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

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Will Vancouver come from behind to win gold?

You might have noticed I took 2 weeks off. It was time well spent cleaning the garage -- and watching the unfolding of our remarkable Olympics from a distance.

When I left my desk back in the darkness of February, when the Olympics were still a legitimate subject for whining, the one bright spot was that Metro Vancouver's incinerator plan seemed to be coming off the rails.

There was no more "landfill crisis" driving the construction of garbage burners because the province extended the life of the Cache Creek Landfill. On top of that, the recession had clearly taken a big bite out of the garbage. I learned today that the shipments of trash to Cache Creek are down from forty truckloads a day to 28. Cities that had foolishly invested in incinerators are running out of fuel.

And now I come back to my desk, flush from our community's truly endearing success hosting the Winter Olympics (Transit is Fun!) and, like everyone else, I am feeling that we are capable of achieving great things.

The first email I open this week tells me that the City of Vancouver is going to hit the ground running and bump Port Coquitlam from the top podium in Zero Waste. A staff report will go to Vancouver City Council tomorrow setting out a 3-step program for cutting our waste in half.

By this time next year, residential garbage service will be scaled back from weekly to bi-weekly. How will we do it? By getting serious about food waste. Vancouver has drunk the kool-ade, as they say. PoCo got off the blocks first, but we are going to come from behind and win gold.

Kelly Sinoski reports in today's Vancouver Sun that the field of contenders in the Food Scrap Composting race is getting crowded, with a half-dozen cities rolling out new programs. But what will give Vancouver the edge, based on this report, is the staff's recommendation to seriously beef up communications and "community based social marketing."

What drives excellence in any race is good training. It looks like the City is ready to invest in helping us Own the Podium.

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