Tag Archives: Karen Buck

What I learned from city strike

We produce too much garbage, litter and packaging
I am doing my own waste audit to see how I can improve
By Kris Scheuer
(Column originally published in Town Crier Aug. 4)

Something stinks in the “state” of Toronto and it’s not just the garbage strike.
As a city hall reporter and lifelong Torontonian, here is my trash talk on garbage, litter and my top observations during the nearly six week labour unrest.
Number 1: we produce way too much waste, folks.
We deposited a total of 25,000 tonnes of waste in 26 temporary, neighbourhood garbage dumps, Geoff Rathbone, head of solid waste management told reporters on July 30.
Let’s think about that for a sec. The dumps opened June 25, some of them, such as Christie Pits, closed a mere 11 days later because they were at capacity. The amount of garbage we threw out at these dumps doesn’t even include the tonnes thrown out at seven waste transfer stations. Continue reading


Zero waste goal hard to realize

Avid Toronto recyclers inspire my goal to throw out no trash

Kris Scheuer
(Originally written  January 31/07)

What if the city’s garbage trucks pulled up to our houses and found all the trash cans empty?
While this situation is unlikely to be realized at any point in the near or even distant future, at least two families are attempting to get to the point where they are throwing out zero garbage. The Town Crier has featured attempts by Beach resident Karen Buck to get her family to produce no trash. They now throw out only about five or six garbage bags in a 12-month period.
She is diligent. She tries to buy clothes that have biodegradable fibres and products that can be repaired, and to donate used products to Goodwill. She also keeps separate containers (for blue and green bins) throughout the house so nothing recyclable gets mixed in with regular trash.
Another couple, Sarah McGaughey and Kyle Glover, are attempting to throw out no more than one small shopping bag of waste every two weeks, but want to reduce this to zero waste. Click here to find out more about the Oakwood and St. Clair area couple’s process.
These families inspired me to give zero waste a try. I decided to conduct a test and report my discoveries here, but with the deadline looming I had only two days to do a trial.

Continue reading

Plastic bags costs a nickel in T.O

Grocery retailers start charging 5 cents a bag as of June 1
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written Dec 2/08 for Town Crier.)

A key city council plan to reduce garbage is now in the bag.
The new policy, passed Dec. 2, requires retailers and grocers to charge a nickel for each
plasticbag they give out starting this summer.
Some retailers already sell alternatives to
plastic bags, including reusable cloth bags,plastic grocery bins with handles, and metal and cloth shopping carts.
Beacher Karen Buck says the new policy is a good start.
“It may not be a strong enough disincentive,” she said, adding she’d like to see retailers charge 20 cents per
plastic bag and offer a 10-cent rebate for every reusable bag used.
“For the past 18 years, I’ve been using reusable
bags,” Buck said Dec. 8. “I’ve been subsidizing the other people using plastic bags.”
Her tipping point came in 1990.
“I was still using plastic bags for my garbage but they’d accumulate quicker than I could use them,” she said.
Now Buck and her husband, who only throw out enough garbage to fill the city’s smallest garbage bin three times a year, toss waste loosely into the bin. Continue reading