Waste management and recycling are high priorities for many municipalities in Canada, as each city takes part in its own unique recycling programs and green goals. ECO Canada has also been exploring various initiatives throughout Canada by taking a look at what’s new, unique, and working well for Canadian cities as they move towards a more sustainable future. Here’s what we found:
Plastic Recycling Initiatives
According to the Calgary Herald newspaper, the small Canadian firm Switchable Solutions Inc. is testing out the waters hoping to launch a pilot program for a more environmentally friendly method of recycling polystyrene, a common plastic used to make coffee cups, plastic trays, and packing material. The newspaper notes that the material fills up many landfills because it can be very difficult to recycle since it contains so much air and is usually contaminated with food waste and chemicals.
At the Head of Their Game
Not all provinces offer equal access to recycling, although there are some shining examples. Prince Edward Island has ramped up its recycling program considerably since the 1990s—97% of residents now say they have access to recycling facilities and nearly all residents use at least one type of recycling program. In the latest report published by Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia and Ontario were also listed along with P.E.I as having the best access to, and use of, recycling programs. Overall, the majority of Canadian residents are doing the best they can with the programs they have available.
Revamping Toronto’s Towers
In a highly concentrated city with plenty of aging and inefficient concrete slab buildings, the city of Toronto is making an effort to revitalize its buildings with a green and efficient Tower Renewal Program. New buildings and their sites will also have to abide by the Toronto Green Standards (TGS) to create a more sustainable and green community-friendly future.
Leading in Electronics Recycling
After a recent National Geographic article pointed to many international recycling programs that were simply dumping broken electronics on underdeveloped nations, Calgary Herald columnist, Emma Gilchrist, investigated deeper to discover what was happening at home with Alberta electronic recycling programs. What she discovered was that Alberta was actually setting a good example with one of the best electronic recycling programs in North America. For a small fee, residents can drop off their used electronics, which will be broken down into useful materials, keeping harsh chemicals out of landfills and making the process safer for everyone. Visit albertarecycling.ca to learn how to access any of the province’s 220 collection sites.
Greenest City 2020
With the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America, Vancouver has a new goal: to become the greenest city in 2020. Through a number of green programs focused on sustainability, eco-density, green homes, and more, Vancouver plans to continue on a path to becoming a leader in green building, planning, and technology. Learn more about this goal and how you can implement some of these initiatives wherever you are, at www.vancouver.ca/greenestcity/.
Green Electricity Capital
Harnessing the power of green electricity, Calgary draws 75% of its electricity from renewable sources, according to greenlivingonline.com. And visions for this booming city only get greener, with the goal to increase this number to 90% by 2012. Producing a 100-year vision from what today’s Calgarians want their city to look like, imaginecalgary.ca hopes to bring Calgary closer to its goals for a sustainable future.
Are there any interesting green activities going on in your area? Share your thoughts!