Expand recycling program to include all Recyclable Materials
Pacific Mobile Depots operates an number of regular depots around the Lower Mainland to collect recyclable materials that are not collecting in the current municipal programs. Residents PAY to properly dispose of material that can be recycled. The City should partner with a private operator to expand the current program if the existing programs cannot be quickly expanded. http://www.pacificmobiledepots.com/services.php
CoV Zero Waste Working Group commented
The cartons (and any material that is not part of the city collection program) are either left behind or the blue box or cart is not picked up. The driver tags the blue box or cart noting unacceptable materials were found.
Janine Brossard commented
@ GCAT - what happens to all the non plastic milk/soya/rice beverage cartons that I see residents put in their blue boxes? I know they are not supposed to be there - do you send them to the landfill after sorting?
Janine Brossard commented
We go through about 3 rice or soya milk cartons a week. That's 156 a year. I would love to see these be available in reusable glass bottles but right now they are not. The City do not collect these and although we save them for dropoff at encorp I do see lots of these in the blue boxes anyway. Do they end up going to the landfill? Is there any chance the City could collect and recycle them?
NOTE: Caroline Farquhar's idea "City wide program for styrafoam recycling" has been merged with this one.
Styrofoam is an exceptionally toxic product - both in the making and in it's post use shelf life. Many large companies recycle their shipping styrofoam - but what about the end use consumer?
As much as I would love to see styrofoam completely banned, we could at least start with a recycling program.
But we should certainly ban styrofoam for grocery display & fast food!!!!
NOTE: Charles' idea "Soft plastics collection" has been merged with this one.
OK - I recycle, all my paper, cardboard, glass, hard plastic containers, compost and then I look at what's left my garbage and for the most part it's bread bags, soft plastics from packaging wraps from packaged goods, etc. So we've taken pretty much everything out of our garbage stream except these soft plastic wraps and bags... this is all I send to the land fill? So the land fill these days must be pretty much all soft plastics? Can we encourage washing and collection of these plastics please??!!!
NOTE: Raymond's idea "Recycle more plastics in the residential blue box program" has been merged wtih this one.
"Lets recycle more plastics in the blue box program."
This is a great idea. Styrofoam releases toxic materials as it decomposes on its own. It is not easily recycleable as it takes more money to recycle it than produce more styrofoam, so there are very limited facilities that accept styrofoam. There is one in Surrey, but you have to drop the styrofoam off yourself and that's styrofoam used for packaging. Styrofoam type 6 (food containers) is not recycled anywhere that I am aware of.
I just read an article about two teens who have come up with a way to decompose styrofoam at a quick rate using bacteria and produce CO2. Maybe this could be looked into and maybe this operation could be used to generate energy similarly to sewage-to-heat systems? I am not an expert but feel that this is something worth looking into.
When did Styroifoam become "exceptionally toxic". EPS Foam may be the answer to all of our energy problems. It's an excellent Insulation Material, better than fiberglass and retains it's great properties for 100's of years.
California has banned styrofoam with great success.
We can collect these types of plastics, but the city needs to develop a program and put it into place to do so.
right now what plastics we can recycle residentially is very limited. once a month i take most of my waste to a mobile recycling depot in the city because my 22 story building with 8 suites per floor only accepts plastics #1 & #2. our dumpster is always full. we need to be able to recycle everything! we need the city to empower and enable us to recycle by accepting all plastics hard and soft including styrofoam, nets, bags, aluminum lined bags, tetra packs etc. i took a poll in my building and an overwhelming majority said they would like to be able to recycle more and create less waste.
www.pacificmobiledepots.com has the list of the mobile depots and dates of when they are in vancouver.
Matt Drown commented
Styrofoam is actually not such a bad product; it is easily recycled and can be used to insulate hot beverages, and prevent shipping damage. It is superior to paper cups as wax paper cannot be recycled. However, very few cities recycle styrofoam, and it takes up a lot of space in landfills. There are now companies offering styrofoam compactors, which can crush styrofoam into small cubes that can be sold to recyclers. The City of Nanaimo is now looking into purchasing just such a product, which they estimate could reduce their landfill volume by 20%. Why can't the City of Vancouver look into such a machine, and include styrofoam as a product to be recycled. The City could then require coffee shops to switch back to styrofoam cups, instead of the wasteful wax paper, which requires more cardboard in order to hold a hot beverage, and takes up tonnes of space in garbage bins.
Matthew Pattinson commented
It is my understanding that when plastic is recycled it gets recycled into a lower grade plastic. This lower grade plastic is probably what is not included in the recycling program; downcycling. Therefore, what are some solutions?
I doubt that Vancouver has the ability to ban packaging with certain plastics. This would also probably diminish the market for recycled plastics.
CoV Zero Waste Working Group commented
In order to truly recycle the materials collected, there needs to be a viable market for that certain type of material. The reason why CoV only collects certain types of plastics (#1,2,4 & 5) is because there is a consistent demand for these materials. For other types of plastics (#3,6,& 7), the demand is very low as there is very limited application for reuse. Therefore, recyclables could be viewed as commodities based on supply and demand.
Like Wes said, the idea of recycling and sustainability is far more complex than most people imagine. Just because it is being collected does not always mean it is actually being recycled.
The issue here is that just because Capers is accepting 1-7, it doesn't mean they are doing anything with it! They're disposal company hauls it away as does one of two things with it. They sell it as a low grade commodity where it is shipped to China or India (what happens to it then is anyone's guess), or it ends up in the landfill or incinerator.
The CofV doesn't accept all forms of plastic because they don't have a viable means to get rid of it. Furthermore, #7 just means "other" which is essentially an infinite number of different blends of plastic.
I love your idea, don't get me wrong. The problem is that recycling, 'green', and sustainability are extremely complicated issues whereby there are no simple fixes.
It's a very deep rabbit hole!
The ban should include: