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[greenyes] Update on Zero Waste Initiatives in Canada
I have been requested to post the following to give everyone an idea of some
zero waste
initiatives that have happened and are happening in Canada.

My newly revised report "Discarding the Idea of Waste: The Need for a Zero
Waste Policy Now"
includes the following examples of zero waste initiatives in Canada. The
report can be accessed
as both an html or pdf document my web site

. In British Columbia, Canada, the Town of Smithers
( and
the Regional Districts of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)
(, Cowichan Valley (,
Nanaimo ( have embraced the
concept of Zero Waste and adopted it as a policy. The RDKB endorsed the
of zero waste in November 2000. The new strategy, called ?Bringing Zero
Waste to
Kootenay Boundary ? A Strategy for a Waste Free Future? provides a blueprint
moving from concept to implementation. It consists of eight initiatives to
be pursued
at the local level and ten initiatives involving local government efforts to
change at the provincial level. The strategy is broad-based, targeting
materials efficiencies in businesses, local economic development through
recovery? and public policy renewal to facilitate the development of a zero
. Normandy Daniels wrote a paper for the Regional District of Nanaimo
"Thinking for the Future: The Possibility of Zero Waste in the Regional
District of
Nanaimo" in May 2001 which is available at
. British Columbia has an active Zero Waste Working Group that is a
committee of the
Recycling Council of BC. (See The
site has a Zero Waste Toolkit for Local Government designed to assist local
governments in evaluating the benefits and feasibility of using zero waste
as a
framework for resource management planning. There is also a discussion paper
(Zero Waste One Step at a Time - Benefits and Applications for Retail
introducing the concept of zero waste as a tool to assist retail and other
types of
businesses to increase their economic efficiency and move towards long term
. Information on how zero waste can benefit the local economy and provide
new jobs
is featured on the Zero waste North Website
. Mountain Equipment Co-op (Canada's leading supplier of quality outdoor
gear and
clothing) has embraced sustainable business practices and demonstrates
in social and environmental responsibility. The senior manager of MEC's
centre has created a number of reduce and re-use initiatives which has cut
amount of incoming plastic film by 95%, reduced paper use at DC by 75%, and
changed packing tape and pricing labels to more environmentally friendly
alternatives. (See
. "Zero Waste 2005" is Annapolis Royal's low-tech, cost effective, locally
and very successful waste management initiative. To achieve its waste-free
this Nova Scotia town implemented its "Only in your Backyard" project in
1999 to
facilitate the on-site composting of waste. Using food/waste digesters
Cones), along with traditional backyard composting units and Earth Tubs, the
majority of households can now dispose of all food and yard wastes on-site.
means Annapolis Royal is able to dispose of its organic wastes within the
limits - an achievement that delivers significant cost savings to the
community. The
program won a Sustainable Community award from the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities in 2001. (See
. Toronto city council has adopted the following mission statement: The City
Toronto?s Integrated Solid Waste Resource Management Process will be
to be flexible enough to incorporate new, environmentally sustainable
that will move the city towards the ultimate goal of "zero waste." A
proposed action
plan would see zero waste to landfill achieved by 2010.
. The Québec Action Plan for Waste Management, 1998-2008 is a blueprint to
from waste disposal to resource recovery over the decade and to target zero
in order to conserve resources for the benefit of present and future
. The Zero Waste Action Team ( is a cross-section of
Ontario industries and institutions interested in reducing waste and
impact in Thunder Bay and the Lake Superior Basin, Ontario.
. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is phasing in a Zero
Waste Program in all federal government facilities in the National Capital
Area. The
program began April 2, 2001 in the cafeteria at the 395 Wellington Street
building in
Ottawa. The Zero Waste Program encourages federal departments and agencies
reduce the quantity of non-hazardous solid waste being sent to landfill,
reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste. In order
assist federal departments and agencies in setting-up and/or improving solid
management programs, information, and expertise is provided in the areas of
waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. (See
. Milton Hydro in Milton, Ontario has a goal of zero waste and emissions
. The success of Bell Canada's Zero Waste program was given national
exposure on
CBC TV's "Nature of Things" and CTV's "W5" in 1993. The Environment Canada
Eco-Action and the Ste. Foy Regional Chamber of Commerce presented Bell with
awards for its program. In 1994, Bell's Zero Waste program earned two major
awards - the "Mérite environnemental" award from the Québec Ministry of the
Environment and the "Prix de reconnaissance du mérite environnemental" from
Québec City Conseil régional de l'environnement. Bell's program is aimed at
diverting non-hazardous residual materials, such as paper, cardboard, glass,
and aluminum used during administrative activities, from landfills. The
company has
actively promoted the application of the 3Rs principles to their employees.
A data
collection process is in place that enables Bell to track results on
progress and the
efficiency of the Zero Waste program in each location. Beyond recycling,
efforts also encompass programs to reduce and reuse; the overall consumption
paper has been reduced by 38% since 1991. In 2000, more than 8,900 laser
toner cartridges were returned to Bell's supplier to be refurbished.
. DuPont Canada has a goal of zero emissions and zero waste generation.
. The 1995 Halifax G-7 Summit had a zero waste program during the high-level
meeting with a goal of diverting 85% of potential waste materials generated
at the
Media Centre and special event sites during the G-7.
. SaskPower launched a Zero Garbage (Zero G) program in 1993 at its offices,
plants, switching stations, and transmission facilities throughout
. BC Shipper Supplies Ltd. has a corrugated cardboard box plant in Delta
practices zero waste loss. All process trim is reused.
. The East Prince area on Prince Edward Island launched an aggressive source
separation program in 1994. By 1997, diversion reached 65.5%.

