Sustainable Cities Project - Xavier Morand, Emma Husser and Nicolas Bernier

by xmorand on November 9, 2017 - 9:10am

Domestic waste is a huge environmental issue all around the world, but according to an article by Radio-Canada called, “Où produit-on le plus de déchets? La réponse en carte” (2016), Canada is one of the countries that produces the most domestic waste per person per day. The worldwide average of waste per person per day is of 1.2kg (which is already huge), and Canada is way above that average according to the map attached to this article.

In fact, based on this map, Canada produces, on average, between 4 and 5 kilograms of waste per person per day, which is an enormous quantity. Fortunately, many cities are starting to raise awareness about this issue by promoting recycling in their municipalities, but previously presented results and statistics have shown that this is not enough. In fact, while recycling is great for materials such as paper and plastic, but people who recycle still end up throwing away all of their food, clothes, etc. which still is a huge amount of domestic waste that end up in landfills. Very few cities have begun promoting compost within their municipalities, but compost has not gained a lot of popularity yet even though it would be a great solution to this environmental issue.

Compost not only decomposes food wastes in a natural manner, but the result of such a decomposition also makes excellent nutrients for the soil, with makes the soil richer and moist as well as keeping plant diseases away. On top of that, not only does it reduce waste in landfills, but once in landfills, our domestic waste is burned, which produces an extremely high amount of methane gas and other toxic gases for the environment. By promoting compost, people will reduce the amount of toxic gases that end up in our atmosphere as well as reducing their carbon and ecological footprint.

Comments

Sustainable cities and societies are a must in order to ensure a bright future to the world's population. Many countries and government has decided to take action upon this subject, and decided to be leaders in the field of sustainability. Some countries as Iceland, are running on 100% renewable energy, they are also working on becoming a fully recycling-oriented community. Sweden is another leader into sustainability. They have cities as Växjö which is considered to be the greenest city in Europe. There is also the region on Malmö were they keep on working on creative innovative and creative way to achieve sustainability. They are using architectural concepts, and new efficient technologies as green roofs. Here is a great article about 7 examples of sustainability in Sweden that gives more detail about how they are doing: https://sweden.se/nature/7-examples-of-sustainability-in-sweden/ . Finally, the biggest leader in sustainability is Switzerland. The country has a rate of 95.5 in the Environmental performance. From a report posted by the country (https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ca/sustainability-environment.html) has really high rate of recycling (94% of old glass and 81% of PET containers). Switzerland is also really protective of their environment with their high regulation on forest, and woodland; 14,8% of the actual country is used a national park to preserve the unique landscape. These examples of sustainable cities are really important because it proves that with the required investment and motivation, it is possible to create society to would sustain themselves. By having more kind of countries taking this kind of action, we would generate less toxic gases and reduce the world’s carbon and ecological footprint.

That is some really interesting information, however it leaves me with a few questions. Firstly, you say that we need to promote compost more if we want to produce less waste, but as you say compost has very little popularity. The benefits of compost are good and all, but without solutions on how to promote compost and make it more widespread then no amount of positive effects from compost will be very useful. Secondly, as you said there are many other sources of waste, such as clothes. I was simply wondering if there are any solutions or alternatives that you can think of to handle the problem of waste that can be neither composted nor recycled. Obviously we need to reduce the amount of things that we consume but we can't stop consuming altogether, and so we need to find ways to reduce waste even more effective than simply reducing consumption of wasteful products.

From what I have read, there is a lot of good factual information concerning the context of your project. As a matter of fact, E-waste is a huge problem here in Quebec and Canada. I like the graph that you put in there and I think you were able to make the subject of E-waste understandable to everybody, which is essential for getting people involved and making your project happen. However, I wish your project looked more like a proposal form, that way we would know what the steps were that you will take in order to complete it. Other than that, good job on the informational part and keep at it.

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