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The business, and politics, of garbage

With the landfill closing next month there are short-term and long-term solutions to Whistler’s waste



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On another political level, some politicians in Washington D.C. are supporting bills that would restrict shipments of waste across the Canada-U.S. border. That’s not an immediate threat to Whistler’s plans to export its garbage, but it’s another indication that a long-term solution still needs to be found.

And that’s what Wildflower Lodging, the Chateau Whistler, Four Seaons, Boston Pizza and others in Whistler are working towards. Zero waste is the goal but it takes a step-by-step approach to get there. Wildflower started with paper.

"Paper is easy to understand, handle and recyle," said Denise Imbeau of Carney’s Waste Systems, which worked with Wildflower. All paper is recyclable as long as it doesn’t have a waxy, foil or plastic coating.

"Additionally, if the current trends in China’s paper demands continue we will not have enough paper by 2010 to satisfy their needs – even if every piece of paper currently in use is recycled," said Imbeau. China has 4 per cent of the world’s forests but is expected to provide 20 per cent of the world demand for paper. That will put pressure on Canada’s forests and paper supply.

Boston Pizza began its waste reduction effort with composting its organic waste and then looked at what remained. The business is now looking at getting rid of its garbage bin altogether.

"With the compost gone we were looking at what was left and our staff decided that we would try recycling the remaining waste and have our garbage bin removed altogether," said Kevin Schimpf. "It’s a leap of faith, but as a society I believe we rely too heavily on that blue bin as solution."