asked 3 simple questions: do you think waste is an important issue, would you support a waste incinerator being built in your community, and do you support Metro's plan to build waste incinerators in the region?

There were 4 respondents who told us they would accept an incinerator in their own community (two in Langley City and one on the North Shore).

The Hypocrite Award goes to the six respondents who said not in my community -- but it's fine if they build it somewhere else in the region.

The survey found overwhelming opposition to Metro's plan to build waste incinerators: 58 of the 77 respondents said they disapproved. Another 10 respondents are still thinking about it...

And the opposition crossed all political lines. More details later...

COOL 2012 ~ sign us up!

"As communities work to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the first place to look is in the garbage can..." This is the basis of the COOL 2012 campaign ~ Compostable Organics Out of Landfills by 2012.

The campaign is being organized by a formidable team (Grassroots Recycling Network, BioCycle magazine and EcoCycle). They say that organics composting is "the quickest and cheapest way to immediately reduce your community’s greenhouse gas emissions."

Visit their website for details.

Back to basics

Here's a picture that came today from international campaigner Bev Thorpe, who is preparing a report for the Prime Minister of Bhutan on what to do with his country's waste.

This is their only landfill and it's almost full.

The rest of the country, Bev says, is "all mountains and valleys with no flat land ... up and down Himalayan geography."

Bev reports that they are getting a composting plant up and running and that up to 80% of their waste is compostible organics (food and paper).
As this picture illustrates, "the wonderful thing about Bhutan is that they have NO hazardous waste and they have a VERY LOW consuming society."

I suggested that she advise the Prime Minister to buy a baler and bury what's left (mostly flimsy plastic packaging) in tight bales that don't take up much space. Come to think of it, that's a pretty good plan for Metro Vancouver too!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chilliwack rallies for clean air

On Monday afternoon, the good folk of Chilliwack will gather at their new Courthouse Square, a venue that was opened two years by their representative in the BC Parliament, Environment Minister Barry Penner.

They will be meeting there to rally against Metro's proposed garbage incinerators.

"All 3 of Chilliwack's Mayoral hopefuls will attend (with equal speaking time)," said organizer Norm Smith, "in a non-partisan show of unity against Vancouver's incinerators."

Organizers of the rally say that "Every candidate in Chilliwack is opposed to the incinerator plan and all seem well educated regarding the environmental and health risks involved."

"This will be a day for all Fraser Valley residents to put aside their differences and stand together for an essential goal that we all share."
The rally gets going at 3:30 and ends at 5:00. If you go, dress warmly!

For details send an email to

pic: Opening Day at the new Courthouse Square, May 2002

Monday, November 3, 2008

Zero Waste Call to Action!

It's election time in Metro Vancouver. Where do your candidates for Mayor and Council stand on waste incineration?

Zero Waste Vancouver has issued a Call to Action outlining 7 reasons we think Metro's plan to build waste incinerators would be a terrible mistake for our region.

Read our Call to Action and then ask your favourite candidates where they stand on Metro's plan. If they are elected, they will be called on to take a stand. Ask them which way their vote will go -- for $3 billion dollar garbage incinerators or for real waste reduction?

It's time for change we can believe in....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recycling Council opposes Waste-to-Energy

The Recycling Council of BC (RCBC), a respected voice in waste management in this province for almost 40 years, has issued an important paper about "Waste-to-Energy."

The paper examines the claims of Plasco Energy Group in its proposal for a 400 tonne-per-day facility in Port Moody.

Its findings affirm the concerns that caused Port Moody council to reject Plasco's proposal earlier this month.

But the paper emphasizes that the report is "neither a statement against or in favour of Plasco Energy Group's proposal."

It is rather an indictment of Waste-to-Energy as a waste management option.

The introduction states that that "RCBC recently reaffirmed its position against using WTE as part of the waste-management regime in B.C.

"It is RCBC's position that the use of WTE does nothing to encourage waste reduction, and that WTE would in fact be quite unnecessary if full extended producer responsibility programs (product stewardship) and full organics diversion were in place."

The conclusion states: "With the funds required for Metro Vancouver to build and operate new WTE facilities, a host of ground-breaking Zero Waste initiatives could instead be introduced. These initiatives would ensure that the region's annual disposal rate does not exceed one million tonnes and would have the eventual goal of negating the need to landfill at all."

This paper is a major contribution to a growing number of papers being produced in the public interest that support a Zero Waste planning approach, rather than traditional waste disposal-focused waste solutions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Alberta to put refundable deposits on milk containers

Which future do we want for our region?

Do we want to build a million tonnes of incineration capacity to vaporize garbage into the atmosphere?

Or do we want to hand the garbage problem to the people who caused it: the producers of throw-away products and packaging?

