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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Welcome to the Zero Waste Education Program Blog

What is this blog all about?
This blog will track the zero waste challenge as it tours throughout the region, and share with readers experiences from the zero waste journey. You will find resources on how to reduce your waste, results from the classroom lunch audits, fun/silly/aha moments from workshops, and stories on how students in our region are actively reducing their waste. From September to December 2011 I will be traveling to schools in Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Mt. Currie, D'Arcy, Lillooet and Goldbridge sharing the Zero Waste Challenge. Readers are encouraged to share pictures, stories or tips on how they are committing to acts of zero waste - post right to the blog or email me at

Where did the Zero Waste Education Program come from?
The Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Zero Waste Program is an action initiative of the SLRD’s solid waste management plan. This plan seeks to reduce the regions per capita solid waste by 67% as compared to 1990 disposal rates using various waste minimization strategies. All of these waste minimization strategies (including the school program) are built on the concept of zero waste. 

What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste, as defined in the SLRD solid waste management plan is:
“a whole systems approach that broadens the scope of solid waste management planning by taking into consideration the flow of products and materials from the initial stages of product and process design, through resource extraction, manufacturing, consumption and disposal.”
Just as nature is a whole system that recycles energy into new life, zero waste is a guiding philosophy that encourages us to:
  • redesign our systems to reduce our levels of consumption,
  • reuse existing products,
  • and recycle what we once considered to be “trash”.

What does the Zero Waste Program look like?
Elementary Students will participate in the Zero Waste Workshop learning about the regions waste management system, and discover what happens to their waste “beyond the bin”. The classroom will participate in a lunch waste audit and students be sent home with an invitation to participate in the Regional Garbage Free Lunch Challenge. Parents will be given tips and ideas of how they can support garbage free lunch day in a send-home invitation. Parents and students will also be encouraged to submit photos, and stories of their garbage free lunch experience to be featured on the zero waste blog site. The garbage free lunch day will take place in the week following the Zero Waste Workshop. Using the same auditing system that was applied in the workshop, students and teachers will re-audit their waste on garbage free lunch day. Classrooms showing a reduction in waste will be entered to win one of 10 classroom worm composters.

The Zero Waste High School Edition is a competition between regional high schools to understand their solid waste composition.  Students will conduct a waste audit, and use this understanding to develop a solid waste reduction plan. Zero Waste teams will be asked to submit a short video describing their solid waste reduction plan, and one school will win a $1000 waste action prize to implement their waste reduction plan.

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