It’s time for everyone to get ‘waste wise,’ says the Fraser Valley Regional District.
They have started rolling out information online and in person, preparing residents and businesses for better trash-sorting habits in 2020. On Nov. 21, they held a meeting in Hope, outlining the new bylaw that municipalities will have to adhere to beginning next April.
A crowd of about 80 people showed up for the public info meeting, which was held in the Hope & District Recreation Centre. Many were outwardly upset at the changes to come. The main concerns raised were about rising costs, decreased pick-ups, more complicated sorting, smells from composting, the size of the bins provided, and potential fines for non-compliance.
Some in the audience also openly blamed the District of Hope for the changes, while others blamed the regional district.
But Jamie Benton, an environmental services coordinator for the FVRD, explained that a new bylaw was created so that the region could comply with new regulations set at an even higher level.
The rules are set in place by the provincial government, and are a result of a changing global recycling industry, Benton explained. The FVRD created a bylaw over the course of several years, and the partnering communities have to follow suit. Benton acknowledged that the new rules will be somewhat confusing at first, but that they intend to continue educating and guiding residents as the new rules come online.
A lot of the basic information is already on the FVRD website, he noted.
“Everyone in the Fraser Valley Regional District is going to get Waste Wise by 2020,” the website states. “We can help you learn how to get the recyclables and compostables out of your trash and out of our landfills.”
The new waste-sorting bylaw is effective April 1, 2020, and applies to all owners or occupiers of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional properties in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Kent, Mission and Electoral Areas A – H.
To comply, you must sort all recyclable and compostable material out of the garbage before it leaves your property.
The FVRD has created a slick new website that walks residents and business owners through everything they need to know about being waste wise. It includes printable posters and brochures, an interactive “recyclepedia” and much more. There are even videos with hints and tips on how to make all of the recent changes easier. There is a video on keeping bugs and animals out of your trash, cleaner ways to manage compost, and even better ways to sort the different streams of waste — many of the complaints made in Hope at the public meeting.
“Waste Wise is a way of thinking and behaving,” their website says. “It’s an attitude and an action. It’s doing the right thing by reducing the amount of stuff going into our landfills by simply steering it into the correct collection bin. It’s a great system. It’s easy to use. And it works. All you have to do is sort it out.”
They have been using the hashtag term #wastewise to increase awareness on social media.
Benton noted that one of the best ways to make sorting trash easier is to reduce the amount you create in the first place. Poor planning is one of the reasons Canadians throw away about half of the food that’s purchased here.
He said that studies have shown Canadian families can save about $1,100 by cutting down on their own food waste.
The District of Hope will be meeting with stratas over the next four to six weeks, to work on plans for their varying needs. Residences will start to receive their bins in January. The bylaw will not take effect until April, however. Each home will be supplied with a garbage bin, recycling bin, compost bin and glass container.
The rates of curbside pickup will increase in January, as previously reported by the Hope Standard.
A series of Waste Wise public meetings have already taken place in Abbotsford. Chilliwack’s meetings were set for on Nov. 28 and Dec. 3. There is a meeting for businesses and multi-family properties in Harrison Hot Springs on Dec. 4. Kent’s meeting was held on Nov. 23.
Mission’s meeting is still to be announced.
For details on those meetings, visit the Waste Wise website at bewastewise.com/events.