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Organization wants ‘zero waste’ in Clearview

In Clearview
Oct 30th, 2009

By Michael Gennings Alliston Herald October 27 2009
Representatives with a grassroots group calling itself Zero Waste Simcoe were before Clearview Township council last Monday night, urging local elected officials to implement stringent new waste management practices that will help the environment.
Speaking on behalf of the group was Andrea Matrosovs, a Collingwood resident and the federal Liberal candidate in Simcoe-Grey, and Katy Austin, the federal NDP candidate in the riding.
The two are members of the fledgling environmental organization and have been sharing information about ‘zero waste’ with municipal leaders in Simcoe County.
They said zero waste is a “waste management philosophy” that’s based on all levels of government implementing new waste management policies.
Basically, zero waste means all resources that become finished goods are reused in some fashion so that they don’t end up in a landfill.
Matrosovs and Austin said municipalities can support the concept of zero waste by adopting new practices.
In some instances, these steps can be small. For example, municipalities could implement recycling stations in the workplace, eliminating garbage cans.
A more complex step is the implementation of bylaws that require zero waste practices, such as “green” procurement regulations.
Bylaws could also stipulate waste diversion targets in municipal construction and demolition permits.
Austin and Matrosovs said municipalities can also play a role in educating the public about zero waste.
This can involve regular education programs for residents. Another tactic, they said, is supporting municipal events so they result in zero waste.
Towards the end of their presentation, Matrosovs and Austin asked Clearview to consider passing a bylaw that declares the township a zero waste municipality.
They also asked that Clearview implement zero waste methods.
And they asked that township officials work with the County of Simcoe to make zero waste common practice across the entire region.
But council made no decisions regarding Zero Waste Simcoe’s requests, however, Mayor Ken Ferguson said after the meeting that Clearview will take the information into consideration.
Ferguson and Deputy Mayor Alicia Savage are Clearview’s representatives on county council and play a key role in developing new policies for that level of government. The county oversees most aspects of waste management for lower-tier municipalities.
Ferguson thanked Matrosovs and Austin for the presentation and said waste management has changed drastically over the years.
The mayor noted the county’s blue box recycling program has existed for several years and that last year the county introduced the green bin program, which involves the collection of organic matter, such as food scraps, that can be composted.
Matrosovs and Austin noted that Zero Waste Simcoe wants a seat at the table as the county looks at the future of its waste management operations. They noted they’ve been in discussions to that regard with Warden Tony Guergis.
Ferguson said he was happy to see the group working with the county.
Deputy Mayor Savage said it’s important that stakeholders from all sectors work together to tackle the issue of waste management in Simcoe County.
She said there are critical decisions that need to be made by the county now that it’s no longer proceeding with the development of Site 41, near Elmvale.
Just recently, after months of protest from residents and interest groups, the county permanently halted construction of the landfill.
Councillor Thom Paterson said he appreciated the “positive suggestions” that Zero Waste Simcoe officials presented to council.
He said that on a broader level, manufacturing needs to be a part of the talks that go on because finished goods often come with a great deal of packaging.

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