Thanks to all who came out to the Zero Waste afternoon on November 29th!  If you weren’t able to join in, we’ve uploaded our Zero Waste presentation slides, and below, have included the videos shown so you can view and share them at your leisure.   This Zero Waste event included:

  • What Zero Waste is all about (video link to Paul Connett, author of The Zero Waste Solution)
  • A review of the current MMBC recycling program
  • A time line of the new items that will be accepted at select recycling depots (video about cork recycling: ReCork).
  • A presentation on avoiding Food Waste & on Larger Scale Composting possibilities in Powell River
  • The possible formation of a Resource Recovery Park in Powell River through a collaboration including local businesses, organizations, vendors and artists. (video link to Gibson’s Recycling facility)
  • A presentation by guest speaker, Jill Doucette, founder of Synergy Systems (specialist in ‘Greening’ Businesses)
  • Local guest speakers: Melissa Call, owner of Ecossentials (speaking about the challenges of ‘greening’ a business), and Chloe Smith & Guadalupe Dufour, who are upcycling barley bags from Townsite Brewery into 6 pack totes and more!
  • Introduction to the concept of the ‘The Sharing Economy‘ which can facilitate the sharing of our resources and thus decrease the waste we produce.

A recent study from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives delved into the issue of zero waste.  The study titled; “Closing the Loop: Reducing Green House Gas Emissions and Creating Green Jobs Through Zero Waste in BC” highlights that we are consuming at an unsustainable rate and need to regain focus on reducing and reusing.  The full length document is 45 pages while a summary report is offered through 8 pages of stimulating reading.

Our April 11th episode of our Let’s Talk Trash radio show features a 20 minute interview with one of the author’s Sue Maxwell.  Sue helps to explain the core issue of moving waste management policies from a linear system into a closed loop system where designing for the environment is taken into consideration along with the increase in repairability of products and an economy that can be stimulated through this change.

While this report has just been released it will be interesting to see what policy makers choose to do with the provided list of eleven recommendations outline in the study.  It’s stated that a provincial policy mandate for zero waste creates an important opportunity to develop a localized economy better positioned to weather global changes climate change, market volatility and resource scarcity—that are gathering on the horizon.  This paper looks at the prospects for closing the loop – a transition from managing wastes to recovering resources that feed back into production – and considers the intersection between climate action and zero waste policies.  From waste to resource….

There have been some great films out there being produced with a focus on waste.  Some of these films focus on the great burden that we as humans have been creating through our ‘disposable society’ and others are highlighting the ingenious effort some folks are making that take the concept of reuse to a whole other level.  These films are informative, inspiring and jaw dropping with some of the truths that they unveil.  If you know of a film that is trash related we’ve love to know about it.  Send us an email!

– Trashed –
In the new documentary TRASHED, a Blenheim Films production, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady
Trashed_Poster_OFFICIAL_US_LORES_27X40 (Madam and the Dying Swan), which was selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival, academy award winner Jeremy Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. This is a meticulous, brave investigative journey that takes Irons (and us) from scepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope.  Brady’s narrative is vividly propelled by an original score created by Academy Award winning composer Vangelis.

– Landfill Harmonic –
This upcoming feature-length documentary is about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made from trash, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.  The filmmakers lives were changed in the making of this movie and they hope that you will forever be changed as well after seeing this incredible film.

landfill harmonic– Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? –
  American use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes – single-use disposable bags that we mindlessly throw away.  But where is “away”?  Where do the bags and other plastics ebagitnd up, and at what cost to our environment, marine life and human health? Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. Jeb’s journey in this documentary film starts with simple questions: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? Jeb looks beyond plastic bags and discovers that virtually everything in modern society-from baby bottles, to sports equipment, to dental sealants, to personal care products-is made with plastic or contains potentially harmful chemical additives used in the plastic-making process. When Jeb’s journey takes a personal twist, we see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up with us and what we can do about it. Today. Right now.

