Peel Region calls for more packaging action

by Emily Atkins

Readers will find the complete text below of Peel Region's recommendation regarding the blue box (including the problem of 15 litre PET water bottles and various funding issues). It seems the blue box still has some serious issues to sort out, and the municipalities are tired of getting 50 cent dollars to handle strange new packages, and all the material that they have to dispose of that never makes it into the blue box in the first place. Here's the resolution:

Hybrid Greenwash

by Emily Atkins

I'm back from a busy week in B.C. at SWANA's combined Canadian and Northwest Chapter Symposium. (You can read about that in the forthcoming April/May edition of the magazine.) Today I noticed an article from BusinessWeek Online about hybrid cars. (For convenience, I've pasted it below.) It turns out that many models are not nearly as environmentally friendly as folks have been led to believe. Often it appears the cars get just a couple more kilometres per gallon of gas than a similar car model produced as a regular vehicle. It appears that many people are buying them because the electric part of the engine (which utilizes waste energy from the braking system) develops tremendous torque and hence fast acceleration. So yuppies can have a fast-accelerating high-performance car, and "feel good" about the environment, yet the environmental benefit is almost non-existent. I've also read that the performance of even the better models (GM is supposedly the worst, Toyota the best) sounds a lot better in U.S. EPA reports (under lab conditions) than in "real world" driving tests performed by Car & Driver and other auto magazines. Way worse! In theory, hybrids could really have a positive environmental impact, but so far they don't justify the very large extra money required up front to buy one. As an aside, I have a friend from Ireland who says diesel is the way to go. Cars like his Volkswagon diesel -- which gets an amazing 1000 kilometres on a single tank -- are ubiquitous in Europe. And they burn clean -- not like the smoke-belching trucks that come to mind when you think of diesel. With fuel efficiency like that, maybe we should be switching to diesel before these other gimmicks. Anyone for a hybrid diesel car? Now here's the article.