Wednesday, October 30, 2013

E(thical)-Recycling...RE-USE, then recycle, and let's do something about it HERE, in Canada, not put it on a boat and ship it "away".

An Ethical Recycler?..., and teacher, and skill sharer? ....Do, go on. 

Ah the infamous electronics recycling....leading to more questions of .....What does my electronics tax actually go towards? Where are all these electronics going? Is it actually being recycled? Is it actually being recycled safely re: the health of those involved, and our environment? What is truly happening to it? How do we reduce the overall amount of e-"waste"? Why do we keep getting new cell phones and computers. Planned obsolescence? Stop the madness!'s enough to spin you on a cycle of despair. . . so let's dial it back, and check out .....

Free Geek - First, any company that has the goal of re-use before recycle, has my attention. Second, when they do get to the recycling phase, they have a goal of doing it as ethically and clean as possible. Third, they provide the resources and an educational space for people to learn to build their own computers or tweak their existing ones (i.e. let's fix them before we toss them and buy a new one that is likely built to last an even shorter amount of time, seems to make perfect sense, right?), Fourth, they provide computers to organizations that would otherwise not be able to afford them, as she says in the video below "Helping the needy get nerdy"... 

Free Geek...where have you been all my life, I'm so glad we have been reunited.

Check out the below short clip for a great intro on what Free Geek is about, and their overall operations model. I'm sure looking forward to connecting with these fabulous souls, and helping to amp up my laptop computer which is about, o let's see...7 years old? I refuse to allow it to be disposed of, it's still operating just fine - just needs a few tweaks, and some love and care.

My heart is so thankful that places like this have come into fruition. Humans are rad, and this just reinforces that point. We all have such fantastic gifts, and ideas to share with the world - let's keep on keeping.

Thanks to my friend for showing me this organization. I was asking her if she needed any cables that I have plenty of (some never even used, just duplicate adapter cables and usb I'm sure everyone has many in their homes, piling up), and low and behold - Free Geek. Love it! Here's what they accept

I believe we all want to do good, and we can do good - if you have an idea, roll with it, and be a game-changer. What's your changer?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Strata Composting for the Win, addition to my worm bin, of course.

Walking home from work on day, stumbled upon this sign

Naturally, I love the feeling of knowing that you were apart something which allowed for items to not have to go to the the landfill. I say naturally but I this a natural feeling for everyone? Is it there it's just under a few layers? 

I would argue it's there in everyone.  I think we can all agree that it's a darn good feeling to know that you are helping someone you love, and what I love, is mother nature.

I wanted to post an update on the composting that's been going on in my building - DIVERSION STATS STYLES - so others could see how incredibly easy it is to do the same in their building. Here is the handy info graphic that Growing City sent us:

Growing City will send us our diversion stats, so we can easily keep track
and see how much we are diverting from the landfill! Hoorah!
As a bit of backstory: composting in my building, it's something I've been wanting to do since I moved here in 2010. 

I brought it up before  to council (before I was actually a council member), and among getting weird remarks back, and somewhat confusion as to why I'd even want such a thing, it was declined due to strata not wanting to be first adopters, and not wanting to spend the extra - I guess there's a lot of risk in being rad?  (also it's funny since, it's really not pricey at all, but I guess Growing City didn't exist the way it does today!) 

So I stopped actively trying, but it was still on my mind, of course, and back then, unfortunately the companies that were picking it up from my office, had not yet expanded to condo buildings, so I was at a bit of a loss (I mean, aside from my own worm bin in my unit, as blogged about here).

Then, this summer, meandering around at a summer festival in the West End, I stumbled upon Growing City's booth. I'm always down to talk compost, so I went over, which is odd but composting in my building was not immediately on my mind so it was perhaps serendipitous that I stumped upon this booth. And, sure enough, they told me they have a 1 month FREE trial period, they do strata pick-ups, and even had another building who had done it, that I decided I would use as my case study within my proposal. Surely council would have to say yes to this amazing initiative!  That, of course, got me super pumped. 

I proceeded to write a proposal to Strata, complete with a myths debunked section, and other FAQs to write. (if you want to do the same for your Strata or building or anything of that nature, let me know and I'm more than happy to share the information!) 

The process moved slower than I wanted it to, but I suppose one must exercise patience. Finally, after all that hard work, council approved that we go ahead with the trial! We had Growing City come to our building and a woman from Growing city and I hung out at the front chatting to residents as they came home from work, and we posted info-sheets around, and I did up a flyer to put under everyone's doors.

The tote had been dropped off that day, mere hours later,
our first few users of the bin, deposited their organics! SUCCESS!

The first week, we were told that our building had actually had one of the best first-pick ups yet, measuring out at 67kgs. Epic! Week two, and three saw just as good of results, with no contamination (plastics, etc). All around, it's been a glorious time. As you can see above, the remainder of the weeks, to date, have been great.

Pre-Compost Tote

Post-Compost Tote (and a very used cardboard bin!)

And, it just goes to show you that 1) if you want to do something, DO IT! 2) Bring the infrastructure, and/or create the space and people shall partake. 

The cost is peanuts once divided across all units - I worked it out to about $0.88/month per unit. Which, as my friend pointed out, is actually cheaper than paying to take it to a drop-spot. (Not that I discount those drop-spots, they got me through some great times) Of course this will depend upon how many units are in your building, but to me, it's a very small price to pay to know that your organics are being turned into nutrient rich soil which will come back full-circle to you, in the form of the healthy, nutrient rich, locally sourced, organic produce you consume. 

I mean - of course, the IDEAL situation is - composting right in your space - keeping those nutrients there, on-site, so that you do not waste energy trucking them around the city. But...for right now, when our alternatives are either landfill, or a compost truck....I still would argue the compost is best - especially as more people sign-up, and the truck can access more buildings within a closer proximity...bam! That and, the more people start composting, the more buy-in we shall have when we decide it's time to have a compost set-up right here, on our open, underutilized, courtyard of a space ....that's another project that I'm slowly working on the best approach ;)

Nature is remarkable  and knowing and feeling that we are getting closer to functioning more like her, and sharing in her natural cycles and rhythms, soothes my soul. 

Note that City of Vancouver is going to be implementing a bylaw as of 2015 that bans organics from the landfill - so best to start sorting out your composting situation sooner, than later :)

Here's the notice I made that went up in the elevators/mail rooms