A SWMP committee?! What is that?
Well, it is the latest opportunity for me to be involved in the new solid waste management plan in the RDEK. A call and application process was put out in the summer, seeking participants who would sit on a volunteer advisory committee for the region’s new Solid Waste Management Plan. The committee would be made up of about 30 individuals, representing various interest groups. I represent a non-profit environmental organization, as well as a personal LOVE for the topic: WASTE. Though love might be the wrong word. I LOVE to educate on how to AVOID waste and make SUSTAINABLE choices. There we go.
Over the course of the next year, this committee will review the current plan, and make recommendations on how to improve the new plan, focusing on waste reduction and diversion. Statistics were gathered on waste production across our region; there were even some brave volunteers who did a physical waste audit at the transfer stations by gathering waste and determining what could be diverted from landfill.
Now, as you know, if you are an Eco Warrior that reads relevant news, trash statistics are… awful. They are awful to read about, hear about, and worst of all… SEE. When you see a disgusting pile of trash the size of several school buses, well, if you’re anything like me, you might sob at the sight, or get down on humanity. However, it is opportunities like this, and working with like-minded individuals, that enable us to improve and lessen our impact on our beautiful planet.
Here are some yucky statistics:
- The provincial average for waste production was 497 kg per person in 2015
- Our region sat above the provincial average at 562 kg per person in 2015
- Over 70 000 metric tonnes of waste was generated in 2015
- Under 30 000 metric tonnes were diverted from landfill
- Over 40 000 metric tonnes of waste was disposed
- It costs more to recycle than it does to dispose
- Our recycling rates are very low
- We do not charge a tipping fee
Clearly there are many issues that need to be addressed, which our committee will be involved in. I am very grateful to be putting forward my suggestions and ideas, so we can #detrashthekootenays together.
One thing was very clear to me during the meeting: we must implement the 5 Rs in our every day life and make sustainable choices. That means REFUSE (first and foremost), REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT. Recycling is a good starting point, but we must do more.
You can find the whole public report on the RDEK’s website here.