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[GreenYes] Towards Zero Waste in BC
- Subject: [GreenYes] Towards Zero Waste in BC
- From: "Michael Jessen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 16:25:28 -0800
I am forwarding the information below which I had earlier tried to submit to
the listserv as an attachment (unsuccessfully). It is from a forward
thinking jurisdiction in British Columbia. Note Raymond's title -- this is
an area that wants to discard the idea of waste.
Michael Jessen (email@example.com)
"Last night the Waste Management Committee of the Regional District of
Kootenay Boundary (in the West Kootenay area of British Columbia) approved
the attached Zero Waste Strategy and instructed staff to prioritize actions
and develop an analysis of the costs associated with implementation.
If anyone has any questions about this please feel free to call me at
1-800-355-7352 (within BC) or 250-368-0232 from anywhere else."
Resource Recovery Coordinator
Regional District of Kootenay Boundary
BRINGING ZERO WASTE TO KOOTENAY BOUNDARY
A STRATEGY FOR A WASTE FREE FUTURE
On November 28, 2000, the Board of Directors of the Regional District of
Kootenay Boundary endorsed the concept of Zero Waste. In doing so they
stated that they believe that Zero Waste can be achieved and that they are
willing to take the path to a waste free, resource-full future. This small
step has great implications for the communities and residents of Kootenay
Boundary. It holds out the promise of a day when there are no landfills
with their associated social, environmental and financial costs. It opens
the door to a multitude of possibilities for the community to transform what
were once liabilities into benefits. But the question remains, “How do we
move from concept to implementation?”
Fortunately for us, there are many others on the Zero Waste path and their
experiences will enable us to move forward knowing to some extent what works
and what doesn’t. Our strategy then will be a fusion of proven techniques
and new possibilities unique to our particular circumstances. The
foundation for our strategy lies in the understanding that Zero Waste is not
only a destination but a journey. We have a goal in mind but we will allow
the pace of our travelling to determine when the objective will be attained.
Kootenay Boundary has in fact already taken a number of significant steps on
the Zero Waste path. Its policies banning recyclable products and yard and
garden waste from landfill, establishing Reuse Centres at the McKelvey Creek
and Grand Forks Landfills, charging variable rate tipping fees and producing
marketable compost from green waste are all Zero Waste initiatives. They
qualify as true Zero Waste programs because they not only divert resources
from landfill but also create economic activity at the local level. By
expanding on these types of initiatives it will be easy to divert even more
resources from landfill and to generate additional benefits for our
But the Zero Waste movement will not be one funded by government. It will
be local entrepreneurs and individuals who will champion Zero Waste. It
will be small local efforts that will add up to a major reduction in waste
and a corresponding increase in local economic activity. Local government
only needs to provide leadership and ensure that bylaws and regulations do
not prevent waste reduction initiatives from happening but rather support
them in any way possible.
Zero Waste entails three important shifts:
1. It asks consumers, taxpayers and local governments to stop thinking of
resources as garbage for which they have to pay to landfill, but to maximize
reuse, repair, recycling and composting instead.
2. It asks business to seek out materials efficiencies; redesign products
and packaging the community cannot reuse, repair, recycle or compost so that
they can be handled that way; and extend their responsibility for the
product and its packaging by establishing take-back, reuse and
3. It asks senior levels of government to shift economic incentives for the
use of virgin resources to renewable and secondary resources and to
facilitate the growth of Zero Waste initiatives.
Build the concept of Zero Waste into all local government undertakings.
Whenever possible all our activities should reflect our commitment to Zero
Waste. Our contracts, facilities and our purchasing decisions can set
examples for the community. Cooperation from all partners in the RDKB is
Work with other agencies such as Community Futures and the Economic
Determine what opportunities for Zero Waste enterprise exist in the RDKB and
act to make them known to potential entrepreneurs.
Ensure that our tipping fee schedules encourage waste elimination and new
resource recovery businesses.
Residents and businesses need to be given the incentive to reduce waste and
recycle through variable garbage rates. The public must have the opportunity
to eliminate their garbage bill if they are to achieve Zero Waste.
