We've packed so much content into #RCBC2018 this year that we considered getting delegates time machines instead of a program app. What started as seven sessions has now grown into nine, with more than 30 presenters and a keynote speaker. Topics include extended producer responsibility, residential and commercial recycling, organics, textiles, construction waste, communications, public education and engagement, and a whole afternoon on the most underappreciated R in the pollution prevention hierarchy – reuse. Did I mention repair? That’s in there, too! If RCBC was a university, we could hand out degrees to delegates after absorbing all this information.
Did I mention there's a tour? A beverage container program public consultation? How about the RCBC Environmental Awards? Oh - there will also be a wine wall that's not to be missed. Twenty-four bottles of some of BC’s most succulent wines will be available for raffle, and every ticket’s a winner. There’s even a 50-50 draw. By attending, you could profit financially as well as intellectually, so we’ve got all the bases covered. (No, there isn't a slow pitch tournament - we didn’t have time to set that one up.)
Despite this almost overwhelming amount of programming, we’ve still managed to set aside lots of time for everyone to engage in some quality networking. There’s the welcome reception on the first day, with plenty of time left over for one to wander into the village for dinner and drinks. On day two we’ve set aside an hour and a half for lunch, a couple of 30 minute refreshment breaks, and another reception to mix and mingle before the gala banquet and awards acknowledging the milestones achieved in our community this past year.
Need more time? There will be another reception right after. That can be your prelude to another fun evening at a certain favourite village hotspot where you can dance the night away. But don’t stay up too late, because there's breakfast bennies on Friday morning to kick off your final day at #RCBC2018. Our extended communicate-a-thon is the big event Friday, followed by a wrap-up session providing you with the key takeaways, just before hugs, goodbyes, and a bagged lunch to get you on your way home. If you choose to stay and relax a few extra days, we’ve got you covered as well, with special room rates extended into the weekend.
Early bird registration ends April 13 - we're looking forward to seeing you this May at the Westin in Whistler.
Chief Executive Officer
We are pleased to announce the program highlights for the 44th Annual RCBC Conference: A World Without Waste at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler BC from May 30-June 1, 2018.
Wednesday, May 30
Opening Tour: Whistler Reuse-It Centre and Regional Recycling Facility (limited to 80 spaces)
Session One: Re-Visioning Canada's Recycling Industries
In a don’t-miss opening session, industry thought leaders examine the opportunities present within international markets to control flow and process collected materials on a grander scale. They’ll openly discuss their ideas, concepts, and concerns, encouraging delegates to engage one another through impromptu discussions over the three days in an ongoing dialogue meant to explore possibilities and opportunities to lead.
Thursday, May 31
Session Two: EPR-a-Licious Part 1; The Latest on BC’s Recipe for EPR
Senior Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Hear from senior analysts working on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in BC and the Ministry’s continuous work to improve Canada’s leading system for product stewardship.
Session Three: EPR-a-Licious Part 2; Some Menu Suggestions for Added Product Stewardship
Veronica Bartlett, Morrison Hershfield, & Paul Henderson, Metro Vancouver - Mattress Recycling
Lauren Quan, Tetra Tech - Practical Waste Diversion Options in the North
Beata Tymoszejko, Diabetes Canada - Better Practices in Textile Reuse and Diversion for Municipalities
Session Four: Recyclemania; What Comes Around, Goes Around . . . if you do it right.
