City tosses out trash-reduction challenge proposal

Group hopes to organize Zero Waste Challenge in October 2013

Michele Young / Kamloops Daily News
December 18, 2012 01:00 AM

Two people who want to promote zero waste got zero dollars toward their project from City council Tuesday.

James Gordon and Marcia Dick told council they plan to hold a Zero Waste Challenge in October 2013.

Both have backgrounds in environmental projects, including community initiatives like Bike to Work Week and the Solar Laundry Challenge.

But this was their first time asking for money for their projects that included wages, and City council hesitated.

Gordon asked for $8,500. That amount included $6,250 for 125 hours of co-ordination work, $2,000 for newspaper and radio ads and $250 for prizes.

The goal would be to have people sign on for the challenge, which would include two weeks of weighing their garbage with their current habits and two weeks of weighing their trash after reduction efforts.

Gordon said the challenge is about engaging the public as much as possible.

"We want to engage in lots of trash talking. We think the public will love getting involved. People love a challenge," he said.

A challenge conducted this year had 17 people sign on, but only six stuck it through. Gordon admitted people didn't like weighing their trash. But those who persisted saw up to 67 per cent less garbage.

Coun. Nancy Bepple asked if he had any corporate sponsors.

Gordon said he has just started looking online at other options, such as the Kamloops Foundation. The idea with the Zero Waste Challenge was to record the process and make it available to other communities as a template, he said.

City environmental services manager Jen Fretz said her department often helps out with lower ad rates, or in-kind items like prizes, or staff time.

Coun. Donovan Cavers moved the City fund the $6,250 for the co-ordination of the project and that staff work with Dick and Gordon for promoting and prizes.

Coun. Tina Lange liked the idea of the challenge, but wanted to add it to the list of supplemental budget items council will be discussing early in the new year.

"This isn't a ton of money, but it all adds up," she said.

Cavers then asked to withdraw his motion, but was unsuccessful.

Coun. Marg Spina said she leaned toward supporting the motion, as the challenge would help reduce the amount of garbage going into the landfill, which would save the City money.

But Bepple felt other groups or corporations should be approached, not just the City.

Coun. Nelly Dever balked, too.

"I have a hard time with this. I'm frugal with money and I listened to this proposal and thought are we an open door bank? We have so many who come to us," she said, suggesting perhaps the group approach a business like KGHM which is proposing the Ajax mine.

Fretz listed several initiatives the City already does to promote waste reduction, including advertising, home shows, school programs and the Ecosmart team.

That convinced Mayor Peter Milobar to leave it to City managers to decide if they wanted to contract the program with Dick and Gordon.

Cavers's motion went down to defeat, with only he and councillors Ken Christian and Arjun Singh voting in favour.


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