Port Coquitlam – Leading the Green Charge


Port Coquitlam Green

We’re pretty eco-conscious here in the Tri-Cities – and really all across Metro Vancouver. When you live in such a beautiful setting, it’s only natural to want to do what you can to protect it. But locally, one city is really going above and beyond in the quest to become green, from roofs to waste reduction.

Port Coquitlam was recently recognized by the Union of BC Municipalities for its innovative approach to waste reduction. It received first place in the Best Practices – Leadership & Innovation Award category for large urban municipalities, recognizing its environmental leadership.

PoCo’s waste-reduction journey began in 2004, when it introduced its automated collection system. In 2008, it expanded it efforts when it became the first city in Metro Vancouver to take several bold steps to reduce waste, starting with its green cart program to collect fruit and vegetable scraps. The following year, it started collecting all food scraps/food-soiled papers, and in 2010 it went to alternate-week garbage collection. This year it went even further, bringing food scraps collection to all multi-family homes and schools.

As a result of its efforts, PoCo has reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by 26% since 2009, and saved $164,500 in 2010 in operations and disposal costs. There has been and a reduction of 98 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases. Also, the diversion of 1,182 tonnes of green cart materials in 2010 is estimated to have reduced a similar tonnage of landfill-related greenhouse gases.

The city isn’t done yet, though. Its Waste-Loss Challenge is asking residents to take further steps to bring their waste diversion rate from 62% to 70%, by doing more recycling and composting. They state that about 75% of what is typically thrown away can go into the green and blue carts, so 70% should be a totally achievable goal.

Port Coquitlam is a green star beyond their waste reduction work. While Coquitlam’s cosmetic pesticide ban is stalled, PoCo’s ban went into effect this June. The city also has an innovative green roof policy that went into effect in 2006. Green roofs aid in temperature control, absorb rainwater and help to improve air quality. You can see a great example of a green roof at the recently-built Wal-Mart in Port Coquitlam.

PoCo is clearly leading the charge towards sustainability in the Tri-Cities. Hopefully Port Moody and Coquitlam will continue to follow their lead, and we can make our region an example of a beautiful and sustainable place to live.

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