Waste reduction bylaws inching closer to implementation

The Regional District of Nanaimo is one step closer to implementing two waste reduction bylaws in what has already been a multi-year effort.

The mandatory waste source separation (MWSS) bylaw received approval from the provincial cabinet in May. The bylaw will require owners or occupiers of real property to have separate containers for garbage, food waste and recycling. While such a system is already in place for curbside collection for single-family homes, the bylaw extends the requirement to all businesses, multifamily dwellings and institutions. The RDN does not have the authority to require source separation of waste leading the regional district to seek approval of the regulation from the province. The RDN sent its initial request for the regulation in December 2021.

The RDN anticipates the bylaw to come into effect in early 2024, but that all hinges on whether the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy will approve a second bylaw, for waste hauler licensing (WHL), which would require businesses that haul waste for profit to have a licence. Licensed haulers would get a discounted tipping fee at the landfill for waste that was not contaminated with recyclable or compostable material. The WHL bylaw was submitted to the ministry in February 2022.

The RDN’s solid waste management plan envisions the two bylaws as “two interconnected and mutually supporting initiatives,” Ben Routledge, RDN manager of solid waste services, said. “The MWSS and WHL bylaws each contribute 5 per cent towards” the solid waste management plan’s 90 per cent waste diversion rate goal. “Based on 2022 waste volumes, which were increased due to economic trends associated with the global pandemic, 5 per cent would be equal to approximately 4,000 tonnes per year.”

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder