British Columbia leads in waste reduction
(NC) From October 21 to 27, residents of British Columbia will be participating in Waste Reduction Week by taking simple actions to reduce their waste.
According to the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC), Canadians generate approximately 30 million tonnes of garbage every year and only recycle about 30 per cent of that material. Fortunately, that figure is about to change for the better.
Evidently, B.C. is one province that is doing its part to make a positive impact on the environment. Through its recycling regulation, the province is at the forefront of the extended producer responsibility (EPR) movement – an approach that is based on industry taking responsibility for establishing a recycling system for its products at end-of-life.
“British Columbia is a leader in industry-managed recycling programs. In fact, we have access to the greatest number of these programs in the country,” says Darrell Clarke, president of the Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA). “By increasing public awareness of these programs, we hope to encourage more and more people to responsibly and effectively recycle as part of their regular routine.”
It began in 1970 when British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in North America to establish a mandatory deposit-refund system for soft drink and beer containers. Today, there are 17 active industry-led product stewardship programs in the province. From antifreeze and tires, to lamp and lighting equipment, many associations are dedicated to providing responsible recycling solutions for an expanding list of products.
Clarke points out that ElectroRecycle is a program dedicated to the recycling of small appliances and power tools. Introduced by CESA in 2011, this not-for-profit province-wide initiative is the first of its kind in Canada and the only government-approved small appliance and power tool recycling program in B.C.
ElectroRecycle celebrates its two-year anniversary in October. As of June 2013, the program has collected more than 4.5 million kilograms of electrical products. The benefits of such a program extend well beyond quantities collected. Statistics Canada reports that in 2008, total expenditures on solid waste management by local governments were $2.6 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over 2002.
"There's an important economic factor to consider," adds Clarke. "Programs like ElectroRecycle help reduce the costs of waste transportation, landfilling and incineration."According to Brock Macdonald, the chief executive officer of RCBC, "The province recognizes the importance of these programs and their role in achieving long-term sustainability. As such, it has mandated the creation of recycling options that allow us to keep products out of landfills, while at the same time recovering valuable resources for use in new products."
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