When the beverage industry switched from refillable bottles to throw-away containers, this dumped a big problem on local communities who were faced with disposing of literally billions of containers that used to go back to stores.

But British Columbia and then Alberta took a strong stand.

They became the first jurisdictions in North America to require beverage companies to take back their empties and issue a cash reward for recycling.

Overnight beverage containers stopped being a garbage problem. Instead they became a fund-raising project for kids' hockey teams and scout groups.
Today 3 out of 4 empty containers find their way back to the producers for recycling in BC and Alberta and the 6 other Canadian provinces that require refundable deposits -- compared to 1 container out of 5 in places like Ontario where there is no producer-responsibility program.

But yesterday Alberta decided even that wasn't good enough.

The Alberta government announced that they are raising the cash recycling reward that producers must pay from 5 cents to 10 cents.
They're also requiring producers to get back 85% of the containers they sell.

And that's not all.
They told milk producers that they had to do the same thing as other beverage companies. Starting next June, consumers will get a cash reward for recycling milk containers, just as they do for all other beverage containers.

This is the future.
No longer will producers of throw-away products and packaging be allowed to dump their waste problem on local communities. Like Alberta, BC is a world leader in producer-responsibility legislation.

When all of the throw-away products and packaging in Metro Vancouver goes back to producers the way beverage containers (and computers and TVS and a whole range of household hazardous products do), our garbage will shrink by 570,000 tonnes each year.

All that will be left is compostable organics.

If we build all those incinerators, what will we put in them?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

City of the Arts says no to garbage gasification

"Upon deliberation of the Task Force recommendations, Council passed these resolutions: THAT the City of Port Moody is not an appropriate location for a waste conversion facility..."

With these words, Port Moody Council made it official last Tuesday night, becoming the first municipality in the region to say NO to hosting a "waste-to-energy" facility for Metro's garbage.

Moreover, Port Moody Council instructed staff to forward six concerns to the Metro Vancouver Board, among them:

THAT any regional waste to energy initiative should be fully evaluated, in both a local and regional context, and should be temporary in nature as we take positive measures to increase diversion and thus reduce the residual waste to a level where it could be handled by existing methods, thus eliminating the need to consider any waste to energy solution...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Penner supports garbage burning

Does the provincial government support garbage burning?

Environment Minister Barry Penner just sent me a turgidly worded but unequivocal response to my email of last April, in which I asked if the government's Bill 29 made garbage burning the equivalent of recycling.

His answer: yes.

Here is what the minister said: The introduction of “recovery” in Bill 29 will allow discussions to occur to determine whether alternatives to landfilling of non-recyclables in BC should proceed and, if so, in what form.

De-constructed, Penner's sentence means: the province is doing what the European Parliament did in 2003 when it redefined garbage burning as recycling.

In 1994 Europe became a world leader for requiring producers to "recover" (recycle) their packaging waste. But a News Report issued by the EU in December 2003 announced a new policy:

"Should incineration of packaging waste count as 'recovery'? Recent judgments by the European Court of Justice stated that incineration of municipal waste in incinerators is to be regarded as a disposal operation if the main purpose of the operation is to dispose of the waste.

"As a result of these judgments, packaging waste incinerated in such installations could no longer be counted towards the recovery targets of the Packaging Directive.

"Consequently, in order to reach an agreement the EP and Council clarified the word "recovery" in the light of the Court's judgment.

Whereas the 1994 Directive calls for packaging waste to be "recovered", the revised law will now read "to be recovered or incinerated at waste incineration plants with energy recovery", thereby broadening the definition of what is understood by 'recovery' in this context."

At the stroke of a legislative pen, political leaders in Europe and BC are blurring an important distinction between recycling and burning -- a distinction that has guided waste policy for nearly two decades.

By opening the door to "recovery" of energy, our provincial parliament and the European Parliament are letting producers off the hook, encouraging the production of throw-away products and packaging that cannot be recycled.

Do you think this is a step in the wrong direction? Tell Barry Penner:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fin Donnelly pushes on last 30%

Coquitlam Councillor Fin Donnelly pushed staff at the regional Waste Management Committee meeting yesterday to tell the public what their plan is to get beyond 70% recycling -- to 80%? 90%?

He seemed to be probing the problem of whether incinerators will create an obstacle to further recycling.

The staff gave its stock response: the last 30% is "material that has no recycling value." But Donnelly quickly interjected "at this point in time."

Donnelly can always be counted on at Committee meetings to ask probing questions that show he's carefully read every page of the 3-inch-thick agenda packages the committee members receive each month.

During the entire discussion at yesterday's meeting, this graph from Zero Waste Vancouver was up on the screen in the Metro Boardroom. It shows what our waste will look like after we have succeeded in achieving the 70% recycling goal.

