Clean Air Day!!!

A thought occurred to me yesterday as I was attending Metro Vancouver’s Wood Waste Symposium (sounds boring, but actually really interesting!) Like, did you know that 25% of the garbage generated from construction and demolition in Vancouver is wood that can be recycled?  25% of the GARBAGE! Not including the copper pipes, drywall etc.  25% of the garbage.

I thought that was really, really very interesting and I’m preparing some more blog postings around that with stats and charts as I acquire them.

But it got me to thinking because I get a lot of phone calls to recycle everything EXCEPT wood. Wood’s like this invisible thing that that ends up in the trash. People are super concerned that their old stove gets recycled, but aren’t too bothered about the wood.Which is where, if they new that 25% of their garbage was recycling, they’d care about. Recycling the stove, is a “no brainer”, it’s diverting the wood that there’s a real difference made. Of the 10 construction bins on a site, 2.5 should be diverted.  Those are big numbers!

And this lead me to an analogy about hybrid vehicles that is akin to the wood problem and relevant to Clean Air Day.

On the construction sites, people are hyper concerned about metal.  And by percentage, metal makes up a very small part of the waste stream. Most of it is recycled and therefore not counted in the garbage audits municipalities conduct. And the wood on sites is mostly ignored, which makes up a far, far greater percentage.  In much the same way we have people driving already very small cars desperate to get into hybrid vehicles where I think we need to focus on getting people out of LARGE gas guzzlers like Suburbans or Escalades and full size pick-ups etc. and into SMALLER, lighter cars. Hybrid or not, who cares.

The amount of green house gases that you would save if you switch from your Civic to your Civic Hybrid, is really pretty measly compared to the amount of green house gases you can save by switching from a large SUV, to a small car like an Echo or Yaris. The fact that it also burns gas is made nearly irrelevant because the amount of energy needed to move you from A to B is so dramatically reduced! Personally, if I switched from my scooter  to a hybrid, I’d INCREASE my carbon footprint.  I now also buy the high-test gasoline for my scooter because it gives it a bit of extra “go”, and instead of spending $4.80 to fill the tank, I might spend $5.20.  Do I care? No, definitely not.  Why? Instead of spending $40 to fill the tank of the car I used to drive, I’m spending $5 to fill my present ride, regardless of the octane. 

Here’s a link to a blog that discusses fuel consumption.  It’s really what lead to this blog posting, coincidentally, it’s Clean Air Day.  I hope you find it interesting.  I sure did!!!

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