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

Friday, April 18, 2008

Break the cycle of waste

Dear elected officials:

You're starting to wake up to the financial costs of Metro's proposed solution to our garbage problem.

The $1.4 - $3.0 billion dollars in capital expenditures.

The disposal fees that would be double what we are paying now.

The double-billing. We will pay twice to dispose of the same waste, first to incinerate it, and then to dispose of the toxic ash ~ a quarter of a million tonnes of ash will be disposed of each year.

Metro staff refuse to give you hard numbers on the actual costs of their plan, saying they prefer to set "visionary" goals for us to follow.

But what sort of a "vision" is incineration?

An incinerator is a machine that needs to be fed. The incinerators that would be built under the Metro staff's plan would consume one and a half million tonnes of waste each year. For comparison, this is approximately 50% more waste than we dispose of today at all three of our regional disposal facilities.

Where will the waste come from? All the useless products that your citizens complain about will continue to be produced because we will need them for fuel. The excess packaging, the plastic bags, the toxic toys, the Lexan bottles, the unrepairable appliances, the fast-food packaging.

We will continue to be part of the dangerous cycle of poor product design that cities and towns like ours make possible by providing landfills and incinerators.

This is not a new problem: the Throw-Away Society with its rising tide of disposable products has been a concern for generations.

What is new is the global impacts. We are about to enter into a very rocky period of human history: the end of cheap oil and the unpredictable effects of climate change caused by our profligate use of oil.

We have become dependent on people in poor countries to supply us with the food and products we buy, use up, and throw away. Those people are now leaving their workplaces and joining in food riots. They are hungry because we have disrupted grain markets in a desperate effort to fuel our cars with ethanol. We are starving them to feed our cars.

The new container terminals and perimeter roads and incinerators may all be idled if the people we count on to fill them with cheap goods don't have enough to eat.

Will prosperous cities like ours have the courage to break the cycle of waste? Or will we build 19th Century infrastructure to allow it to continue?

Who will decide?

1 comment:

Tygogal said...
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