Zero Waste

Waste management, reduction, recycling, and diversion of resources into recycling streams, etc., are all important issues with regard to climate change mitigation and regional sustainability. Substantial progress has been made over the last 3 years but we haven't achieved all that is needed or possible. The debate has often been heated and sometimes divisive.

What are your views about how to continue making progress with our regional goal of Zero Waste?

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Candidates Responding:
Hans Penner (Candidate for Area D Director)
Lorne Lewis (Candidate for Area E Director)
Darren Inkster (Candidate for Sechelt Mayor)
Laura Wallace (Candidate for Area E Director)
Barry Janyk (Candidate for Gibsons Mayor)
Donna Shugar (Candidate for Area D Director)
Lee Ann Johnson (Candidate for Gibsons Council)
Doug Smith (Candidate for Sechelt Mayor)
Mike Carson (Candidate for Area A Director)
Frank Mauro (Candidate for Area A Director)
John Henderson (Candidate for Sechelt Mayor)
Gary Nohr (Candidate for Area B Director)
Roger Legasse (Candidate for Area B Director)

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Hans Penner
Candidate for Area D Director


Frankly, I am not impressed with the progress made so far, considering all the time, energy and resources spent on this issue to date. It is clear that other jurisdictions in BC are way ahead of the SCRD when it comes to dealing with residential garbage. Port Coquitlam for example has diverted 62% of its residential garbage through its waste-recycling program. I think if we want to make real progress toward our goal of zero waste we need to take a close look at what is working in other places and then implement the required programs without delay.

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Lorne Lewis
Candidate for Area E Director


Education is key in engaging the public in dealing with their waste. As long as we are a consumer society we will have waste to deal with and we will always be able to improve on the way we deal with it. I believe we have made substantial progress in our handling of waste and that we will always be able to do a better job so long as we don’t become complacent. I personally take the view that I have to have a reason to put something in the garbage, that way it is a last resort. It’s my responsibility, if I bring something home, to see that it’s treated in the most environmentally friendly way possible. As an elected person it’s also my responsibility to try to convey that to the public.

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Darren Inkster
Candidate for Mayor of Sechelt

Waste management and its goal of zero waste, while laudable, will be a difficult goal to reach unless there is more producer responsibility. By requiring and or requesting less packaging at source, we will create less garbage. Fees and increased deposits, while more expensive, will encourage recycling and reuse. Politically, the issue of waste reduction and recycling is a difficult one because of the differences between single stream and potential contamination versus multi stream sorted and less or no contamination. Additionally, the end seller is subjected to wildly fluctuating resource prices. The resultant costs of these fluctuations is generally bourne by the service fee and/or taxed user. Overall, the existence of a local recycling and a  resource recovery system lessens the level of waste going to our soon to be decommissioned main Sechelt based landfill. The decommissioning is one of the big reasons why we are attempting to move to as close to a zero
waste local waste system as is possible, as this will  lessen our use of  waste hauling and landfill services in future(both ghg producing).

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Laura Wallace
Candidate for Area E Director


Waste reduction is a difficult issue to deal with. As long as we are a consumption-driven society with the goal of continued economic growth, waste reduction will continue to be a problem. The key to waste reduction is to reduce our consumption on all levels. Creating community gardens, making it easier for local farmers to sell their meat, eggs and dairy locally, supporting local bakers, beer and wine makers, bee-keepers, all reduce our dependence on store-bought food. Repairing broken goods instead of throwing them out and buying new ones reduce consumption. Refusing to buy something because it's over-packaged, making and using your own shopping bags, composting food waste, making your own clothes, and recycling unwanted items through thrift stores are all ways that we can reduce our waste output. This is where a community currency could come into play; sell your used clothing to the thrift store in exchange for local currency, and use that currency to buy food from a local farmer. This reduces consumerism, it reduces dependence on the larger economy, it supports local business and farmers, and it reduces waste.

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Barry Janyk
Candidate for Gibsons Mayor


First question – or comment – is that zero waste – while a beautiful concept  - is an unlikely reality in the short term.  Damn good objective though!

That said, we must work to that goal and there are few loftier goals than closing the consumption loop.  What I have experienced in my tenure is that folks accept change when they are given alternatives. I have to say that there was a howl and a moan when we went from two cans of garbage to one some years ago, and I’m sure some still curse me for that decision.  However… the reality of the implications of cost, damage to the environment and the moral imperative cannot be ignored.  We must not just practice the typical three R’s but in the most liveable town in the world we must exemplify the best ethics possible!

