Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Election Sign Takedown

Public Service Announcement

City reminds candidates to remove all signs by midnight Thursday, October 19, 2017

Candidates who ran in the Edmonton Election have until midnight on Thursday, October 19, 2017 to take down signs or face fines.

All election signs must be removed from public property within three days of the election. Starting Friday, October 20, 2017, the City of Edmonton’s Community Standards Peace Officers will begin removing any remaining signs and candidates may be fined up to $250 per sign.

Citizens can call 311 to report concerns about the removal of campaign signs.

The City of Edmonton encourages candidates and residents to recycle plastic or cardboard campaign signs and metal frames at any of these locations:

Signs must be separated from their stakes, and components sorted into the correct bins to be recycled. Large signs must be cut into pieces no larger than 3’ x 3’ (1m x 1m).

Residents may also place cardboard and plastic household lawn signs out with their regular recycling. All frames and stakes should be removed and placed in the garbage or brought to an Eco Station or the Edmonton Waste Management Centre for scrap metal recycling.

For more information, visit campaign signs or how to recycle your sign.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tell One Friend: The Reuse Centre Accepts More Items

Designate a convenient area in your home to collect items for the Reuse Centre. Print and post the list of accepted items, including the new list, nearby for quick reference. 

Use these ideas to remind your friends, family and co-workers:

Change Habits
"The Reuse Centre now accepts even more items for reuse. Have you thought about starting a collection bin?" 

Prompt Them
"Set up a collection bin and start collecting. You don't have to go to the Reuse Centre all the time, only when the bin is full."

(You might offer to take them along on one of your visits.)

One Small Ask
"Will you start collecting items you think are reusable but are not accepted anywhere else?" 

Collecting and donating items to the Reuse Centre is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste thrown away. Did you know... all these items can be dropped off for free at the Reuse Centre?

Remember, they can't accept clothing, bedding, kitchen items or toys. These can go to many other organizations.

Tell One Friend: Thank a Friend for Recycling

A simple and positive word will keep a friend recycling. Thank them for doing it. It's a win-win situation for both of you. It will keep you happy and they will feel appreciated.

Use these ideas to get started: 

Reinforce Habits
"I noticed that you recycle as much as you can. Thank you. It makes a big difference."

Then, listen to their story. Don't judge. Ask questions like, "why do you like to recycle?" Remember to keep the conversation about them. 

Make It Convenient 
"I found having a recycling bin under my bathroom sink helps me recycle empty shampoo bottles." 

One Small Ask
"It sounds like you know what to recycle. If you are ever unsure, can we chat? I don't have all of the answers but we can find out together."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Trashed - Book Review by MCR Eve C.

Book Review
Trashed: by Derf Backderf. Abrams ComicArt: New York, 2015.

Review by Eve C., MCR-in-training.

                                                 Image source: http://images.tcj.com/2016/02/Derf-coverWB.jpg

 As MCRs-in-training, we were fortunate enough to hear from an Edmonton waste collector, who described how he and his team go about providing the important service of moving our waste from curbside to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. It was good to hear that Edmontonians generally are very supportive of our waste system.  We heard about kids who wave to their waste collector every day, senior citizens who wait by their curb to chat with their collector, and a homeowner who responded immediately when she realized her collector had slipped and fallen on his daily route.

With this background of a first-hand description of waste collection in my city today, I was very interested to read Trashed, a graphic novel all about garbage and garbage collection.

For those of us who toss our trash in a bag and set it out at night, only to have it whisked away before we wake up, Trashed provides an eye-opening look at the journey waste takes. Derf Backderf, drawing on his experience as a waste collector and citing statistics about waste in America, portrays a year in the life of an American small-town garbage man in the late 1970s. His tale tells how our waste goes from curbside to landfill and the people who work hard every day to make this happen. Backderf’s portrayal also contrasts with the more modern technology, safety, and work culture that waste collectors in Edmonton enjoy.

