All municipalities, except Delta and Port Moody have stopped their Spring Cleaning programs to create new environmental initiatives for the responsible disposal of large appliances, furniture, and bagged excess garbage. Seeing the great drawbacks of the Spring Cleaning program and how other municipalities have already gotten rid of it, I wonder why Delta and Port Moody have been slow to follow suit. But what's wrong with the Spring Cleaning program?
Spring Cleaning creates at least 250 times more garbage than what is normally collected in a regular month. It is also very expensive to implement and puts stress on staff and garbage collection equipment. More importantly, it is not in line with Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Challenge – a program that encourages everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. While Delta prides itself on being a city preserved by hand and heart and while Port Moody is recognized as the city of the arts, there need to be more hearts for sustainability and more hands to take action and more creativity for environmental change. By replacing Spring Cleaning with another initiative, residents can be more responsible regarding waste disposal decisions.
This month, cities can make a difference to the world and contribute to Earth day. Some excellent programs that cities can follow from other municipalities are:
City-Wide Garage Sale
This highly successful city wide garage sale program implemented in the Tri-Cities provides opportunities to reuse and recycle household items rather than dispose of them in landfills. Delta can promote community recycling in a centralized location as residents have the ability to sell their used household items to others who may find them useful.
Large Items Pick-Up
This program essentially minimizes costs by offering an easy way to have items picked up right from their homes only if it is required by the resident. There is a limit imposed as to how much a household can throw away per year which limits the accumulation of waste. As a result, residents are encouraged to think of other ways to handle old goods.
Municipalities aren't the only ones that need to change. Residents can greatly contribute and that's where Earth Day comes in. Earth Day is all about being creative and implementing unique methods to reduce reuse and recycle. There are many ideas on how Delta and the community can reduce waste. By participating in Earth Day and events dedicated to environmental awareness, the public can learn how to live a lifestyle that promotes sustainability. Possible solutions for residents to think of are:
Ever seen a bathtub fully decorated in blooming sunflowers, ferns and herbs? Instead of trashing your broken bicycle or your large sofa bed, how about planting them? As absurd as it may sound, planting flowers and greens all over the old furniture can look amazingly beautiful. The costs for implementing the Spring Cleaning can be used to designate a Spring Planting garden where people can be creative in planting human made materials for enjoyment.
Go Figure. The internet is a powerful tool that can be utilized for environmental causes. People can learn how to best deal with old appliances in a sustainable and creative way by just doing a search on Google. There are also popular buy-and-sell websites such as Craigslist and eBay where any items can be advertised for free. You never know when someone might see your "trash" as treasure.
It is time for the municipalities to bring the community together and work towards a greener future. As the Kenyan Proverb quotes, “Treat the Earth well, it was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” If the municipalities and its residents work together towards a sustainable future, then the communities can truly live up to preserving their land with abundant hearts and hands. So Delta and Port Moody, forget Spring Cleaning, it’s time to be creative in trash.