On a finite planet, waste is a conundrum. When we create waste we're not really throwing anything "out", we're throwing it into an ecosystem, into our very home.
Metro Vancouver generates a lot of garbage: almost three and half million tonnes of waste per year. That is nearly 1.5 tonnes per person every year! That is an enormous amount of waste to landfill or burn every year.
We need to take action to reduce waste in our region. Reducing the amount of waste that we produce will improve our environment by reducing greenhouse gases and preventing further pollution of our air, land and water. Waste diversion does have economic and social benefits through the creation of green jobs and by providing opportunities for local businesses. Diversion, however, is only a small part of a long-term solution which sees resources conserved rather than needlessly used and quickly discarded.
To solve the current waste crisis, SPEC's Waste Team advocates for three main components to divert products from the waste stream and works on projects which help meet these goals:
1. Reducing our waste - The best way to manage waste is not to generate it in the first place; buying fewer products and choosing items with less packaging.
2. Re-using - Re-using products and materials including bags and containers, repairing or donating items to charity and purchasing used goods to reduce waste.
3. Recycling - Recycling products such as paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic through municipal recycling and deposit programs. Disposing of electronic waste through Extended Product Responsibility (EPR) programs and composting food and yard waste.
"Hey! Guess what? Master Recycler Vancouver is hosting a special mini-course for residents of New Westminster in collaboration with the City of New Westminster. Find out more at www.royalcityrecyclingchampions.ca.