The novel begins with the unnamed and unemployed protagonist finally giving in to his long-suffering mother’s request to clean up his pigsty of a room. Depositing his waste in a pile in and around the garbage can, he is overwhelmed by the revolting smell. He decides to abandon the task, prophetically stating, “Aw, screw it…. the garbagemen can deal with it.”

Shortly after, a vague newspaper ad leads to a job on a municipal garbage truck, driving through the summer, fall, winter and spring seasons of garbage, each with their own piquant details. Summer brings heat, which does not improve the odour of garbage, while winter includes solid masses of frozen garbage in cans waiting to slide onto the toes of the unwary, and blizzards that shut down almost everything – except the need to haul garbage. The at-times overwhelming portrayal of the waste we create is leavened by a generous dose of humour at the challenges and small victories of daily life.

Interspersed with these adventures in waste are asides about the big picture of garbage. Interludes include the history of garbage, diagrams of modern landfills and their vulnerability to leakage, and diagrams of the ever-increasing quantities and composition of waste in America.  These tie the indifference of individuals, whose lack of ownership towards their garbage starts from the minute it leaves their houses, to the revolting and dangerous effects of huge quantities of waste on both the individuals who work to keep our urban environments clean, and to the planet as a whole.

Although at first not overly excited about the job he has somehow found, as time goes on, the narrator becomes more familiar with the rhythms of his job.  Some residents, including the holy grail – the home that produces one tidy garbage bag per week – pleasantly surprise him. After a year has passed, much to his surprise, he decides to stay working in waste collection. 

Overall, this graphic novel is an entertaining look at a side of life most of us do not often consider. Backderf vividly portrays the day-to-day details of the reality of garbage collection alongside our society’s exponentially increasing culture of disposal, resulting in an entertaining and unsettling look at the world of waste.

Postscript: Trashed in Edmonton

Taking ownership of our waste involves many different aspects: reducing the quantity of garbage we produce, properly diverting waste wherever possible, and once we have only the proper items in the garbage bag, ensuring that our trash is ready for collection.

Although this last aspect is perhaps sometimes forgotten in the focus on waste reduction, Backderf’s description of the daily routine of waste collectors shows that an individual can make a difference, especially in the life of a waste collector. Here are four simple asks that can keep our Edmonton waste collectors safe and working efficiently to take care of our waste:

·        Keep it light (make sure you can lift your garbage with one hand);
·        Box and label “sharps”;
·        Use the right can; and
·        And make it safe to reach your trash

For more info on helping waste collectors in Edmonton check out this FAQ

And view this video for the top three ways to make your waste collector’s job easier. 

You can borrow the book, Trashed, from the Edmonton Public Library

Friday, August 18, 2017

MCR Daniel K.: Composting Makes Edmonton a Better Place to Live

Daniel K. recounts his visit at Compost 'S cool.

The classic three bin system. 
Compost ‘S cool is an amazing place with lots of friendly people around to teach you about different techniques of composting and its many benefits. I was already familiar with the 3 bin system before arriving, and was fascinated by the spool, sphere, and rolling track compost tumblers. Although with merit, I still prefer the classic non-tumbling composting techniques. There's nothing like seeing the results of your efforts: finding that your old food scraps have turned back into their basic elements.

Having a blast irrigating the composting toilet. 

I would love to learn more about the composting toilet, because I think cities need more of these fantastic waste receptacles. While Edmonton is a leader when it comes to taking care of “business”, so many other places are polluting waterways through lack of proper techniques. Maybe Edmonton could serve as an international educator for rural hu-manure programs, and start by setting up a system at the EWMC?

Daniel is a resourceful and experienced sustainability professional with education and work experience in coordinating and implementing sustainability programs. His strengths lie in designing projects and implementing detailed plans which drive increased participation and interest. He has currently joined with the Edmonton Tool Library and Edmonton Food Council, and hopes to contribute to making Edmonton a better place to live.