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

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where are Metro Vancouver's priorities?

Buried deep in this blog, a visitor found a post that encouraged letters and emails to Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini and BC Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. These two politicians have been wooed by Europeans claiming that waste can be a source of renewable energy.

The visitor to our blog asked: What about the studies done that show waste-to-energy does create less greenhouse gases and offered two weblinks for evidence.

Typically, the two weblinks were not to scientific studies but to documents intended either to sell incinerators or to justify the decision to purchase one.
When I checked the links I found a 24-page pamplet from Denmark bearing the logos of two organizations (RenoSam and Ramboll) who are, respectively, an association of 29 waste management companies and a European company that provides engineering, consultancy, product development and operation services.... The document produced by these organizations is not a scientific "report" but a sales pitch for their incineration products and services.

The second weblink is a promotional pamphlet from our own GVRD (now Metro Vancouver) about the Burnaby waste-to-energy incinerator.

In a second comment, the visitor says: While burning garbage isn't perfect, it's also not the highest priority. As can be seen in this 2008 discussion paper, the first priority is to reduce waste generation. Then, it goes onto discuss other methods. Of course, waste reduction is a process that everyone needs to be a part of.

Agreed! But priority? One measure of priorities is dollars. The Metro Vancouver Draft Solid Waste Management Plan talks dollars. Here's what it says:

dollars going to reducing waste generation: $40 million

dollars going to incineration: $2.5 - 3.0 billion.

What does this tell us about the priorities in Metro Vancouver's waste plan? Are these the priorities of citizens?


Anonymous said...

Hi Helen,

Just wondering where you got those two numbers? (i.e. 2.5-3 billion and 40 million.)

There seems to be no reference to those numbers in the document that you linked to.


Anonymous said...

The document I linked to is a package going to the Waste Management Committee on Wednesday. You'll find the cost estimates in "Appendix A" of the 34 page package. Appendix a is the discussion paper presented to the Committee last month. It outlines several strategies for "updating" our solid waste management plan. Section 3 of has tables showing cost estimates for the strategies. (At the end of the package, staff has "reformatted" its discussion document, tinkering with the strategies to conform to the Sustainable Region Initiative format.)

Erika Rathje said...

As consumers, I think we forget the first R in reduce, reuse, recycle. It's our responsibility to make good choices, but I also think we should be pressuring companies to reduce packaging, reduce waste and to use ONLY recyclable packaging. We can't toss every type of plastic in the blue bin, last time I checked, although I do anyway. While I understand companies like to make money, they should be responsible in the way they design packaging. Example: Sun-Rype's applesauce comes in toxic PET (#1) plastic with an invisible ribbing that is only apparent when you've eaten most of the sauce. That, combined with a shape at the bottom that renders some of the sauce inaccessible with a normal spoon, makes getting all the product out impossible, not to mention annoying. I swear, next time I'm paying the premium for a glass jar that maybe I can even keep and reuse (or I'll make applesauce myself!). This waste of food is, in my opinion, unethical and irresponsible.

Do you happen to know if the metal lids on standard jars are recyclable? I don't think they are... but the ought to be!

Dee said...

Yes, the metal lids on jars are recyclable, but you must remove the lid from the jar before putting them out for recycling.