Eggs-Ellent Eco-Easter Tips

As Easter fast approaches I can’t help but think, not of all that yummy chocolate, but all the unnecessary packaging that comes along with it, and all the waste going to landfill associated with another seasonal celebration. And this is only the waste that we can physically see.Eggs Easter Poster

Canadians consume an average of 5.5 kg of chocolate per person each year. Doesn’t sound like much but when you learn that it takes a full annual harvest from one cocoa tree to produce one tin of baking cocoa (, it’s even more reason to appreciate every yummy bite of chocolate and consider your purchasing choices.

Here are a few simple ways (can you think of some others?) to
try to celebrate Easter in a more sustainable style:

   Place Fairtrade chocolate on the top of your shopping list. Not only does it help improve the living standards of cocoa farmers in the developing world, fostering a better future for their families and communities, but in addition, Continue reading…

Around the World #2

Frozen Recycling – Canada / Australia

As a newbie to this country and therefore Recycling Alternative, the differences between Australia and Canada are very interesting to this little waste enthusiast. The most interesting to me so far (as I am sure there will be more to come) is the curbside recycling collection.

Firstly, the blue box system was originally Picture 006strange to me, especially the separation of the paper into the yellow bag, and those blue boxes. Not strange as it makes complete sense from a recycling perspective keeping the paper clean, more so that the contents of the bags and blue boxes are exposed to the elements (ahem, do I mention the rain?), and those apparent Coyotes and Raccoon’s Continue reading…

Board of Trade SOUNDING BOARD – March issue: MMBC guest column

MMBC – it’s all the talk on trash these days!

If you haven’t heard about the new legislation on Printed Paper and Packaging coming into effect this May, trust me, you’ll be getting an earful very soon and from all sides! Municipalities, Metro Vancouver, garbage companies, recycling companies and not least the producers and manufacturers of printed paper and packaging.

The BC Printing and Imaging Association is strongly opposed to how the program has been rolled out, comparing it to a looming ‘Titanic disaster’ that will ‘harm the BC economy and…. job growth’

For the full story on the association’s opposition, check out Marilynn Knoch’s guest column in this month’s Board of Trade Sounding Board.

“Dark star” of recycling expected to feed into proposed Metro Van incinerator

Avid waste reducers and recyclers in the Lower Mainland will want to read this recent article on the continuing incinerator saga!

Helen Spiegelman – well known recycling advocate and former Executive Director at Recycling Council of British Columbia also raises some concerns over Multi Material BC’s ‘Printed Paper and Packaging’ program slated to start in May 2014.

Will materials coming through this latest Printed Paper and Packaging stewardship program be used as fuel for the incinerator?

A must read for those following the trash trail!


Mike Chisholm – Feb 27th, 2014


Less is more in the recycling business

VanCity Investing in Communities – Stories of Impact
Fall 2012


Some businesses seek to fill the world with their products. But for Recycling Alternative it’s all about getting to zero—zero waste, that is.

More than 20 years ago, Robert Weatherbe offered his friend Louise Schwarz some help to advance her passion for recycling. Today, he and Louise co-own of one of Canada’s most creative recycling companies, Recycling Alternative. Continue reading…

Trouble with trash leads YWCA award winner to become sustainability leader

BC Hydro News
June 29, 2012


“Every so often in life, something hits you in the head like a ton of bricks,” says Louise Schwarz, founding partner of Vancouver-based Recycling Alternative, explaining the epiphany that led her to develop some of Vancouver’s most innovative green community solutions.

In 1989, Louise was visiting a friend in Seattle and was amazed by their advances in recycling. It might seem strange Continue reading…

Trash Talk #2 – The Challenges of Apartment Recycling

Last week Metro held a series of its Dialogues for the Region focusing on ‘Accelerating Multi-Family Waste Diversion’ (i.e. apartments and condo’s).

A tall order indeed. Compared to the 55% diversion achieved from single family homes in the region, only 16% of waste from apartments and condominiums is getting recycled. Doing the math and looking at it from the other end of the tail pipe,  the fact that 84% of waste from apartments and condo’s is going to landfill despite over 25 years of public education means we need to change our strategy dramatically in order to achieve Metro ‘s, 70% waste reduction targets by 2015. Continue reading…

Never mind burn/bury, let’s focus on reduction

The debate on whether to burn or bury (our waste, that is) has been raging in the Lower Mainland lately. On July 30, Metro Vancouver voted to take bids from companies offering alternative solutions for garbage, alongside bids from incineration companies (For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Frances Bula summed up the recent history of the debate in Monday’s Globe and Mail). Continue reading…