Eggs-Ellent Eco-Easter Tips

As Easter fast approaches I can’t help but think, not of all that yummy chocolate, but all the unnecessary packaging that comes along with it, and all the waste going to landfill associated with another seasonal celebration. And this is only the waste that we can physically see.Eggs Easter Poster

Canadians consume an average of 5.5 kg of chocolate per person each year. Doesn’t sound like much but when you learn that it takes a full annual harvest from one cocoa tree to produce one tin of baking cocoa (http://fairtrade.ca/en/products/cocoa), it’s even more reason to appreciate every yummy bite of chocolate and consider your purchasing choices.

Here are a few simple ways (can you think of some others?) to
try to celebrate Easter in a more sustainable style:

   Place Fairtrade chocolate on the top of your shopping list. Not only does it help improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in the developing world, fostering a better future for their families and communities, but in addition, Continue reading…

Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy

Earlier in February I was excited to attend a talk at the HiVE by April Rinne, Chief Strategy Officer of Collaborative Lab, on “Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy” presented by an amazing collection of local businesses and organizations (Board of Change, VanCity, Modo, the Sharing Project, and CityStudio to name a few…)SHARINGeconomy 3

“Also known as collaborative consumption and the collaborative economy, the Sharing Economy is the bartering, exchanging, sharing, renting, trading, borrowing, lending, leasing and swapping of goods, services, time, capital, experiences and space by individuals, institutions, businesses and communities.”(Vanessa Timmer)  Sharing resources means spending less – time, money, energy, natural resources, etc.

I hadn’t put much thought into the sharing economy before, but as the talk progressed I realized just how large a piece of my life and work were integrated into this new economic model Continue reading…

Trash Talk #12 – Ditching Dumpsters for Livable Laneways

What’s wrong with this picture?

This is what the dumpsters that regularly occupy the lanes immediately west of Main St between 7th and Broadway, look like when you bring them all together for a big community party!  We were on-site at the Autumn Shift Festival this weekend to provide recycling for a great community event, but instead found ourselves surrounded by dumpsters.

Autumn Shift 9

If you care to count, there are 14 of them occupying 2 short lanes servicing just a handful of businesses. In the daily lives of BIA business members and the public living and shopping in the area, they present an uninviting
landscape in what could otherwise be a beautiful Livable Laneway!

These trashy eyesores are common fare in our city lanes (and in some cases, on our side walks).

Beyond being an undesirable blemish on public spaces that groups like Liveable Laneways would like to banish, in their efforts to transform, animate and re-claim these lanes for public use and interaction, these ‘one size fits all’ dumpsters can be a detriment to recycling, and undermine Continue reading…

Don’t Throw It All Away

BC Homes – Don’t Throw It All Away:
THREE STEPS TO RESPONSIBLE RECYCLING IN YOUR MULTI-FAMILY COMPLEX

Catherine Owen | May 14th, 2013

Source: http://www.bchomesmag.com/dont-throw-it-all-away/

Awareness of the importance of recycling has been growing steadily in the Lower Mainland. Access to recycling facilities has risen since the 1990s, but condo and apartment owners are still at a disadvantage. Some buildings don’t offer recycling facilities. Others have limited options. While single-family homes achieved a 55 per cent diversion from the landfill in 2011, condominiums only saw a 16 per cent decrease in waste. The lack of recycling services means many residents will throw their garbage in the trash can instead, remarks Louise Schwarz of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Challenge. But condo and apartment owners can make a difference. Continue reading…

Less is more in the recycling business

VanCity Investing in Communities – Stories of Impact
Fall 2012

Source: https://www.vancity.com/AboutUs/InvestingInCommunities/Stories/Energy/Recycling/

Some businesses seek to fill the world with their products. But for Recycling Alternative it’s all about getting to zero—zero waste, that is.

More than 20 years ago, Robert Weatherbe offered his friend Louise Schwarz some help to advance her passion for recycling. Today, he and Louise co-own of one of Canada’s most creative recycling companies, Recycling Alternative. Continue reading…

Going car-free with the BC Scrap-It Program

I love my car. Really.

I learned to drive in this car. I moved away to university in this car. I met my husband because he liked my bumper sticker. It’s driven over 200,000 kms, carried dozens of rugby girls covered in mud, and traveled to more parts of this province than most people have probably seen. It’s been towed, ferried, and flooded.

And now I’m scrapping it.

The decision to scrap the car was a tough one. I’ve been debating it for years, but always found an excuse not to. I love the convenience of my car.

It still runs fine! Sure I’ll admit it has transmission problems and costs me a ton to maintain, but I’ve always convinced myself it’s worth it. It’s just that every year (and every major repair) makes it harder to believe. So I’ve decided Continue reading…

Never mind burn/bury, let’s focus on reduction

The debate on whether to burn or bury (our waste, that is) has been raging in the Lower Mainland lately. On July 30, Metro Vancouver voted to take bids from companies offering alternative solutions for garbage, alongside bids from incineration companies (For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Frances Bula summed up the recent history of the debate in Monday’s Globe and Mail). Continue reading…