People in communities throughout British Columbia will soon benefit from expanded composting facilities that will reduce the amount of organic material sent to B.C. landfills, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To ensure B.C. communities are clean and healthy places to live, the Province is partnering with the federal and local governments on the new Organics Infrastructure Program. The $30-million program will help communities expand their infrastructure, diverting organic waste away from landfills. It will also help the Province meet its CleanBC commitment to help communities achieve 95% organic waste diversion for agricultural, industrial and municipal waste.
“This program will help communities, the Province and Canada meet our shared climate action goals,” said George Heyman, B.C.'s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “It will also help build B.C.’s clean economy by creating green jobs and setting the stage for the economic opportunities that come from the reuse of organic materials.”
Organic waste currently represents 40% of material sent to municipal landfills in B.C. and generates 7.5% of the province's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In total, the projects are expected to reduce nearly 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the next decade. This is like removing more than 100,000 cars from the roads for a year.
“Investing in better infrastructure for waste management will divert organic waste from municipal landfills and turn it into clean and useful compost,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Initiatives such as this one are key to fighting climate change and helping us reach net-zero emissions by 2050. I congratulate the Province of British Columbia for its leadership in this effort.”
The Organics Infrastructure Program combines $10 million in federal funding from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, $10 million from the Province and $10 million in matching funds from local government applicants and their partners. Among the projects are two from the Central Kootenay Regional District — Central landfill composting facility and the Creston landfill composting facility — that, together, provide the region with food-waste processing capacity for the first time. Another recipient is the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality’s worm composting facility. It will divert organic waste from Fort Nelson's landfill and create high-quality soil.
“These new projects will improve organics diversion across the province,” said Maja Tait, president, Union of B.C. Municipalities. “The result will be reduced GHG emissions from landfills, moving the needle forward in the attainment of CleanBC goals. I am very appreciative of the continuing support provided by the federal and provincial governments to expand organics infrastructure in B.C. communities.”
Twelve projects have finalized agreements to date. Additional projects are expected to come on board in the coming months. The initial projects are expected to break ground starting in the spring.
CleanBC is the province's pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.
For more information on the Organics Infrastructure Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management/food-and-organic-waste/organic-waste-diversion/organics-infrastructure-program
A backgrounder follows.