Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall into our Next Steps

June was a month of garbage for me including a family adventure to the Landfill Open House, and for our own Britannia Green Team we held our first event "First Steps to Zero Waste"

Since then, the green team has been on a break as everyone needed time to have fun in the sun. But now it is fall, school is in and its time to get back on track. :D

We are a variety of municipal and community services, and 2 schools, that are not connected in any kind of holistic way when it comes to garbage and recycling. So the idea of launching a Zero Waste Challenge for the centre and the surrounding communty is just a little bit on the daft side...but I remain fiercely confident that it can be achieved.

We just need to figure out the barriers to achieving the goal first which is what the 'First Steps to Zero Waste' was all about. I invited some folks who like to think big when it comes to waste management and sustainability along for a little tour of the complex and offered up a potluck lunch for us to nosh on while we reflected on what was seen on the tour.

I felt very fortunate to have a few wonderful ladies from Metro Vancouver, as well as David Cadman who is a city councilor who has been engaged in all things sustainable for many years (and a member of the Greenest City Action Team) and Sean who is the Sustainable Schools Project Coordinator for Check Your Head who all came out to explore our potential challenge with us.

Aside from not scheduling enough time to actually tour the whole site (would take a few hours on its own) and the embarassment of finding mold on one of the breads (I had just bought within an hour of the event!) everything went really well.

The objective was to find out what we need to do next...and now we know. Our first big challenge is to map out what garbage ends up where, who is contracted to remove it, and how many different contracts for waste management and recycling services exist throughout the whole complex. There does not appear to be one person who knows it all off the top of their head, so some digging needs to be done to get to the bottom of it all.

Fortunately our friends at Metro Vancouver have sent us a couple of things that will help us get a grip on this information. A 'Garbage and Recycling baseline' form and 'Smart Steps Waste Assessment', both of which need info from all time for our team to pull together!

Another thing the ladies from Metro offered to do was a dumpster dive so we can see the varied types of garbage being disposed of from various areas of the complex. This activity can help us identify areas where we can work to minimize the waste ending up in the dumpsters to begin with. As you can imagine there are not many people excited about that opportunity other than me, but I'm sure when the time comes I'll have recruited some other keeners, hehe.

Other ideas that were tossed out thorughout the day during our First Steps tour were passive lighting changes, roof top solar panels and gardens, a community garden and composting area, better waste recepticles that actually offer recycling spaces for the public (can you believe we don't have that already?!), bulk purchasing for the complex and so much more. What a brimming fountain of ideas and inspiration the small group on that day generated!!

Now the Green Team needs to take action on our next steps in our Zero Waste Challenge for Britannia. After the well received feedback from the staff, society board members, the school board trustees, park board commissioners and city councilors I've shared some ideas with I truly believe it will happen now. And already there are brilliant minds reflecting on all the potential that exists. What's your vision?

Just like the landfill taps into the potential energy created by methane gas from our garbage to provide power for many thousands of people in the Delta area - I want Britannia to tap into the potential power that surrounds us. The power of the people in our community that have always risen to the challenge of making things better :)

No comments:

Post a Comment