Tamara Shulman, Tetra Tech & Jeremy Reid, EIT - Success Stories and Lessons Learned from the IC&I Sector
Sarah Miller, RecycleSmart Solutions - Enhancing Solid Waste Diversion in a Retail Environment
Cinci Csere, Sea to Sky Removal - Deconstructing Construction Waste Program Summary
Keynote Session: Reuse and Sharing Economies
David Van Seters, Sustainability Ventures
Session Five: Reuse-a-Palooza: Reuse & Repair; The Sharing Economy Part 1
Vanesa Timmer, Reuse and Repair Initiative
Chris Diplock, The Thingery
Angela Hamilton, Quupe, App Assisted Community Sharing
Session Six: Repair-a-Rama: Reuse & Repair; The Sharing Economy Part 2
Andrew W. Clendinneng, Furniture Bank – Your Used Furniture Will Change a Life
Mary-Em Waddington, BC Technology for Learning (BCTL) - Computers for Schools Program, Repairing and Reusing Technology for Learning
Cheryl Skribe, Whistler Community Services Society - Whistler’s Unique Re-Use-It and Re-Build-It Centres
Session Seven - Organomics; Food Waste
Nicki Casley & Nick Kiss, Bokashi Living - Retaining the value in your food "waste"
Julie Hordowick, Regional Municipality of York - Good Food Program
Friday, June 1
Session 8 - Communicate-athon; Communications, Public Education, & Engagement
Mark Rowlands & Cheryl-Dean Thompson, Global Enlightening Enterprise - Inspir-A-Change, A Positive Engagement Process
Mairi Welman, District of North Vancouver - Community Outreach and Engagement
Jennifer Pereira, Organization Fluent Motion Inc. - Engage & Educate with the "Powerful Story" Technique
Closing Session: Re-Visioning Canada’s Recycling Industries; The Takeaways
On the final day, industry thought leaders reconvene to share key points from discussions over the course of the conference. Re-engaging with delegates, they’ll ask for input to identify takeaways for everyone to consider as part of collective efforts to revitalize and re-imagine a new vision for Canada’s recycling and resource recovery sectors.
Louis Pasteur once observed that chance favours the prepared mind. While that was in the context of scientific discovery, at #RCBC2018 the chances presented are about opportunities. At our 44th annual zero waste conference, we want you prepared to "Rethink a World Without Waste."
This year we will be focusing on reuse, which provides a wide spectrum of diversion opportunities and economic activities that are more sustainable and circular. We'll kick things off on Wednesday afternoon with a tour of the internationally recognized Whistler Re-Use-It Centre and neighbouring Regional Recycling Depot. Then we'll convene back at the Whistler Westin Resort and Spa to discuss change and innovation. A select panel of sector leaders will explore the future of waste and recycling in Canada. As the impacts of China’s restrictive waste import policy reshapes the recycling landscape across North America, markets may never be the same. But is that a bad thing? Engaging delegates to examine and identify the leverage points within our situation, panelist will pose some pointed questions:
That’s only part of day one. At least six more information-packed sessions will follow. Thursday will start with coverage of B.C.’s EPR with stewards and key analysts from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. That session will be followed by presentations from industry leaders developing new and innovative technologies.
We'll delve deeper into reuse in the Thursday afternoon sessions. An expert in the sharing economy and a successful sustainable entrepreneur, David Van Seters will deliver a keynote on a vital industry sector that is both an underutilized diversion mechanism and a primary component of the circular economy. With Canada’s gross domestic product just north of $1.5 trillion USD, our $16 billion reuse sector represents one percent of GDP and is expanding. David will set the stage for two full sessions on innovative reuse and its potential for growth.
Friday will be dedicated to communications, public engagement, and change management from thought leaders in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. Throughout the three-day event, we're confident that you will find significant takeaways from #RCBC2018 to apply in your community. So join us and share the experience of being prepared to rethink a world without waste. See you in Whistler May 30-June 1.
CEO, Recycling Council of BC
Why are reuse and repair important?
By reusing items that are still in good condition and repairing those that are not, we are able to conserve resources by reducing demand for new products. These practices prevent the creation of waste in a number of ways. Products are diverted from landfill and recycling streams, and the waste produced through production, packaging, and transportation of new products are avoided. While British Columbia already has an established reuse economy with a range of reuse options available throughout the province, access to repair services is less widespread.
Reuse: The Current Landscape
Reuse provides an opportunity to extend the life of a good in its original form. Typically, items for reuse need to already be in good, re-sellable condition in order for them to be accepted by reuse organizations or sold privately.
