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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Editor of Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine puzzled by Metro's plan

Guy Crittenden is the long-time editor of Canada's premier recycling magazine, Solid Waste and Recycling, which is read by solid waste professionals all across North America.
Guy wrote to me yesterday about exciting developments in Ontario and Quebec.

Basically, the two provinces in central Canada with the largest populations and largest economies are adopting the very strategies that we pioneered here in British Columbia almost two decades ago. They are putting in place framework legislation similar to our Recycling Regulation that shifts responsibility for waste from local municipalities to the producers of products that made the products (called EPR or Extended Producer Responsibility).

Along with a firm commitment to EPR, these two governments are committing serious money ($650 million in QC alone) to help municipalities beef up their composting infrastructure.

I wrote back congratulating Guy and the citizens of Ontario and Quebec on this success -- and mentioned that here in Lotus Land our largest municipality is preparing to send our EPR programs up in smoke.

Here is what Guy wrote back to me:

Why would Metro Vancouver go the incineration route when the rest of the country is starting to (finally) embrace producer responsibility?

He went on: "BC has been the leader for some time in Zero Waste/EPR and it seems that Metro Vancouver is undermining the provincial policy.

Crittenden says that the draft Ontario waste diversion plan also makes it clear that incineration cannot be counted as 'diversion' (as VANOC is regrettably doing! -- more about that later).

The Ontario government's message is clear that large mass burn units won't contribute to a municipality's or an industry's waste diversion program.

(Metro's Draft Plan actually opens with a suggestion on page 5 that "the conventionally defined" diversion rate includes source separated material that is used as fuel being considered 'recycled.' Prudently, Metro stops short of counting burning as recycling in its plan, but it is clear from the Plan that this is the direction our regional engineers want our province to go.)
Pic: Editor's Blog, SW&R

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