Monday, June 15, 2009

Thumbs-Up to The Forks


Turns out the city sold over 2000 compost bins over the weekend. I'm not sure how many years they've been doing this, but it's been at least a few now for sure. This is the biggest reason I think, that makes curbside pickup questionable. A lot of people do it on their own already. It would seem like a waste to do curbside pickup that would include people who already do it.

**End update**

The Forks will start composting organic waste from it's restaurants which is, frankly, super cool.

According to Paul Jordan, 80% of the 400 tonnes of waste produced every year can be composted. This means a staggering 320 tonnes can be converted into useable soil instead of taking up space at a landfill.

Landfills will become known as a very silly and utterly stupid idea in the history textbooks of the future. Humans of course being the only organism on the planet with smarts, is apparently also the only organism on the planet that willingly pollutes it's own environment. What enters landfills is already an issue in some places that are running out of space. Most of it is completely useless crap. That is, useless crap that won't break down for thousands of years, if ever.

The other stuff in landfills is organic waste. Although many people are under the impression that this stuff just simply breaks down, this is not true. Because the organic material is thrown into a plastic bag, it is in an anaerobic environment and takes years and years to break down. A newspaper may take up to 20 years to break down under these conditions.

At the end of the day, a landfill is an ugly sight and only serves as a reminder of the consequences of our lifestyle. After the Brady landfill is filled, we'll need another one. Oh where oh where to put it? And you think there's NIMBYism in this town?

I'll be the first to say that I'm not sure curbside pickup would work or at least, I'm very skeptical of how effective it would be. I'd like to think that with a good public education campaign more people would take on home composting on their own. It's completely effortless and quite rewarding.

Until then, thumbs up to places like The Forks which take it upon themselves to go the extra step. That is really a huge commitment and incredibly beneficial for all of us. I also know that Kildonan Place Mall has implemented a composting program for it's food court businesses.

This is great news. Progressive news.


Mike from Winnipeg said...

Good work. I guess you can count me as one of the people who beleived that organic material would break down quickly regardless of where it was dumped. Thanks for the lesson.

Freedom Manitoba said...

//This means a staggering 320 tonnes can be converted into useable soil instead of taking up space at a landfill.//

Organic waste in lands fills IS being composited, it is the natural process of material breaking down. And sometimes old landfills are turned into golf courses and other things, and there is already soil there from organic garbage being mixed in.

If the Forks wants to make a dedicated compositing systme, that's fine for them, the problem is when government gets involved to mkae compsiting mandatory for everyone, even if you have no interest in it, such as was recently done in San Francisco.

Don't beleive the hype, there is no shortage of land fills in North America.

And for your enjoyment, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Recycling

Graham said...

I call bullshit on that, Freedom Manitoba.

SOME organic waste is composted at a special compost-site on the landfill site. The rest is in plastic garbage bags and takes decades to break down.

I never said there was a landfill SHORTAGE. Just that the very idea of a landfill is ridiculous.

Also, just because there isn't a landfill shortage here doesn't mean we shouldn't address the problem. That is just plain fucking ignorance. Guess what, we have a lot of water in Canada too, doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of our water resources for the future just because there's plenty of lakes to go around.

You would rather ignorantly continue our lifestyle as it is than look for ways to improve it, just because we have a lot of land to put a landfill on? Dumbass, backwards, status quo thinking.

brida said...

Actually, organic material in landfills often does not break down because it is under so much pressure that it is completely preserved, as if it was mummafied or something along those lines. So often you can go into a mound that is 50 years old, dig into it, and find food that is 50 years old that might look like you had dumped it only a few weeks ago.

brida said...

Also, I should add, as a lifelong resident of san francisco, some clarification: composting is not suddenly becoming mandatory. The law is that if you DONT recycle/compost as per the law (because its been in effect for a long while) then you will receive a fine.

We already recycled 72 percent of our waste. The law also isn't implying people will be going through your garbage bags, just that if it becomes clear that you are abundantly throwing everything out as trash then you will get a fine.

"Garbage cops snooping through the curbside refuse is not the intent of the ordinance, said Nathan Ballard, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"We are not going to throw you in the clink for putting your coffee grounds in the wrong bin," Mr. Ballard said. "Fines will only be imposed in egregious cases.""

There will be a system of warnings and three strikes.

Also, you really can't critisize the system in San Francisco, which, though it might definitely have some people who dislike it, for the most part people are crazy about recycling. Its progressive, its hip, it makes people feel good.

Ultimately the only people this is going to be affecting in SF are multitenant buildings, of which only 25 percent enforce recycling, and big companies that repeatedly break the law without much of a consequence. And as a person that used to live in a multitenant building for the last 17 years, I can tell you, it was about time. We didn't have the option of recycling at my apartments, and it was definitely cringeworthy to see how much could have been recycled, but wasn't.

So in the case of SF, whether or not the government should be legislating this is irrelevant when the population is for this type of law going into effect. Lets debate that kind of thing when theres actually something the population in question would debate about.

Freedom Manitoba said...

@ Graham //I call bullshit on that, Freedom Manitoba.//

//That is just plain fucking ignorance.//

//Dumbass, backwards, status quo thinking.//

Whoa, these statements don't seem too "progressive". Why such the reaction?Is it becasue I question the trend to ban bottled water, force recycling and composting on people, for some supposed benifit that may or may not be there?

The status quo in the past few years is to get on the environmental bandwagon, whether it is reasonable or not. That is bullshit.

Organic materials in landfills can produce methane gas which can be harvested and used for various useful things. Recylcling and compositing isn't the be all end all.

@ brida - if you get a fine for not doing something, then it's mandatory. You HAVE to do it or face the consequences.

Graham said...

You can question banning bottled water all you want. I'll question it with you. But I think that if you want to be able to buy bottled water, then you should be mandated to take proper care of the afterproduct. As in: you should be mandated to recycle that plastic bottle.

Is that not reasonable? You get your supposedly healthy water and you have to dispose of it properly? You know it won't break down. You know it'll sit in that landfill for thousands of years. Sounds reasonable to recycle to me.

What isn't reasonable is a notion that everybody should be able to consume whatever they want and do whatever they want with the garbage they produce. If you truly believe this, I challenge you to not put anything out at the end of your driveway for a year and instead use your backyard as a landfill. See how long your consumption habits last.

We willingly pollute our own environment. There is only one environment, and that's the one we live in. That is not reasonable.

Nor is tossing organic waste into a landfill under the guise that it can produce "green energy" by harvesting methane. That's like saying we should pollute more, and be more irresponsible, so we can create a giant pile of garbage that produces a gas we can burn.

The status quo is most definitely not to get on the bandwagon, it's to keep doing things the way we always do. If I say everyone in Winnipeg has to recycle, you cry sacrilege. That is you protecting the status quo, not me foisting it on you.

The status quo is to consume without consequence. Hell, we even still use styrofoam in food pacakges. Do you know how backwards that is? Brazil, a 3rd world country, doesn't even have these products.

If I said styrofoam for food products is banned in Canada, you'd cry foul on this blog. Again. Protecting the status quo to consume without consequence or thought of if there is a better way to do things.