British Columbians have a range of options for reuse of goods. Many charitable organizations operate thrift stores as part of their fundraising programs and accept a range of goods in resellable condition, including clothing, books, electronics, and reusable household items like furniture and cookware. Reuse websites like Surreyreuses.com, Craigslist, and Kijiji offer online classifieds for individuals to sell their unwanted items. Reusable building supply stores offer options for building materials in good condition that are excess from new construction or that have been salvaged.
Many municipalities and regional districts also host reuse events and provide facilities for the reuse of items. Some host Reuse Sheds and Share Sheds where residents can drop off reusable items for others to pick up, while others hold annual events such as the Nanaimo Reuse Rendezvous, the RDCK Trash to Treasure Day, and Burnaby’s City Wide Garage Sale Days.
Reuse can also take a more creative form in creative reuse or repurposing, through which an item can be reimagined and reused for a new purpose. This can be as simple as using an empty candle container as storage, or as complex as building furniture items from salvaged wood flooring.
The Future of Reuse
While British Columbia has a robust reuse economy, there are opportunities for expansion and improvement. Reuse of building materials, through green salvage and reusable building supply stores as well as organizations like the Habitat for Humanity ReStores, exists in limited capacity throughout the province. Construction, renovation, and demolition waste continue to be significant contributors to landfill garbage, with opportunities to improve waste diversion through reuse of salvaged materials.
Repair: The Current Landscape
Repair allows for the extension of the life of a good that is no longer in good or usable condition. This can be as simple as replacing a button on a shirt, and can be complicated enough to require specialized professionals.
There are a number of organizations, both local and global, that hold repair events and workshops. These events provide tools and other resources to enable individuals to make simple repairs with support from knowledgeable volunteers.
Repair Cafés are part of a growing global network aiming to provide opportunities for individuals to learn to make simple repairs. Most of the items brought to these events are small electronic goods, bicycles, and clothing, and these events provide information, tools, and support to help people learn to repair those items themselves. Similar repair events are offered by a range of other community groups throughout the province, such as Repair Matters in the Greater Vancouver area.
Barriers to Repair
Many items that are repairable may not be repaired due to a lack of access to repair facilities, a lack of repair knowledge or access to knowledgeable tradespeople, or a lack of availability of necessary parts, equipment, or information. Organizations like thrift stores and charities who accept second-hand items for reuse often do not have sufficient resources to repair damaged or otherwise unusable items that are donated to them. Often, this means that these donations are disposed of as garbage when they cannot be sold or reused.
Often, products are manufactured in such a way that repair is challenging or impossible, and repair using third party parts or not through the manufacturer may void any warranties. Planned obsolescence occurs when products are designed with an artificially limited lifespan, leading to items being disposed of prematurely and potentially making those items more difficult to repair.
The Future of Repair
As of January 2018, 17 U.S. States have had Right to Repair legislation introduced, proposing that whoever purchases a device should be able to easily repair it. This legislation generally proposes that manufacturers be required to make repair manuals, parts, tools, and diagnostic software available to consumers. Though no such legislation has been introduced in Canada for consumer goods in general, there is a right to repair agreement in place for vehicles, titled the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard. This agreement provides a framework for manufacturers to provide information regarding service and repairs to the automotive aftermarket industry, particularly applicable to repairs involving software reprogramming and updates.
There are many opportunities to improve access to repair in British Columbia. There are several examples of a policy to incentivize and improve access to repair around the world, which could serve as example for potential policy in BC. In Sweden the VAT (Value Added Tax) for repair services has been reduced from 25% to 12%, beginning January 1, 2017, in order to encourage residents to repair broken items rather than replacing them. France passed legislation in 2015 making planned obsolescence illegal, and also has legislation requiring manufacturers inform customers how long replacement parts will be available for their products. In 2017 the European Union Commission made recommendations for making repair and spare parts more available to consumers, specifying that essential components like batteries should not be fixed into products, and that spare parts should be made available at a fair price.
