Saturday, January 22, 2011

Duncan Curbside Compost Launch Delayed

Some Duncan folks might think this is rotten news, but when you're dealing with compost, that's bound to happen from time to time.

Duncan's Curbside Compost Pickup program is being delayed by a month.

The key word here is delayed. It is by no means canceled.

The reason? The special-order split-container truck needed to propel the City of Duncan into the neighbourhood of zero-waste is taking its time getting here.

Once the truck arrives, we can begin the program, and work toward reducing each household's waste by 35 per cent on average. Cool!

March 1st is the new start date.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cutting Carbon in Cowichan

Yesterday, with a trailer full of recycling, standing in the cool, cool rain outside Gillingham Cabinets I got to talking with the conscientious company's environmental champion Duncan Wilcock.

He was telling me about some of the straightforward steps the business took to reduce their carbon footprint by more than half.

And it all started with him signing up to take the Carbon Smart program.

With an eye on cutting costs and cutting carbon, the program helps businesses assess their current operations and find environmentally sound solutions to meet some of their diverse needs.

The program is coming to Cowichan!

Cowichan Valley Regional District and Pacific Carbon Trust are bringing the course to the area but businesses have to act fast.

The space is limited to 10.

After speaking with Wilcock, it seems the program has truly catapulted Gillingham Cabinets into a new paradigm — one where environmental benefits are tightly tied to economic benefits.

Register at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cycling fuel — what goes in your tank?

Yesterday I met up with Recyclist Patrick at the Duncan Garage to have a chat about recycling. He was chowing down on a delicious-looking organic cinnamon bun because he had used up most of his fuel.
And that got me thinking about the best foods to keep a cyclist going.

For the past three-and-a-half years we've been spending large portions of our days in the saddle.

And when you propel yourself around by pedal-power, energy levels are most definitely worth monitoring.

For me, starting the day with a heaping, hot bowl of old fashioned oatmeal topped with a handful of nuts, a couple scoops of hemp protein powder, some banana and some berries and I'm good to go until at least 10 a.m.

Then I tend to keep myself moving with anything I can get my hands on — cookies, cake, chocolate — until noon when I eat a couple of tuna sandwiches.
And, I can tell you, I'm starving again by 2 p.m.

I'd love to know what other all-day cyclists are putting in their tanks in the morning.

Happy riding!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking Pause from a Great Idea

We had to break some sad news to a couple who called us to their home today to recycle some of their accumulated garage detritus.

Fortunately, we had only told them the good news minutes before, so their emotional investment was more flash-excitement than deep-rooted ecstasy.

The good news?

Recently the Cowichan Valley Regional District started accepting Styrofoam for recycling at Bings Creek Transfer Station.

The foam is dealt with by a non-profit organization out of Nanaimo with a mobile compacting machine.

The sad news?

It appears the program has been so popular and the response so great, for whatever reason the amount of material is not being dealt with fast enough.

So, at this point the CVRD's bins are chock-o-block full and we were told they are no longer accepting it. At least not right now.

We hope this changes.

The idea is obviously one whose time has come. Hopefully the mobile compactor will come too.

Until then, we can still find a home for your Styrofoam if you'd like it recycled.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Idle Thoughts

When it comes to blogging, sometimes I need a kick in the proverbial tailpipe to get typing.

Today I received more than my fair share of inspiration.

It came in the form of pollution, puffing and wheezing its way out from the ass of an idling diesel crew cab parked at the recycling depot. (Coincidentally, the vehicle was also driven by an ass, which goes to show that nothing escapes the encompassing grip of the circle of life, not even those who are trying to squash it.)

Anyhow, after an energetic, sun-filled day of recycling, Katie and I congregated at Schnitzer Steel Pacific to unload for the final time. Schnitzer Steel provides a place for the public to come and drop their recyclables, mostly without cost.

The public takes advantage of this because, well, frankly, recycling will save the world. At the very least it beats throwing trash in the river.

So there we are, breathing deeply and feeling lively at the end of a healthy day of work, when a massive truck and trailer pulls up. Without shutting off his motor, this guy disappears into the office and doesn't come out for more than 10 minutes.

I'm sure he was having a great time, regaling the staff with stories of how he once was mistaken for a pylon, or how he kept losing to his neighbour's goat at Scrabble.

Us poor suckers in the yard, however, were quietly choking to death on pickup particulate.

When he did emerge from the office, this prince among polluters went about his business of dropping off his recycling. His truck, meanwhile, continued to emit.

Katie and I, meanwhile, continued to gasp for air.

Seriously, I can't fathom the disconnect between recycling and the rest of the environment for some people.

That one idling truck not only canceled out any Mother Nature Brownie points this guy could have earned from doing his own free recycling, I think it ended up costing him about $5 worth of fuel.

City of Duncan has adopted an anti-idling bylaw for their fleet of vehicles and Lake Cowichan is considering it.

Maybe our recycling friend will get the hint when more municipalities get on board.