Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Greenest City Action Team delivered a tough but realistic 10-year action plan to Vancouver city council last week.
In adopting the GCAT recommendations, council committed the city to a 2020 target of “40 percent reduction in solid waste per-capita going to landfill or incinerator”.
At the October 20 council meeting, GCAT cochair David Boyd told me that the baseline year for that reduction will be 2007. According to the 2007 Vancouver Landfill Annual Report, our solid waste in that year was 634,844 tonnes. With a 40 percent reduction, barring a huge influx of population, we will send only 381,000 tonnes of waste to the landfill in 2020.
Along with cutting the sheer volume of waste, we’re going to get serious about hazardous wastes, compostable organics (source of potent GHG methane and toxic leachate) and “symbolic sources of trash and litter” such as plastic bags and Styrofoam.
Helen Spiegelman is a Vancouver-based environmentalist and blog coordinator. Read more at Zero Waste.