Learn more about reuse and repair at the 44th annual RCBC Zero Waste Conference held in Whistler from May 30 – June 1, 2018. Register today at http://www.rcbcconference.ca.
Thank you for supporting the 43nd Annual RCBC Conference - Summit of Solutions. We thank all of our delegates, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors. You all made #RCBC2017 an extraordinary event!
In order to continue to provide progressive programming at our annual conference, we would appreciate your feedback from this year's event. Below you will find 2 survey links to provide your input and feedback. The surveys should take about 10-15 minutes to complete.
General Conference Survey
Speaker Presentation Survey
Speaker presentations will be available by Wendesday June 28, 2017 on the RCBC Conference website.
Thank you for your time and support. Look forward to seeing you for #RCBC2018!
The conference registration desk in the Emerald Foyer opens on Wednesday, June 21st at 9:00 am and will remain open during presentation hours for the duration of the event. The registration desk is information central, so feel free to pop by with any questions you may have. Our staff would be more than happy to help you. Pick up your delegate name badge here when you arrive.
Bring your name badge at all conference events. This is your ticket for the Gala Dinner and also if you have signed up for the Friday Take Home Lunch. At the back of your name tag is quick-guide schedule and your complimentary drink tickets.
All conference sessions will be in Emerald Ballroom AB. The trade show is located in Emerald Ballroom C and the Foyer.
#RCBC2017 is going electronic again this year! Get your conference information through these platforms:
Create a profile on the RCBC Conference Event App and connect with others easily.
Venue RemindersAddress: 4090 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4
Check-in at the Westin Resort Whistler is 4:00 p.m. The hotel can provide you with checked luggage service, freeing you to explore the area until your room is available.
Parking at the Westin Resort Whistler
Underground self-parking at the Westin Resort Whistler is currently available for $30.00 per night and Valet parking is $34.00 per night. Parking fees are subject to change. For additional parking options in Whistler, check this page.
Meeting Room Internet Access
You can download the 2017 RCBC Delegates List to help you network.
If you plan on leaving early on Friday, June 23rd and would like a take-home lunch, please let us know. We can have your lunch ready earlier in the morning.
Network at the trade show! Located in Emerald Ballroom C, the Wednesday and Thursday receptions and session breaks will all take place here. It will open at 12:00 p.m on Wednesday, June 21st and will remain open for the duration of the event.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for conference updates before, after, and during the event. #RCBC2017 is the official conference hash tag - follow it for all latest conference happenings.
Read up the Circular Blog
From our Factsheet Series to prime you on the sessions and Conference Reminders, visit the The Circular Blog the #RBC2017 website.
Be sure to download the Conference App! Find speaker, exhibitor and sponsor bios, as well as a detailed conference schedule...all at your fingertips. Create a user profile to connect with other delegates!
There are various ways you can get to Whistler from the Lower Mainland:
Pacific Coach Lines 1-800-661-1725
Perimeter Whistler Express 1-877-317-7788
Greyhound Coach Lines 1-800-661-8747
Whistler Mountaineer 1-888-687-7245
HWY 99 Road Updates 1-604-775-1100
It looks like the weather will be clearing just in time for some beautiful days in Whistler. For the latest forecast info click here.
If you’ve got some spare time in Whistler, take full advantage of all that’s available. Activities, dining, and adventures abound – find yours.
There’s no dinner provided on Wednesday evening, but not to worry – Whistler has plenty to offer no matter what you’re craving. Check out dining options in Whistler.
Thank you for your support of our event. We look forward to seeing you in Whistler!
In BC, Compostable Organics make up the largest component (up to 40%) of the waste stream.
The following materials can be diverted from the waste stream through composting: food waste, animal bedding, biosolids, brewery and winery wastes, domestic septic tank sludge, fish and hatchery wastes, manure, milk processing waste and whey, poultry carcasses, red-meat waste, untreated wood residuals and yard waste, according to BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR).
