Canada's Over-Consumption a Big Part of Why It's #1 in Per Capita Waste Production

Canada’s #1 rankings are due to overconsumption Conference Board report says.

It's hardly surprising but none-the-less depressing that Canada, as the report released by the Conference Board of Canada yesterday said, dumps more garbage per capita than any other country in the developed world. Canada doesn't rate very well in the developed world for many fourteen indicators used to crunch the overall rating numbers, including: air quality, waste, water quality, biodiversity, natural resource management, climate change and energy efficiency. But waste generation was the most miserable of Canadian's ratings and it's due primarily to over consumption the report says.

Some of Canada's low rankings can be partially justified by its huge size which creates high transportation costs for fuel and the energy requirements of heating in the cold northern climate. But not its garbage production, that is a function of its mindless over-consumption of unnecessary crap combined with the refusal of the over-consumers to re-cycle their crap. It's estimated that between 70% and 90% of Canada's waste could and should be re-used, re-cycled or composted instead of dumped into landfills.

If Canadians must mindlessly consume needless crap why must they also waste their waste instead of harnessing the energy embedded in it? Because Canada is a throwaway society. Millions of Canadians, be they left-wingers and right-wingers, lineup everyday at Starbucks, Tim Hortens or where ever for their disposable cup of coffee every morning and you'll see almost as many of them jogging by that afternoon with their non-reuseable water bottle clutched in their politically correct fingers.

Lottsa other countries have consumer cultures too but for a variety of reasons they don't produce anywhere near the same waste per capita. Japan, for instance, consumes plenty but produces less than half as much per capita. Even the Americans, the most mindless of all consumer societies, produces less per person than Canada. Why? Well, in Japan's case it's a cultural difference as much as it is a regulatory one as it is with the USA.

Here in Powell River, far from the world's most green or culturally evolved location, a simple change in regulations has already created a huge difference in the mindset of residents. Basically in The Regional District of Powell River re-cycling is free, but you pay for waste disposal by the pound. There are a few wrinkles that locals are constantly tweaking the details of to iron out, but in waste, as most things in our consumerist society, money talks.