The tall black bar that looks like an incinerator stack represents over half-a-million tonnes of throw-away products and packaging that will become dirty "fuel" in Metro's plan. The smaller black bars, including one representing 60% of the compostable organics in our waste in 2035, will also be burned.

Do you think we can do better? Tell Fin Donnelly:

How much is Marvin Hunt prepared to spend on incinerators?

Today Zero Waste Vancouver is beginning a campaign to make waste management an issue in the civic elections.

As a courtesy, we went along to the monthly meeting of the regional Waste Managment Committee to give them a heads-up. They, after all, are the ones on whose watch Metro has made its "commitment" to garbage incineration.

The committee heard an earful today -- and not just from Zero Waste Vancouver.

Lara Tessaro speaking for Ecojustice and the Georgia Strait Alliance, called Metro's draft Liquid Waste Management Plan "fundamentally inappropriate" for backsliding on commitments to get moving on long overdue upgrades to the North Shore sewage treatment plants. In response, the committee spent a lot of time formulating a motion blaming the senior levels of government for not providing funds.

Then Elaine Golds and Jo-Anne Parneta (a self-described "angry voter" and former Port Moody City Councillor) gave a vivid demonstration of how the citizens of Port Moody chased Plasco out of town.
(Their Mayor Joe Trasolini, who had been an outspoken proponent of Plasco, sat silently at the Committee table while they talked.)
Marvin Hunt, Surrey Councillor and chair of the committee, kept interrupting to assure the citizen delegations that we will have plenty of opportunity "next year" to help decide what kind of technology we will use to burn our garbage.

Then, when Parneta mentioned the bylaw decision last April authorizing a quarter-billion dollars in borrowing for waste-to-energy facilities, Hunt gave a long-winded response that ended up: "after all, a quarter-billion won't go very far."

These politicians won't shell out to provide minimal sewage treatment -- but money seems to be no object when it comes to burning garbage.
How much is Marvin Hunt prepared to spend on incinerators?
Ask him: "Marvin Hunt" <>

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Metro's incinerators will cost us

One of the things that Metro Vancouver is not talking to us about is the cost of incinerating waste.

The Scenarios for Metro Vancouver are to spend $2.5 billion on a "centralized" system with 3 incinerators, or $3 billion on a "distributed" system (6 facilities required).

The Metro Board has already authorized the first quarter of a billion dollars on "Waste-to-Energy" facilities.

Is this where we want our money spent?
Do we want to spend billions of public dollars to build and maintain machines that will destroy materials that will someday have greater value for recycling?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Plasco dragon slain ~ but more on the way

Congratulations to the citizens of Port Moody ~ democracy is alive and well.

Through the dog-days of summer, hundreds of citizens showed up night after night and made an irrefutable case against Plasco Energy Group's dioxin factory.
Listening to arguments from citizen heroes like JoAnne Parneta, Elaine Golds and dozens of other well-informed speakers, the City's task force had no choice but to recommend that Council not pursue the foolish plan to let Plasco gasify hundreds of thousands of tonnes of garbage in their city.

But the work has just begun.
"Waste-to-energy" is still is still lurking like a cancer at the heart of Metro Vancouver's mendacious "Zero Waste Challenge."

Need evidence?

Next week Metro's Waste Management Committee will consider a budget that allocates over $33 million dollars in 2009 on direct expenditures for incineration. (For comparison, the amount they are allocating for "solid waste demand reduction" -- measures to work with the community to make less waste in the first place: $939,159.)

The incineration expenditures will include not only building new incinerators, but ongoing costly upgrades to the existing facility in Burnaby.

One of the "Operational Priorities" in the budget is inspection and overhaul of WtEF turbo-generator." The turbine was installed only 5 years ago at a cost of $36 million and it already needs an "overhaul"??

Build incinerators and you just keep spending good money after bad.

Zero Waste Vancouver has been silent for a while because we are gearing up for a campaign to make these incinerators an election issue in the civic election campaign. Not a single elected official has made a peep against the plan to spend $3 billion on garbage burners. Most of them, I am betting, don't even know it's in the works.

Watch for our launch at the Metro Waste Management Committee meeting next week, where we'll be joining JoAnne and Elaine and their delegation from Port Moody. We will be issuing a 4-page backgrounder that lays out an alternative plan of action for Metro and our communities. And while you're waiting for the campaign to start, sign our petition to Choose Zero Waste over Incinerators.

Pic: Deliberative Democracy Handbook

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another inspiring recycling movie

My friend Guy Crittenden, editor of Canada's premier recycling trade magazine Solid Waste & Recycling, wrote to say that he's steering his readers in next month's October/November edition to a movie that celebrates a great Zero Waste icon.

Garbage Warrior (winner of the Audience Award at last year's VIFF) profiles "biotect" Michael Reynolds. Reynolds builds sturdy, earthquake and recession-proof homes out of pop bottles and tires. The structures are beautiful to Crittenden's eye, achieving what he called a kind of “Salvador Dali meets the Flintstones” effect.