Composting facilities in BC are now required to have a permit or operate under an approved Waste Management Plan issued by local government if they process food waste or biosolids and produce over 5000 tonnes of compost per year. Smaller facilities will not require a permit but still must comply with OMRR. The permitting process is to increase transparency and put site-specific requirements in place to manage potential issues such as environmental impacts and odor issues.
There is no provincial ban for organic waste in BC; organic waste is managed at
the regional district level. However, the Ministry of Environment has a target of 75% of the province’s population being covered by organic waste disposal restrictions by 2020. Organics bans have been implemented in three regional districts (covering approximately 64% of BC’s population); the primary focus is food scraps and yard trimmings. There is also a growing list of communities with curbside collection of food scraps.
Processing Organics in BC
Compost facilities in BC range from; simple open-windrow operations carried out at landfills, to covered fully aerated static piles, to enclosed forced aerated composting systems, to facilities that use anaerobic digestion technology to produce energy from organic feedstocks. The City of Surrey is expected to open a biofuel facility in 2017, which will be the largest of its kind in North America. This facility will provide renewable natural gas for its waste collection vehicles and for heating and cooling Surrey’s City Centre as well as produce a high-end compost.
Onsite or locally based composting is an important part of organic waste diversion for yard trimmings and food scraps and provides additional benefits. Benefits include decreasing transport to regional facilities and easily accessible compost to enrich local landscapes and gardens. The University of British Columbia is an example of a closed-loop system where food scraps are collected at campus buildings and private residences, and are deposited at an in-vessel composting facility on campus. Controlled accelerated composting occurs in an enclosed system that eliminates the risk of odors and pests.
In many other communities, backyard compost bins are provided at reduced rates. Organizations such as the Compost Education Centre in Victoria and City Farmer in Vancouver provide educational programs and resources to get individuals and organizations started, engaged, and self-sufficient with composting.
Contaminants in organics can result in more materials going to garbage. Small contaminants that break down or are not screened out contaminate finished compost, which can eventually release materials into the environment. Plastic bags, disposable coffee cups, glass, pet waste, and fruit stickers are common contaminants. Common contamination rates of 2-3% may seem low, however rates are weight-based and organics are relatively heavy compared to contaminates, which are often plastics.
Plastics marked compostable or biodegradable such as bags, cups or cutlery can cause confusion. Most compost facilities cannot process these materials and consider them contaminants because they lower the value of compost.
Public complaints relating to odors can halt compost operations or prevent new facilities from opening. Another challenge, particularly in BC, is facilities in close proximity to residential land, particularly in mountainous areas where habitable land is limited.
Food Waste – A Big Opportunity
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is wasted. Producing wasted food:
Occupies almost 1.4 billion hectares of land; greater than the total land areas of Canada, India and Sudan combined
Produces a carbon footprint of 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2; third top emitter after USA and China
Uses about 250 cubic kilometers of surface and groundwater; equivalent to over 10X the volume Okanagan Lake
In Canada, much of the food waste occurs from consumers buying too much and throwing away what they do not eat. According to the National Zero Waste Council, 47% of food waste comes from consumers, with the remaining bulk of the waste occurring in processing (20%), retail stores (10%), farms (10%), hotels and restaurants (9%).
Initiatives are developing to reduce food waste – organizations such as Food Stash Foundation and Quest Food Exchange accept food from grocers and restaurants that would otherwise be disposed, and instead distribute it to those in need.
Recent BC Ministry of Environment Waste Composition Studies found that approximately 25% of residential waste discarded is avoidable food waste. For residents with curbside food scraps collection programs, 50% of organics were avoidable food waste. This demonstrates significant opportunities to reduce household food waste which can save resources and improve sustainability.
Learn more about organics waste and diversion at the 43rd annual RCBC Zero Waste Conference held in Whistler, BC from June 21-23, 2017, as industry professionals from the government, non-profit, and business sectors discuss developing a provincial collaboration. Register today at www.rcbcconference.ca.
