Feature: How to make the perfect compost pile, a definitive guide

Two stakes and a net is all you need if you follow these easy steps

Here in Vancouver, 30 per cent of collected garbage is made of biodegradable materials. These materials can be easily composted, but are instead dumped into the trash. While the city has set its sights on a 70 per cent diversion rate by 2015 – meaning the goal is to have most of the waste avoid a landfill – it requires the willful participation of the population.

Constructing your own compost is actually an easy process, requiring very little expertise. Follow these simple instructions to put a dent in your waste contributions.

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Sustainable Vancouver: building towards lean, green transport

This article is the second in a series on living sustainably in Vancouver. Stay tuned for more instalments.

Old Translink buses catch some Sun as they await their fate. Photo by Stephen Rees.

Building towards sustainable transport

Environmentalists in Vancouver were given a reason to smile last week when Translink released its first report on sustainability.

The 102-page report details an extensive amount of data related to environmental and economic sustainability, while also providing a window into the overall operations of the company.

In building towards a sustainable future in transport, the document is a step in the right direction. Transportation currently accounts for up to 33 per cent of green house gas (GHG) emissions in the province of British Columbia, and that is reason enough to begin documenting the specific indicators guiding these emissions.

Taking measure of a system’s performance allows for improvements to be made. To reach higher levels of sustainability in transportation, the data necessary to understand the system must be made available.

I spoke with Translink spokeswoman Trish Webb about the release. She said that the sustainability report is based on regional indicators, and these are only made available every five years.

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Sustainable Vancouver: A Guide to Eating Local in the City

This article is the first in a series on living sustainably in Vancouver. Stay tuned for more instalments. Photo by Natalie Maynor.

Eating Local

For the first instalment of sustainable Vancouver I decided to take a look at local food. Here in Vancouver, we are blessed with a wide assortment of local food options which can help make a sustainable lifestyle a reality. From seafood to local produce, much of our diets can be supplemented with local options.

When opting for local choices, consumers will often find that many of the things they enjoy are simply not available. Tropical fruit, olive oils, coffee – many of the staples we enjoy regularly come from abroad and are subject to many unseen costs. When picking up ingredients at the local grocery store, very rarely does one consider the hidden costs affecting our sustainability.

For example, bananas can be had on the cheap quite regularly, but the cost of transporting those bananas is one that remains hidden. While eating local can some times weigh heavier on the budget, the impact on our global carbon footprint is much lower. In no small way, eating local is much less costly for the environment as a whole.

“For food purists, “local” is the new “organic,” the new ideal that promises healthier bodies and a healthier planet,” said Time reporter John Cloud in an article which is now almost four years old.

Produce which is sold locally generally circumvents the need for harsh chemicals like pesticides, as the products are not expected to stay unnaturally fresh while they’re shipped around the globe. When buying organic, local products are usually of higher quality as well, lending more credence to the superiority of local food.

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