As we hunker down for the Great Depression ahead, emissaries from the Back to the Land movement in the early 70s will have valuable lessons for us.

Garbage Warrior is available at Limelight Video at Broadway and Alma. Anyone want to come over and watch it at my house?

Monday, October 6, 2008

More handwriting on the wall

This week Canadian Springs made big headlines in Ontario by announcing that they will charge refundable deposits on bottles they deliver to customers. The new program is rolling out in Ontario, BC and the Maritime provinces.

It won't make much of a splash here or in the Maritimes. We already have refundable deposits on water bottles.

But Canadian Springs is really rocking the boat in Ontario. The beverage industry there has been fighting refundable deposits for twenty years. Ontario is still the only province in Canada besides Manitoba where consumers don't get a cash reward for recycling.

The defection of Canadian Springs is one more sign that the tide is going out for the shaky enterprise of collecting bottles and cans in the Blue Box.

Why send diesel trucks door to door to collect bubbles of air, when you can support a local hockey team with a bottle drive instead?

Pic: Eco-friendly graffiti in Greece

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How to make progress

I missed the Metro Board meeting yesterday, but the coverage this morning in the Vancouver Sun suggests it was a real prattfall by the Directors.

The Sun reports that the Metro Board voted to "work with local business associations, retailers and consumers to discourage the use of plastic shopping bags" but then in the same breath disparaged that industry's offer to take responsibility for the problem.

Some working relationship!

I am no Pollyanna when it comes to voluntary industry promises, but I see in this proposal something that we can work with. A broad group of retail associations have made a commitment to cut plastic bag use in half in five years. Measurable goal, clear timeline.

Meanwhile, Councillor Hunt is counting his chickens of 60% and 70% and 75% reduction before he has hatched any program at all.

The fact is that the only people who can fix the plastic bag problem is the folks who hand out plastic bags. With proper oversight by government and the public.
Zero Waste Vancouver has sent a letter to the ministry of environment asking:

  • has the retail industry has reported a baseline (the number of bags used now) for us to measure their progress against?

  • will the industry be reporting to the ministry on their progress?

When industry comes to the table, play -- but make sure there is a referee. I just hope that the grocers won't take their marbles and go home, leaving their bags to "clog up our landfills" (though I'd rather have them stored safely underground than vaporized into the atmosphere in one of Marvin Hunt's planned incinerators).

Zero Waste Vancouver will watchdog this program and hold the industry's feet to the fire if they fall short, just as our friends in Australia are doing. pic: Zero Waste South Australia

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Culture shift: plastic bags a retailer responsibility

Today's surprise announcement by Canada's retail industry that they are rolling out a "comprehensive plan" to cut plastic bag use in BC shows that British Columbia is still the Canadian testing ground for the culture shift that is going to take us, eventually, to Zero Waste.

Canada's four major grocery and drug store retail associations have committed to cut the use of carry-out bags in this province by 50% within the next five years.
Skeptics will scoff that this is a voluntary initiative with no teeth, but I think there is a lot to learn from this move by the industry.

The grocers did not do what they would have done in Ontario ~ chip in a few crumbs of funding and expect the municipal governments to haul away the bags for recycling.
Rather, their plan is to shift the management of bags from local governments to the stores that give them out.

Their plan proposes more than just token recycling bins. They are using the tools of the retail trade ~ incentives, recycling services, and alternatives ~ to woo consumers into helping them meet the goal.

Most important, it includes a commitment to monitor bag use and report out their progress. This is where most voluntary producer programs fail the grade. No one knows what a bad job the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation's "Charge up to Recycle" program is doing because noone is measuring or reporting out. (All they tell you is how many millions of batteries they've collected, not how many tens of millions they have let go to landfills - no targets, no accoutability.)

My sense is that we are about to become "Greenbag Nation" like Australia.

(And I anticipate that, like the wonderful Boomerang Alliance down under, we Zero Wasters can be counted on to hold the retailers' toes to the fire if they don't meet their goal ~ and then move up to a more challenging one.)

Pic: Greenbag nation

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Speak out ~ landfill gas regulation not good enough

Here's a good place to start our campaign to stop methane pollution: tell the province that end-of-pipe solutions are not good enough.

The provincial government is seeking input on a proposed Landfill Gas regulation that would require local governments to install gas capture systems. Problem is: these systems miss most of the gas produced by rotting garbage. More than half the gas slips by the pipes and up to the atmosphere.

A much better approach, chosen by the provincial government of Nova Scotia, is the preventative approach. They simply banned organic wastes from being disposed in landfills. They did this back in 1999. Within months the province's waste had been cut by nearly half (to say nothing of the decline in methane).