Download the PDF Version
Illegal Dumping is a universal problem faced by communities everywhere. By sharing practices and principles that have met with positive results, we’re hoping to create a pool of resources for greater effect on combating illegal dumping here in BC.
This past spring, RCBC released a survey on Illegal Dumping and here is a summary of the results and we can all use as a primer for Session 1 of #RCBC2017 on Illegal Dumping.
Respondents: Local Governments (n=18)
Organizations Attending #RCBC2017
Abbotsford Community Services
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
AtSource Recycling Systems
BC Bottle and Recycling Depot Association
BC Ministry of Environment
BC Product Stewardship Council
Bert Monesmith and Associates
Blue Planet Recycling
Busch Systems International
Call2Recycle Canada, Inc.
Canada’s National Brewers
Canadian Battery Association
Canadian Plastics Industry Association
Capital Regional District
Carey McIver & Associates Ltd.
Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society
Cariboo Regional District
CasCell Trading Group Inc.
CESA/Panasonic Canada Inc.
City of Burnaby
City of Coquitlam
City of Guelph
City of Kamloops
City of Nanaimo
City of New Westminster
City of Port Coquitlam
City of Port Moody
City of Victoria
City of Williams Lake
Coast Mountain Bus Company
Coast Waste Management Assoc
Comox Valley Regional District
Corporation of Delta
Cowichan Valley Regional District
Craig Foster and Associates
Dillon Consulting Limited
District of Mackenzie
District of North Vancouver
District of West Vancouver
Dream Rider Productions
Eco Entreprises Quebec
EcoSafe (Plastics Solutions Canada Inc.)
ECOTAINER Balers & Containers
eCycle Solutions Inc
Encorp Pacific (Canada)
Environment & Climate Change Canada
Ermeltek International Services Inc
Evergreen Office Spaces Ltd.
Fluent Motion Inc.
Glacier Media Group
Green by Nature
Health Products Stewardship Association
London Drugs Limited
Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable
Maura Walker & Asscociates
Metlakatla First Nation
Ministry of Environment
Nanaimo Recycling Exchange
New West Gypsum Recycling
North Coast Regional District
Northern Environmental Action Team
Peace River Regional District
Plexus Recycling Technologies
Powell River Regional District
Recycling Council of Alberta
Recycling Council of Alberta & ARMA
Recycling Council of BC
Recycling Product News
Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Regional District of Central Kootenay
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine
Regional District of Nanaimo
Rehrig Pacific Company
Republic Services Inc.
Resort Municipality of Whistler
Retail Council of Canada
Richmond Steel Recycling
Ridge Meadows Recycling Society
Ronin8 Technologies Ltd
Shaw Industries Inc
Sierra International Machinery
Sierra Waste Services Ltd.
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District
St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District
Sunshine Coast Regional District
Tetra Tech Canada
The Kidney Foundation of Canada BC & Yukon Branch
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Tire Stewardship BC
Township of Langley
Universal Handling Equipment
Urban Impact Recycling
Vitreous Glass Inc
Waste Management Association of BC
Waste Management of Canada
Waste Solutions Canada
WCS Waste Control Services Inc.
West Coast Reduction
Willowbrook Recycling Inc.
Why has textile recycling become a major point of discussion within the recycling community?
A waste analysis conducted in Metro Vancouver in 2015 revealed that the average resident tosses about 42 lbs of textile waste annually and textiles make up 5% or 30,000 tonnes of waste at Metro Vancouver disposal facilities. Where is this textile waste coming from? North Americans on average are buying five times as much clothing when compared to 25 years ago. This could be in direct relation to the concept of “fast fashion.” Today’s consumer wants to keep up with the latest trends. This demand has led to the creation of cheap clothing brands that release new items every couple of weeks. With changing trends and high demand, products tend to be of poor quality and manufactured with synthetic materials that are not made to last, making them disposable in nature.
