Volunteers clean up garbage: Mass cleanup shows extent of illegal dumping
The Powell River Regional District has initiated the first steps to move as a community off the wasting path and onto the zero waste path. Zero waste is a philosophy that many regions have adapted in response to the astounding amount of waste being generated and the increasing cost associated in “transferring” this waste. The visionary goal of zero waste encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused and reintroduces ethical and moral components into the equation.
The bottom line is, we must all take individual responsibility for the waste that we create.
This is no doubt a strenuous and at first a seemingly impossible task. Help is on the way. A Waste Management Education plan has been devised by BHC Consulting, a firm that is rooted in sustainability, to encourage and provide resources to assist individuals and our community as a whole in the mission to reduce our waste. This design will be reviewed by the regional district and council members and the launch of the program is scheduled for this April.
Highlights of the preliminary design of the Waste Management Education Plan (WMEP):
- Creation of a Compost Education Centre
- Let’s Talk Trash website and a Waste Environmental Resource Directory
- Student participation in SD#47 and with VIU, focusing on the establishment of an efficient recycling program
- Providing waste management services at community events
- CJMP Let’s Talk Trash radio show, a bi-annual newsletter as well as monthly articles featuring tips on innovative ways to reduce and reuse regular household items
Through research here in Powell River it has been determined that up to 40% of regular household waste can be composted! 33% of that is food waste, 8% is compostable paper products and 3% is wood and yard wastes. Composting can divert a significant amount of materials out of our waste stream, which we transport down to Washington State. Apart from composting, becoming a conscious consumer is another direct approach to addressing this issue today. The WMEP encourages encourage consumers to first re-think their purchasing decisions, consider reducing the waste created, reuse whenever possible and finally recycle all items that are recyclable.
The aim of the Waste Management Education Plan is to deliver an innovative, memorable, educational program that focuses on sustainable waste management strategies. Subsequently, working together, sharing information, helping each other along the way and supporting such efforts as zero waste will replace the wasting paradigm.
A local consulting group has successfully bid on a solid waste management education plan contract offered by Powell River Regional District.
BHC Consulting won the contract, which flows from the regional district’s solid waste management plan. Coco Hess and Abby McLennan are BHC.
Hess said she is known as the Lund dump-run girl, because she runs a weekly run to Augusta Recycling and the waste transfer site.
“I love to deal with trash” said Hess. “I’m passionate about how we manage our waste, mostly because in the last three years, since I’ve lived in Lund, I’ve really decreased the amount of waste.”
Around 250 people hit the back roads and streets of the Powell River region on Saturday, April 30 to pick up garbage and clean up other people’s messes.
Among the items collected were the usual assortment of household garbage, mattresses, couches, mill felt, appliances and the usual number of discarded baby diapers found anywhere from in garbage bags to thrown into the woods. McLennan said that after three years of Trash Bash it takes an extreme find to surprise her, but for anyone new she said they would be shocked at the kind of things people seem to think are okay to toss anywhere.