In Nova Scotia everyone puts their food waste in Green Bins. Even Tim Horton's provides a special container for half-eaten donuts and coffee cups.

Why stop with half-way measures? Tell our province to follow Nova Scotia's example and use a carrot-and-stick approach to help local communities prevent the methane problem.

Go here for the feedback form (due by September 30). Go here for background info.

Take back the agenda

I'm just back from a conference in Australia. Where the water goes down the drain clockwise, right? Where, more to the point, every toilet is dual-flush. Drought is a subject that everyone has an opinion on, and the opinion is: something is terribly wrong and we have to do something about it.

One thing they're doing is to tackle the methane problem from landfills, one of the drivers of climate change. It's something we don't talk about enough.

Here in Canada, even in Toronto, we're serious about the producer's responsibility to recycle all those throw-away products and packaging. And that's a good thing. Extending the producer's responsibility will give the atmosphere a break by turning the tide on excess consumption.

But if all the throwaway products and packaging were banned from the planet, we would still have a big waste problem.

According to a new waste study from Metro Vancouver each of us sends 163 kilograms of sloppy wet organic wastes to the landfill each year. And that is an understatement, because it doesn't include greasy pizza boxes and a whole range of other organic wastes too awful to mention.

And what do these "biodegradable" wastes do in the landfill? They produce vast quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than the exhaust from our cars.

I came home from Australia determined to mount a mobilization to get every scrap of organics out of our municipal waste. It is something we don't have to wait for the producers to do ~ we are the producers. The problem exists because we let it happen, on our watch, with our municipal infrastructure.

Instead of hiding our food waste problem in a hole in the ground, we can follow the Australians' example. We can close the food production link, sending food waste back to nourish the land it came from. We live in a food-growing region with a lot of animal husbandry, imposing its own burden on the land and the atmosphere. How about if we work with the Fraser Valley to solve our mutual organic waste problems instead of threatening them with incinerator emissions?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

White elephants

One of the best arguments against waste incinerators is that they lock in high waste levels. A waste-to-energy incinerator can't make energy without waste.

Well it seems that Germany, one of the world leaders in waste incineration, is facing a crisis. They don't produce enough waste to feed all their incinerators.

A write-up in the webzine Monsters and Critics, citing the German environment ministry, reports that Germany had to import 6 million tonnes of refuse last year.
In the bizarre logic of trade, Germany exported 1.8 million tonnes of trash the same year. This summer Germany imported 160,000 tonnes of garbage that had been piling up in the streets of Naples.
The new incinerators planned by Metro Vancouver will require 1 million tonnes of waste each year. We produce barely one-million tonnes of waste right now. If we get serious about food waste composting, which could cut our waste by up to a third, what will we do? Will we look for someone else's trash to burn? Or operate the plant at a loss?

Or, maybe, plan ahead and not build the burners in the first place?

Pic: Nicholson cartoons in Australia.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer blockbuster from Greenpeace USA

Have you seen Wall*E yet? Turns out Kimberley Clark is using this movie about conservation to sell its Kleenex, which contains absolutely no recycled content.

Greenpeace finds this the height of Iron*E. They've commissioned a little animated video of their own to stir up some consumer pressure on Kimberley-Clark. Check it out and send a message to Kimberley-Clark suggesting they use recycled paper. And while we're at it, lets tell them to provide composting programs for their used Kleenex and other disposable "tissue" products.
There were almost 37,000 tonnes of "tissue/towelling" in our waste last year.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And speaking of civilization...

I took a walk in the back alleys of the downtown eastside with Ken Lyotier this morning. When I got home, someone had sent me an article written by the wonderful Elizabeth Royte (Garbage Land, 2005) last May that really brought home how far we have descended.

"Paris has its ornate cast-iron Wallace fountains (donated in the late 19th century by a wealthy philanthropist hoping to steer the homeless from alcohol toward a healthier beverage); Rome its ever-running street spigots; Portland, Ore., its delightful four-bowl Benson Bubblers."

But it looks like "bubblers" can make a comeback. Minneapolis is installing artist-designed drinking fountains at strategic spots throughout the city.

What a nice idea. Provide nice clean water, flowing free, on our street corners. Maybe in time for those Olympics? Anyone inspired to leave a legacy of humanitarian good will before our little Gilded Era is over?

Buried treasure

Another reason not to build waste-to-energy plants that vaporize plastic. It may become a valuable resource sooner than we think.

Check out this article from the Times (London): "Rubbish dumps are regarded by the recycling industry as an untapped source of riches, with an estimated 200 million tonnes of plastic buried as landfill since the late 1980s. At today's prices of £200 a tonne the discarded plastic has a value of about £40 billion. Alongside it are smaller, but still significant, quantities of valuable metals, including copper and aluminium."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cache Creek expansion shifts focus from CO2 to CH4

Belcorp's announcement last week that it is committed to expanding the Cache Creek landfill for Metro Vancouver garbage takes us out of the fire into the frying pan.

