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FORSETH – It’s logical: keep organic waste out of landfills, extend their life

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

TODAY, AN EXCITING POST filled with intrigue, suspense, ethics, chaos and more!!!  No … actually it’s about GARBAGE.

I know, NOT exciting at all, however a topic with is important if the next generation isn’t to be overrun by it.  A week and a half ago (September 8th) the Government of BC, issued a media release, “Changes to Organic Matter Recycling Regulation proposed“.

The Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR) is currently undergoing a comprehensive review to, as the government states, ensure it remains protective of human health and the environment. The 2018 Intentions Paper is now available for review, and comment, with those interested invited to submit comments by Nov. 8, to be considered in preparing the proposed revisions to the regulation. Review the 2018 Intentions Paper (PDF)

In reading through the media release and intentions paper, I was interested to note that food scraps, grass clippings, and animal manure and human waste can represent up to 40% of all waste that is sent for disposal. The logical conclusion for that would then be; keeping organic materials out of our landfills will extend their life, as well as reduce the production of greenhouse gases, particularly methane.

At Tuesday’s (Sept. 18) City council meeting Dieter Dudy apparently brought up the topic of organics recycling, according to fellow councilor Kathy Sinclair.  She stated to me that, “We have the means to do organic pickup, but currently nowhere to put it. Staff is investigating whether organic matter can be added to a bio-solids solution that is still in the works. A report on that is upcoming.”

While our province is working toward a target of 75% of the population being covered by organic waste disposal restrictions by 2020, I wondered how that fits with policies other communities are undertaking, and if we are on track for that goal.

North Cowichan City Councillor Al Siebring, informed me that they’ve had the “kitchen pitch-in” program for household organics since 2012.

It has reduced the volume/weight of “garbage” into our solid waste stream by close to of 50%”, he stated.  “The separated organics are all processed and resold as compost here on the Island.”

The Municipality of North Cowichan is at the head of the curve when it comes to the disposal of these organics”, he continued.

Up in my old hometown of Williams Lake former MLA, and now city mayor, Walt Cobb indicated … “Our landfill and recycling are all contracted through the Cariboo Regional District, so I am not sure what their plans are”.

I do know that our Conservation Society that help us promote recycling and reuse is working on some composting.  Whenever there is any kind of food event, they are there separating and making people aware of the food separation needs so it is not contaminated.”

So what kinds of funding are being made available, to municipal governments, towards processes (such as additionally scheduled pick-ups for organic matter only, which will allow communities to meet the BC government targets of 75% of the population being covered by organic waste disposal restrictions?  Here’s Fort St. John city mayor Lori Ackerman:

Not all communities were included in the recycling program so not all communities ‘benefit’ if that is the right word, from them.  When you think of municipal services, think property tax and hope for a grant program from either level of senior government.”

Early in October, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy will be conducting three informational webinars on the intentions paper, in support of the current consultation for the OMRR Policy Intentions Paper.  These webinars, for stakeholders and interested parties (I am registered), will provide an overview of the Intentions Paper and provide guidance for stakeholders in preparing their responses.

Regional Districts around the province should definitely be on those webinars, at least it seems they should be given what both Mayors Lori Ackerman and Walt Cob indicated.

According to Ackerman, while Fort St. John is looking at organics, “… it is the Regional District that manages solid waste.  We must wait to have them put in the infrastructure to compost, otherwise we are spending to collect it separately, and it just goes to the landfill”.

Walt Cobb was a little blunter, indicating … “The majority of our input (into how and what waste is collected) is how much we pay.  We have trouble even getting them to increase the tipping fees to not only help cover the costs but as an incentive to do more recycling.”

Steve Forseth, himself an area director for the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) commented, “RD’s should be involved as this topic refers ultimately refer to a Regional District Solid Waste Management Plan, which both Electoral Area Directors / Municipal reps all have equal input into, and a vote on.  If not the case, not surprising but deeply disappointing”.

He followed that up by observing, “Mayors’ often comment on Solid Waste costs but they are part of the Regional puzzle on solid waste.  Regional District Boards will take their input into consideration as decisions on solid waste are made.”

Obviously, there is much, by way of organics, that can be recycled … and no one should have any doubt about that.  Some, in the following list, might surprise you however:
… food waste, animal bedding, bio-solids, brewery and winery wastes, domestic septic tank sludge, fish and hatchery wastes, manure, milk processing waste and whey, plant matter derived from processing plants, poultry carcasses, red-meat waste, untreated and unprocessed wood residuals, and yard waste.

Bottom line according to the Organic Material Recycling Report?  Organic matter is a valuable resource (which anyone who gardens is well aware of) … AND … the use of organic matter provides for the recycling of nutrients, and it helps divert organics from our landfills.

From what North Cowichan councilor Al Siebring had to say, it seems like perhaps they have one of the better handles on organics already.

Regular garbage and non-organic recycling is every other week.  Which means we always put two cans to the curb.  One for organics, and a second for either garbage or recycling.  It’s the only ‘weekly’ pickup we do.”

And he says he is very happy with the way it is working.  Incredible, at least to me was this comment from him, “No incentives were given.  Folks just bought in almost instantly.  And some of us… me included, still compost at home as well.

And from CRD representative Steve Forseth, “The Cariboo RD is re-doing our Solid Waste Plan, which will look at things like Recycling including organic waste (grass, etc). I expect that we’ll start the public consultation sometime in 2020 with the process complete sometime in 2022.”

It looks like they are well on their way as well.

Sampling … monitoring … environmental controls and protection … what can and can’t go into organic recycling … compliance checks.

All of these and more will have to be considered as the province moves forward to that goal of reducing the 40% organics which currently go in to our landfills … and toward the 75% target of being covered by organic waste disposal restrictions.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and I hope you’ll join the discussion on this, or any other topic presented here.  Do you agree … disagree?

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6109 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on FORSETH – It’s logical: keep organic waste out of landfills, extend their life

  1. Alan C. Kuhnert // September 22, 2018 at 10:42 AM // Reply

    Many towns and cities have been recycling organics for years and yet Kamloops hasn’t got a plan in place?!?? While visiting Kamloops this summer I talked to a mayoral candidate about organic recycling and all I got was vague promises. This candidate will be an excellent politician because he can put a spin on anything.I’m moving to Kamloops in the near future and if organic recycling isn’t established I will be very vocal every time I see either the mayor or city council.

  2. Not all organics are the same. Human waste (and domesticated animals to a certain extent) are full of chemicals for which their transformation and interactions (as result to composting) are little understood but known to be more than likely acutely toxic. Their re-introduction into the food chain should not even be considered.

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