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Almost half of what ends up in Greater Victoria’s landfill could’ve been diverted: CRD

Building and organic materials continue to be drivers of what ends up at the dump
Unbuilders deconstruct a building on Fort Street in downtown Victoria in 2022. Crews are salvaging materials from the building as it’s torn down. Wood and other waste from construction and demolition are some of the main contributors to Hartland Landfill. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)

The Capital Regional District residents are putting a large proportion of items in their garbages that otherwise could’ve been diverted from the dump.

The region has conducted a snapshot-style study about every five years over the last three decades to determine the sources and composition of solid waste ending up at Hartland Landfill.

The 2022 Solid Waste Stream Composition Study, produced by Tetra Tech Canada, found that about 47 per cent of what’s being sent to Hartland could’ve been diverted through existing waste programs.

The CRD is shooting for reducing the region’s disposal rate to 250 kilograms per capita by 2030, which translates to cutting the current amount of landfilled waste by about 40 per cent.

Wood and wood products are now responsible for the largest share of waste, accounting for 19 per cent of what’s sent to the landfill. Construction activity is responsible for much of that waste, according to the CRD.

“This is definitely a concern and we’re working on a number of initiatives to deal with that,” Russ Smith, the CRD’s senior manager of environmental resource management, said at a February committee meeting.

Non-wood construction and demolition waste bound for the dump increased by more than six per cent compared to six years ago and now make up 13 per cent of the total waste breakdown. The local real estate market and the Highwest landfill closing down in 2021 are factors influencing the rise in this waste stream.

A load of construction and demolition waste dumped at Hartland Landfill in 2022. (Courtesy of Tetra Tech Canada)
A load of construction and demolition waste dumped at Hartland Landfill in 2022. (Courtesy of Tetra Tech Canada)

Organics ending up in the garbage continue to decrease as a 2015 ban and more green bin diversion programs were implemented in the region. While the amount of organics and compostables in the garbage has fallen by around 11 per cent since 2010, it’s still the second-largest waste source at Hartland.

When it comes to perfectly good food, the region has been leaving a lot on the table. Just over three quarters of all the organic material being discarded came from avoidable or donatable food waste.

The other largest garbage contributors are paper, at 14 per cent, and plastics, at almost 13 per cent. On a per capita basis, paper waste has rose by two kilograms since 2016, while plastics have remained the same.

For both single-family and multi-family CRD residences, organics make up about a quarter of their garbage bins. Paper and plastic items are the next biggest waste component for both.

About a fifth of what the two residence types are trashing could’ve been diverted through depot or drop-off programs, while just over a tenth of the residential garbage could’ve been recycled.

READ: Pricier home rebuilds targeted at start of Victoria deconstruction bylaw

READ: CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion Follow us on Instagram.
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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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