Belcorp is likely to get a permit to expand the interior landfill. This certainly will make it twice as hard for Metro Vancouver to defend its case for building waste-to-energy incinerators at a cost of $3 billion, including ongoing disposal fees that will be double or triple today's rates.

But will that extra 15 million tonnes of easy disposal capacity lull our region into dealing with our waste problem the way we always have: loosening our belt rather than going on a diet?

Metro Vancouver is close to the bottom of the list in the provincial rankings of per-capita waste disposal. We produce 731 kg of waste per capita each year, compared to the provincial average of 609 kg ~ or Victoria's rate of 452 kg per person.

But an even bigger challenge we'll face if Belcorp lets us loosen our belt is going to be gas.

It's not a pretty subject, but when we shovel untreated garbage full of juicy organics into a landfill, the enteric bacteria in the landfill's bowels produce staggering quantities of potent and smelly methane.

An urgent priority for public policy is to reduce society's contribution of methane to the atmosphere.

The provincial government is seeking public comment right now on a landfill gas regulation that won't help much, because its focus is on landfill gas capture rather than landfill gas prevention.

Turns out it's hard to capture methane ~ the estimates of efficiency range from 2% - 90%. At an intensity 21 times worse than carbon dioxide, methane does not provide that much room for error.

Right now our region is sending 350,000 tonnes of compostable organics to landfills every year ~ simply because we have no alternative. Add to that over 30,000 tonnes of pet wastes (there's a subject you will be hearing more about!). We could cut our waste by one-third ~ and prevent climate change ~ just by setting up programs for organics.

Back in the late 1880s, New York City's Commissioner of Streets Colonel George E. Waring, Jr. said:

“There is no surer index of the degree of civilization of a community than the manner in which it treats its organic wastes.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Metro Vancouver doesn't want us to think about

Prevent Cancer Now, a Canada-wide movement to eliminate the preventable causes of cancer, has just launched an anti-incineration campaign.

Their website says:

Almost all of us know someone who has cancer, or who has died from one of over 200 different types of cancer. We know the anguish, suffering and grief cancer causes. It has become so common that we think of it as an unavoidable part of life.

People are being diagnosed with cancer at unprecedented rates. Melanomas, breast and prostate cancers, colon cancer, testicular cancer and multiple myeloma are all increasing. During the 25 years from 1976 to 2001, the age-adjusted incidence of cancer among males increased by 27.7%, and the female rate increased by 17.8%. (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2006)

After examining 10 million people over a 70-year period, a recent Swedish study found that cancers were 90% environmental in origin, with "environmental" meaning everything outside our bodies that can make its way in, including tobacco smoke, toxic chemicals, alcohol, radiation from nuclear power plants, and the sun, processed foods high in sugars, fats and additives, some pharmaceutical drugs, medical x-rays, and more.

These are avoidable substances, which should not be trespassing into our bodies. With changed policies, and industrial/agricultural practices that focus on prevention and precaution, with healthier diets and other personal habits, we can prevent this epidemic.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Plasco gets chilly reception in Port Moody

A larger-than-expected audience turned out for last night's public meeting hosted by the Port Moody Environmental Protection Committee's Waste Conversion Task Force. They came out on a hot Tuesday night after the long weekend to hear about the Plasco garbage gasification process proposed for their city.

It was hard to judge what the 100 people in the room were thinking as they listened to Rod Bryden, Plasco President and CEO. Bryden has a very effective speaking style: quiet, sincere, understated. The audience remained polite and attentive even as the presentation went on for double the allotted time (60 minutes, rather than 30).

Then the members of the Council-appointed Task Force, which is made up of citizens and chaired by Councillor Mike Clay, began posing questions.

For instance, they asked Bryden to clarify Plasco's position on composting. Surprisingly, Bryden suggested that composting is a "sacred cow" and that the city might do better not to spend money separating organics from the garbage and just have them gasified instead.

The organic materials would be "returned" to their "preceding natural elements" just as the other wastes are. And all these simple "elements" would then "recombined" into one product: syngas.

One product that can serve one purpose: producing energy.

(What extreme simplification, it occurred to me. Willing to give up all that diversity and all those opportunities for a quick shot of energy. When will someone notice that energy is the elephant in the room: we've already demonstrated that we don't know how to use energy responsibly ~ now we're willing to burn anything we can get our hands on to make more....)

Bryden was then pressed by members of the audience on his claim that the Plasco facility will have "no stack." People pointed out that the energy generation component of the Plasco facility is combustion of the syngas in an internal combustion engine, a process that cannot occur without a stack to allow the release of carbon dioxide... along with other substances including dioxins, furans and nanoparticles that Bryden had to admit were theoretically possible in the emissions, company predictions notwithstanding.

