Residuals are everything remaining in our waste stream once we have recycled, reduced and reused as much as possible and recovered every last bit of value from materials before finally disposing of them in a landfilll.
Within our region, landfilling has been our method of disposal for the past 20 year at least. But this is not a sustainable solution mainly due to its high environmental impact.
Set out within the Region’s Solid Waste Plan, Metro Vancouver’s target is to achieve an annual reduction so that by 2020, as little as 50,000 tonnes per year of waste will be disposed of in landfills.
While increased behaviour around reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy recovery will see our region’s need to landfill lessen over time, even the most optimistic future scenarios still require landfill disposal of residuals because:
- Even the best recycling and composting processes have residues that are not usable and must be disposed;
- After waste-to-energy recovery, a landfill is needed to dispose of ash.
Taking every factor into account, as Metro Vancouver pushes ahead towards target years 2015 and 2020 (for achieving 70% and 80% waste diversion rates ), using landfills to dispose of left over garbage will remain a necessary component of Metro Vancouver’s integrated solid waste management system.