How does a town hall convince the public to make significant changes in order to go green?
“Knowing we had 100 per cent opposition didn’t stop us,” Claudia Marsales, senior manager of waste and environmental management for the City of Markham, told Port Hope council.
“We had to find a way to convince residents this was the right thing to do.”
Marsales made a presentation during a recent committee of the whole meeting on Markham’s environmental initiatives in an effort for Port Hope's council to learn new methods for recycling and reducing the environmental footprint.
“They didn’t want clear (trash) bags,” Markham’s representative said, explaining the city held focus groups and detailed “lots of good reasons to have clear bags.”
“At the end of the focus groups, you fill out a confidential questionnaire,” she said. “It was 100 per cent against clear bags.”
Last year, Port Hope launched the mandate of the Centre of Excellence for Recycling: to engage in research and education, reduce the environmental footprint, reduce waste to the landfill, eliminate incineration and burning, engage all levels of government in the dialogue, engage local recycling businesses and develop new ones.
As a member of the Centre of Excellence’s working group, Deputy Mayor Greg Burns thanked Marsales for the presentation and indicated interest in adopting some of Markham’s green ideas.
For instance, Markham employed a series of recycling units in parks and recreation centres that are decorated with large, visible photos of materials, such as water bottles and coffee cups, to help differentiate recycling from traditional trash.
The bins could be a “starting point for educating the community,” he said.