By Example

May 29, 1998

By Michael Jessen

Individual or group actions to reduce and recycle waste are encouraged by this column since they are the lifeline to a less wasteful society.

Waste reduction education is not easily accepted by everyone because for too many years waste has been something someone else magically whisked away for us, usually on a weekly basis right from our home.

So people who take it upon themselves to accept the challenge to help meet our province's goal of 50% less waste per capita landfilled by the year 2000 deserve our praise.

Paul Forsythe is one such individual.

Paul is the owner of the PizzaReo restaurant in the Chahko-Mika Mall in Nelson. When he was shown copies of my May 15th column which mentioned that non-recyclable Pepsi cups were used in his restaurant, he promptly contacted me to explain why and also to tell me what he does to reduce waste from his restaurant.

First of all, Paul is required to dispense Pepsi in the cups provided by Pepsi Cola Beverages. The question in Paul's mind is why is his restaurant provided with heavily waxed, non-recyclable cups when the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the same mall dispenses Pepsi in recyclable cups.

I have taken up Paul's question with Colleen Newell, vice-president of Environmental Affairs and Government at Pepsi Cola's head office in Ontario where a telephone maze has so far only allowed me to leave a message for Ms. Newell.

Paul understands that the May 15th column was not condemning his restaurant for using non-recyclable cups, but he's right that the column didn't mention all the positive things he is doing. We're more than happy to share his story because it exemplifies the type of actions others are encouraged to emulate.

One of the first things Paul did when setting up his restaurant was to install a dishwasher because he knows that food served on disposable plates (especially styrofoam) is just not as appetizing. So at PizzaReo you can have your pizza slice and other food served on a real plate with real cutlery.

Bravo to you Paul, because research indicates about 70 percent of fast food meals are eaten in the restaurant, so for a majority of the meals there's no need for disposable packaging. Even if he serves his pizza on a disposable plate, Paul invests extra money to ensure that plate is biodegradable.

His next step was to set up a comprehensive recycling program so that all the tin cans, glass bottles, and mixed paper (not just cardboard) generated from his restaurant could be sent for recycling. The volume coming from Paul's restaurant actually prompted the Nelson Recycling Program to install 90-gallon wheeled carts for these products in the mall's recycling enclosure. Paul has even instructed mall cleanup staff to return recyclable bottles left on tables to PizzaReo for recycling.

Paul has also advised all his staff to break down the cardboard boxes and stuff them into one or more boxes. This action is much appreciated by the recycling pickup crews since loading a truck with boxes of flattened boxes is much quicker and more efficient than trying to load piles of flattened or unflattened boxes. It also improves the appearance of a businesses recycling storage area.

The PizzaReo restaurant also composts all its food waste. A number of restaurants in Nelson are doing this due to the efforts of a group called Earth Matters which two years ago established an Organic Waste Exchange. If you want restaurant food waste for composting or if your restaurant wants to find someone to take your compostable food waste, call the recycling helpline at 352-2412 and we'll try to link up providers and takers.

Napkins dispensed at PizzaReo are made from unbleached recycled paper. Paul understands that true recycling means buying recycled products.

At the end of the day, Paul is proud his restaurant produces only one bag of garbage. Paul's story is proof that one person's actions really can make a difference.

TRASH TIP - Return your six-pack rings to BC Government Liquor Stores. These rings are particularly hazardous to marine life. They're invisible under water and fish or sea birds can become tangled and die.

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