Times Colonist

CRD is plan­ning for the fu­ture of garbage dis­posal

- LARISA HUTCHESON Ecology · Trevor Hancock

A com­men­tary by the Cap­i­tal Re­gional District’s gen­eral man­ager, parks and en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices.

I would like to clar­ify a few of the points raised in the col­umn “Zero waste means not ex­pand­ing the land­fill” (Trevor Han­cock, Nov. 15) — es­pe­cially as they re­late to the Cap­i­tal Re­gional District’s draft solid waste man­age­ment plan.

The CRD is re­quired by the province to pro­vide a safe, se­cure and sus­tain­able dis­posal op­tion for the re­gion’s garbage, now and in the fu­ture. If waste trends and pop­u­la­tion growth fol­low cur­rent pro­jec­tions, Hart­land Land­fill will be full by 2045 — sooner if we have a ma­jor earth­quake — yet the CRD is re­spon­si­ble for manag­ing waste in per­pe­tu­ity.

It would be ir­re­spon­si­ble not to plan for the fu­ture while at the same time pri­or­i­tiz­ing work that di­verts as much waste from the land­fill as pos­si­ble.

The CRD’s draft solid waste man­age­ment plan is fo­cused on ex­actly th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties — things like ma­te­rial bans and in­creased re­cy­cling from com­mer­cial and multi-fam­ily build­ings — to meet the plan’s tar­get of re­duc­ing our waste by one-third, to 250 kilo­grams per capita per year by 2030.

This draft plan uses ev­ery tool avail­able re­gion­ally to di­vert waste through re­duc­tion, re­use and re­cy­cling. The CRD is also re­quired to pre­pare the land­fill for fu­ture com­mu­nity needs be­yond 2045, so the plan in­cludes a strat­egy for us­ing the re­gion’s only land­fill as ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble.

En­sur­ing the long-term fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity of the waste sys­tem by stop­ping waste from leav­ing the re­gion is not an en­dorse­ment for con­tin­ued land­fill­ing, as sug­gested in Han­cock’s col­umn. This note was made to the CRD board to high­light the im­por­tant dif­fer­ence be­tween waste di­ver­sion and waste ex­por­ta­tion.

Clos­ing the land­fill in 2045 won’t force res­i­dents to stop throw­ing garbage away. Our waste will sim­ply be trucked else­where for dis­posal, as is the case now for re­gions that don’t have their own land­fill.

Waste mi­gra­tion away from the CRD means that waste gen­er­a­tors who ex­port won’t pay the tip­ping fees that fund the very re­duc­tion pro­grams mov­ing our re­gion closer to zero waste.

While there will al­ways be some ma­te­rial that re­quires land­fill­ing, ex­tend­ing the life of Hart­land Land­fill to 2100 does not pre­clude res­i­dents from chang­ing their habits. In fact, this fa­cil­ity might last un­til 2200 or even 2400 if we all do our best to re­duce waste now.

The pro­posed de­sign for Hart­land al­lows for this flex­i­bil­ity and gives the CRD time to con­tinue ex­plor­ing and re­search­ing tech­nolo­gies that might re­duce the re­gion’s need to land­fill in the fu­ture.

Pub­lic in­put is an im­por­tant part of the re­gion’s plan­ning process. The CRD is invit­ing feed­back on the draft plan at crd. bc.ca/re­thinkwaste.

Res­i­dents in­ter­ested in learn­ing more can also at­tend a livestream­ed in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on Dec. 14 via the CRD’s YouTube chan­nel.

On be­half of the CRD, I look for­ward to this con­tin­u­ing con­ver­sa­tion.

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