The meeting's agenda focused on waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, and featured presentations from the Zero Waste International Alliance, and the Sustainable Lockup, a local material reuse facility.
Jaime Kaminski, Zero Waste Business Associate at HSR Services and the Zero Waste International Alliance, kicked off the meeting and set the tone of the discussion to focus on reuse. He introduced the Zero Waste Definition and Zero Waste Hierarchy, which focuses first on Rethink/Redesign, Reduce, and Reuse before even getting to recycling or compost. Even here in Vancouver where we have a 62% diversion rate from the landfill, there is still a big waste problem and we can’t recycle our way out of this mess.
If a tap is on and the sink is overflowing, what would you do first—turn off the tap, or mop up the water? Zero waste is all about turning off the tap. The industry can focus on using reusable materials rather than disposable or single use, and reusing all materials and resources possible.
The Sustainable Lockup is a collaborative space that facilitates material reuse and food donations for the industry. Kelsey Evans and Zena Harris spoke about the process for each of the services, which help keep material out of the landfill and in the hands of those who can use it.
For Material Reuse:
- Call the Lockup when your show is going to strike and let them know what you would like to drop off.
- You pay a fee to drop it off that is comparable (often less) than fees for disposing at the landfill
- The Lockup inventories and organizes the items
- Anyone can come and pick up material for free!
For Food Donations:
- The Sustainable Lockup will give you a fridge, you just need containers for the food.
- The Sustainable Lockup will give you stickers to fill out for the information about the food
- Keep it Green Recycling will come and do a quick briefing on food donations and how the process works
- Pack and label the food, put it in the fridge, then text the number on the fridge and someone will pick up the food and bring it to Lookout Society or Sage
Following these presentations was a lively discussion surrounding the merits of reusable materials (despite an upfront cost they pay for themselves over time), confusion associated with recycling (Tetra packs may be no better than plastic bottles), and further solutions for the industry (for instance, reusable cosmetic cases).
Here are some actions that came out of the discussion that we can do right now:
- Set up systems early and turn off the tap. Don’t provide single use items—shift how we use our products to reuse
- Reduce and reuse within the industry using resources like the Sustainable Lockup
- Have department specific conversations on reducing and rethinking material use and disposal
- Reuse containers and explore options for refilling them
- Use your purchasing power with suppliers—ask for things that you want to see
- Don’t forget about day calls—engage with them and educate everyone
- Don’t hold back—advocate from wherever you sit in the industry
The bottom line is that we as an industry have more power than we think. What can you do today to help achieve zero waste?
Have a story to share about how your department is reducing its impact? Tell us what’s happening and we could feature your story in an upcoming Reel Green newsletter and invite you to share at a Reel Green meeting.