The Cariboo Regional District is considering everything from user fees to expanded curbside collection to encourage residents to throw away less and recycle more.
The move comes as the regional district updates its solid waste management plan, which is required every 10 years. Tera Grady, CRD’s supervisor of solid waste management, that while there has been a downward drop in waste reduction at the region’s landfills, more work is needed to reach a regional goal of reducing the region’s waste per capita down from 631 kilograms per person in 2019 to 500 kg per person.
The CRD is one of only three regional districts in the province that does not have a user-pay system for solid waste services. Instead, all residents pay for solid waste services as part of their property tax assessment, regardless of how much they throw away. The region’s 32 refuse sites – 14 of which are CRD-operated landfills.
“Right now our service is not free, everyone pays for our service,” Grady told the District of 100 Mile district council Tuesday. “User pay is you’re paying for what you produce.”
She noted that while it’s up for discussion, user-pay is likely to be an issue in the region, partly because it is seen as inconvenient. In 70 Mile, for instance, residents have to pay to use the Thompson-Nicola Regional District landfill at the 70 Mile General Store. She added she doesn’t want to “go down that road” so they need to come up with “creative solutions to move to user pay to incentivize our residents.”
“That’s a big challenge,” she said. “Without a financial incentive, there’s no reason for them to change their habits.”
Adding more curbside collections beyond 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch and potentially introducing green waste collection are also on the table although this would require creating a utility, she said.
Grady urged the district to look at small ways it could increase waste reduction in the landfill, such as apartment recycling or commercial opportunities to boost recycling.
“It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking,” she said.
The 100 Mile House has seen the amount of mixed waste go down from 870 kg per person in 2009 to 632 kg in 2020.
However, Grady noted most of that reduction occurred from 2009-14 when the rural transfer stations were controlled and recycling was introduced.
Grady said the CRD hopes to start its first round of public engagement on proposed updates to the plan in June.
The new plan is slated to go into effect in 2023.