WATCH: Banned items are clogging up the Hartland Landfill but the biggest offender may surprise you. Tess van Straaten takes a look.
Trucks dump off big loads of kitchen scraps at the Victoria Public Works yard on Friday, part of a region-wide composting program.
But despite those efforts and a landfill ban on all organics — including food, yard waste and soiled paper — it’s still the largest portion of the waste stream.
More than 21 per cent of all waste at the Heartland Landfill is organic waste.
“We have a landfill ban so anything above zero is a concern for us,” says Russ Smith, senior manager of environmental resource management for the Capital Regional District (CRD).
The ban, which began in 2015, has led to almost a 40 per cent reduction in food waste coming to the landfill.
It’s gone from 120 kilograms per person to 75 kilos.
But with so much still ending up at the landfill — mostly from multi-family buildings and commercial offenders like restaurants — education and enforcement efforts are being stepped up.
“Those haulers first are given warnings and then those warnings escalate to fines and that message is sent back to management in that company which then looks at who their customers are,” Smith explains.
It’s not just organics that are clogging up the landfill.
Higher-value items like wood, that could be diverted, and other construction debris are a big problem.
There’s also a mountain of mattresses at the landfill and clothing and textiles, which make up six per cent of all waste, are a concern as the CRD works on a new waste management plan.
“We certainly want to do everything we can to make sure the landfill lasts as long as possible,” says Smith. “And identify those high-value diversions opportunities that both prolong the life of the landfill but also potentially get a product into a beneficial use.”
Reducing food waste in the first place, which the United Nations says adds up to eight per cent of human-caused greenhouse gases, is also part of the plan.
It’s anticipated the new plan will proceed to public consultation later this year.