Vent Sesh

I’m going to apologize in advance for this post as it might not be the most positive, but I feel it needs to be said and this is my way of saying it.

I was out and about in beautiful, sunny Vancouver today and I was drinking in to-go cups (I try not to do this regularly) and eating out of to-go containers and didn’t have anywhere to put any of them! Vancouver’s current government is striving to be the Greenest City by 2020 and they’ve made some changes to help us achieve that goal, but I feel that some VERY basic changes are WAY overdue for a city of Vancouver’s size.

1. Compost!! Most to-go containers in this city are now compostable, which is awesome and I applaud the private companies for making the switch; unfortunately, there aren’t any composts to compost these compostable containers in! Riddle me that one people in charge of these things. Apparently people in detached houses have city composting; however, most of the population in this city doesn’t live in detached houses!

2. Recycling in public places. Recently a private recycling company rolled out 60 recycling bins around Vancouver, specifically at parks and beaches, woohoo, it’s about time! So tonight, after enjoying the meal created by playing my favourite game, Salad Bar Roulette, I went to use one of these new bins, only to find out that they’re for bottles and cans only! Seriously!? What is so hard about placing a compost/paper/plastic bin every other bus stop? I know it will be expensive, but so is disposing of unnecessary garbage!

I’ve also heard that there is such a thing as a recycling sorter!? Apparently this means everything goes into one bin and the sorter does all the work! One bin on the streets and one expensive sorter, or multiple bins on the street with the current method. Either way, I’d love a place to put my recyclables when I’m not close to home! And my compost when I am!

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2 thoughts on “Vent Sesh

  1. re: 1 – the city provides waste hauling (garbage & recycling) for single family houses but not for condo/multi-family blgs. so it’s relatively easy for the city to change the service it provides to its own customers. It’s more difficult to get privately owned buildings serviced by privately owned waste companies to change their service.

    re: 2 – there are private groups responsible for recycling certain materials (https://www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/default.asp?lang=en&n=246D12C9-1) – such as ENCORP which represents the beverage container companies – they receive a fee from each container sold to fund their collection & recycling efforts. Since they are being paid to do this, do you still think the city should pay taxpayer money to collect their waste streams? Or do you think these groups should to a better job of doing it themselves? The pilot recycling bins on street in Vancouver are an effort to do the latter.

    re:2 – placing recycling/compost/paper bins on street. If recycling bins have too much of the wrong material in them, they cannot be recycled (unless someone is willing to sort it = expensive). It is difficult to avoid this contamination problem in private recycling & compost bins – can you imagine how difficult it is with public bins? All it takes is a few people who don’t care or don’t understand the system to throw stryrofoam in the compost/recycling bin and it all becomes garbage. Putting the bins out on the street is easy – actually getting properly separated materials is the hard part. No sense doing the former unless you have a solution for the latter, unless you have a lot of money to throw away (installing bins & collecting waste from them is expensive).

    Re: your last point – you are referring to single-stream recycling versus source-separated. there is a lot of debate about which is better (http://www.recyclingtoday.com/Article.aspx?article_id=25326). The summary is: single stream (all in one bin) is easy for people, cheaper to pick up but much more expensive to process (assuming there are facilities in your area that even can), and the end product you get is of lower quality (remember, you have to sell the material to someone to recycle), plus you end up actually discarding a portion as garbage because your facility can’t sort 100% perfectly – so if your goal is to maximize diversion of material, this isn’t doing it.

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