Chamber talk saw incineration trashed

With incineration there's no real incentive to remove the recoverables or recyclables that end up in the waste stream

Russ Black

Russ Black

Materials recovery facilities, or “murfs” as they’re called for short, are all about breaking open garbage bags to extract the recyclables.

It’s an option not being considered seriously enough as a viable alternative to burning garbage, say critics of the Metro Vancouver plan.

Supporting MRFs to take out the recoverable or recyclable elements from the waste stream, could present a better choice than Metro Vancouver’s plan to build a new incinerator.

“We have the technology. We have the business interest,” said Jessica Morrison, environmental services coordinator for FVRD, explaining how materials recovery stacks up as an alternative to incineration.

“Metro Vancouver is skipping this step in their solid waste plan,” she said.

Morrison was joined Monday night in Chilliwack by Russ Black, vice president of Belkorp, at the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce event. A small crowd showed up to the Vineyard Centre to hear about Waste Management and Incineration, and MRFs as an alternative.

The key is transitioning from the linear “burn-and-bury” economy to a more circular one, said Morrison.

One of the issues with incineration is there’s no real incentive to remove the recoverables or recyclables that end up in the waste stream. Garbage volumes have to stay high to justify the trash-burning part of the plan, which commits them to landfilling as well.

The stats show that up to 30 per cent of what’s in a garbage bag could be retrieved or recycled, and “that’s not acceptable,” said Morrison.

Organic materials could be up to 40 per cent.

“What we need to do is get into the practice of recovering those materials. We need to think about reusing them, not disposing of them. That’s a circular economy.”

What’s left after incineration of solid waste is called bottom ash which is toxic and has to be landfilled in a special way. Think about toxic plastics, TVs, iPhones and batteries that end up burning in “giant furnaces,” she said.

“What is left, they call it ash. I call it slag,” said Morrison.

WTE is an inefficient way of generating power, and there may be greater costs than are being discussed.

So why should the Fraser Valley care about what Metro Vancouver does with its garbage?

Part of the answer is the “giant smokestack” belching pollutants and nano particles into the air toward Chilliwack, and the Fraser Valley.

Morrison likened the Metro plan and incinerator to the doomed SE2 power plant proposal that was turned down.

“The difference is in this case there is a Canadian proponent for the project.”

Not only will the Metro plan impact health, the ecosystem, agriculture, business and tourism, but the business case does not add up, she said.

Estimates for the construction cost of the incinerator at just over half a billion are too conservative, while the estimated tipping rates were too high.

Russ Black of Belkorp Environmental Services mapped out the private sector vision for three MRFs in Metro Vancouver as an alternative to the plan for more incinerators.

He’d like to see Metro hold off on the WTE plan to see MRFs built and tested first.

MRF technology has evolved to make better business sense than burning recoverables, he argued. No senior level of government is requiring Metro Vancouver to push ahead with building another incinerator.

Incineration is “unnecessary, uneconomic and unwanted,” said Black, who also criticized the “marketplace distortion” offered by bylaw 280, which seeks to impose a requirement that Metro Vancouver waste be restricted to facilities within the region. It was passed but awaits ministerial approval.

The region is at “a crossroads” with its waste management options, he suggested. It could opt to go the route of big government infrastructure or go with MRF which offers a “proven private sector solution that doesn’t require additional taxation,” he added.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A 34-year-old man was arrested Monday after Transit Police found him riding a SkyTrain with a shotgun in the front of his sweatpants. (Transit Police)
SkyTrain passenger arrested, charged for concealing shotgun in his sweatpants

Codty-James Gray, 34, was found with ammunition, brass knuckles and knives

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

A letter from a senior RCMP officer in Langley said Mounties who attended a mayor’s gala in January of 2020 used their own money. Controversy over the event has dogged mayor Val van den Broek (R) and resulted in the reassignment of Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power (L). (file)
Langley RCMP officers used ‘own money’ to attend mayor’s gala, senior officer says

‘I would not want there to be a belief that the police officers had done something untoward’

Most Read