Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Challenge received international recognition with a Silver Excellence Award for Communication at the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) annual convention held in Nashville, Tennessee. SWANA's Excellence Awards Program recognizes outstanding solid waste reduction programs with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in 14 categories.
"This prestigious award highlights our commitment to waste reduction," said Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson. "We developed the Zero Waste Challenge to help residents connect with new ways to create less garbage, to reuse and to responsibly recycle end-of-life items."
The social marketing campaigns from Christmas 2009 to January 2011 included:
Â· How much of what you give will end up in the garbage? Emphasizing reducing waste before it is even created, as typically 5% more garbage is created during the holidays. (Christmas 2009)
Â· Watch Your Waste directed residents to our website for actions they could take, especially in reducing the largest categories of waste: food scraps, paper and plastic. (Spring 2010)
Â· Create Memories Not Garbage encouraged the residents to give lasting experiences or gifts that were recyclable or re-usable. (Christmas 2010)
Â· Just Don't Trash It encouraged residents to reuse items by recycling, donating, giving away and re-gifting. (January 2011)
Post-campaign polling confirmed that one third of those surveyed for all four campaigns reported doing something new to reduce the amount of garbage they created.
Metro Vancouver's sustainability framework envisages a zero waste region - no waste, only resources. Today, residents and business recycle just over half of the 360 million tonnes of garbage, or solid waste, created in the region each year.
The Zero Waste Challenge is a bold commitment with three goals: reduce solid waste generation, divert 70 percent of garbage from disposal by 2015 (with a goal of 80 percent diversion by 2020), and extract the maximum practical benefits from those remaining materials that cannot be diverted.