Solid Waste Management Plan Review

The RDEK engaged Sperling Hansen Associates (SHA) to prepare a review of the RDEK’s Solid Waste Management System in 2017. The goal of this review was to provide an assessment of the current opportunities available to reduce, reuse and recycle in the RDEK; and to identify the strengths of the existing system and identify opportunities for future improvement. The review was completed in support of an update to the RDEK’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which is ongoing. The most recent update to the RDEK’s Solid Waste Management Plan was completed in 2003.  The RDEK intends to continue to work towards updating the Solid Waste Management Plan, with a goal of completing a Draft Plan for consultation by mid 2019.

The next step of the Solid Waste Management Plan update will be to form an Advisory Committee to refine goals for the RDEK’s Solid Waste System and identify feasible strategies, goals and targets for the next 10 years. 

We have completed a waste audit to get a hands-on look at our waste composition here in the East Kootenay and will be sharing the results of that audit once they have been compiled.

Throughout the process, the RDEK will keep the community advised.  If you have not already signed up for one of the RDEK's email groups, now is the time to get on the list and let news like this come right to your inbox. To sign up and learn more about our email group, click here.

Advisory Committee

The RDEK is currently completing a review and update of its Solid Waste Management Plan, which will have implications on how waste and recycling is handled in the RDEK for the next 10 years. It is envisioned that the Advisory Committee will meet a minimum of six times between September 2018 and September 2019. The Committee will consist of various stakeholders including the public, municipal representatives, industry members, community groups and First Nations.  The RDEK is currently reviewing the applications received for this committee and will be making appointments within the next month.

The Current Solid Waste System

The solid waste system in the RDEK is funded mostly through the tax base. Tipping fees are in place for some items, however, most household waste is accepted without a tipping fee. The system consists of a mixture of attended landfills and transfer stations as well as unattended transfer stations (garbage and recycling bin only) and marshalling areas (garbage, recycling and diversion areas). Overall there are 19 transfer stations located throughout the region.

Opportunities for waste reduction in the RDEK currently exist in the form of: the “Yellow Bin” recycling program (for single stream residential and institutional recycling); extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs at local stores and bottle depots (for recyclable items such as electronics, lights, bottles, etc.); Reuse Centers (Share Sheds) at selected transfer stations and landfills; backyard composting initiatives facilitated by the RDEK; wood waste, yard waste and scrap metal diversion at most major transfer stations marshalling areas; annual household hazardous waste round-ups; and pilot programs such as the mattress recycling program in Kimberley.

Overall, the RDEK has succeeded in implementing the majority of the goals outlined in the 2003 SWMP, including:

  • Providing public education to all age groups.
  • Diverting wood waste from the landfill.
  • Developing composting facilities at Regional landfill’s and encouraging backyard composting.
  • Designating storage areas to enable separation of reusable materials at transfer stations and landfills.
  • Promoting and encouraging use of materials exchange programs through the Recycling Council of BC.
  • Encouraging the use of industry stewardship programs.
  • Closing the City of Fernie and District of Elkford Landfills
  • Providing a marshalling area at the Sparwood Transfer Station.

Based on the most recent disposal data available from the Ministry of Environment (2015), the RDEK throws out approximately 562 kilograms of garbage per person per year; this is greater than the provincial average of 497 kilograms per person per year.
In general, the RDEK’s waste system provides good opportunities for disposal and diversion through both curbside collection and at transfer stations and landfills. Opportunities to improve the solid waste system that will be discussed include:

  • Exploring opportunities to offer increased service at small transfer stations; this may include expanding the types of materials that can be diverted from the landfill.
  • Providing supervision at unattended transfer stations to encourage increased recycling and diversion of materials.
  • Providing an incentive to reduce the amount of waste thrown away (through a change in the tipping fee structure).
  • Exploring opportunities to provide increased organic waste (compostable waste) diversion.
  • Exploring the addition of a full-service transfer station in the Columbia Valley.
  • Exploring opportunities to enhance the efficiency of the current residual waste management system.

 

Last edited: Fri, August 31, 2018 - 10:41:32