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Incinerator project draws zero-waste conference

The province’s new recycling program will be amongst the topics discussed at the Zero Waste International Alliance Conference and Dialogue taking place in Nanaimo in October.

In its ninth year, the conference will take place in Canada for the first time. Nanaimo was selected because of the proposed incinerator project – alternatives to incinerators and landfills is the focus – but organizers said extended producer responsibility programs (EPR) like Multi-Material B.C. will also garner discussion.

“We are not against EPR programs but we do not feel that they’re fulfilling what they were meant to do,” said Barb Hetheringon, co-founder of Zero Waste Canada.

“Many of the programs have little re-use, there’s no repair, there’s no re-design of products to make them more environmentally safe. So we want to bring the conversation back to EPR and how it can be improved,” she said.

Leslie Lukacs, Zero Waste International Alliance director and conference committee chairwoman, said the definition of zero waste is being hijacked. She said the alliance came up with the definition in 1994 and it is an international definition.

“Our definition includes not burning our resources, not burying our resources and now that we see that groups are calling themselves zero waste but incineration’s part of that, that is not the definition of zero waste,” she said.

Businesses that have good zero-waste programs will be showcased at the conference. The keynote speaker will be Paul Connett, professor emeritus in environmental chemistry at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and author of The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time, which deals with zero-waste initiatives across the globe.

The conference runs from Oct. 2-4, with the Coast Bastion Hotel and Christ Community Church serving as venues. An early-bird rate of $75 per day is available until Aug. 31.

For more information or to register for the conference, please go to www.zerowastecanada.ca/zwia14.

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