Glenbrook North Zero Waste Final Report

Hello all –

Our final report is completed and submitted to Metro Vancouver. If you would like more information about how we did, some of our stories and successes please take a read.

We are all very proud of our accomplishments.

We will continue to update our blog with related information and from time to time updates on how our ‘families’ are doing post-challenge.

All the best this season.

Merry Christmas from Glenbrook North!

Some highlights from the Report:

There are many ways to measure the success of a community challenge such as this. The sharing of waste reduction ideas, the building of community, and the lessons learned made the GNCZWC a success. Fortunately, the statistics also show the Challenge was very successful at reducing the amount of non-recyclable waste produced by the community and headed for the landfill.
Results for the GNCZWC are presented and discussed in the following sections. Data was prepared using the average per household measurement in order to demonstrate the performance of the neighbourhood as a whole.
Waste Reduction Statistics
Chart 1: Average Weight of Generated Waste per Household (refer to actual report for data)
This chart shows the overall picture of garbage reduction. The first 5 weeks were the Baseline period where the families were to maintain existing habits and not make any efforts to change behaviour. As you can see, the families already produced less garbage per week then the average lower mainland household. However, the reduction from these first 5 weeks (when the garbage output averaged between 7 and 8 kg/week) to the 8 weeks of the challenge part of the Challenge (when the average output was around 4 kg/week) is significant and remarkable. Trends to note were the overall decrease in the amount of trash, the relatively stable amount going to recycling, and the increase in organics diverted.

Although there was an overall increase in composting, the amounts of compostable material generated probably more reflected changes in gardening and lawn care practices due to the spring season, and might not continue at this level for the rest of the year. The notable increase in organics diversion at the start of the pilot dropped slightly and stabilized after week 8.
The increase in garbage output during week 4 may have been due to efforts to “clear out” garbage during the last week of the Baseline period before the Challenge period started, or perhaps due to long Easter weekend spring-cleaning.
There is a slight reduction in the amount of recyclables that went to the curb or the Eco Shed every week. At first glance, this would suggest that much of the reduction in trash was not from changing behaviors “under the sink”, but from an effort to reduce the amount of trash that was produced in the first place. In other words, this indicates that the balance of the garbage drop in the neighbourhood could be attributed to reduction in the consumption of products in general. This is an important behavioural change to note as reduction finds itself higher on the hierarchy of the 6 Rs.
The net result of the slight decrease in total recyclables, the increase in the amount of organics composting, and the overall dramatic decrease in overall waste results in a significant increase in the “diversion rate”, as shown on Chart 2.
Chart 2: Diversion Rate. Glenbrook North‟s initial Baseline diversion rate was already greater than the regional average calculated by Metro Vancouver. The participants were able to successfully increase their combined diversion rate to greater than 77%.

This is a remarkable achievement. Metro Vancouver has a stipulation in it‟s new Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan that single family households in the region should strive to achieve a minimum diversion rate of 65% by 2015, from the current rate of 45%. The GNCZWC demonstrated that the goal is quite achievable, and that it was possible to reach a rate of near 80% diversion. The participants increased their diversion rate by 15 – 20 percentage points, and did so in a relatively short period of time.

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