Surrey council on Monday endorsed development of a strategy aimed at seeing Surrey become the first “zero waste to landfill” city in Canada.
According to a report authored by Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, the strategy will set out short-term and long-term goals toward this end with research and development being done June to August, and options and targets being set up between August and October followed by public consultation from November to January. The aim is to finalize the strategy between February and April, and report to council in May 2021.
Neuman said Surrey though its programs and collection services has already managed to divert waste by 70 per cent and decrease by 30 per cent landfill disposal tonnage through its residential collection services.
Councillor Steven Pettigrew applauded city staff.
“I want to continue to encourage staff in their efforts to achieve a zero-waste landfill goal,” Pettigrew said. “We have a very motivated staff and very knowledgeable environmental leaders in our city, so we can do it – go for it.”
Councillor Doug Elford echoed that.
“Our staff are ahead of the times when it comes to how we manage our waste, and our waste management streams,” he said.
Elford sits on the solid waste committee for Metro Vancouver and noted Metro is also working on zero waste strategies as is the provincial government, and that there is a national zero waste council. He asked if the city’s work on this will conflict with other regulatory bodies.
Neuman told council that the city will be working in unison with regional and national agencies but will be looking at developing policies unique to Surrey.
“The work we’ll be doing will be working in unison with some of the region as well as the nation, but we will be looking at seeing how we can create Surrey specific policies that are unique to Surrey,” Neuman told council. “We are leaders in these areas and a lot of the technologies we can come up with, such as our bio-fuels, are unique to Surrey so there will be solutions like that that we can bring to the table that other municipalities may not, and we’d be more aggressive than some of the other municipalities in our region and the nation, but still aligned.”