Riding past a construction site in my neighbourhood, I was at first only casually disheartened to see a giant dumpster full of completely recyclable material sitting on the street. But as I cycled on my way, ruminating on the steps we take to ensure our household recycles efficiently, my mild distaste grew into a snit of righteously indignant proportions.

Why should I risk my fingers rinsing out locally line-caught albacore tuna cans when some steel-toed doofus can mindlessly chuck his big mac wrappers right on top of the perfectly-recyclable cardboard, steel, and wood waste he spent the morning mixing together in a landfill-bound dumpster? How hard would it be to invent a materials separation system that is as easy as chucking it in the bin?

Well, the answer turns out to be, not very difficult at all. If you have Photoshop.

It’s a little more challenging to do in real life, but the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver appear to be taking it on. Under the Zero Waste category of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, a section called Enhance Construction, Renovation & Demolition Recycling tackles this very issue, with a series of proposed projects and legal amendments. A bit more Googling led me to this Metro Vancouver PDF, asking for feedback on mandatory construction and demolition  recycling regulations.

No doubt many trades and developers will be howling like scorched cats at this latest affront to the easiest possible path to profit. But it really has to happen. And when it does, the recycler that can bring the easiest most intuitive system to market should be able to really clean up.

And all us happy home recyclers won’t feel quite as duped.

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