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

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

CRDGarbagePlastic wastewaste disposal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Sidney’s Star Cinema has temporarily closed as part of efforts to COVID-19. (Black Press Media File).
Sidney’s Star Cinema temporarily goes dark

Closure reflects provincial health order in effect until Dec. 7

Victoria police are asking for help locating Jordan Doddridge who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VicPD seek help locating man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Jordan Doddridge has an extensive criminal history including violent offences

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria dine and dash brings $230 fine

Group paid the bill, police locate suspect who violated provincial restrictions, mistreated staff

SD62 says parents of kids who have problems with bus stops and pick up times should reach out to their transportation department to find a solution. This comes after a Grade 10 student attending EMCS in Sooke found out he had to walk 45 minutes to get to the nearest bus pickup. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus route mishap leaves EMCS student walking 45 mins to pickup spot

Sooke School District willing to work with family to find solution

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read