But wait, there's also more good waste reduction news from Canada:

Since the release of the province's Solid Waste-Resource Management Strategy
in 1996, Nova Scotian's are now sending 50% less waste to municipal disposal
Halifax went a step further with its recycling and diversion programs,
diverting over 60
per cent of its waste. It achieved this by embarking on a "green bin"
program whereby
Halifax residents collect compostable household materials for biweekly
collection. Over
100,000 households in Halifax were provided with a large green bin for
curbside pickup,
and a small green bucket to keep in their kitchen. Food waste such as
vegetables, coffee grounds and even meat, as well as yard waste, paper
towels, and
wood shavings may be collected, something not possible in most recycling
The organic waste is transferred to a compost facility where it is "aged and
cured" for a
few months. The end product is rich brown mulch, ideal for lawns and

The City of Edmonton has developed a Waste Management Centre that
incorporates the concepts of recycling, composting and limited use of
landfill. It is
unique in the world in that it features a wide range of leading edge waste
facilities in one location. This state-of-the-art facility uses the City's
household waste
and biosolids (sewage sludge) as resources to create compost. Together with
established recycling programs it enables Edmonton to divert about 65% of
residential waste from landfill, more than any other major Canadian city.

Guelph, Ontario's innovative two-stream, wet-dry recycling program began in
1995. Residents and businesses that receive curbside collection service
separate their
waste into wet materials (which includes food scraps and other compostable
such as diapers, pet litter and dryer lint) and dry materials (recyclables).
In April 2002,
Guelph started to co-collect wet-dry and wet-waste materials on alternating
weeks.  The
waste component includes anything that is not recyclable, reusable,
compostable, or
hazardous. The city is achieving a 58% waste diversion with expectations the
improvements will reach higher levels.

In addition, don't forget to look at the web site for
more inspiration.

Michael Jessen
Zero Waste Services
5635 Highway 3A
Nelson, BC V1L 6N7 Canada
Office Phone: 250/229-4621
Home Phone: 250/229-5632
Fax: 775/587-9838
E-mail: zerowaste@no.address

"If you're not in favour of Zero Waste, how much waste are you in favour

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