Wasteland –
Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.wasteland There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives.  This film offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

– Garbage Warrior –
What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century.


Do you use a travel mug?  Do you have one but often forget to bring it?  How often do you find yourself holding a disposable cup?  This simple action of choosing to use a reusable mug versus a disposal cup makes a significant difference in waste reduction.  I was in our local Starbucks and inquired as to how frequently the staff had to empty the garbage cans.  Every other hour with the vast majority of waste being to-go cups!

Most one-time use cups are manufactured with 100% bleached virgin paper.  The estimate of how many disposable cups we use each year is in the billions! These disposable cups affect the environment negatively.  Beside creating a steady supply of waste, they also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases.  Fortunately, there are alternatives.  Waste, natural resources and damage done by greenhouse gases are all decreased by reusable cups after only 24 uses!  View this quick clip for a visual incentive.

Travel mugs and reusable shopping bags are two key items that are handy to always have stocked in your vehicle or daily bag.  Once you invite a reusable cup into your habits you’ll never look back.  Not only will you feel empowered in contributing to the zero waste movement, you’re beverage will stay warmer and most cafes often have a discount when you provide your own mug.

Drink responsibly.  Bring a cup.

The Let’s Talk Trash team hosted a workshop for event planners this past April to encourage & inspire zero waste planning.  In collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Regional District and Sunshine Coast Tourism, a handy guide was designed for event planners of all sizes to help create zero waste at their events.  There is something for everyone in this guide, from dinner parties to festivals, the Let’s Talk Trash team has sourced local resources and has highlighted key tips to consider when attempting to host a zero waste event.

As summer is amping up, backyard bbq’s as well as festivities start emerging.  Take the zero waste challenge and incorporate this effort into your next event.  By giving yourself some time to plan for this extra effort (that will not go unnoticed!) it will be just as easy to discard food scraps and paper plates into the compost as it would be to toss it into the garbage.  Don’t have a backyard compost?  Does your neighbour?  If you’re still stumped, contact us and we will try our best to find you one.  As our guide suggests, signage is key.  If you have clear instructions on your recycling and compost collection, it should then be easy for anyone to adapt to and participate in the system you’ve created.

Interested?  Check out the Zero Waste Guide for Event Planners.


Thank you to all those who came out to our Critter-Proof Composter workshop.  Thank you to Laurie Chambers for walking us through his new and improved Critter-Proof composter design and Diana Wood for hosting us in her beautiful garden.  We learned how to make rich compost without attracting our four-legged friends!

Laurie Chambers demonstrates his latest Critter-Proof Composter design

Laurie Chambers demonstrates his latest Critter-Proof Composter design


Laurie takes questions from a local composter

Thank you to all who came out to the Halloween Pumpkin Round Up!  We diverted approximately 60 pumpkins from the landfill and made some pigs happy at the same time! We hope to collect many more next year!

Stillwater Farms collects Halloween pumpkins for their pigs


We are compiling a list of people wanting to donate old chest freezers and those looking for freezers  to be converted into composters.  If you have a freezer to donate or want to make your own freezer composter and are looking for a freezer please email Tai Uhlmann at letstalktrashteam@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you so if you have any suggestions on workshops that you would like to see happen please email Tai Uhlmann at letstalktrashteam@gmail.com

Thank you to all those who came out to the fall Fair and joined compost expert Bert Baillie and the Let’s Talk Trash team to learn how to do a complete freezer to composter conversion and maintain high temperature composting.  The Let’s Talk Trash Team also set up 2 zero waste stations at the Fall Fair and diverted a freezer full of compost from the landfill as well as a bag of refundables, a bag of plastic recyclables as well as paper, wood and metal.

Bert describes the freezer to composter conversion process

Bert and Brian tag team freezer compost questions

Earle was the lucky winner of our freezer composter auction

Ronnie Uhlmann volunteers to keep organics and recyclables out of the waste stream!

