FVRD begins consultation process for organic waste ban

Process will begin with pre-consultation with businesses and community leaders, says board chair Sharon Gaetz

Organic waste could eventually be banned from all garbage cans in the Fraser Valley, but new rules wouldn’t be put in place until after a lengthy consultation process.

That process is about to begin, and a full plan could be in place by the end of this year, said FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz.

“We’re really early in the process of exploring organic program for FVRD,” she said. “Over the next few months we’re going to do some pre-consultation work.”

The FVRD isn’t aware of “any other jurisdiction that’s undertaken a pre-consultation process for an organics diversion program,” she added.

Fraser Valley Regional District staffer Stacey Barker presented a brief overview to the board recently to explain the process. Barker said it’s the first step in a large leap toward reducing waste in landfills.

“This is a significant endeavor to accomplish,” Barker said, and for the multi-year plan “this is the first baby step.”

The proposed FVRD Organics Disposal Ban would eventually apply to all households and businesses. The plan is in response to a growing movement toward removing food waste from other waste products.

“It’s the number one comment we’ve received from the public,” she said: “‘When are we going to have food waste come out of our garbage?'”

There is no solid timeframe yet, as that will depend on the results of the upcoming consultation process. Gaetz said it’s bound to be a well-received program, based on what the FVRD has heard so far.

“We think the people’s appetite is strong for organic diversion and reclamation,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to and are excited about ramping out a program for our communities.”

Over the next few months, the FVRD will be approaching businesses and community leaders from all around the region.

“Once we have all that information we’ll establish a timeline where residents and businesses can get involved and share their thoughts,” Gaetz said.

They want to have the full consultation plan ready by the end of this year.

“Sometimes you hear that people feel they are not properly consulted when a new program or initiative is put in place. We feel the best way to ensure consultation process works for businesses and residents is to ask them for their opinion before the decision is made.”