Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
When this opportunity is announced in a Staff Report to Council next September, now many Mayors and Councillors are going to ask their staff:
- Will we have to track the amount of materials that come in, so the producers can submit that info in reports to the province as required under the law?
- Are they providing the data-management system and training to do this? How many FTEs are they providing to do this ?
- How many different kinds of packaging are we going to be tracking? The province will want to know about the performance of all the different kinds of packaging. They'll want to know which packaging is pulling its weight in the program and which is not, so we can put pressure on the producers of poorly performing packaging to choose a more environmentally friendly design. That's the point of EPR, right?
- Will this program require us to build a MRF (sorting plant)? Upgrade the one we have so it can sort more materials? Will there be restrictions on the percent of "residuals" that the MRF produces -- the stuff that gets thrown away because is not actually recyclable? (And by the way, how many residuals are coming from our municipal program right now?)
We are organizing a Campaign for Real Recycling for September. It is going to hold producers to even higher standards of transparency and performance than we have held our own cities. It's no longer good enough to tell us to put it out on the curb and not know what the real recycling achievements are.
We want to know where everything is going and what is being done with it. And how much it's costing us as consumers.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
It's all in a staff report that will go to Vancouver City Council next week.
The report acknowledges that over one-third of our waste is compostable food scraps and food-soiled paper, that this yucky stuff produces greenhouse gases in the landfill, and that we have to get these materials out of our landfill if we want to meet our GHG reduction targets.
This means we have to change our ways, all of us. At home and at work.
The good news is that everybody I talk to is eager to change. The only complaint I've heard about the first phase of the City's composting program (which began just over a year ago) is that apartments and condos were left out.
The report asks Council permission to embark on Phase Two: a cautious pilot program.
Two percent of the houses in Vancouver, along with a small sample of carefully-chosen businesses and apartment houses, will get a chance to set out all their food scraps for composting instead of putting them in the garbage. The City will collect the composting containers every week.
The pilot will start up this fall. Once the 6-month pilot is complete and the City staff have analyzed all the data they intend to collect about the pilot program, they will come back to Council again and ask permission to go City-wide with the new program.
City Council and the cautious engineers who deliver our waste management services need reassuring words from us.
Come to Council Chambers next Thursday, 9:30 am, and let them know you are ready to take this big step.