If opportunities for economic diversification present themselves, but are
contingent upon restructuring our tipping fee schedule to ensure that
feedstock is directed to the new business, we should do so.
Invest in Jobs Through Reuse and Recycling.
Waste prevention and recycling provides tremendous opportunity to create
jobs and initiate new business ventures. Far more jobs are created by
recycling and reuse businesses than by dealing with the same volume of waste
Phase Out Open Burning at all Landfills.
Replacing open burning with composting will eliminate that source of air
pollution, thereby reducing health risks, improving the quality of life in
our communities and creating a product that can be used locally.
Establish Centralized In-Vessel Composting Facilities
Between 25% and 35% of all municipal solid waste can be diverted to
composting. The end product has good value in the market place and the
process will create local economic activity and employment.
Educate Consumers about the High Cost of Waste.
The public must put pressure directly on corporations that profit from
waste. Through our education efforts the public can be made aware of the
high cost of waste.
Shift the Focus from Industrial Parks to Resource Recovery Facilities.
Also known as resource recovery parks, discard malls, or eco-industrial
parks, these facilities enable materials discarded by the community to be
reused, recycled, and remanufactured. Enterprises would coexist in a cluster
much like an airport or shopping mall.
Local Efforts to Influence the Provincial Government
Lobby the Provincial Government to make Zero Waste a British Columbia
With the year 2000 behind us, we need to set a new goal for waste reduction,
one that recognizes what is achievable and desirable if we wish to create a
Continue to Promote Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Producers and manufacturers must assume the responsibility for recovering
their products and packaging, and ensure that they are recovered for reuse
and recycling. The RDKB’s participation in the Local Government Stewardship
Council contributes to this objective.
Full extended producer responsibility means taking responsibility for the
product and its packaging from cradle-to-cradle, or from the initial
gathering of raw materials, through the manufacturing and marketing
processes, to the return and preparation of those materials to be used
Encourage and Support Design for the Environment (DFE)
Good design ensures that products are produced for durability and that they
are more easily repaired, or produced in modular components that can be
easily upgraded, or produced to be provided on a full-service lease which
includes recycling (such as Interface Flooring's Re-Entry program for leased
It also means designing for the end of the product's lifecycle, so it can be
easily disassembled for recycling harmlessly into nature or its materials
recovered for use in new products.
Lobby for, or if possible enact, appropriate Legislation and Economic
We should be encouraging companies to produce more durable products that
lend themselves to easy repair, leasing of products, and create modular
designs that are more readily upgraded. We need to encourage conservation
and resource recovery, and stop rewarding unsustainable practices that harm
Continue to lobby for Minimum Recycled Content Standards.
Manufacturers need to help ‘close the loop’ by using the materials collected
in local recycling programs to manufacture new products. Such regulation
will guarantee that recycled materials have good value in the marketplace,
reducing costs for local government and encouraging resource recovery
Continue to lobby for expansion of the Deposit/Refund System.
Deposit/refund systems enjoy wide popular support. Our goal should be to
expand on this particularly successful form of Extended Producer
Responsibility, so that all containers fall within the deposit/refund system
whether they hold milk, mayonnaise or tuna fish.
Encourage and Support Full-Cost Accounting and Life-Cycle Analysis.
The benefits of waste prevention and recycling should include a full
accounting of the costs of resource depletion, remediation, and
environmental degradation caused by the alternative: continued reliance on
virgin materials and wasting.
Create a Level Playing field in the Marketplace.
Subsidies favouring the use of primary resources put recycled feedstock at
an economic disadvantage that costs local governments who operate recycling
programs and landfills and encourage wasting of resources.
Lobby the Provincial Government to implement Tax Shifting.
Instead of giving incentives for wasting, we should give tax credits and
economic incentives for reducing waste and utilizing recovered materials.
Tax shifting also reduces corporate and personal taxes thereby encouraging
investment and small business.
Support Campaign Finance Reform.
Much of the resistance to changing resource policies comes from
organizations that profit from wasting. Permitting only resident
individuals to contribute to political parties and campaign funds will
rebalance the levels of influence available to different sectors of society.
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