A member of Zero Waste Vancouver challenged Multi-Material BC (MMBC) managing director Allen Langdon when he appeared before Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors on April 24 and reiterated his pledge that no recycled product or residuals — non-recyclable materials — would be incinerated.
Longtime recycling activist Helen Spiegelman, who spoke from the gallery at the end of Langdon’s 90-minute delegation, said MMBC may have no plans for incineration, but will be “up against pressure coming from Metro Vancouver to force them to burn their residuals.”
Spiegelman quoted Metro Vancouver’s new solid waste management plan that says the region will ask the provincial government to develop “requirements for existing and future stewardship programs to use the non-recyclable portion of returned material as fuel rather than landfilling.”
“It may not be MMBC’s plan at this time to burn residuals, but it clearly is Metro Vancouver’s plan,” Spiegelman said. “And that plan has been approved by the province.”
Last month, Gibsons Recycling Depot co-owner Buddy Boyd said the connection between MMBC and Metro Vancouver’s incineration plans was “obvious,” with the provincial regulation governing MMBC allowing waste incineration as an option.
When told by Roberts Creek director Donna Shugar at the April 24 meeting that the SCRD’s solid waste plan does not support incineration, Langdon said of Boyd’s claims, “That dialogue was misinformed,” and added that any residuals would be diverted to the landfill.
Later, he told Spiegelman: “Not only are none of our recyclables going to incineration, but none of our residuals are going to incineration.”
Spiegelman noted that when Europe moved to the concept of producer responsibility in 1991, targets similar to MMBC’s were set, but were later amended so that recycling was no longer required. Since 2008, she said, at least 60 per cent of packaging waste has to be recovered or incinerated at waste-to-energy plants.
Metro Vancouver is currently in the site selection process for a second garbage incinerator, with Squamish Nation lands at Port Mellon among the short-listed sites under consideration.
Meanwhile, a Metro Vancouver workshop on the incinerator project held Wednesday in Burnaby became a platform for opponents and some Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley elected officials to sharply criticize the plan.
Noting cost estimates have climbed from $450 million to $517 million, Chilliwack city councillor Jason Lum told reporters that the project fails the test economically, environmentally and socially.
“On top of the adverse health effects, this will hurt taxpayers for generations to come,” Lum said.
© Coast Reporter