In August 2021, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) Operations team conducted a comprehensive waste audit of the RMOW streetscape waste system in collaboration with the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE). Streetscape waste refers to waste from receptacles managed by the RMOW in public spaces. The results of the 2021 Streetscape Waste Stream Audit have been used to inform and direct substantial changes to the overall waste collection in the Village.
“To support Whistler’s Climate Action Big Moves Strategy, the RMOW aims to gain significant improvements in waste stream compliance, diversion and contamination,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “By better understanding where we can improve, we can focus our efforts and communications on supporting the community to shift habits, getting us closer to our zero waste goals.”
As a result of the audit, the Resort Operations team has consolidated waste receptacles to high-use locations and added newly identified streams to the collection system. Receptacles include garbage to landfill, food and compostable items, coffee cups, bottles and cans.
By volume, coffee cups comprise most of the waste produced in Whistler Village. Coffee cups will require a separate receptacle because of the variety of single-use cup products, which can vary from compostable to recyclable, and sometimes a combination of the two. Currently, coffee cups need to be separated from other waste streams as they frequently contaminate recyclables with residual milk. Depending on the level of contamination, the coffee cups will be sent for recycling.
In the following months, the RMOW will be working with local businesses to standardize product types for cups and lids. The goal of these conversations is eventually for all items to be directed to the compost stream while ensuring easy understanding for all guests and residents. Businesses are encouraged to support customers to use reusable cups as this will help to remove the coffee cup waste stream.
“Staff are actively engaging in conversations with businesses and suppliers. Once product consistency is established, the coffee cup stream will be removed”, said General Manager of Resort Experience Jessie Gresley-Jones. “We encourage all businesses to examine their product choices and align their practices with the local waste diversion systems.”
In April and May, the RMOW Resort Operations team is adjusting the placement of receptacles along the stroll, and is installing new signage and colour-coded wrapping of receptacles. The new signage and receptacle wrapping will aid residents and visitors in quickly identifying the correct waste stream to place their refuse.