The Cariboo Regional District will reach out to the public this spring as it updates its solid waste management plan and seeks ways to reduce the amount of waste going into the region’s landfills.
Tera Grady, supervisor of the CRD’s solid waste management, told the board earlier this month that while recycling rates have been on an upward trend across the region since 2015, “there’s still a lot of material going into the landfill that could be diverted through this stream.”
The CRD aims to reduce the amount of waste in the region’s landfills to 500 kg per person, down from 631 kg in 2019. The regional district has 32 refuse sites – 14 of which are CRD-operated landfills. The City of Quesnel also manages a regional landfill for the North Cariboo.
As part of an update to its solid waste management plan, a public/technical advisory committee is being comprised to look at what other places in B.C. are doing in terms of waste diversion and seek input from residents to gauge their satisfaction with current services or determine what they would like to see in the future. This feedback, expected to be sought in late April or early May, could include everything from more curbside pickup or green waste composting, which involves fruit and vegetable waste or yard trimmings.
Once the committee narrows down all potential suggestions from the public, the committee will determine the cost implications and feasibility of any proposals before coming up with an updated plan. All solid waste management plans must be updated every 10 years and approved by the province.
“The ultimate goal of the solid waste plan is to reduce the waste being disposed of in the landfills,” Grady said. “That can be achieved in a number of different ways.”
Grady noted one of the biggest challenges with increasing residential recycling in the CRD is that there is currently no incentive for people to start recycling in the region as residential waste disposal costs remain the same whether they recycle or do not recycle. This is because, unlike other areas where residents are charged a “user-pay” system for the waste they produce, CRD residents pay for solid waste services based on the assessed value of their property, not based on the amount of waste they produce. She added a user-pay system is unlikely to be welcomed by many CRD residents.
The updated plan is scheduled to start in 2023 and will include an implementation schedule.
Residents can still apply to join the Solid Waste Management Plan Advisory Committee via the CRD’s website: https://www.cariboord.ca/en/home-and-property/solid-waste-public-advisory-commitee.aspx. They can also subscribe to the page to be informed of public surveys or updates to the planning process.