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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer reading for citizens and politicians

Last week Metro staff presented two reports, totalling nearly 350 pages, that open up a whole new conversation about how we should manage our waste while we ramp it down to Zero.

Suddenly there are 8 options on the table. It's great news because one of them is really promising.

Metro's original plan was to shut down the Vancouver landfill and replace it with incinerators. This provoked the City of Vancouver, which owns the landfill and had looked forward to another 40 years of service out of it.

But Metro's new Option #6 proposes that we use the Vancouver landfill as planned, but pretreat the waste to make it safe before we put it in the landfill.

The pre-treatment process is called "Mechanical Biological Treatment" or MBT. This process is widely used in Europe to comply with strict landfill rules there designed to deal with the climate impacts of landfills.
European and U.S. environmentalists support MBT because it provides an alternative to incineration. It addresses the worst problems with landfills, while retaining the benefit of a disposal system that can be ramped down over time.

All of the region's politicians are gathering on June 27th in a "Council of Councils" meeting to hear a presentation about this report. Zero Waste Vancouver is preparing some questions for them to ask the consultant who did the study. If you can go to this meeting, do so! It always makes the politicians sit up straight when there are citizens in the audience.

Metro will be organizing a consultation with the rest of us in the Fall. These 2 reports will make good beach reading for wasteheads, so we can come back to work ready to help shape a really good solid waste management plan for this region. If you have thoughts as you read the report, post them here. I'll be reading them during breaks from fixing up an old house in Montreal with our kids.

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