There are a few facets related to trying to close that loop the details are too deep for this short overview.  However I can say we are on an unalterable path, one that will include consideration and possible implementation of such things as curb side pickup – that will include a palette of products including organics.  I see the eventual incentives based upon a “pay by weigh” system.

I foresee collaboration with the private sector as just a natural progression and local government being an integral partner in these future endeavours – especially in the creation of a full on resource recovery centre.

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Donna Shugar
Candidate for Area D Director


In October a very important step was taken with the adoption of the new Zero Waste Management Plan by the Regional District. The debate has centred less around the goals of the plan and more around the timing, order and potential cost of its various components, specifically depot based vs curbside collection systems. The message I have received from the citizens in Roberts Creek, anecdotally as well as through surveys and other public consultation tools, has been that the majority of people in Roberts Creek want to see a curbside program in our community. It is felt that curbside pick up of recyclables would provide the convenience that many working people, seniors and those with young families need to increase their participation in recycling. However, working together with the other areas on the Coast, it has become clear that other areas prefer to see an enhanced depot system come first. With new packaging Extended Producer Responsibility Programs on the horizon it may in fact be better to wait until those are developed at a provincial level before implementing a curbside program which mainly addresses packaging materials (glass, plastic, cardboard, paper.) So I have come to accept that a system of enhanced depots in 3 areas on the Coast (Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender) will be the first program that is tackled. By enhanced depots we mean a program that both collects, sorts and delivers recyclables to market and also manages the repurposing and redistribution of reusables that can remain in the community as resources rather than waste products.

Dealing with organics and green waste is another important component of zero waste management. During my first term I brought in the Roberts Creek Smoke Control Bylaw which curtails the burning of yard waste. It is important to manage the large volume of green waste that is needing to be recycled in the most efficient and cost effective way possible while ensuring that invasive plant materials such as roots and seeds are not allowed to regenerate.

A food scraps composting program is another high priority. The question of course is always whether to provide public education or some form of responsible municipal collection program or both. I feel that both are important, particularly because of growing issues with wildlife. Backyard composting is a viable option for most organics and should be encouraged through public education programs. But for things which cannot be composted that way, some sort of organics program should be implemented.

Public education programs, land fill bans for certain materials, working with the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors are also important components of any waste reduction plan. It is important to set out the actions in priority order so that they can be introduced in a fiscally manageable way and in a sequence which has the maximum impact on participation rates.

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Lee Ann Johnson
Candidate for Gibsons Council


The Zero Waste Plan adopted by the SCRD outlines the ways to reduce landfill use and approximate costs to implement them.  Gibsons is part of this work at the SCRD. There will be an extended resource recovery centre in centre in Gibsons to handle many more items and collections under the extended producer programs being implemented by the Province. 

Gibsons initiated the household green waste drop off as part of our backyard burning ban. We phased out burning over three years and built up the green waste drop off, now used by adjoining rural residents as well.

The big question is how much are you, as taxpayers, willing to pay now in order to prevent a greater cost and problem in the future? Waste diversion will be more expensive than our current landfill use but it will become much cheaper than building a new landfill and paying more carbon taxes. 

Getting methane producing organics out of the landfill needs to be at the top of the list. Commercial composting, like the system used at Salish Soils, can handle all organics. It can compost wildlife attracting stuff such as bones/meat, dairy, cooked food scraps. It may be easier to get people to use curb side collection for organics as they are messier and smellier than other things we recycle. We need more education and access to helpful composting products at local stores for better backyard composting.

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Doug Smith
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor


Leadership from the BCG partnership is best done through mentoring and modeling. The functional leaders on the Coast need to model the way for the citizens. Education must be employed more effectively to inform and advise all residents on the Coast in an ongoing manner. Facebook & Twitter find many.

An effective Educational Program utilized in Schools is the one that has grade 11 & 12 students teaching grade 5 & 6 students. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it and both age groups will pass on their knowledge With Family, into industry & business and share it among their friends.

We need to make use of pragmatic tactics that get the points across and foster awareness of the need to seek out a sustainable society. This in part can be achieved by utilizing the leaders of tomorrow who may or may not survive the onslaught of unrestrained Consumerism and Overpopulation, the root causes.

