Fair Market-Based Policy that Supports Waste Diversion and promotes open competition

To: City of Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and Council

RE: Fair Market-Based Policy that Supports Waste Diversion and promotes open competition.

Thank you for your letter of August 30th, requesting information from the Vancouver Island Recycling and Waste Industry Coalition (VIRWIC) on fair market-based policies that will support the City (and Region) in meeting its waste diversion goals.

I offer the following information in support of your initiative:

    • VIRWIC supports the goal of 90% waste diversion set by the City and Regional District in the draft Regional District of Nanaimo’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).
    • VIRWIC estimates that 95% of the population of the RDN is within 15 mins drive of one of the private recycling depots in the region-wide network of depots.
    • Of the 8000 tonnes that the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange claims to divert (unverified recycling), approximately 50% of that is yard waste, which several private depots in the region also accept along with several other materials.
    • The NRE is not the low-cost option in the region. In fact it is likely the most expensive option when you consider the market rate for processing yard waste is around $55/MT, which at 4000MT would cost NRE is around $220,000/yr to manage, leaving the remaining 4,000mt of material which is costing NRE about $880,000 ($1.1M/yr. total operating – $220k/yr.) or $220 per MT to manage, which could be the most expensive per tonne management rate in the Province.
    • VIRWIC members in the region are managing more than 8000 tonnes in a month (compared to a year for NRE), creating local jobs and tax revenue for government.
    • The Province has identified in its SWMP approval criteria that a key principal for local governments is to ensure there is a level playing field between the private sector and municipally operated recycling facilities.
    • The subsidy and special preferred treatment for development costs that the City and Regional District provide the NRE is clearly one-sided and provides the NRE with a competitive advantage over the private sector, which is not compliant with the Province’s SWMP approval criteria.

The Solutions:
1. Use the network of private recycling depots to provide comprehensive and accessible recycling services to citizens across the entire region

2. Provide a per tonne incentive to recycling companies for verified yard/garden waste and furniture/mattress recycling (the bulky items), as a fair market-based policy that supports competition.
3. Provide the NRE with a new (original) mandate of recycling education and promotion; and cease the operational role that competes with the private sector.



Dan Lazaro Chair, VIRWIC


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