In addition to reducing our waste and increasing the lifespan of the regional landfill, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s new Sort’nGo Organics program will serve another critical goal: reducing greenhouse gas production at the landfill.
While the Alberni Valley Landfill continues to be within the allowable level of landfill gas emissions as set by provincial legislation, proactive measures need to be taken now to ensure this limit is not exceeded, because if it were, a costly gas capture system would have to be installed as mandated by the government.
How is methane gas created?
Methane gas is produced when organic waste is buried under layers of other waste without access to oxygen. Anaerobic decomposition creates methane (CH4), a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and other harmful environmental issues. New reports show that over a 100-year period, methane gas is considered 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2).
While methane does not linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it’s initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. The fastest, most effective way to reduce the impact of climate change is to address methane production.
How much organic material do we generate?
In 2020, the AV Landfill generated 15,406 tonnes of waste. When broken down, a minimum of 30 per cent of the waste was organic (food waste). This equates to 4.5 tonnes of organics that could have been repurposed and diverted from the landfill.
Everyone can play a role in reducing food waste. Often with minimal effort, food waste can be prevented, saving money and helping to protect the environment. While composting food waste is better than sending it to the landfill, preventing food from being wasted in the first place is the best solution.
If high volumes of organic material continue to enter the landfill, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise and mandate a gas capture system that will cost Alberni Valley residents millions. The viable alternative is implementing an organic curbside collection service which has proved to be a successful diversion strategy and cost-effective solution.
Benefits of organics collection:
Along with reducing the production of powerful greenhouse gases, and avoiding a costly gas-capture system, organics collection offers other benefits, including:
- Transformation of waste to a regenerative product that the community will be able to use
- Extending the life of the landfill to avoid the substantial costs and challenges associated with siting a new landfill, or exporting waste
- Collection of yard waste, branches, grass clippings, weeds that are non-invasive
The new organic collection service coming this summer gives us the opportunity to divert and beneficially utilize organic waste. It’s a great example of a circular economy where the local processor, Earth, Land, & Sea will transform the organic waste to a nutrient-rich compost – a valuable resource for our community.
Visit www.letsconnectacrd.ca for more information about the Organics Collection Service and to ask questions.
Questions about sorting? Download the free Sort’nGo app from your mobile app store. You can also check out the Facebook page “Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education” which has weekly tips and updates for the Valley.