By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard
Sunday, April 16, 2017 | 6:23:27
KINGSTON - Stepping into spring, Sustainable Kingston will be hosting a number of local events including a speaker series that will shed light on Ontario's newest environmental bill.
Peter Hargreave, from the Ontario Waste Management Association, will be the keynote speaker at the No Wasted Opportunity evening Thursday. Hargreave said over the phone from Toronto that his talk will focus around the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act of 2016 and what it means for Ontarians.
Hargreave says the act hopes to alter Ontario's current "linear economy" where companies and individuals "make, take and dispose."
"To an economy where we're circulating materials and products on a continual basis throughout the economy," Hargreave said. "How do we make sure we're using more materials, recycling them, and reducing the amount of materials we're producing in the first place?
"That is what the act is meant to do, to try to create more of those opportunities in the economy and allow that to happen more broadly in the economy."
Hargreave said some industries are already recycling products. He specifically said cell phone manufacturers have stepped up by taking old phones from customers and recycling parts or refurbishing them to resell.
"The reason you want to do that is because generally that will create much greater economic opportunities," Hargreave said. "You're producing more opportunities for when that material is being reused or reutilized in the economy. It also creates a huge amount of environmental opportunities.
"As soon as you stop needing to extract new materials it means a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, and all of the consequences that come with that."
Hargreave said the most challenging part about the legislation may be changing the economy's current mindset.
"How we purchase goods, how we use goods, and how we dispose of them at end of life," Hargreave said. "Companies, we as individuals as well, and then the people who are producing products.
"I think there are areas where things are already starting to happen. We're starting to see a change on how people purchase goods. Like renting a water heater. The company that rents you that water heater then repairs the heater when issues come up, and replace it and refurbish it or recycle it afterwards."
Hargreave hopes his audience will see the potential of recycling.
"I think people often forget about what's happening with the waste we create, and waste in general," Hargreave said. "In many ways it's that invisible thing within our economy. I think its got huge potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fundamentally change our relationship with the environment around us."
No Wasted Opportunity will also hear from Heather Roberts, manager of the solid waste division for the City of Kingston. The event is free to the public and will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
In addition to the speaker series, Sustainable Kingston will be leading Pitch-In Kingston week April 22-29 and Earth Day 2017 at McBurney Park with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival on April 22 from 10 a.m. to noon.
For more information about No Wasted Opportunity, Pitch-In Kingston or the Earth Day 2017 festivities, go to www.sustainablekingston.ca.
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