"We can no longer deal with Metro Vancouver’s garbage by simply trucking our mess to Interior landfills," said Vancouver COPE Cllr David Cadman, a member of the Metro Vancouver Environment Committee.
The Metro Vancouver Board voted today to stop the decades old practise of trucking solid waste to landfills near Cache Creek. With the Cache Creek landfill approaching capacity, Metro engineers had planned to open a new dump near Ashcroft. But opposition from local residents, First Nations and environmental groups stymied the plan and forced Metro to rethink its solid waste policies.
"The solution is to work towards a zero waste policy," said Cadman, who voted at today’s Board meeting in favour of no longer trucking garbage out of the region. "As a city and a region we are going to have to do some serious planning on how we deal with solid waste."
"We are now at just about 50 percent on recycling, but we have to make a big push and aim for 85 percent in the very near future. But ultimately we have to push for zero waste."
Other North American centres, faced with their own solid waste problems, are doing better at disposing of garbage.
"Currently San Francisco is approaching 78 percent on recycling," said Cadman, "and that is without an extensive deposit return program on containers as we have. So surely we should be doing better. than 50 percent. "
Cadman also says that almost one third of Vancouver’s refuse is organic material which can be diverted from the waste stream into some form of composting.
"If we just dealt with the organic materials we could cut the garbage by a full 30 percent right away."
Meanwhile Vancouver garbage will continue to be dumped at the existing Delta landfill where a methane recovery program converts escaping gas into energy that is used by local farmers.