Games Provide a Recycling Message
Prince George, B.C. – Make sure you put it in the right container. The basic point behind recycling and the focus of the “Waste Mob” held in the Canada Games Plaza Saturday afternoon.
The event was the brainchild of Mike Peterson, 2015 Canada Winter Games Volunteer Lead for Environmental Services. He says the whole idea is to raise awareness of waste diversion, otherwise known as recycling and he thought this a unique way to do that. “It’s been a little bit outside the box thinking, trying to bring awareness to recycling. By thinking outside the box we’re actually jumping in the canisters. What we’re going to try to do is use the opportunity to educate the public, athletes, spectators, everyone on the value of diverting waste from the landfills.”
Peterson says “the Winter Games set a target of 655 waste reduction. We’re not likely going to reach that target, and that’s largely due to a lot of food waste going into the system. When we’ve got athletes here that are basically eating parents out of house and home, there’s just so much waste associated with it and it just weighs so much.”
“Regardless of that I think we’re still using this as a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of diverting. A lot of our venues have never diverted or recycled before so this is, again, a great opportunity to do that.
And I think we’re really leveraging the exposure of the games just to bring awareness of recycling in general to the north.”
Peterson says “one of the sponsors that we have for the games is Emterra. They’re taking all of the recycled goods that we have back to their facility and then sorting it and then running it through their process.” He says the recyclables were categorized during the games. “We’ve got a general waste stream, a paper recycling stream and then we’ve got a container stream, basically drink containers but also some sandwich containers like plastics and whatnot that can be recycled. We also have, specifically down at Games Village, some glass recycling because glass can actually contaminate the other recyclables when it gets compacted, so I believe there’s a safety issue associated with that.”
Asked whether the food waste might be processed for use in some way, Peterson says “that was something we weren’t able to do here. Dealing with food waste there’s a lot of regulations. Up in the north its difficult with the climate we have as well to help with some of the composting for example. So its not like we can just grab it and take it out to a farmer’s field, there’s regulations that need to be met. And it was just determined for this that we were unable to do that.” He believes most of the food waste goes into the general garbage stream.
As far as the Waste Mob was concerned Peterson and a couple of assistants headed over to the plaza, put on some gear “just so we don’t get covered in too much poutine of course” and hopped into three large labelled containers. When someone deposited the “wrong waste stream”, the person in that canister jumps out, yells the right canister, that person jumps up and we have a transfer” so the right recyclable is going into the right container.
It was all about educating, in a fun way.