The Swift Life

Feature Friday: Zero Waste Station

For this Feature Friday I was able to speak with Janet Zhu of the North Shore Recycling Program. While scrolling through their website something in particular caught my eye – The Zero Waste Station! This is such a cool idea; take a look at our Q&A about the station below.

Q: Where did the idea behind the Zero Waste Station come from?

A: In an effort to educate people to reduce waste, we tried to help them see how much waste they were producing. So we started the waste audit program in schools, homes, and the office showing people how much waste they produce and how much of the waste was avoidable and recyclable. It naturally evolved into supporting zero waste events by providing the tools.

Q: Have you seen a big difference in waste reduction since introducing this station?

A: Yes. Instead of dumping everything into the garbage cans, the organizers now have the tools to divert the recyclable items into separate streams. It hugely reduced the garbage going to the landfill from these events.

Q: Who is eligible to borrow a waste station? Is this available only in North Vancouver?

A: Anyone, resident or organization can borrow the stations, as long as the event is on North Shore, which includes the city of North Vancouver, the district of North Vancouver and the district of West Vancouver.

Q: How much does a waste station cost?

A: It’s free! You borrow all the supplies you need from the depot. You can also print off all the signage yourself if you want to make your own station!

Q: What else does the North Shore Recycling Program consist of?

A: The North Shore Recycling Program (NSRP) is the Recycling and Waste Reduction Department for the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver. We manage a number of recycling services for North Shore residents – Single-Family Blue Box Recycling, Multi-Family Blue Cart Recycling, Green Can/Yard Trimmings Collection for single-family homes, a Recycling Drop-off Depot and Community.

Q: What do you think is the biggest obstacle in getting the word out about recycling?

A: We have many channels to advocate our mission. We talk to the public through Facebook and community events. There are regular ads on North Shore News. Every year, we send out tens of thousands of collection calendars with extensive information on recycling to residents. The real challenge is actually in changing people’s behavior.  With the trend of zero waste in public places, offices and schools, recycling I hope one day will become second nature just as what is happening in Japan now.

Q: What are some of NSRP’s goals for the next couple years?

A: Unfortunately, with the three municipalities going their own way, NSRP will be winding down at the end of year. There will not be an overarching program to cover all three cities. Each city will have its own program and focus. We hope this will be able to better meet the needs of the residents in each specific city.

Fear not Vancouver! Just because these municipalities are going their own way does not mean the fight against plastic will vanish. If you’re outside of the North Shore area make sure to check out what’s going on in your community as well. Bring the Zero Waste Station to your next event!

– K

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