Posts Tagged ‘3R’s’

Rubber Sidewalks?

April 5, 2008

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“There are rubber balls to bounce, rubber galoshes to keep your feet dry and rubber gloves for the nasty cleaning chores. Now, in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and in a growing number of cities around the country, there are rubber sidewalks.” 01

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Earth Hour 2008

March 31, 2008

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Noting that “most United States newspapers did not play up Earth Hour” and that the Canadian papers which were reviewed “previewed Earth Hour a lot more prominently” and “dominated with Earth Hour pictures,” David Gough asks, why did Earth Hour have a larger profile in Ontario? 01

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Another Kick at the Foam

March 6, 2008

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In my last post about polystyrene I told you about the closure of the Mississauga recycling facility. 01

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Recycling to the Bank?

January 24, 2008

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As I pointed out HERE last month, London is currently consulting the community about waste management (if you haven’t already done so, click HERE and complete the online survey; speak now, or don’t complain later). So perhaps that’s why this story virtually jumped off the screen at me when I came across it. It seems that down Philadelphia way, they’ve got a program that pays households to recycle!

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Recycling Polystyrene Foam

January 21, 2008

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Styrofoam™ is a brand name for Dow insulation and the common name for all forms of polystyrene. The fact that it’s lightweight and cheap to produce makes it popular with manufacturers. But polystyrene is a landfill nightmare because of it’s initial bulk and the very long time that it takes to decompose. Also the fact that when it finally does break up it does so into pieces small enough to be ingested by birds and subsequently kill them via starvation.

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Community Consultation re Waste Management

December 23, 2007

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“The broad field of waste management is a complex discipline that includes, but is not limited to, environmental protection, public education, waste reduction, recycling, composting, garbage collection, landfill construction and maintenance, data gathering and analysis, government regulation, and public relations. For municipal governments it requires staff that is continually learning new strategies, complying with government regulations and adapting and advancing techniques of waste diversion, collection and disposal. In London, the program is referred to as the Continuous Improvement System.” 01

Now, the City of London wants your opinion. You are being asked to read it’s just-released consultative ‘Road Map to Maximize Waste Diversion in London‘ report, that “outlines and explains a number of options the City has compiled and/or developed to help Londoners achieve higher diversion rates,” and to complete/submit a questionaire/comments form that it contains.

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Open-Air Clothes Drying

December 9, 2007

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On this week’s Planning Committee meeting agenda, a written submission titled “Use of Restrictive Covenants to Limit and/or Prohibit the Use of Clotheslines and Umbrella Clothes Dryers Within the City of London.”

My take on this issue? There ought to be a clothesline or umbrella dryer in every London yard. And the property owner ought to be able to choose which one to employ. Full stop.

Fast-Food Waste

December 9, 2007

A Torontoist sketch.
comic

Timmy Environmentalism

August 26, 2007

In Save 40 Bucks a Year at Tim Hortons (London Commons; 2007/08/24), Annmarie decries disposable paper cups. And she’s right to do so. Discarded Timmy cups seem to be everywhere. They’re a frequent eyesore at LTC stops, even the relatively few locations that actually happen to have a waste receptacle (I won’t rant about the LTC benches with the built-in but sealed-up waste receptacles here… that merits it’s own future post).

Annmarie suggests that TH’s will reduce the cost of a coffee by 11 cents for those people who bring their own mug. But even if that’s true, should we jump to the conclusion that TH’s cares a hoot about our environment? Isn’t it equally possible that it’s simply a calculated, economic decision? By the time you figure in the purchase/replacement costs, handling/washing, etc. of cups and plates, isn’t it possible that TH’s simply figures that paper products costs the company less? After all, it isn’t as if TH’s has to pay the costs of dealing with discarded product once it leaves their stores. It isn’t as if London levies a tax on such things in order to recoup the cost of having to deal with TH mess.

 
Click on either image to enlarge.

Ever see one of these? If you’ve ever ordered one of their donuts or cookies, etc. then you’d have to be pretty quick not to. It’s as if all of their employees are trained to give you a paper product by default

And it makes no difference if you happen to be an in-store customer. It doesn’t usually even matter if you specifically tell them that your order is “for here” instead of “to go.” In my experience, it often doesn’t matter if you specifically tell them “I don’t need a bag.”

And of course, each of these orders is accompanied by up to a half-dozen paper napkins. It doesn’t matter that the bag may only contain a single item. It doesn’t matter that each customer table has a dispenser from which the customer can help themself to however many they may require (usually fewer, I’m guessing). It doesn’t matter if they’re used or not. Just toss them in the garbage on your way out.

I haven’t seen much evidence that the Tim Horton company cares about the environment. Oh sure, they spend some of their advertising bucks trying to convince you that they’re a good corporate citizen, but how often do you see any truth in advertising? By extolling you to “Respect the Environment” on the back of their bags, I suppose they’re hoping that you will jump to a conclusion that they care. But does that qualify as proof?

When Tim Horton’s starts to serve up everything on china, by default, and customers are required to specify paper in order to get products that way, then maybe I’ll be willing to consider whether or not they actually give a damn besides anything other than their bottom line.

2006 Fowler Election Platform – Rain Barrels

October 10, 2006

as originally posted on my Election Website

I propose that homeowners be required to connect their eavestrough downspouts to rain barrels. Rather than allowing that water to run off into the sewer system, it can easily be collected and used.

As the amount of concrete in the city increases, and as green space which could otherwise absorb the rainfall decreases, rainfall can end up overflowing a city’s pipes. 1

“Capture rainwater for your garden using a cistern or a rain barrel. Make sure your barrel is covered with a tight-fitting lid or screen to keep disease-carrying mosquitoes from breeding there.” 2

“Disconnecting downspouts slows the flow of water into drains and sewers during heavy rainstorms. In some parts of the city, sewers back up during bad storms, flooding basements with filthy water.” 1

“During very heavy flows, water from sanitary sewers — which carry waste from baths and toilets — can get mixed with water from storm sewers, which are supposed to carry surface run-off.” 1

“During heavy rainfalls, the volume of stormwater in the combined sewer system can be as much as 75 times more than during dry-weather flows.” 3

“Water that comes to city dwellers in the form of rain is hurried–into storm sewer systems and away by asphalt, concrete, or the roof of your apartment, surfaces that don’t absorb water. Sewer systems in many cities combine household sewage with storm water in the same pipes. Because of population growth since these older sewer systems were installed, sewers overflow when it rains a lot. That means sewage gets dumped, untreated, into rivers and lakes.” 4

“Rain barrels are a great way to save water outdoors as is washing your car at a car wash that recycles their water.” 5

Sources:
1. “Downspouts must go, city says”; John Spears; Toronto Star; 2006/09/29
2. http://www.london.ca/Cityhall/…/OTC/One_Tonne_Challenge.htm
3. http://www.toronto.ca/water/…/stormwater_pollution/pdf/homefs.pdf
4. http://www.yougrowgirl.com/garden/rain_barrel.php
5. http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/waterconservation.html

See also:
AMP: Harvesting Rainwater
AMP: Build Your Own Rain Barrel
http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/sw_rainbarrelfacts.html

  • ©Gregory Fowler 2006 Municipal Election Campaign