Separate the good from the bad, and reduce what is lost forever to landfill with SLRD’s free downloadable signs
If you’ve been waiting for a sign that now is the time to get your recycling in order, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) has delivered. Signs, that is. Free, downloadable, colour-coded signs designed to make it as easy as possible to pre-sort your household, business, school or strata’s recycling are now available on the SLRD’s website.
The first step in reducing waste to landfill and improving overall recycling rates is getting things into the right bin.
“Clearing away the trash is one of the most mindless tasks most of us undertake, and that’s unfortunate given that the planet needs us to become a lot more mindful about the way we consume and dispose of things.” - Brooke Carere
Says the SLRD’s Solid Waste & Resource Management Communications Coordinator, Brooke Carere, “Given the reality, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to sort their waste on auto-pilot so we can keep recyclables and organics out of the landfill.”
One visual tool that has been shown to help residents, visitors and businesses to recycle is the consistent use of icons and colours as cues. Consistent waste management signage – at work, school, or in a shared recycling room – has been found to help people sort their recycling more quickly, reduce contamination and improve recycling rates.
To facilitate this, the SLRD has followed suit from leading waste-warriors around the world, and has developed and made available a comprehensive series of copyright-free, downloadable and editable signs and sticker graphics at www.slrd.bc.ca/signage.
Event promoters, strata managers, hoteliers, schools, landlords, employers or businesses wanting to make recycling easier for residents, students, employees and patrons, can use the signs in their own operations. The signs’ icons and colour coding are designed to be an easy visual guide to check what can and can’t go to landfill.
These new sign standards are already in use at the Pemberton Transfer Station and Lillooet Landfill and will be installed at the Devine and Gold Bridge transfer stations by the summer. Whistler Blackcomb has incorporated them into staff housing and their back of house food and beverage waste management programs. With support from AWARE, the Whistler Public Library and Meadow Park Sports Centre have adopted the signs, and the Pemberton and District Community Centre has gotten on board as well. All SLRD member municipalities are committed to incorporating the signage standards on the ground at Waste Transfer Stations in future sign prints and facility upgrades.
“Tipping fees are increasing across the region as we come to terms with the fact that the Squamish landfill is almost full. Waste diversion is a real and immediate priority, here and across the province,” says SLRD Board Chair Jack Crompton. “Two-thirds of what people are throwing away is compostable organics, plastic or paper, so that right there provides us all with an easy way to meet our waste reduction goals – and it’s as simple as putting things in the right bin.”
With the pocket-book incentive on people to trim down their waste by properly sorting out recyclables and compostable organics, the SLRD is putting an emphasis on education and awareness to help people put their garbage on a serious diet.
The SLRD’s goal, as set out in the recently adopted Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan, reflects the provincial target to achieve an annual average disposal rate of 350 kg of waste per person by 2020. Currently, the average SLRD resident throws away 540 kg of trash per year – more than half of which is going in the wrong bin and could be easily diverted with some simple behavior shifts. Better signage is one step in the right direction.
The SLRD’s Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (SWRMP) is available at www.slrd.bc.ca/SWRMP.