Rick StiebelThe Chronicle
There’s good news on the recycling front for residents in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
According to statistics released Oct. 4 by the CVRD, although the population is increased, the amount of garbage winding up in the landfill has decreased.
The total of garbage in 2015 declined from 31,781 tonnes to 24,595 tonnes, despite an increase of 6,000 in the CVRD population during that time.
About 73,000 tonnes were diverted from landfill through recycling and composting. That marks an increase to 75 per cent from 60 per cent, compared to 10 years ago.
The largest amounts of recycled or composted materials in the CVRD in 2015 are 26,178 tonnes of food and yard waste, 25,138 tonnes of metal, 10,335 tonnes of construction waste and 4,100 tonnes of packaging and printed paper.
Despite improvements in recycling, CVRD residents are consuming more goods, and there is more recycling material to manage as a result.
In 2005, the average person recycled about 0.61 tonnes requiring management, compared to .90 tonnes today.
Tauseef Waraich, manager of recycling and waste management for the CVRD, said the CVRD’s diversion rate – meaning more recycling and less landfilling – of 75 per cent is one of the best in the province. He congratulated CVRD residents and everyone involved in the waste management system for showing responsibility.
The CVRD does not have a local landfill and local garbage is trucked to Washington State.
“In order to keep our residents’ disposal cost to a minimum and reduce our carbon footprint, it is imperative to keep a check on our diversion rate so that absolutely minimum garbage is hauled to the U.S.,” he explained in an interview with the Chronicle.
Regarding the implications of creating more recycling, there are several factors to consider Waraich said.
“A big portion of the recyclable material created in our region is processed locally,” Waraich said. “This allows for a strong local recycling industry and local jobs.”
On the other hand, individuals and businesses need to continue to reduce material use, wherever possible, because even recyclable materials have an environmental impact, he noted.
Wairaich attributes the CVRD’s increase in consumption rate to many factors, including the innovation of modern technologies and marketing techniques.
“Ten years ago we produced approximately 78,500 tonnes of garbage and recyclables,” he said. “That has now increased to 97,500 tonnes a year. We all need to make individual and collective efforts to keep our lifestyle carbon footprint to the minimum.”
CVRD chairman Jon Lefebure credited residents and businesses with playing a key role in diverting waste from landfills.
“While we know we still have some work to do in decreasing our recycling contamination rate, the commitment to reducing waste from landfill has been significant,” he said.
For more information on the topic, please visit www.cvrd.bc.ca/recycling.