FVRD praises Metro Vancouver for cancelling its plans to build another incinerator

December 10, 2015

FVRD Board Chair Sharon Gaetz has high praise for today’s announcement that Metro Vancouver is cancelling its plans to build another garbage incinerator.

The announcement comes a year after the Province of British Columbia rejected Metro’s proposed Bylaw 280, which would have required waste haulers to use only Metro based disposal facilities, and ensure the proposed $500 million incinerator would have a guaranteed supply of feedstock. “Thanks to the BC Government and Environment Minister Mary Polak for not approving Bylaw 280, Metro Vancouver could not move ahead with putting taxpayers and the air we breathe at risk," says Gaetz.

Metro Vancouver already operates a garbage incinerator in Burnaby, a facility the FVRD has long opposed. Recently, Metro Vancouver indicated it will be investing $30 million in part toward improving the emissions from this facility. “While we are happy that Metro Vancouver has made the decision to abandon a second facility, it does not placate us in any way. Continuing to invest in antiquated methods of waste reduction and greenwashing it with the term ‘waste-to-energy’, is rather disingenuous and a shameful waste of resources. Quite simply, incinerating garbage is not efficient, clean, or safe,” explains Gaetz. “The toxic byproducts of burning garbage include known carcinogens. The FVRD is committed to supporting true Zero Waste strategies such as those found in material recovery facilities.”

Material recovery facilities, or MRFs, are specialized plants that separate recyclable materials from the waste stream. It is an additional step in the waste management process that helps local government to further increase its diversion. “There are examples of MRFs all around the world that are doing this effectively. The FVRD plans to add material recovery to its waste management program in the very near future,” says Gaetz.

The FVRD’s Solid Waste Management Plan is currently before the Ministry of Environment and includes the development of a MRF for the Fraser Valley. “We look forward to having our plan approved by the Minister and moving ahead with waste reduction that will further benefit the environment,” says Gaetz. “Metro Vancouver’s decision is exceptional for the Fraser Valley airshed. We would welcome the opportunity to work together with Metro on more positive waste management programs going forward.”