Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Clean Bin Project

The easiest way to manage waste is simply not to create any, right? Well, the Clean Bin Project began as a competition between a couple and their roommate to see who could produce the least amount of trash in a year, and their movie highlights how difficult this actually is. Here's the trailer for your break time viewing pleasure.

You won't be surprised to find out these green keeners are Vancouverites, and their web site has lots of great resources on waste reduction for all of us. cleanbinproject.com

One of my favourite posts was the response Jen writes to a question she hears all the time when presenting to students in schools: "What can I Do? I'm only a kid!"

This post has a list of great ideas everyone can do and great ideas some Britannia youth may want to try out. The Green Team is here to help! : )

I have found #6 on the list, which is to do one new thing until it becomes habit (and then another and another...), has been our family key to success in the steady reduction of our waste each year. Plastic reduction became a particular obsession when we did a family walk around our neighbourhood one day (a few years back) to pick up all the plastic garbage we found. After 4 blocks we had 2 full bags of random plastic bits! We try to bring as little packaging into our home as possible, and also to make sure what packaging we do obtain is recyclable. Maybe one day I'll even be able to get my family to do a clean bin project too! How about your household?

What are your favourite tips and tricks for reducing waste at home?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creative views on plastic for you to view

Here are a few video treats to enjoy on your next coffee break.

One Plastic Beach highlights the creative life journey of one couple who make art from the tons of plastic they collect from a 1 km stretch of beach near their home which they have enjoyed since their first date. This clip provides a lot of wisdom and inspiration in under 8 minutes, and might even help you see some beauty in plastic bits washing up on our shores. If only every kilometer of beach had artists lovingly searching for trash they can turn into treasures!

One Plastic Beach from High Beam Media on Vimeo

The Majestic Plastic Bag is a 4 min satirical mockumentary which examines the life of "one of the most clever and illustrious of creatures: the plastic bag".

Then finish off with a very quick Plastic Seduction before you get back to work. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

random recycling we do

In the spring I took a walk around to talk staff in all the areas of the complex and find out what was happening with our recycling for starters.

Here are some photos of some of the random recycling we have around our centre. Aside from the paper recycling bins, the majority of recyclable stuff saved from the trash has been going home with staff as it is not picked up by the City here on site.

The Preteen Centre

The Skating Rink

 In the lane

Hastings Education Centre

The library has an all-star team who not only minimize the waste in their area, they compete on who is reducing their waste the most at home! That's the kind of green team spirit we love!!

Info Centre

For us to improve on all this we need some new containers to keep things organized, and for staff to do their part in making sure things are put in the right containers. Cross contamination and pest problems (like ants!) are easily mitigated by taking amoment to think about what you are putting where and making sure food and drink containers are rinsed. None of us need to be green police keeping a watchful eye on each other if we all take responsibility for what we put in the containers ourselves!

The City of Vancouver is working on transitioning 30 libraries and community centres into Zero Waste zones very soon, and one day Britannia and all the other public sites will be set up too. For now we are implementing things on a trial basis so we can see how much work this actually creates as well as make the transistion easier when its time for us to join in.

Busch Systems is the company that the City has chosen to purchase these waste reduction zone bins from, and they have created a little video to showcase the ease of their systems.

Before we order our bins and get things going, I've been making my way around to all of the various areas of our centre to make sure each area will get what it needs, and looking into various means of pick up for the waste reduction streams to travel off site. I will post more when the system is ready to roll!

One thing the Green Team would love to hear some comments on is how we should deal with bottles and cans?  Currently we have an informal economy of recyclables like these just being left outside for binners to collect as they pass through. (Gone in no time) This is efficient and fulfills a need in our community...so do we bother trying to implement bins and recycle pick up for them?
The students also set up collection programs to make money in the school year, but sometimes this leads to bags of cans accumulating and leaving sweet trails for ants to follow and no one wanting to take responsibility for them while students are out of school...so should we put all of our cans outside for the binners instead?
Don't bottle up those feelings on cans! Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What does your water taste like?

The Britannia Healthy Eating Committee has been exploring healthy vending machine options and wondered if bottled water is really necessary in a facility with water fountains. I stumbled upon this image and wondered if perhaps we should have a water taste test challenge as a means to educate and engage our community on local water quality and plastic waste problem that bottled water creates. What do you think green keeners?