Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Canada (115)

Many Canadians are recycling wrong, and it’s costing us millions

CBC News / Emily Chung / 06 April 2018

Canadians are throwing too much garbage into their blue bins, sometimes out of laziness or ignorance, but sometimes with the best of intentions. And it’s costing recycling programs millions of dollars a year.

Even a few spoonfuls of peanut butter left in a jar can contaminate a tonne of paper and make it unmarketable — destined for the dump. Same for that glob of yogurt left in the bottom of the container.

“It’s shameful, it’s awful. In some instances almost one in three pounds of what goes in a blue box shouldn’t be there,” says Mark Badger, executive vice-president of Canada Fibers, which runs 12 plants that sort about 60 per cent of the curbside recycling collected in Ontario.

Contamination is the technical name for non-recyclable material or garbage in the recycling system, from leftover food in containers to non-recyclable plastic packaging to more obvious garbage such as clothing and propane tanks.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Vancouver targets straws, bags to cut down on plastic garbage

Globe and Mail / Mark Yuen / 04 April 2018

Plastic straws are among the items in the crosshairs as the City of Vancouver develops a strategy to cut down on plastic and Styrofoam waste by placing restrictions on single-use disposable cups, bags, takeout containers and utensils.

The city says it costs about $2.5 million per year to collect single-use items from public green spaces and waste bins, and its strategy contains proposals to reduce, reuse or recycle the offending items.

In its strategy, the city says plastic straws and stir sticks make up about three per cent of shoreline litter in Vancouver, while Canadians throw out about 57 million straws every day.

Some Vancouver businesses, including the city’s aquarium, have already phased out the items, while Victoria is set to ban straws in July, following the lead of Montreal, which abolished them in January.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

New map shows just how hot hometowns could get this century

CBC News / Bryce Hoye / 4 April 2018

An ambitious new mapping project gives Canadians a chance to peer into the near future and visualize just how hot a warming climate could make their own backyards over the next 80 years.

“The impacts are startling,” said Ian Mauro, co-director of the University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre, which launched its Climate Atlas of Canada on Wednesday. “Part of this map is data, but part of it is storytelling.”

The atlas includes documentaries of how Canadians are trying to adjust to present-day effects of global warming and a robust interactive map that lets users zoom down on any one of 2,000 towns or cities across the country to see how climate change is likely to change local landscapes between now and the end of the century.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Your lifestyle is making blue box recycling unsustainable

CBC News / Emily Chung / 27 March 2018

Our changing lifestyles over the past few decades have dramatically altered the types of materials we put in blue bins.

And that’s led to flatlining recycling rates and ballooning costs for municipalities across Canada that are struggling to cope with the changes.

“It’s a really a perfect storm of crazy stuff going on that means that the blue box has huge challenges that it did not have 10 years ago,” says Maria Kelleher, principal of Toronto-based Kelleher Environmental, a consulting firm specializing in waste reduction and recycling research, strategy and program design.

The problem is that we’re now throwing out a huge variety of new types of packaging — mostly plastics, sometimes glued to other materials like metals — that recycling programs were never meant to deal with. Meanwhile, the materials that they were designed to collect, sort and resell make up a shrinking proportion of what comes in.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Power utilities forced to adapt to wilder weather

CBC News / 15 March 2018

The increasing intensity of storms that lead to massive power outages highlights the need for Canada’s electrical utilities to be more robust and innovative, climate change scientists say.

“We need to plan to be more resilient in the face of the increasing chances of these events occurring,” University of New Brunswick climate change scientist Louise Comeau said in a recent interview.

The East Coast was walloped this week by the third storm in as many days, with high winds toppling trees and even part of a Halifax church steeple. Nova Scotia Power says it has weathered nine storm days so far this year — up from four in the same period last year.

Significant weather events have consistently increased over the last five years, according to the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), which has tracked such events since 2003.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Western Canada’s risk of water shortages rising

CBC News / Erin Collins / 14 March 2018

It’s a situation that, if prolonged, could lead to the kind of water shortages being seen in Cape Town and parts of California in recent years.

“That kind of extreme water shortage hasn’t happened here, but it’s not impossible that it can,” he says, noting that the shortages facing Cape Town today were once unimaginable.

Glaciers are also an important part of the equation, and receding ice sheets are affecting annual water cycles in the West.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and work collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.

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