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Victoria expands pickups and public recycling cans in newest steps to cut waste in half

The city begins new phase to reduce 5,700 tonnes of waste a year

Robyn Bell
February 23, 2024
Politics
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria expands pickups and public recycling cans in newest steps to cut waste in half

The city begins new phase to reduce 5,700 tonnes of waste a year

Robyn Bell
Feb 23, 2024
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Politics
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria expands pickups and public recycling cans in newest steps to cut waste in half

The city begins new phase to reduce 5,700 tonnes of waste a year

Robyn Bell
February 23, 2024
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Victoria expands pickups and public recycling cans in newest steps to cut waste in half
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Council on Thursday unanimously approved the next stage of the Zero Waste Victoria program, with the aim to keep an additional 5,700 tonnes of waste out of landfills each year.

Council first approved the program in 2020, to cut the city’s landfill waste in half by 2040. All actions for the first phase of the plan have been implemented, with 15% of the 2040 waste reduction target reached, according to the city. The next phase is expected to help increase the reduction to 40% of the target.

Waste pickup expanded

Phase 2 kicks off this year and is slated to be complete by 2027. One of the new measures to be implemented in this phase is waste pickup for apartment buildings, including recycling and organic waste.

Currently, the City of Victoria handles garbage and compost collection from single-family homes, serving roughly 15K households, with the CRD handling recycling. For multi-family homes, building management must arrange and pay for these services through contract companies.

This new measure will see around 40K households living in multi-unit buildings included in this service. 

The city will also increase the number of zero-waste stations—receptacles with separate containers for compost, recycling, and landfill waste—adding more of these to high-foot-traffic areas. Many of these zero-waste bins were added by the city during the first phase.

Single-use Reduction Bylaw stalled

One important change the city is waiting to implement is the Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw which has been awaiting approval from the province since last spring. The bylaw would require all dine-in services to offer reusable materials and only include single-use accessories, such as plastic cutlery and straws on request. 

Once implemented, city staff estimate it could save up to 60M single-use items from the landfill each year. Part of the approval of the new phase included passing a motion to have Mayor Marianne Alto write a letter to the province to expedite the review of the bylaw.

Canada’s single-use plastic ban hit a snag last November when the federal court deemed the policy too restrictive.

Events held on city land will also have new guidelines for waste management and could be affected by the single-use bylaw. 

Construction waste filling up landfill

Staff say with the implementation of each phase of the Zero Waste Plan, the Hartland Landfill could continue to store the city’s waste until 2100; without any action, it will be full within 20 years. 

The waste cell currently used by the entire CRD at Hartland landfill is expected to reach capacity by October, faster than expected thanks to increased construction waste from home renovations during the pandemic, according to the CRD. Last fall, the CRD approved the building of new cells, at a cost of $11M.

Of the 180K tonnes of waste entering the landfill each year, 45K tonnes, or 25%, comes from the City of Victoria.

As part of the Zero Waste Victoria program, the city first implemented its construction material bylaw in 2022 to reduce this extra waste. It is expected to move into the next phase of the bylaw next year, expanding the number of projects that will need to recycle materials, such as wood, when demolishing homes. Capital Daily previously reported on the value of saving these materials, diverting old-growth lumber from ending up in landfills.

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Robyn Bell
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