Regional District of Mount Waddington is updating its solid waste plan, with an eye to divert as much material from the landfill as possible. (RDMW image)

North Vancouver Island getting an updated garbage strategy

More composting, more recycling at 7 Mile Landfill and Recycling Plant

The Regional District of Mount Waddington is updating the solid waste treatment plan for northern Vancouver Island, and wants feedback from residents.

The plan aims to increase the amount of material is diverted from the landfill, by promoting recycling, composting and circular economy initiatives.

The new plan comes with a budget increase three to five per cent, or approximately $30,000 to $50,000 per year. More recycling means the 7 Mile Landfill and Recycling Centre needs increase its capacity. The plan also considers increasing curbside pick up options.

The last five to six years have seen lots of improvement to recycling in the region. It was just five or six years ago that paper recycling was made widely available. Before that, Alert Bay was the only region with curbside recycling pickup, according to Donaghy. Now, curbside recycling is offered in Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Coal Harbour.

Programs like Recycle B.C., which cover the cost of transporting recycling goods to the nearest depot, have been instrumental. This matters for places like Old Quatsino, a boat-access only community that has to pay for a barge to remove its garbage. With Recycle B.C., the cost of removing recyclable materials is covered.

“Recycle B.C. responsible for diverting 75 per cent of paper from landfills,” said RDMW operations manager Patrick Donaghy.

The district is looking at expanding curbside pick-up options to continue to provide convenient ways for north Island residents to reduce landfill materials.

Home composting is another area of interest, which Donaghy says can be one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It must be done safely, given the wildlife interactions that are so common in the region.

“If you take organics and recycling out of garbage, there’s really not that much left,” Donaghy added.

RELATED: North Island ‘zero food waste program’ saves over 29,000 pounds of food

The district has a short online survey it’s asking residents to fill out at between now and August 31. Survey participants will also be entered to win one of five $50 gift cards to a local business of the winners’ choice.

Donaghy is also hosting a video session to review the plan on July 30. The presentation is open to the public, but is capped at 100 live participants. The meeting will be recorded. Details can be found on the district’s website:

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