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

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Another snowfall warning for Lower Mainland

Another 5-10 cm expected for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Sunshine Coast

Harrison to participate in inter-municipal business licence program

Construction companies and related businesses will be able to work across the Fraser Valley in 2020

Saskia and Darrel kick off spring tour with Chilliwack concert

Stories of the Great Plains delivered in Gaelic, French and more

RCMP officer reaching out to youth about intimate partner violence

Chilliwack officer and friends of Maple Batalia team up to encourage bystanders to speak up

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teen trapped in car in Fraser Valley ditch

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

Most Read