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Regional District of Nanaimo waste initiatives receive ministerial praise

Plan to divert 90 per cent of waste from landfills
The Regional District of Nanaimo is introducing a new bylaw that will require businesses, multi-family dwellings and institutions to have separate bins for garbage, food waste and recycling. (PQB News file photo)

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s proposed mandatory waste source separation regulation has received some positive words from the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

A letter was received from Minister Josie Osborne that indicated the RDN’s plan will move forward to cabinet for consideration and approval.

“I appreciate RDN’s approach to solid waste management and your innovative policies,” Osborne wrote in her letter. “A 90-per cent diversion of solid waste from landfills is a leading strategy that provides a useful example of what may be possible in the future for other regional districts.”

The RDN’s Waste Stream Management Licensing Bylaw also received support from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, who commended the RDN for its ongoing efforts to effectively manage solid waste within the region.

Manager of solid waste services Larry Gardner onsiders the letters of support from both ministries to be “fairly remarkable.”

“There’s two pieces of correspondence here,” said Gardner. “One is for mandatory waste separation and we needed a dedicated regulation for the regional district to allow us to do it. That one is pretty big deal. And although we’ve got a very positive feedback from the staffing level through our consultation, this is really the first time we’ve seen formal correspondence from the minister saying they will ‘champion’ it through cabinet to get a regulation, that’s a really a positive sign.”

READ MORE: Waste audits in Nanaimo show more needs to be done to keep recyclables out of landfill

Currently, the RDN provides the a three-bin option for its curbside collection. But it applies mostly to single-family homes. The RDN now wants to expand it through the proposed mandatory waste source separation regulation to include businesses, multi-family dwellings and institutions to have separate bins for garbage, food waste and recycling.

As well, the RDN plans to put in place a waste hauler licensing bylaw that will require businesses that haul waste for profit to obtain a licence. It already has received three readings and has been submitted to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval.

Licensed haulers would assist the RDN in making sure commercial customers have a system in place for separating and collecting organics, recycling and garbage. The RDN would provide them with discounted tipping rates for waste that does not contain any recyclable or compostable materials. This will encourage waste from source to flow to the waste industry rather than ending up in the landfill.

To learn more on the RDN’s proposed mandatory waste separation and hauler licensing bylaws or to provide feedback, go to

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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