In response to another question from the audience, it came out that in addition to the stacks there are "flares" for the synthetic fuel to be burned off without producing energy, in the event of a malfunction in the engine.

And malfunction of the equipment was a problem, Bryden admitted under insistant questioning from the audience. When the Ottawa test plant stopped using "surrogate material" and moved on to real garbage, the feeder system jammed up ("crankcase stuck in the shredder") and they had to ship the waiting waste back to the city landfill while they resolved the problem. This is why the test plant was able to process only half the waste the city delivered to it. Welcome to the real world of dirty fuel, Plasco.

Asked if Port Moody's plant could be scaled smaller than the proposed 400 tonnes per day (which is approximately 36 times more waste than is produced by the households in Port Moody), Bryden said they could scale it down some ~ but if they went below 200 tpd it would reduce the "efficiency" and perhaps make the plant uneconomic.

The economics were of interest to the audience who probed, among other things, the $3.6 million dollar "royalty" to Ottawa if Plasco drums up business in other communities.

The audience also posed a question to Councillor Clay: why the rush to complete this enquiry in the summer? Can there be a referendum in the fall election? To which Clay did not shut the door.

If there is a referendum, the process that Clay is leading will be a huge contribution to the process. Hats off to Port Moody, a town of 30,000, for conducting a public "due diligence" process that brings out an audience of this size. And hats off to the good citizens of Port Moody who are taking the trouble to dig for answers before the city signs up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Province sends Metro Vancouver back to the drawing board

The province has sent Johnny Carline back to square one in the regional waste planning process. This might protect elected officials from embarrassment in the upcoming civic elections ~ and even buy time for a good plan to come forward.

This blog reported last month that Carline narrowly averted a rebellion by the Waste Management Committee when he proposed sending a letter out to municipal councils seeking sites for incinerators ~ before "waste-to-energy" has even been sanctioned as a strategy for our region. The letter was narrowly approved by the Committee, with vocal misgivings voiced by several members.

The following day Carline travelled to Victoria to meet with the province and it was there that he got his come-uppance, it would seem.

In a report that was hastily written and distributed to Metro Board members mere hours before their last scheduled meeting on July 18, Carline recommended that the Board ignore its Committee's advice and, instead, adopt recommendations inspired by an "extremely constructive and extended dialogue" with the province.

Carline's report admits that "recent public discussion on waste to energy and the prospect of discussing potential siting at this time had raised the same misgivings at the provincial level as they had at the regional level."

The extended dialogue between Carline and ministry staff resulted in a new process for developing the waste plan, one that involves more consultation with the public as well as "a report by an outside consultant assessing the relative characteristics and merits of landfills and waste to energy" for waste that can't be recycled. The province also wants Metro Vancouver to "develop a report setting out the strategies and actions... to achieve a 70% diversion target by 2015."

When this report was put on the table for discussion on July 18, it raised additional questions of process. Many of the Directors had not even seen it. Some who had seen it objected to Carline trying to over-ride the Committee's advice. Still others expressed the view that the province shouldn't be butting into the region's business. In the end, the decision was deferred to a special meeting of the GVS&DD Board on July 25. At that meeting, reportedly, the recommendation was approved.

Now the politicians are off duty until September. When they come back, we'll be gearing up for civic elections. Zero Waste Vancouver will be organizing a campaign to make sure all candidates disclose where they stand on waste-to-energy incineration. See the Zero Waste Vancouver position paper here.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

We just learned that Plasco Group has laid claim to the URL ~
Accept no substitutes!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Two Ontario cities agree not to pursue incineration

Two Ontario communities, Niagara and Hamilton, have made a commitment to focus on waste reduction instead of disposal.

Niagara Region and the City of Hamilton teamed up four years ago to find a common solution to "a growing global concern: limited landfill space."

They looked at 8 options for disposing of their excess garbage, narrowed the choices down to three. One was "thermal treatment" (waste-to-energy incineration or gasification).

But last Friday the Working Group set up to oversee the joint Waste Plan process received a staff report that threw the process into reverse. The two communities' managers of waste planning recommended that the communities focus on waste diversion instead.

The staff report outlined specific, tangible steps that each community can take to increase the amount of waste they recover, reducing the amount going to landfills.
Rather than pursuing expensive new disposal plants as other Ontario communities are doing (see details in the Appendix of the report), Niagara and Hamilton are going to push for waste reduction.

Good for you, Hamilton and Niagara!

A Truly Cool City

Tyee contributor Ruben Anderson offered another glimpse at a new way of living this week, inviting us to Claim our Rotting Riches. Food waste is the next frontier of waste reduction ~ and Anderson wants us to do it right.

