Meeting today in Tuff to discuss imminent ban on tossing cardboard

A ban on throwing away cardboard is in the offing for the West Coast.

A Tofino meeting at 3 p.m. today will unveil details of a proposed cardboard disposal ban expected in late 2015.

An organics diversion project will also be discussed at the West Coast Landfill Stakeholder Engagement Meeting for Institutional, Commercial, and Industrial Clients.

“If you produce cardboard or food waste, this meeting is for you,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne.

Those on the West Coast who own or work for a business or institution that produces cardboard and paper waste or organic waste, such as food or yard waste, are in for some news about what this means for them.

Representatives from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District will be at the meeting in Tofino Council Chambers.

“The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s 2007 Solid Waste Management Plan identified that a way to reduce waste going into the landfill was to implement bans on the disposal of recyclable materials such as cardboard and paper from Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) generators. We have yet to implement such bans, and we want to discuss them with you and work collaboratively on the program.

The ACRD is also considering what the regional opportunities are for organics diversion (e.g., composting). We need your help and feedback,” said Janice Hill, environmental services assistant for the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

After a number of years on hiatus, the Solid Waste Plan Monitoring Advisory Committee met in August and October to re-assess the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s recycling program. Introducing a bi-monthly schedule of meetings, the committee now intends to oversee a complete ban on throwing cardboard in the garbage for industrial, commercial and institutional buildings in the area.

A tentative schedule for the ICI cardboard ban is for full enforcement by October 2015, the Alberni Valley Times reported.

A full ban would divert all cardboard from industry, businesses, schools, government and office buildings out of the landfills -to be recycled. But the timeline is ambitious.

“The cardboard disposal ban might be [implemented] within a year,” said Janice Hill, environmental services assistant with the ACRD. “[We] have to figure out how much it’s going to cost and where it’s going to go.”

The B.C. Ministry of Environment requires a solid waste management review every five years, Hill noted.

When the ACRD first adopted its Solid Waste Management Plan in 2007, the diversion rate -the amount of waste kept out of the landfill because of recycling or composting -was 15 per cent. Residential rates were even lower -five per cent in Port Alberni and 1.5 per cent in the surrounding Valley. The ACRD forecasted that over the next five years, overall waste diversion could increase to 54 per cent by 2012.

That goal was not achieved, though there was some improvement. According to 2013 numbers, the waste diversion rate was just north of 20 per cent overall.

West Coasters created about 790 kilograms of garbage per person in 2007. The ACRD had aimed for a 400-kg per capita rate by 2012.

By 2013, the amount of garbage per head had been reduced to 740 kg.

Out of about 23,000 tonnes of waste produced in Alberni-Clayoquot each year, 17,000 tonnes ends up in the Alberni Valley Landfill, located south of McCoy Lake Road, and the rest goes into the West Coast Landfill between Ucluelet and Tofino.

For comparison, an average semitruck with an empty trailer weighs around 15 tonnes.

Currently, the Alberni-Clayoquot region produces the fifth-highest amount of garbage per person in the province. The per capita amount of waste produced in Metro Vancouver is less than 600 kilograms. In the capital region it’s under 400 kg.

jcarmichael@westerlynews.ca