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Update: Richmond looks to buy more sustainably

Coun. Michael Wolfe was the only councillor to vote against a policy to buy with 'circular economy criteria.'
Richmond council is considering adopting a "circular economy" policy.

In a 6-1 decision, Richmond city council moved forward with plans to buy more sustainably.

Only Coun. Michael Wolfe voted against the motion to support a policy applying "circular economy criteria" when procuring items for the city like construction material, professional services, vehicles and IT equipment.

A circular system is about retaining the value of products during their lifecycle and improving performance at their end-of-life.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines a circular economy as one that looks past the “take-make-waste extractive industrial” model, redefines growth and focuses on positive benefits for society as a whole.

The long-term goal, going from a linear economy to a circular one, is to achieve 100 per cent circularity, according to a city staff report.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, Wolfe questioned staff whether the policy would apply to demolition projects – the city’s current policy is that 80 per cent of demolition waste needs to be recycled.

When council was recently discussing the demolition of the Minoru Aquatic Centre, Wolfe tried to push for 99-per-cent recycling in that project, but it wasn’t supported by the rest of council.

The circular economy policy will be reviewed by council in 18 months. This was added after Coun. Alexa Loo asked whether council would be consulted if there was a large price difference between a product that supports a circular economy and one that doesn’t.

The item will be back on the agenda at an upcoming council meeting.