Your targets seem plausible and you have integrated virtually all of the sectors of concern. Quantifiable time line objectives need to be developed to accomplish the targets along with control functions that monitor success. Because our Coast is enclosed we can establish a feasible environmental demarcation and forge an international benchmark for sustainable living in Canada.

We can’t work in isolation and expect satisfactory results. The more people we involve the greater their commitment and ownership in implementing needed solutions. Guaranteeing sustainability is vital in order to ensure our own, as well as species at risk survival.

I would provide direct input from the Mayors office to assist in promoting pragmatic strategies and tactics. Council has approved $200,000 for an economic development program. I would ask Council to create a funded full time position to hire an experienced individual to champion environmental programs. This will also generate green employment.

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Mike Carson
Candidate for Area A Director


When you talk about Waste management issues and divisive debate, the Pender Harbour Landfill/transfer station issue comes to mind. I think centralizing the landfill operation in Sechelt is the right choice, both in economic terms and in environmental choices. The consultant’s report on Greenhouse Gas production suggests we could cut Area A’s GHG emissions in half by going with the transfer station option, if Sechelt would implement the active landfill gas collection program. With that commitment and the promise of the enhanced Resource recovery facility in Pender Harbour, we would be moving towards Zero waste. I think education is going to be key in taking it to the next level, and getting people to make smarter choices of consumer products based on whether the packaging will end up in our landfills or back into the resource recovery stream.

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Frank Mauro
Candidate for Area A Director


Zero Waste is a fine long-term goal but the SCRD needs to focus on what can be achieved in the shorter term. Recycling/Diversion rates for the SCRD are 50% (ref. SCRD Solid Waste Management Plan) even with incomplete data; one of the highest in the province. Area ‘A’ rates are the highest in the SCRD. Recycling is an activity that provides substantial benefits and must be encouraged and rewarded to make sure the SCRD remains a leader in this regard.

We must focus on the aspects of “Zero Waste’ which give us most benefits for costs incurred. In this difficult economic climate raising costs to our residents will not only add to the controversy, but will exacerbate undesirable results such as illegal dumping.

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John Henderson
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor


I am not an expert on how to progress with the regional goal of Zero Waste but I am a strong proponent and interested in listening to those who have studied the issue so that we can implement many of the recommendations into public policy.  It seems that a multi-pronged approach that includes education and awareness programs, incentives (through user fees, carbon offsets, etc.) for individuals as well as businesses is a good starting point.

In terms of Sechelt, as Mayor I will ensure that specific and measurable strategies are put into action so we can both monitor the effectiveness and modify and update as we learn more.

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Gary Nohr
Candidate for Area B Director

The SCRD is working towards the goal of zero waste. The SCRD has just completed and passed a Solid Waste Managements Plan that an SCRD advisory group has been working on for two years. The SCRD board will now start the next phase which is to examine the cost to the taxpayer of implementing the waste management and recycling programs being requested from different areas of the Coast. The board spent considerable time working on the future closure of the Pender Harbour land fill and what that means to the whole Sunshine Coast. There have been many stories about what SCRD is doing, and not doing, but the staff is working on programs with input from the different areas of the Coast. There seems to be a push towards resource recovery in the areas of Gibsons, Sechelt, and Pender Harbour. People are concerned about having a recycling venue and drop-off close to their residences; there is a feeling that this might reduce illegal dumping. With a green waste drop-off at these resource recovery stations, which are easily accessible, this alone might reduce backyard burning in some areas.

The next year will be intense as negotiations on cost and needs are assessed throughout the SCRD.

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Roger Legasse
Candidate for Area B Director

The achievement of this goal requires a hands-on approach by the regional director.   It also requires the active engagement of each citizen.  I pledge to continue the dialogue with each and every Area B resident in order to gain insight and suggestions.  An example of practical solutions came from one conscientious builder who indicated that we should roof over the drywall bin at the landfill.  Currently, drywall is left in the open where it absorbs rain which can more than doubles its weight.  This increases tipping costs when the material is deposited in collection points in the lower mainland.  The increased costs are transferred to users which discourages compliance.  Increases in efficiency lead to lower costs.  These savings can be passed on to users encouraging compliance with regulations.