Fraser Valley plan aims for zero waste

How will valley residents deal with their garbage and recyclables in the future? That’s the topic up for discussion at a series of open houses being hosted by the Fraser Valley Regional District.

How will valley residents deal with their garbage and recyclables in the future?

That’s the topic up for discussion at a series of open houses being hosted by the Fraser Valley Regional District.

The FVRD has been working with the public, member municipalities and industry groups to update its 1996 Solid Waste Management Plan. In 2009 the first round of public consultation was completed and the information was used to update the draft of a new Solid Waste Management Plan which is now ready for public review.

“A lot has changed since the original plan was adopted in 1996,” said Patricia Ross, chair of the FVRD and a member of Abbotsford council.

“The regional district’s population has substantially increased, which means we’re creating more garbage, but at the same time, we’re becoming more aware of the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

The strategies in the plan address this shift by focusing on making the recycling and reduction of garbage as accessible and convenient as possible. Ross said it identifies key options that should help the region achieve the plan’s vision, which includes region-wide composting; expanding recycling opportunities for all sectors, including businesses, institutions, and industries; and continuing to emphasize the need for all residents to take personal responsibility for the garbage they create.

Two specific targets are identified: a 25 per cent reduction in the amount of residential garbage left out at the curb and a challenge to all sectors to divert at least 70 per cent of their material from landfills by 2016.

The plan also suggests working towards zero waste.

While Abbotsford has an agreement with Metro Vancouver to handle its garbage, Ross said the city is still part of the FVRD and needs to take part in the planning.

“We have a foot in both districts,” she said.

And, according to Ross, both districts’ waste management strategies have “closely mirrored” each other in the past.

She added that to meet an eventual goal of zero waste, federal and provincial help will be needed to control the amount of packaging (Styrofoam, cardboard, etc.) companies use.

“We do recycle, but we have neglected the most important aspects … we need to reduce and reuse first.”

The Abbotsford open house is scheduled for May 26 (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) at Abbotsford Community Services, 2420 Montrose Ave. The Mission event is set for May 30 (6-8 p.m.) at the Mission Library, 33247 Second Ave.

“If we are going to have any chance of success at all, we need people to give their input … we need their good ideas,” said Ross.

Those unable to attend can provide feedback by email (planfeedback@fvrd.bc.ca), by fax at 604-702-5467 or write to:

FVRD

45950 Cheam Avenue

Chilliwack, BC, V2P 1N6

Attention: Stacey Barker

The Draft Solid Waste Management Plan can be found at www.fvrd.bc.ca, under the tab Hot Topics.