Reducing waste key for Valley: consultant

A waste-reduction strategy is a better option for the Alberni Valley than full-scale organics diversion, says consultant.

Efforts to reduce waste in the Alberni Valley are ongoing, says Alberni-Clayoquot CAO Russell Dyson.

“Organics is one of several issues that the regional district is tackling at the landfill,” Dyson said at a recent Port Alberni City Council meeting.

The regional district imposed a cardboard ban last summer and is working on more material bans.

“Cardboard is in the past and we’re moving onto gyproc and other things this year.”

Moving towards organics collection will be the other task for the year, Dyson said.

“There are challenges for organics collection, that’s why it hasn’t been an easy choice to just jump into it—especially within the Valley,” he said.

But it is important, Dyson said, in order to avoid building expensive landfill gas collection systems.

“Landfill gas collection is a big issue out at the landfill. As our deposits increase, we will come to a tipping point where the province will demand we put in a landfill gas collection system that is in the millions of dollars,” he said.

“We would probably see it funded by taxes, we would go beyond the point where we could fund such a project by toll. We don’t want to get there and we’re very aware of that. So we need to reduce waste.”

The most important component of reducing gas-producing organic waste is food waste.

Yard and garden waste aren’t an issue, he added.

There are currently five composting facilities and three pilots on Vancouver Island, all on the east coast.

“They’re all supported by a large population base that’s close together, easy transportation among them all,” said Dyson, adding that some have had issues due to odours that the ACRD is keen to avoid should it construct its own facility.

There were two options for reducing waste in the Alberni Valley, Dyson said.

One is a $133,000 organics diversion strategy prepared by consultant Carey McGiver.

“The conclusions of her report are that ‘given the current tipping fee for garbage at $95 per tonne and yard waste disposal is free, it is believed that organics diversion is not practical in the Alberni Valley at this time’,” said Dyson.

Instead, McGiver focused on a strategy to reduce waste.

“Principally, to create a diversion strategy where we ask residents to take responsibility for their garbage, take advantage of the opportunities of having their own composter in their home… we need people to not produce as much waste and become responsible,” said Dyson.

The ACRD board felt that concentrating McGiver’s recommendations on commercial and industrial sectors was more practical and their staff have produced a $90,000 version of her recommendations.

“It takes the $133,000 of recommendations in the McGiver report and scales them down to an Alberni Valley solution,” said Dyson.

That $90,000 ‘Alberni Valley solution’ would include an organics reduction program for $15,000, reviewing wood waste processes throughout the Valley for $5,000, develop landfill gas options and costs for $25,000, a pilot program for organics collection for $10,000, developing organics options for the commercial and institutional sectors for $15,000 and support services for $20,000.

Those options will be rolled out by the ACRD as approved by their board in the coming years.

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