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The Regional District board has approved a new long term solid waste management plan, with an ambitious aim to reducing garbage and increasing recycling.

“We’re excited to have a plan in place that provides the blueprint for how we handle waste in our region, and sets ambitious but realistic targets for waste reduction and diversion,” says Rachael Ryder, Waste Diversion Program Leader for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.

The Regional District has been reviewing its Regional Solid Waste Management Plan over the last year, collecting input from the public and interested parties through online surveys and presentations to municipal councils and First Nations. The plan, which lays out how the region will recycle, compost, and dispose of garbage for the next 10 to 20 years, was last approved in 2009 and requires a review and update every five years to ensure it reflects current needs.

The approved plan aims to reduce the total amount of garbage disposed per year from 840 kg per capita in 2014 to 570 kg per capita, a decrease of 32 per cent. It aims to do that by increasing the amount of waste diverted from the landfills from 300 kg per capita to 570 kg.

The plan keys on actions and initiatives in the following areas: Reduction and reuse; Residential diversion; Organic waste diversion; Industrial, commercial institutional waste (ICI) diversion; Construction and demolition waste (C&D) diversion; Extended producer responsibility; Promotion and Education; and Illegal dumping.

Some of the recommendations in the new plan include: Establishing campaigns to encourage waste reduction behaviours, like using cloth shopping bags, refillable mugs, and reducing the amount of food waste we throw out; Setting residential garbage can limits and garbage cart fees at levels that encourage residents to use local recycling and composting opportunities; Implementing residential curbside recycling collection in Mackenzie, Valemount and McBride if/when funding for this service becomes available from organizations like Multi-Material BC; Encouraging more recycling by businesses and multi-family buildings (e.g. apartments and condos); Restricting the disposal of recyclable materials in the garbage; and Developing a region-wide strategy to tackle illegal dumping.

Solid waste management is a region-wide service with an annual budget currently of $9.5 million. Proposed components of the new plan were expected to increase the budget to $9.9 million in 2020.

The full plan can be found in the board’s Feb. 18th agenda and will be posted to the Regional District’s website.