It is time for the SCRD to quit talking garbage and talk resources

Zero Waste. The Sunshine Coast Regional District is all for it. Their theme for the new public outreach campaign is "Zero Waste - It Starts With You". Just check out their website and there it is.

The SCRD supports the Zero Waste Alliance definition:

“Zero waste is a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary, to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use. Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.”

This all sounds wonderful. Our coast is on its way to becoming a Zero Waste community with a 10 year plan to divert most of our waste from our landfills and use it as a resource for new items. Right? Great!

If their above statement is true, then why has the regional district not presented the coastal residents with the complete picture? If we are to "design and manage products and processes to reduce volume" then why are our directors talking about curbside collection and whether we should handle organics? With curbside collection only a few of the many items can be collected for reuse. The rest is land-filled. Of course, we should handle organics and compost green waste. There is no need for those materials to go into a landfill.

If we are to "conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them” then why does the regional district want to close the PH landfill and make it a transfer station? If all the discards are compacted and transferred to the Sechelt landfill there will be no chance of recovery, it will be land-filled.

Then you read the recommendation for the PH landfill endorsed by the SWMP group:

Recommendation:  THAT the SCRD Board be advised that the Solid Waste Management Plan Update Working Group  endorses the recommendations provided in the Sperling Hansen report to convert the Pender Harbour Landfill site to a Transfer Station, on the condition that the site will be developed consistent with the principles of resource recovery and zero waste;

AND THAT site development include the goal of minimizing residuals

If the site is "developed consistent with the principles of resource recovery and zero waste;" then does that mean they would recover most of the materials and there would be nothing to transfer? In that case, why close the landfill? For that matter, why call it a transfer station?

 It is time to quit talking garbage and talk resources.

If we are in the process of making a ten year plan then let's make a true, forward thinking plan for the coast. Forget muddling the waters with talk of curbside collection and trucking our "garbage". We must now work on recovering materials and creating businesses and jobs where those materials are recovered, reused and redesigned into new items.

The PH landfill presents a perfect opportunity to build a resource recovery park. It is an opportunity that should not be missed. And it is unfortunate that the SCRD has not even presented that option to the voters. Not only are they not presenting all the facts to the residents, they are not even showing them the respect they deserve by listening to what they want in their own community.

It is time for the elected directors to do some of their own homework. Get the facts and get them out to the voters.

Stop sending us a mixed message and do the right thing.