Vida Turok

International conference promotes reducing waste

NANAIMO – Ninth annual Zero Waste International Alliance journeys to Nanaimo for first conference in Canada.

Experts from around the world are on their way to Nanaimo for the ninth-annual Zero Waste International Alliance Conference.

The conference has been held in Switzerland, Italy, Brazil, the  Philippines and elsewhere, but this year the conference makes its Canadian debut.

This year’s event, hosted at the Coast Bastion Inn Thursday to Saturday (Oct. 2-4), is titled Alternatives to Incinerators and Landfills.

“Each conference has had international speakers and delegates attending and sharing information to further the advancement of zero waste,” said Dirk Becker, Zero Waste Canada spokesman. “International Waste Alliance was formed in 2002 and it’s working toward a world without waste through public education and practical application of zero-waste principals.”

Organizers expect several hundred people from all over the world to attend. Decker said people from Europe, with its high population density and consumption, and Africa, where resources are scarce and recycling gleans raw materials for new purposes, drive up attendance numbers.

Keynote speakers include Paul Connett, Zero Waste Canada board member and former faculty member with St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., who has spoken in more than 50 countries around the world about his opposition to incineration as a method of managing solid waste, based on his chemical analysis of the process’s byproducts. Also on the roster is Ruben Anderson, a specialist in behavioural change and regenerative systems who has taught at Emily Carr University and is a product design award winner.

“We need to start seeing waste as a non-reusable resource that creates jobs,” Decker said.

Ian Gartshore, Zero Waste Canada member, said the conference will feature great speakers and a family-oriented dance on Saturday. Plenty of local talented innovators and entrepreneurs will be on hand throughout the trade fair-style event.

“Like [Vida Turok] who turns pallets into furniture and we have a kids program going downstairs where they learn to take junk from the [Nanaimo Recycling Exchange] and actually make creative things with it,” Gartshore said.

Hub City Cycles will be on site to help cyclists tune and repair bicycles. People can also bring small appliances and furniture and have them put back into working order at the conference’s repair cafe.

“We’re also looking for more sponsors and volunteers,” Decker said.

To learn more or to register and purchase tickets, please visit www.zwia14.com.

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