In 2012, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) embarked on a process to review and update its 2004 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). The Province of BC's Environmental Management Act mandates regional districts to prepare and regularly update these plans. A SWMP reflects a long term vision of how each regional district manages its solid waste, including diversion and disposal.
The Regional District of Nanaimo Board of Directors identified Solid Waste Management Planning as a priority in 2012. The RDN is currently undergoing the review process of updating the Regions SWMP from 2004. A summary of the stages of the planning process is shown below.
A Regional Solid Waste Advisory Committee, with public, local government and technical representation, provided input into the Stage SWMP Review. Future stages will include identifying options to address the region's future solid waste management needs, the selection of preferred options, and community consultation.
Stage 1 - Complete
The first step in reviewing the 2004 SWMP was completed in fall 2013. The Stage 1: Existing System Report assessed the status of the region's current waste management systems and the results of putting the current SWMP's Zero Waste programs into action. The 2012 Waste Composition Study provided a critical tool in preparing the SWMP update.
The Stage 1: Existing System Report concluded that the RDN has fully implemented the key components of its 2004 SWMP, including residential food waste collection and banning commercial food waste from landfill disposal. Participation in these programs has resulted in the region diverting 68 per cent of its waste for composting and recycling and achieving a 350 kilogram per capita landfill disposal rate, one of the lowest in Canada.
Stage 2 - Currently Underway
The Regional Solid Waste Advisory Committee (RSWAC) has adopted the Stage 2 Report and approved a highlights document, which will now go to stakeholder consultation. Stage 2 will target completion in April 2017.
The RDN has adopted the Zero Waste International Alliance's definition of Zero Waste.
"Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health."
The RDN has been one of the leading jurisdictions achieving some of the highest waste diversion in the world. The 2014 BC average per capita waste disposal was 520 kg/person/ year while that RDN's for the same period was 347 kg/person/year. The RDN's proposed new target of 90% diversion is a remarkable 109kg/person/year by 2027!
A document that highlights the preferred option, as stated in our stage 2 report, can be downloaded here.
Background for Options Considered
The following technical memo's will be reviewed and discussed at the Advisory Committee meetings.
The third and final stage of the update, will include a schedule for implementation, financing and additional public consultation before final adoption of the Solid Waste Management Plan by the Board and the Minister of Environment.
Please tell us what you think and have your say on the future of Solid Waste Services in the RDN by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.