In collaboration with Environment Hamilton, that shared their results of quizzing Hamiltonians on what gets recycled and what doesn’t, as well as OPIRG’s grocery store audit findings, this open discussion with Nrinder Nann resulted in a hopeful future for the City of Hamilton. During the discussion with Nrinder, she explained that this was not a ban on single-use plastics, but moreso a capital retrofitting. There were a multitude of variables to address in order for this plan to come through by 2030.
Some factors to consider is the timeline of compostability, as the problem with coffee cups is the quantity and the facilities have a difficult time balancing the moisture and heat conditions for optimal compostability.
There is still ongoing research in industrial, universities and other waste management streams that are identifying alternatives to plastic. The neighborhood blue box recycling program is also not effective since people are not sorting their waste properly even though there is lots of useful step-by-step resources available online. The City of Hamilton only diverts 34% of their waste and is collaborating with waste management with other cities. It is a collective effort of residents sorting the waste, not just the waste materials recovery centre.
What will the economic development of Hamilton look like with pursuing zero waste?
We need to move towards reusing, since the recycling market in Hamilton is losing business overseas. There will not be a ban on straws since there is limited capabilities for certain cohorts. Although there have been bans already challenged in Vancouver to see regulatory government change, Ontario will not be having the straw ban. How do we facilitate businesses to move towards compostability? There are already a few restaurants that have been taking on initiatives in offering compostable take-out containers to reduce plastic even without the supervision of the City instructing them to do so.
Nrinder hopes to reach a zero-waste economy by 2030. A climate emergency action task force is a priority and was claimed an emergency for the first time in corporate history and have to find out how they are going to reach their 2030 and 2050 targets of reducing their emissions. Nrinder is hopeful that Hamilton can accomplish these targets even before 2030, even though public works committee has not made quantifiable targets yet. We need to make procurement policies focused on climate policies.
How do we reach out to everyone?
We have to use all channels to educate people on how they can properly sort their waste, whether it be face-to-face, events, or social media, we need to use every communication way possible to reduce our waste. We can also learn from other countries as well.