Regional District of Nanaimo, British Columbia
Zero Waste Program
The Regional District of Nanaimo owns and operates the Regional Landfill and the Church Road Transfer Station, and provides residential garbage collection and recycling service to more than 25,000 households in the region. In 2002, the municipality committed to "zero waste" as its long-term target and, in 2004, set an interim goal of diverting 75 per cent of the region's waste from the landfill by 2010.
The RDN’s Zero Waste Program was built upon previous successful waste diversion practices and aims to meet the district’s waste diversion targets through four key streams: a waste stream management licensing system; expanded landfill disposal bans to include commercial food waste, wood waste, yard waste and stewardship materials; single-family organics collection; and education and promotion.
The process for implementing these measures involved the commitment of individuals, communities and all orders of government. A new licensing bylaw ensured that all of the region’s privately operated waste management facilities operate under the same environmental standards and regularly report on waste diversion.
The RDN also expanded its disposal bans, while ensuring adequate recycling facilities were in place to handle these newly banned materials. Following a successful pilot, the RDN introduced green bin organics collection to 32,000 households in 2010, with further expansion planned for 2011. The district also developed extensive educational and promotional materials to raise awareness of the zero waste concept.
- The combined measures have helped the RDN to avoid landfill expansion and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10,000 tonnes per year.
- Per capita waste disposal has decreased from 527 kilograms in 2006 to 429 kilograms in 2009.
- Overall waste diversion increased to 64 per cent in 2009, and is projected to reach 70 per cent with the full implementation of the green bin program in 2012.
- Split packer trucks for combined curbside collection of organics, recyclables and garbage, save gas and reduce emissions.
- Extending the life of the existing landfill has saved the RDN about $16 million in capital costs.
- Employment has increased in the recycling and composting fields.