Moving Towards Zero Waste in BC

A clinic Tuesday explored resources for local governments to pursue zero waste. From the implementation of plastic bag bans to encouraging the construction industry to think upstream during procurement and purchasing, waste management was explored with an emphasis on reconsidering all steps in a product’s life with the goal of reducing or eliminating waste.

Councillor Sue Maxwell of Whistler spoke on how the BC Intermunicipal Working Group on Zero Waste has submitted a Convention resolution calling for the Province of BC - one of only 2 provinces that have not done so yet – to implement a Zero Waste Strategy. Their recommendations include demonstrating the business case for industry and communities to pursue zero waste, and enhancing Extended Producer Responsibility programs that drive industry to move from a linear economy to a circular one, where reusable waste and recycling become primary resources for new production.

National Zero Waste Council Chair, Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond, outlined how the Council collaborates with business, government and communities to act on national and international levels to drive waste prevention initiatives upstream. The Council works to enable cities and businesses to be competitive globally by illustrating the business case for preventing waste. Their two key strategies are to change how goods are designed and produced, and to drive behaviour change across all sectors. The Zero Waste Council’s annual Convention will be held in Vancouver on November 1st.

Harvinder Aujala with the Recycling Council of BC described how RCBC evolved from a hotline, to a website and smartphone app to help people identify how to recycle almost everything. RCBC operates through partnerships and the sponsorship of a handful of municipalities who have embedded the RCBC widget online on how to recycle, which has reduced local governments' burden of responding to questions in-house.

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