At first glance, this would seem to be another obvious example of the zaniness that comes with living in a Balkanized middle city.
Saanich is the latest Greater Victoria municipality to have grown tired of waiting for the Capital Regional District to implement a regional kitchen scraps recycling program.
Two neighbourhoods in Saanich — both strategically located close to the municipal public works yard — will test the effectiveness of a plan to collect the scraps.
The goal is to divert as much waste as possible from Hartland Landfill, thus allowing it to extend its lifespan before reaching capacity.
Treated kitchen scraps are also reusable as a natural fertilizer, which is also an effective way to reduce the city’s impact on the environment.
By going it alone, Saanich joins View Royal and Oak Bay, both of which are diverting kitchen scraps outside of the auspices of the CRD. It’s worth noting that the View Royal and Oak Bay programs started as a single CRD pilot project before being taken over by their respective municipalities. The the City of Victoria will be onboard next year.
With three independent kitchen scraps programs running within the core of Greater Victoria (plus one pilot program), why doesn’t the CRD — a political body tasked with representing the region — get with the program?
The CRD has had years to examine how the program works and doesn’t work in View Royal and Oak Bay — such as participation rates and scrap contamination issues — and now will have more data coming in from Saanich, and more next year from Victoria.
Establishing a region-wide kitchen scraps recycling program won’t be simple, but with the limited life span of Hartland and no easy landfill alternatives, such an effort is inevitable.
The CRD doesn’t have to create a one-size-fits all program for its municipalities, but it doesn’t need to wait for 13 separate programs to ramp up either. The time is now for regional organics recycling.