Thank you to all who came out to our compost pile workshop at Wildwood Gardens and Nursery and thank you John Bufton for your knowledge, hard work and enthusiasm towards composting!  We got a chance to see a compost pile being built as well as the composting process in it’s various stages.

John builds a compost pile

John waters the pile

John reveals an almost finished pile

John with his compost piles in various stages

Thank you for joining us at the Farmers Market with Compost Specialist Bert Baillie and Drewen Young from Career Links to learn how to do a complete freezer to composter conversion, nourish your compost and maintain high temperature composting. These freezer composter workshops have been so popular we may host another one at the Fall Fair Farmers Market on September 22nd.  Check back soon for more info.

Bert, Drewen and Brian demonstrate freezer composting

people gather around to learn more

Abby McLennan and Jesse Black pick the winners of a new freezer composter

Winners of a new freezer composter!

Thank you to all who came out to our Freezer Composter Conversion workshop and thank you Bert Baillie for walking us through the steps of freezer conversion and sharing your knowledge with us.  I also want to acknowledge Drewen Young from Career Links and her team who have been working closely with Bert to make freezer composters an option for people in Powell River.  Check out their blog http://hotdamncomposter.wordpress.com/ Thank you to those who came out to our Worms Work workshop and thank you Carol Engram for sharing your vast experience on worm culture with us.  It was a very hands on workshop where we drilled holes and shredded newspaper to make 2 worm bins with bedding. One was taken home by our lucky winner and one now lives at the Compost Education Center.

Thank you to those who came to our Composting 101 Workshop.  It was very informative and helped with troubleshooting compost issues!  Thank you Joyce McMenamon for sharing your knowledge with us and showing us how to make great compost.  We also got a new Speedibin composter at our Compost Education Center so come take a look.

Joyce starts off the Speedibin with nitrogen and carbon rich layers

The workshop crew with the new Speedibin composter

Thank you to all those who came to our Open House.  We had Freezer Composter and Vermiculture demonstrations and sample finished product from each of our composting systems and worm castings.  Thank you Bert Baillie and Carol Engram for sharing your expertise with us!

Bert Baillie demonstrates the converted freezer composter

Samples of finished compost

Carol Engram shows her worms and castings

View of the Open House from the gardens

Thank you to all those who came out to the COMPOST IN PARADISE workshop and thank you Diana Wood for demonstrating your different methods of backyard composting and showing us how you make compost and incorporate it into your garden beds.  It was a perfect day to spend in such an amazing garden!

Diana shows how she makes compost from plant clippings and yard waste

Diana unloads finished compost from her critter-proof composter

Thank you to all who came out to our Bokashi workshop and  to host Heather Claxton from Mother Nature who demonstrated the indoor fermentation system.   If you missed it and would like a workshop on the Bokashi method please email letstalktrashteam@gmail.com.

Heather digs the fermented organics into a garden bed where they will break down in approximately 2 weeks


The Recycling Handbook serves as a great resource to learn more about all the products and things that can be recycled.  We currently have local drop-off depots for all of the listed products thanks to the many businesses who provided us with these services.  If you come across something that you’re unsure about, find the appropriate category that your item falls under and use the contact information to make an inquiry.  In my experience in contacting some of these folks, my inquiries have always been answered promptly.

As Product Stewardship evolves the Let’s Talk Trash team will work to keep you and industries informed.  The most recent addition in the Stewardship program was the addition of bike tires and tubes.  It is now possible to take your bike tires and tubes to Suncoast Cycles for recycling.  This new addition falls under the Tire Stewardship sector.  Next up on the workbench of BC Product Stewardship is Printed Paper and Packaging.  Many forums have been taking place where industry, recyclers, local government and educators have been creating dialogue to discuss this new initiative.  Once the details have been ironed out the information will be disseminated.  It will be interesting to see what this new recycling program will include as packaging continues to be a large contributor to the waste stream.