He takes a sober look at the way the leading cities -- Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco -- have chosen to design their food waste composting programs and says we should do it better.

"First the city gives every household a pricey new plastic rolling tote. They buy additional trucks and hire more people. Those trucks chug up every single lane in the city until they are full, then they drive somewhere far away and dump the organic waste. Large machines pile and re-pile the organics for a few months until it breaks down into compost. They do this two to four times each month, 12 months of the year, for the rest of time...."

This centralized, industrial approach misses a better opportunity, Anderson proposes. He asks us to re-think the idea of a composting system that relies on "a river of oil."

Anderson sees a whole range of systems for managing food waste. Small to large, intensely local, and scaled to fit the purpose, from backyard composting (even in apartment complexes!) to in-house digestion systems at industrial sites.

I think Anderson's got it right. We're starting from scratch with food waste composting and this gives us an opportunity to do it differently, setting a new standard for the 21st Century.
pic: The Cedar Grove centralized composting plant that is the model for a new plant likely to be built by Metro Vancouver at the Langley wastewater treatment plant site. This is where Seattle's food waste is trucked. The plant has firm support from knowledgeable environmentalists in Everett, WA, where a plant has been in operation for several years. It got some bad press this week.

Daring political leadership

There's a BBC story making the rounds on Zero Waste listservs this week, highlighting a little town in the eastern hills of Japan where "the rubbish collectors never come."

In Kamikatsu all food waste is required to be composted and the rest of the waste is sorted into 34 categories and recycled, either by returning items to stores (where customers receive cash for items turned in) or to a Zero Waste centre operated by the town.
The BBC reports "the scheme was adopted when councillors realised it was much cheaper than incineration - even if the incinerator was used to generate power."
"A poll showed that although the Zero Waste policy has many admirers, 40% of people weren't happy about all aspects of the scheme," the BBC report continues.

"The Mayor Kasamatsu Kasuichi is undeterred: 'We should consider what is right and what is wrong, and I believe it is wrong to send a truck to collect the waste and burn it. That is bad for the environment. So whether I get support or not, I believe I should persuade people to support my policy.'

"Now he invites other politicians around the world to follow suit."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Even Chair Hunt said the timing was "horrible"

Metro Vancouver Commissioner Johnny Carline slipped an item onto the Waste Management Committee's already packed agenda on Wednesday afternoon. Committee Chair Marvin Hunt headed the new agenda item "Waste Export."

But as it turned out, the 4-page on-table report that was put before the committee had two recommendations, and only the first related to waste export.

The second recommendation was to authorize a letter to go out to all municipalities in the region, over Marvin Hunt's signature, asking the Mayors and Councils to propose sites in their communities for waste-to-energy incinerators.

The proposed letter was attached to the report. It asked the Mayors and Councils to suggest "potential areas or specific sites, preferably under municipal ownership or control, where waste-to-energy infrastructure could be integrated into existing land use or proposed land development."

Because the report was introduced "on table" those of us in the peanut gallery didn't have it before us during the discussion that ensued. But it quickly became clear that several members of the committee had serious concerns about the optics of this recommendation.

The committee had just heard from New Westminster citizen Neil Powell that members of his residents' association were beginning to suspect that the decision to build incinerators was a "done deal," despite all the public reassurances from politicians that no final decisions had been made.

This letter, several committee members pointed out, would certainly lend credence to those suspicions. A motion was debated to receive the report for information rather than sending it on to the Board with their blessing.

In the end, the committee approved the recommendation with a minor and meaningless amendment (broadening the site usage to include "other technologies"). Four members of the committee voted nay and their names will be recorded in the minutes under Agenda Item 5.14.

What the Board does with this report is still to be seen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trasolini buys a pig in a poke

Mayor Trasolini has made his big move.

The city of Port Moody issued an announcement yesterday that it has signed a "non-binding letter of intent" with Plasco Energy Group to build a waste-to-energy gasification plant on city-owned land on the Barnet Highway.

This is great news for the city of Ottawa.

They signed a similar deal with Plasco last month ~ but they got a special clause in their agreement. According to the
Ottawa Citizen newspaper: "Because [Ottawa] was a partner in testing the technology, it will get royalties of up to $3.5 million a year after Plasco plants have been sold to other countries and cities and are operating."

Both cities claim they have nothing to lose, since Plasco takes on all the risk and the costs. All the cities have to do is pay the tipping fee to drop off their garbage.

This could cause problems for Port Moody.

The proposed Port Moody gasification plant would process 150,000 tonnes of waste each year. This is likely more waste than is generated by the good citizens of Port Moody, and Mayor Trasolini will have to go out and rope in other cities to make up the shortfall.

The Mayor has charged the Port Moody Environmental Protection Committee to go out and sell the project to the public this summer. Instead, will they be lighting a fire that will burn the Mayor in the fall civic elections?