Community plays key role in solid waste planning

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has a new solid waste management vision - one built by the RDOS community itself.

 

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has a new solid waste management vision – one built by the RDOS community itself.

More than 20 volunteers representing communities and businesses from across the RDOS were instrumental in overseeing the development of the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, which focuses on reducing organic waste, increasing recycling levels at multi-family residences and workplaces and reclaiming construction materials.

“The actions in this plan could reduce to 30 per cent the amount of refuse generated that ends up in our landfills,” said Board chair Dan Ashton. “The remainder will be diverted to recycling facilities that will allow us to effectively reduce, reuse and recycle.”

The plan was adopted by the regional board earlier this month.

The collaborative approach employed by the RDOS to develop the plan included establishing a Public Advisory Committee to provide for general community input and a Technical Advisory Committee with staff representatives from RDOS member communities, First Nations, provincial ministries and the Waste Management Industry.

A series of recycling, composting, waste to energy and landfilling workshops were held to look for cost-effective and locally viable options. Surveys showed strong public support for moving the plan forward.

The process undertaken reflects the regional district’s commitment to transparent government and community involvement.

The six-year plan includes:

• expanding demolition and construction waste recycling options;

• ensuring recycling at all multi-family, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings;

• implementing curbside food waste collection.

“About 40 per cent of our landfill waste is organic,” said Doug French, manager of the regional district’s Public Works department. “Another 12 per cent is plastic and 10 per cent paper. You can understand how improved recycling and composting can help reduce the amount of garbage ending up in our landfill sites.”

 

The plan is consistent with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s commitment to building and sustaining an environmentally responsible community.