Day 334: Serious Thoughts About Residuals

This week we interviewed City Councilor Marvin Hunt for our documentary.  He sits on council in Surrey, but is also Chair of the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee.

The idea was that we could get a regional perspective on this whole “zero waste” thing that the metro area is flogging while trying to balance the activism undercurrent our film is seeming to lean towards.  (Actually, I think the film might be leaning towards an activism-comedy if that is at all possible, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, Marvin gave us the low down on why reducing is better than recycling and showed us a bag of residuals which is the crap leftover after recycling. Honestly  I hadn’t really thought about this before, but there is a lot of waste and the end of the recycling process.

For example, when you recycle those tetrapacks which are made from a composite of plastic and paper and who knows what else, all the foil liner bits get strained off (I’m sure they have a more technical term for this) and as residual.

And residuals end up in the landfill.

It was definitely a good reminder to us that recycling isn’t perfect and also that we should be looking for packaging that is made of only one material instead of composite materials.  I as pretty surprised to see bits of glass and plastic in the paper residuals.  Contamination is apparently a pretty big issue in the world of recycling.

Which brings me to recycling facilities.  There is this perception that all of our recyclables get shipped overseas, but the more people I talk to, the more local facilities I hear about.  And I think it is really, really important that we have local recycling facilities.

What is the point of putting something in the blue bin if it’s going to get shipped overseas for processing?  Maybe it’s better to save the fuel and energy and put it in the landfill right?

Maybe it’s better not to produce that something in the first place. . .


1 Comment

Filed under recycling

One response to “Day 334: Serious Thoughts About Residuals

  1. I totally agree about residuals!!

    Not only landfill, but some get burnt too!! 😦

    Some paper recycling facilities have incinerators (for what can’t be recycled), & the tetrapak site also proudly claims how ‘a tiny bit’ is ‘waste to energy’ or something like that (nicely hidden in a very remote area of their site!!)

    Great idea about presenting this to people with a bag of residuals! & really looking forward to seeing the whole film of yours!! 🙂

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