The 3 Pronged Approach to Textile Diversion
Options for textile recycling are quite limited at this time. Most textile recycling programs use a 3 category sorting system;
Rewear - gently used clothing is sold or given away for second hand use
Repurpose - cut into rags and cleaning cloths for industry
Recycle - material is turned into fibres and used as stuffing or insulation
H&M clothing stores have become one of the options for garment recycling. H&M launched a garment collecting initiative across the world in 2013, and since have collected more than 32,000 tonnes of clothing. That is more fabric than is needed to make 100 million t-shirts. Surplus items are donated to The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles & Apparel that looks at new technologies to recycle a greater percentage of clothing fibres into new clothes.
Trans-Continental Textile Recycling Ltd (TCTR)
This Surrey based company has been collecting unwearable clothing through bins set up across the Lower Mainland. Every day their sorting facility recycles nearly 60,000 lbs of textiles and converts 8,000 pounds of unwearable cotton into rags for industry. TCTR recycles a variety of knitted clothing including wool and acrylics. Non-wearable items are sorted into varying grades of quality, a “pulling” process is used to turn the clothing back into thread and the thread is then used to make new clothing and textiles.
During Earth Week 2017, the City of Markham passed the first bylaw in North America, that bans textile waste from being placed into residential garbage. As an alternative, the City will be setting up donation containers in partnership with Diabetes Canada and Salvation Army stores, where residents can take their old and worn out clothing. Purses, belts, single socks, shoes, bedding, towels, and even pillows are also be accepted. Gently used items will be resold throughSalvation Army stores and worn out textiles will go to secondary markets for recycling. By the end of 2017 the City will have over 50 bins set up across the community along with 60 bins placed in multi-family units. They are hoping to divert 1,000 tonnes of textiles from the landfill.
What are the barriers preventing a textile ban in the Lower Mainland?
The Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee conducted a study to determine the feasibility of a textile ban, and what opportunities exist for textile recycling in the region. They found that most diversion in the region is in the form of re-use and down-cycling, where the material is made into rags and insulation. At this time, there are no locally available options for recycling textiles at the end of life. Due to the lack of recycling options, they found that a textile ban would not be feasible at this time. A ban may lead to charitable organizations being overrun with unwearable items that would leave them to incur the banned material surcharges when disposing of items at local landfills. Metro Vancouver is currently reviewing programs and policies in other jurisdictions, surveying local reuse markets including donation bins and thrift stores, conducting research into closed loop textile recycling technology, and observing loads delivered to transfer stations to determine which loads would incur a surcharge.
Could Creating a Circular Economy for Textiles be the Solution?
Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) conducted a study to look at creating a circular economy in the fashion and textile sectors in Vancouver. A circular economy puts a focus on waste prevention through keeping materials infinitely in circulation. This would reduce the amount of textile waste heading to local landfills and reduce the amount of energy used and waste generated during the production process. A circular economy could lead to new local green jobs, create profit streams, and possibly allow companies to be more adaptable with changing overhead costs.
Through their research, VEC devised 10 ways local governments can encourage a shift to a circular economy:
Create EPR program for textiles
Ban textile waste from landfill
Encourage research and development for textile recycling
Facilitate textile collection programs
Encouraging the uptake of recycling infrastructure
Educate the public about textile waste
Implement pilot take back programs
Educate designers about the lifecycle impacts of clothing
Provide financial incentives and green credits for businesses that reduce waste and practice sustainability
Enable local manufacturing and encourage regional material loops
Netherlands based company Mud Jeans uses a circular economy model for their business. Mud offers a leasing program for their jeans. Customers simply pay a membership fee, order the jeans, and when the jeans wear out, customers mail them back to Mud. The customer can order a new pair, while old jeans are either re-sold as a vintage pair or broken down into fibers and recycled into a new pair of jeans.
Learn more about textile recycling at the 43rd annual RCBC Zero Waste Conference held in Whistler from June 21-23, 2017, as industry professionals from the government, non-profit, and business sectors discuss developing a provincial collaboration. Register today!
Canada's Longest Standing Recycling Council