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solid waste

Shipping "residual" solid wastes to a Washington landfill and closing the Squamish and Whistler landfills are two of the key recommendations the SLRD is making in its plan to reduce solid waste by 50 per cent by the year 2000. The steering committee working on the SLRD’s solid waste management plan also made recommendations on composting, recycling and programs to reduce and reuse materials, during a meeting Sept. 22 in Squamish. The recommendations, and other options, will be presented at a series of public meetings throughout the SLRD Oct. 16-26. Representatives from Squamish and Whistler councils agreed to recommend a proposal by Carney’s Waste Systems to transfer residual wastes (those that can not be recycled, reused or composted) by truck to Surrey. The residual waste would then be shipped by train to a landfill in Roosevelt, Washington. "That’s the big one," Mark Rowlands, the SLRD’s solid waste co-ordinator, says of the recommendation for residuals. Residual wastes are estimated to make up 50 per cent of the total waste stream. The decision to export residuals was made largely on technical grounds. The landfill in south-central Washington is in a stable, dry environment where the leaching of landfill material is not expected to be a problem. Leaching is a problem at both the Whistler and Squamish landfills. The Whistler and Squamish landfills, which have only a few years of service left, will be closed as soon as possible. Landfills in Pemberton and Gold Bridge will also be closed. Transfer stations, where solid waste is dropped off and recyclable materials can be extracted from the material, will be expanded at the Squamish and Whistler landfills. The recommendation to export residuals does not affect Lillooet, which will continue to use its landfill. Earlier this year a consultant's report recommended Whistler become the landfill for the entire south region of the SLRD. Whistler Mayor Ted Nebbeling strongly opposed that plan. Other recommendations from last week’s meeting include: expanding the current recycling programs to include more materials and, in Whistler, to extend the program to multi-family buildings; letting each community design and implement its own reduce/reuse program; and working with private enterprise to phase in commercial composting programs as new composting technology becomes available. Following public input the SLRD is to submit a final solid waste management plan to the Ministry of Environment by the end of the year, although an application to extend the deadline has been made.