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

Monday, April 21, 2008

Council of Councils learn about garbage, not recycling

Gosh, if you had a chance to get all the councillors from the 23 municipalities in the Lower Mainland in the same room to learn something new about waste ~ in the context, of course, of the Zero Waste Challenge ~ wouldn't you think there'd be something to talk about besides burning and burying garbage?

But, darn-it-all, that was the opportunity squandered this past weekend, when Metro Vancouver convened the Council of Councils for its first meeting in a year.

Here we are, trying to imagine a path to a world without waste, and our regional authority responsible for planning offers three speakers who address, respectively:

  • Processing garbage through mechanical and biological treatment;

  • Incineration of garbage;

  • Gasification of garbage.

The middle topic was dubbed reassuringly "traditional technologies" guiding the good aldermen and women into viewing striped smokestacks as benign monuments on the urban landscape. Sort of like the church steeples of yesteryear.

Why weren't the speakers talking about the next great challenge in waste reduction: food waste composting. While we're busy building incinerators, the regional district of Nanaimo has just completing a successful pilot of food waste composting.

In 2000, when Metro Vancouver was laying down $4.5 million for a hundred-year landfill, Halifax launched a full-scale composting program that cut their waste by fifty percent within months.

Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto... why are they able to not only talk about Zero Waste, but do something about it? Is it a new set of politicians we need, or a shake-up in Metro Vancouver management so they stop steering us down the path of burning and burying.

Wouldn't it be fun to get busy solving the waste problem instead of talking about ways to prolong it?

No comments: