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[GreenYes] Re: [ZWIA] Connett and Leonard to stir things up in Vancouver next week

Thanks for the announcement, Helen:

Congratulations!  This will be a wonderful test of the Product Policy Institute's overall theory of how to get to Zero Waste.  Good luck to you as you try to slay the incinerator dragon(s) using EPR as your sword.

We recyclers beat our incinerator in 1982 by going to the voters with an initiative and the slogan "Give Recycling a Chance!"  I know from Australian and New Zealand experience that parliamentary systems have nothing comparable to the voter initiative.  Probably Canada is similar.  It's too bad, because you can use the voter initiative to bypass elected officials and make law directly.  We do it all the time here in California. 

Even the threat of an initiative can make law.  That's how Berkeley's zero waste ordinance was passed.  A Zero Waste Initiative had been written and was getting ready for launch, but the Mayor and Council heard about it and passed it on the consent calendar at a regular City Council meeting.  

On the other hand, you can pitch the issue as resource conservation versus resource destruction.  We did that to great effect here, as our slogan implies, and we helped the public defeat at least 8 more incinerators in the Bay Area during the 1980's.  Materials recovery enterprises led the fight against the incinerator in Berkeley; we said it was unfair competition for the discard supply that we wanted access to in order to grow our businesses.  We said the huge upfront capital cost would force limits on us, and might even compel government to put us out of business so they could keep the incinerator going to pay off the financing.  

Sure enough, when the voters said no to the incinerator option, all sorts of recycling businesses grew and proliferated and differentiated into an interlocking industry of niche operators that is currently very powerful and a major employer.

The Product Policy Institute's view of recycling as a subtle way to enable wasting might get you in logical trouble here. 

In my humble opinion, after Annie and Paul depart you need to ask some experienced large-volume hands-on recyclers to come in and make the case that clean reuse, recycling, and composting is the conservative course for Vancouver to follow, not wasting by burning.

Dan Knapp
Urban Ore, Inc., a reuse and recycling business since 1980

On Jun 19, 2008, at 4:17 PM, Helen Spiegelman wrote:

For months, metro Vancouver has been quietly putting the pieces in place to build as many as six shiny new incinerators here.... but help is at hand.

The stars have aligned to bring both Annie Leonard and Paul Connett to our town next week. We are looking forward to a keynote address by Annie at the Recycling Council of BC's annual conference and no less than three public appearances by the tireless Connett, one downwind, one in a host community, and one right in downtown Vancouver.

Helen Spiegelman
Zero Waste Vancouver

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