Require businesses to be responsible for their own waste
Businesses that create large amounts of waste, and in particular those that encourage littering, such as fast food restaurants, should be responsible for reducing their waste - and for cleaning up what is littered onto City streets. While it is indeed the customers that are littering - it's still the businesses practice of creating large volumes of disposable trash that is the source. If they were responsible for cleaning it up and paying higher costs for its disposal, then they might reduce the amount of waste they produce. Only when it becomes more costly for businesses to create waste than to reduce it, will they make the change.
Note: ndrodrigues's idea "recycle waste" has been merged with this one.
make every business (eg: restaurant, mall etc) sort their garbage right away... so much goes to the dump which can be recycled...
Janine Brossard commented
There is so much Dairy Queen, Nats Pizza, Starbucks and other fast food litter along Trafalgar St, and Stephens St. All discarded by the Kitsilano High School children at lunch time. There are bins around but they don't get used. The Principal said that once the children leave the grounds whether they litter or not has nothing to do with the School.
It is well known that while 'residents' work hard at the recycling thing, Corporations, - particularly Restaurants, Retail, Construction, etc - are the largest 'poluters' on the planet.
BAN styrofoam (or at minimum ensure it can be 'easily' recycled)
Make it the LAW: all Corporations MUST seperate and recycle all garbage. Demand fines for companies that do not comply. (rinse paper & plastic and recycle it) This would decrease the stream of unnecesary refuse going to our land fills by at least half.
Make it mandatory that all food stuffs are composted.
The essential beauty of this is it forces the producer of waste to be financially accountable for the costs that would otherwise be incurred by the taxpayer, and at the end of the process, by the environment. We could have waste audited--it would cost no more to the taxpayer than storing the waste anyway, and could even possibly be revenue-neutral.
Steven Forth commented
This goes beyond municipal or provincial and possibly federal jurisdiction, but I believe that if we are to move to a truly sustainable economy our basic approach to ownership and responsibility has to change. One aspect of this is that the person or company that mines a resource, processes it, distributes it, all the way down the line to the consumer remains responsible for all externalities. In other words, one can not transfer responsibility for environmental costs through a sale, the sale would cover only added value, usage and so on. This is a fundamental change to property law, but given the depth of change needed to shift to resilient/sustainable economies in which all externalities are captured into the cost/value equation we need to think more deeply and find new ways to make markets work for us.
i agree that some outlets indirectly produce street litter, and a solution to this is needed. i think this particular version of the idea is going to be pretty hard to implement though.
making them responsible for ALL of their trash items is a hard resolution to enforce, but they do need more recyclable packaging and recycle bins. in fact, there is a huge lack of public recycle bins in general
I agree, mcdonalds doesnt have a recycling program in place for things and it irritates me. In fact i encourage everyone to only buy things that are indeed recyclable.
Steven Forth commented
I would look at a stronger version of this - the company that sells something remains responsible for its recycling or disposal. This obligation would not be transferable but could be aggregated, so that each person (including companies as persons) in the chain of custody is severally and jointly legally responsible for disposal and liable for damages with no statue of limitations. This is not something Vancouver can do but I do think it is a necessary change to our legal system.
Tina Jensen commented
I think this initiatve needs to extend BEYOND businesses, and INCLUDE all people throughout the city in every neighborhood. Perhaps a block party to cleanup the trash in your local neighborhood, as well as businesses taking the responsibility to cleanup around their business. Everyone in this beautiful city should take more pride and make more effort to contribute by picking up trash if they see it (at local bus stops, etc.) - a little goes a long way. Better yet, the City can increase the number of trash containers at the transit areas!
David Hoff commented
I don't frequent coffee shops much, because I don't drink coffee, or fast food joints, because I don't like the way junk food makes me feel, but I do take my kids once and awhile for a "treat" for a steamed milk or an ice cream. It is shocking that Starbucks or McDonalds doesn't have in store recycling or recycling in front of their facilities. Its makes them look even more alien to BC. Get with the program guys! Plus, since they produce tons of waste that consumers take with them, they should be required to have street front recycling and waste bins.
Tamara Shulman commented
Yes reduction is key, but higher garbage costs can also build in incentives for changing procurement practices to not only reduce waste (bulk purchasing etc),. but use easily recyclable or compostable items and have higher diversion rates overall. My understanding is that with Nova Scotia's long term organics ban (from landfill), even the fast food joints have organics collection...