Majority of household trash going to the Hartland Landfill is recyclable, compostable

As much as 60 per cent of surveyed trash could be forwarded to other facilities

A majority of the material going to the region’s dump site is recyclable or compostable, show reports from the Capital Regional District (CRD) which owns and operates the Hartland Landfill.

In a waste composition study released in 2016, it was revealed that 32.2 per cent of trash coming from single-family homes is recyclable material including paper, cardboard, glass and plastic. An additional 2.7 per cent of this is comprised of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and 28.2 per cent is comprised of organics which could be composted. This means that more than 60 per cent of items from single family homes could be processed for re-use.

Data from a 2016 waste composition study shows what trash is being collected from single-family households. (File contributed/CRD)

For multi-family homes, numbers sit at 34.5 per cent recyclable, three per cent metals, and 31.1 per cent organics. For industrial, commercial and institutional locations this number rose to 42 per cent recyclables, 2.7 per cent metals and 23.3 per cent organics.

Collectively, the dump is seeing an equivalent of 92 Olympic-sized swimming pools thrown into the landfill every year.

These numbers have prompted the CRD to reassess its solid waste management plan, something which hasn’t been updated since 1995. The CRD is conducting public engagement sessions to better understand people’s needs, and comprise a plan to reduce solid waste going into the landfill by one third by 2030.

READ MORE: CRD aims to reduce solid waste going to Hartland Landfill by a third by 2030

“A good part of our upcoming solid waste planning conversation with the community is to try to understand what else can be done to help the community to continue to increase its waste diversion activities,” said Russ Smith, senior manager of environmental resource management.

This is a welcomed idea, said Jutta Gutberlet, professor of geography at the University off Victoria, who is especially looking forward to the CRD’s promise of an education campaign.

“On the public level it is a lack of education. There’s not enough awareness or information about what is recyclable and how to to separate it, or where to bring it,” Gutberlet said, adding that every year she takes her students to the Hartland Landfill. “I’ve seen it first hand, the problem of too many resources still going to the landfill.”

This education would need to be two-part: understanding what can be recycled and learning how to reduce consumption.

Gutberlet believes there’s no such thing as waste, and that everything is a resource if it can be returned to the economy. Today’s national and international standards, however, make this more difficult to make a reality.

“The problem is our materials, particularly the plastic-based materials, have become so complex,” she said. “It’s such a mix of chemical compositions that it makes it almost impossible to recycle it.”

Plastics with additional colours or compounds added for heat resistance, flexibility and other features make it impossible for current plants to process. That’s why more public advocacy is needed from consumers to producers, Gutberlet said.

VIDEO: City of Victoria finds high numbers of single-use items in initial stages of garbage analysis

Regardless off these issues, the Hartland landfill does still take a large portion of recyclables at its recycle depot, where residents can drop off recycling materials for free, while businesses pay $25. The sampled numbers from the waste composition study did not include these materials.

According to a 2018 report, the recycling depot saw more than 547 tonnes of paper and cardboard, and more than nine tonnes of plastic collected. These components are then forwarded to one of the BC stewardship agencies which make up BC Recycles.

Composting, however, is another issue. In 2015, the CRD implemented a ban on kitchen scraps to save space and reduce greenhouse gases. Presently, compostable materials collected within the region are collected by Fosher Road Recycling, which processes the material either at its Cobble Hill facility or by a sub-contractor in Cache Creek.

Gutberlet believes organic components are the largest contributor to waste, as well as the easiest to resolve.

ALSO READ: Groups fight to protect historic B.C. graveyard, buried in garbage

“There’s composting businesses, or home composting,” she said. “I’ve seen families in high-rises in Brazil with a composting bin. You can do it almost anywhere.”

In its new waste reduction strategy, the CRD has proposed to address 15 key points to help minimize solid waste, including considering opening a local organics processing infrastructure, establishing a community-based reduction program and advocating for the elimination of single-use items.

Between Nov. 5 and 21 the CRD will be hosting open houses to share more information on the plan. An online survey, along with more information on these open houses is also available at crd.bc.ca/rethinkwaste

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Just Posted

Victoria adoption centre closes despite effort to save it; B.C. left with two agencies

Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling in Victoria was set to close in April

Saanich man discovers hidden corners of city while cycling every street in Victoria

Cyclist maps progress while taking on 2019 goal to cover every street with road sign

Proposed four-storey Victoria parkade offers zero spots for public use

A proposed parkade at 730-780 Summit Ave. will soon be up for discussion

Victoria’s cocktail king releases book on best bartenders in Canada

Four bartenders from Kelowna and one from Penticton are recognzied in Great Northern Coocktails

Saanich Peninsula parents accuse district of leveraging deadline

Support workers receive show of solidarity from parents during rally outside school district office

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to meet with Trudeau today to discuss throne speech

Top ask will be for Liberal support for the immediate creation of a national universal pharmacare program

B.C. set to announce changes around youth vaping, regulations

Move will involved education, tightening access, working with partners and pressuring the federal government

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

Most Read