Where would a waste-to-energy company be without waste?
Sometimes public servants have a similar blind spot, except in their case it comes not from the promise of profits but from public expectations that "there will always be waste" and it's the city's job to make it go away. The chance to be involved in the development of a state-of-the-art architecturally-designed incinerator brings stars to the eyes of traditionally trained waste managers.
Our own Metro Vancouver received a scathing write-up this spring in the cover story of Canada's national recycling magazine Solid Waste and Recycling for its own co-opting of the Zero Waste brand by stretching the concept, as Plasco does, to include waste-to-energy incineration.
But everything eventually comes back to the neighbourhood.
Will voters in next November's civic elections support candidates whose campaign promise is to build trash burners in their backyards?
Or will they demand good policy instead of techno-fixes:
"What's truly radical about zero waste," writes Barber, "is that it simply ignores the never-ending ruckus over the safest technology to deal with the alleged 'garbage crisis.' By focusing on policy and economics instead - banning throwaways and making producers pay for their own waste - zero waste makes landfills and incinerators essentially unnecessary.... As a pipe dream, this one is hot as can be."