Solid Waste & Recycling


Vancouver planning large waste-to-energy facilities

Metro Vancouver’s Regional Board has received its staff's proposal for a new solid waste management plan...

Metro Vancouver’s Regional Board has received its staff’s proposal for a new solid waste management plan. The plan confirms, in sec. 3.1.2 (a) that: “Metro Vancouver will establish up to 500,000 tonnes per year of new waste-to-energy capacity within the region.”

Along with regular waste, the plan proposes, in sec. 3.1.6, to burn “regional utility materials that cannot be recycled.” These include “process grit and screenings” from sewage sludge, and “spent activated carbon” from the region’s drinking water treatment system.

There’s a flow control element to the proposed plan: In Sec. 3.3.4 Metro says it will ask BC’s Ministry of Environment to require producers to send their “non-recyclable” products and packaging to Metro’s incinerators.

Metro Vancouver is a federation of 22 municipalities, one electoral area, and one treaty First Nation. The City of Vancouver is one of the member municipalities and owns the region’s largest landfill. Metro Vancouver has been embroiled in a controversial search for long-term waste solutions as that landfill fills up, including failed attempts to site and construct a larger landfill elsewhere.

While generally supportive of new initiatives to compost municipal organic waste, local environmentalists oppose the waste-to-energy incineration plans on the basis that they run counter to the province’s commitment to producer responsibility and waste minimization.

In her Zero Waste Vancouver blog, Helen Spiegelman writes:

“The intent of our provincial EPR policy is to encourage producers to design better products and packaging that can be recycled. But Metro’s plan will instead open the door to burning the throw-aways instead.”

To visit the Zero Waste Vancouver blog, go to

To learn more about waste management in Metro Vancouver website, go to

and click through Services > Solid Waste & Recycling

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