Cheap landfilling is a bigger barrier to higher recycling rates than incineration

Metro Vancouver incineration plan gets boost from European experts

Belkorp defends plan to sort recyclables from garbage after regional district forum pans technology

Metro Vancouver mayors say they’re confident their controversial strategy to incinerate more garbage for power is the right one after seeking advice from European experts.

The regional district hosted a forum July 22 that featured British and Dutch experts who warned that cheap landfilling is the main barrier to much higher recycling rates, not incineration.

Both countries make considerable use of waste-to-energy plants.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the Europeans cautioned against building too much incineration capacity – Metro has already reduced the size of its planned new plant from 500,000 tonnes per year to 370,000.

And he said the key takeaway was not to believe the “magic” claims of proponents of material recovery facilities, which are highly automated sorting centres that extract recyclables from garbage.

“It’s mythical, they said it doesn’t work, it destroys the recyclables so they’re not useful and the product at the end from the organics is useless,” Corrigan told Metro’s board Friday.

“That’s where the Netherlands and Britain reinforced what we already knew,” added Metro board chair Greg Moore.

Belkorp Environmental wants to build a mixed-waste material recovery facility (MRF) in Coquitlam and argues Metro might not have to build a new incinerator if enough paper, plastic and other recyclables can be extracted.

Metro’s Bylaw 280 – which is still awaiting approval by the province – would allow very limited use of MRFs to sort garbage from apartment buildings that don’t have adequate recycling facilities.

The bylaw has been opposed by various business groups and the Fraser Valley Regional District, which says it will embrace MRFs.

Belkorp vice-president Russ Black argues firms like his should get a chance to extract recyclables from garbage before it’s landfilled or incinerated, as a final pass to reduce waste.

“There’s no risk to Metro Vancouver or the public with respect to giving these things an opportunity to work,” he said.

But Moore says approving broad use of MRFs would be a step backwards, unraveling 25 years of public education to convince residents to separate their recyclables, rather than throwing everything in one garbage bin.

Black insists the real issue is Metro’s pursuit of waste-to-energy.

“Mixed-waste material recovery facilities compete with incineration. They’re after the same feedstocks.”

He also questioned the objectivity of Metro’s forum, calling the Dutch expert an advocate of incineration.

“It was just a promotion exercise,” Black said.

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer said it would have been more prudent to also invite experts from a country like Denmark, which she said has recently turned back from a heavy emphasis on incineration in pursuit of better recycling rates.

“We should be looking at a spectrum of experts,” she said.

Just Posted

Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Ski hill will be open seven days a week starting Dec. 14, and cross-country trails as well

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

DFO confirms that investigation of fish habitat destruction in the Fraser River is underway

Conservation and Protection reps ordered Herrling and Carey Island owners to take corrective action

Hope rescue crew remove man pinned in semi-truck on Highway 3

Tuesday night rescue was swift, with the man removed safely from the truck within an hour and a half

VIDEO: Sto:lo artist and UFV instructors create award-winning gingerbread house

Chilliwack team wins Vancouver competition with Coast Salish design, solid recipe and laser cuts

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Surrey mayor says city won’t repay $56M spent on LRT, but might pony up $40M in land transfers

There will be no tax increase for Surrey residents resulting from this, McCallum confirms

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Vancouver says court decision allows it to close illegal pot shops

The city says it filed 53 injunctions against businesses that were operating outside its regulations,

Most Read