John McNabb

Valley-wide cardboard ban in the wings

The Alberni Valley could see a cardboard ban come into affect at the landfill as early as June 2015.

The Alberni Valley could see a cardboard ban come into affect at the landfill as early as June 2015, says Carey McIver of Carey McIver & Associates Ltd.

McIver, the consultant hired by Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District to help implement the Alberni Valley Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), said that the ACRD has three priorities in terms of landfill diversion this year, all of which could extend the life of the landfill.

“One is looking at increasing diversion from the business sector, the second is looking at opportunities to divert organics and the third is opportunities to divert wood waste.”

According to McIver, the first phase of that is diversion from the business sector “and what the plan recommended is a ban on cardboard, so what we doing is sending out direct mailers to all businesses within the next month advising them that we are planning to ban cardboard.”

The SWMP has already consulted with the chamber of commerce and has “confirmed that there are plenty of opportunities to recycle cardboard.”

Businesses can bring their cardboard to the ACRD recycling depot on Third Avenue or to the landfill.

McIver said that at least 50 per cent of the businesses in Port Alberni already recycle their cardboard, meaning that the ban is just to get the rest of the businesses on board.

An amendment to the landfill tipping fee bylaw banning cardboard from disposal would go into effect in June “but there would be at least a six-month phase-in.” Hauling companies, not cardboard waste generators, would be subject to fines at the landfill.

Despite the voluntary compliance from many of the Alberni Valley’s businesses, McIver said that a full ban is the best way to get the stragglers on board.

According to Janice Hill, the ACRD’s environmental services assistant, the cost for implementation will be low.

“It would just be staff time,” said Hill.

Key to implementing the cardboard ban is not only collaborating with the cardboard waste generators but also the companies in charge of disposal.

“The private haulers in the Valley are already providing the service so what we would be saying to generators is ‘if you’re not recycling your cardboard now, please call these hauling companies or you can take it yourself to the landfill’” where there are separate bins available for cardboard.

“We’ve making sure that there’s all sorts of opportunities” to dispose of cardboard, McIVer said, adding that “the idea of the ban is private companies working with private companies.”

A bin will be available at the landfill for businesses who choose to sort their cardboard and wish to drop it off there.

“You can bring your separated cardboard,” McIver added.

While the bylaw will have specific rules for how much cardboard can be brought to the landfill unsorted, McIver said that the ACRD understands that small businesses with tiny amounts of cardboard aren’t the big battle and that there will be a small amount of cardboard that will not trigger fines.

Citing her experience with implementing waste bans in the Regional District of Nanaimo, McIver said while enforcement methods are still being worked out, there would be a threshold of how much cardboard a hauler could bring to the landfill.

In Nanaimo, “while the bylaw might say zero tolerance, you might have a 10 per cent tolerance.”

While there are no concrete plans to implement any other bans just yet, McIver said that paper could be the next possible ban.

“The next phase could be adding onto cardboard all the mixed-waste paper.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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