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

Friday, May 2, 2008

Is this Zero Waste?

This picture will be of historic interest someday.
It will show how we managed recycling before we became a Zero Waste society.

People will look at this picture and laugh ruefully. Weren't people clueless then! Those were the days when recycling was just an extension of your public garbage service. No wonder people treated that paper like garbage.

In the Zero Waste Communities that are yet to come, "recycling" will be liberated from the Garbage & Recycling Department and integrated into the commercial core of the community.

Recycling shops will occupy cozy storefronts and clean indoor premises rather than being relegated to a derelict corner of a parking lot.

Discards will be "goods." They will be handled carefully, sorted, traded, upgraded. Specialized shops will be able to give you top dollar for your discards, or lose business. Recyclers will entice customers with daily specials.

There will be Designer Recycler outlets specialize in Name Brand products to be returned, repaired or replaced. There will be unique outlets specializing in a particular line of goods: paper products? plastic products? electronics? hardware? athletic equipment? sewing notions? used books? kitchen gadgets? office supplies? bike or auto accessories?

There will be Discard Malls where a whole range of recycling centres will be clustered, one-stop-shopping for cleaning out the garage or the basement ~ or finding that item you need.

This will happen when cities and towns stop competing against private recycling services, but instead use their zoning and economic development powers to encourage the emergence of stores like Urban Ore in Berkeley (closer to home visit Jack's in Burnaby), consignment stores, second hand shops, bottle depots, used book stores...

The evolution to a Zero Waste society will happen when we get our Engineering Services departments working on food waste composting and hand over the recycling file to the Community Planning department.

Planners will help us make recycling part of the fabric of our community, a way to grow the tax base and create jobs, a way to attract tourists, a way to tap into local assets and express the community's unique style and character. And a way to eliminate landfills.

pic: Gibson Park Plaza Recycling Depot, operated by the Sunshine Coast Regional District


Vanessa said...

It is a really nice positive thought that our society won't be wasting valuable materials at this rate for much longer. Urban Ore sounds like way too much fun...

Anonymous said...

how'd you get a lazy building manager to WANT recyling in our building?
Our garbage is overflowing with recyclables. I have to go to a neighbour and ask to use their blue carts to recyle.