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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Port Coquitlam Mayor understands composting, now we just have to help him understand incineration...

Port Coquitlam's mayor looks good in bright green. And he earns his colours with his community's leadership in food scraps composting.

His city was the first in the region to give it a try last year, when he was on Council. Today he was a guest on Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Breakfast panel talking about what it was like to be the Mayor taking heat for showing leadership. This month PoCo expands the program to include all kitchen waste (not just raw fruits and vegetables).

Moore said the biggest pushback was when the City switched the waste collection schedule.

Instead of collecting trash weekly and yard waste bi-weekly, they now empty the food scraps/yard waste bin weekly and the trash every other week. Citizens apparently inundated their Mayor with angry emails.

They saw this as a "reduction in service" -- until Mayor Moore phoned each angry citizen back and assured them it was the same level of service as before -- only better!

They still pick up the stuff that smells bad every week. And, of course, the trash can wait the extra week because there's less of it and it smells great!

I asked Mayor Moore if he didn't think Metro Vancouver should reconsider building big incinerators, now that our waste was dropping so fast. His reply was muddled, but the message came through that deep down he doesn't think the rest of us are going to be such super composters as his citizens (let's just show him!) and he hasn't given enough thought to incinerators to take a clear stand.

I have confidence that Mayor Moore will be a quick study. He will get it that once all the nice clean organics are gone from the trash what's left will be things that we probably shouldn't be burning at all.

Right after the Zero Waste Breakfast, Metro hosted a webinar where Dennis Rannahan said we'd be burning "composites," contaminated waste (meaning: trash that people failed to sort), plastics, textiles... Who knows what's in that stuff?? Do we want to blow it into the sky?

Maybe Mayor Gregor and Mayor Greg should have a chat. Greg can help Gregor get moving on his long-promised food scraps program (words, words, words....) and Gregor can explain why his Vision party rejected incineration on Zero Waste Vancouver's survey last fall.
Then they can both commiserate about the problem where they both committed to make a difference: homelessness.
Make no mistake, the same basic attitudes underlie both our trash problem and our homeless problem. And would we consider putting 30% of the homeless in incinerators?

Pic: Mayor Moore's blog - send him a line.

1 comment:

Marta said...

Unfortunately, Port Coquitlam is picking up all solid waste bins on a bi-weekly basis. It would be a great incentive for diversion to have weekly green waste pick-up; however, I believe the decision for all bi-weekly pick-up was made as a cost-saving measure. It will be interesting to see how citizens react to 2 weeks of organics sitting in their bin.