The Regional District of Nanaimo has a solid waste recycling plan that’s the envy of the province, says chair Joe Stanhope, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.
“We are at half the national average with solid waste,” Stanhope said. “We have one of the best conversion rates in North America. However, if there are improvements to be made, we should do it.”
It didn’t take long for some suggestions to come forward to do just that.
RDN chief administrative officer Carol Mason noted recently that the RDN is on track to meet its goal of a 70 per cent diversion rate from its landfill by the end of this year.
She said the focus for 2012 will be to deal with multi-family dwellings and making sure that private recycling collectors have access to RDN facilities.
This last remark sparked comment from Qualicum Beach director Dave Willie, who queried whether private recyclers actually do what they’re supposed to do with recyclables, or dump it in the trash.
“Do we not take an interest in what they do with it?” he asked. “I’m concerned about information given to me that recycling is picked up at curbside and then mixed together because they can’t sell it and they get rid of it as garbage.”
“I’m not sure if it’s true, but if it is, that’s a big concern.”
In response, Dennis Trudeau, the general manager of transportation and solid waste services said he was unaware of any such activity an noted that trucks coming into the landfill are checked by staff.
“Most communities and local governments hear that from time to time, that people spend all this time separating their garbage and it goes into a landfill, but we do not have that concern at this time,” he said.
Trudeau noted there has been a problem with recycling glass, but he said the district is working with industry to find a way to deal with the material.
As well, Willie expressed concern about the size of the trucks used to collect household food waste.
“I look at those huge trucks and how they pick up food waste and then I look at the tiny pile they dump at Church Road and I don’t know why they need a truck that big,” he said.
Again, Trudeau noted that the contractor who provides that service is a private company and while he agreed the loads at times look fairly small, he said he’s confident they plan for the volume they get.
Overall, he said, he is completely satisfied with the service provided.
“We are getting exactly what we thought we were going to get, and a little bit more,” he said.