Source Separation helps municipality increase Diversion rates

Great to see increasing diversion success in Guelph – adding organics to their current source separation program added a 19%+ diversion to their current rates, jumping them up to almost 70%.

Aiming to hit targets of 70% by 2015 –Metro municipalities can look to success stories like Guelph and others, where source separation ensures clean recycling streams and highest possible recovery.

As the Metro Vancouver region is currently engaged in discussion around best practices and optimal models for recycling, it is encouraging to see that many other municipalities focused on diversion are sticking to source separation.

See Nicole’s comments in her blog post, another local recycling company supporting best practices for diversion and recovery.

Nicole Stefenelli @ Urban Impact: Guelph achieves 67% waste diversion

Solid Waste Magazine: Guelph tops waste diversion ranking: WDO

 

 

Zero Waste Conference

Last Wednesday, Metro Van held its annual Zero Waste conference yesterday with the theme of ‘re-thinking our waste’.

The conference focused on 2 areas:

  1. Cradle to Cradle design and innovation for a circular, closed loop economy
  2. The problem of food waste, both ‘pre-consumer’ (i.e. food that expires or we throw out before it gets to our plates) and ‘post-consumer’ ( i.e. prep remnants, plate scraping and leftovers) for Metro’s 2015 food scrap bans in the landfill

Keynote speakers included Dame Ellen MacArthur Continue reading…

Trash Talk #11 – Dr Braungart

BoC Dr Braungart 2Last night, on the eve of Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Conference (www.metrovancouver.org/zwc) , the Board of Change (www.boardofchange.com ) hosted a Round Table conversation with the German chemist turned ‘Cradle to Cradle’ prophet, co-founder of EPEA (Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (www.epea-hamburg.org), co-author of Re-making The Way We Make Things, and keynote speaker at Metro’s 2013 Zero Waste conference, Dr. Michael Braungart.

It was a close up conversation, with room for only 40 Board of Change members to attend. 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…

Folk Festival 2013 – the results are in!

IMG_2418Another successful Folkfest has wrapped for the year and the numbers are in!

As many of our clients and TrashTalk readers know, Recycling Alternative and Folkfest have been partnering for over 15 years together to do some serious trashbusting and ensure the FolkFest’s trashprint is light on the planet and makes both organizers and festival goers alike feel great about being part of the solution!

Every year the Recycling Alternative and FolkFest Environment team meet in the weeks leading up  to prepare the waste reduction plan for the site.  Together our aim is to: Continue reading…

Earth Day All Year Long at Windermere School

Recycling Alternative has been working with students at Windermere Community School for the past few years by providing recycling and composting services for the Earth Day celebration at Grandview Park.  We are always impressed by the hard work they put into the event each year and so we wanted to share the many other accomplishments the students have managed.  The guest blog below was written by students Aaron Leung and Jonas Recuenco.

BIUGIQVCQAEDPc3Windermere has received several awards and been recognized by organizations such as the City of Vancouver, Environmental Youth Alliance, David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, CCPA, Wildernesss Committee, BC Hydro, Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, Evergreen, BC Greengames (2 time winner), Global Agents for Change, Youth Ventures and many more, for our ability to engage youth in meaningful ways in projects we have worked on in the past, along with current endeavors. Some of these include: 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…

Trouble with trash leads YWCA award winner to become sustainability leader

BC Hydro News
June 29, 2012

Sourcehttp://www.bchydro.com/news/conservation/2012/ywca-award-winner.html

“Every so often in life, something hits you in the head like a ton of bricks,” says Louise Schwarz, founding partner of Vancouver-based Recycling Alternative, explaining the epiphany that led her to develop some of Vancouver’s most innovative green community solutions.

In 1989, Louise was visiting a friend in Seattle and was amazed by their advances in recycling. It might seem strange Continue reading…

Trash Talk #7 – The Cul de Sac’s and On Ramps of Social Change

Last week’s SCORAI conference (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) brought together over 100 academics and practitioners from many parts of the USA and Canada, to discuss the challenges of sustainable consumption, dematerialization, and what we need to do in practical terms to get there.

Among those gathered was Annie Leonard (Story of Stuff) who talked about ‘cul de sacs’ and ‘on ramps’ as telling metaphors on the trajectory of individual behaviour modification and the pressing need for broader, collective social change.

Continue reading…