As the Captial Regional District looks to find a curbside recycling provider for the remainder of the decade, it could focus its search on greener pick-up alternatives.
The CRD’s environmental committee is recommending a contract tender for curbside recycling include “incentives or a scoring system to increase the likelihood of the provision of low or zero-emission collection vehicles.”
Victoria Mayor and CRD director Lisa Helps pushed for that to be included in the search, though she noted her approved amendment wouldn’t mandate the region to ultimately select those vehicles.
“(It’s) just so that we’re signalling to the market that when we’re buying these new trucks, we’d like them to try and meet the standard that we’re aiming for to get our carbon emissions down,” Helps said at a May committee meeting.
Larisa Hutcheson, the CRD’s general manager of parks and environmental services, said electric collection vehicles could be a challenge to find but lower-emission alternatives, such as trucks powered by renewable or other kinds of natural gas, are also available.
The possibility of lower-emission trucks comes as the region is currently determining who will be responsible for curbside recycling for the rest of the decade. The CRD currently provides the services on behalf of Recycling BC, and since 2019 has contracted blue box pickup out to Emterra Environmental.
Those agreements are both set to expire at the end of 2023. Recycle BC has indicated it’s willing to sign a one-year extension through 2025, then enter a new deal that would run to 2030 – both of which would maintain current service levels.
Should no agreement be signed, Recycle BC would have to take over the responsibility for curbside pickup. The collection agency said it would likely need more than two years to transition to its own program in the Capital Region. A CRD staff report said the onus falling on Recycle BC could cause a disruption in service, and possibly result in curbside glass collection being discontinued - resulting in more recyclable items ending up in the landfill.
The current curbside agreement pays the CRD an amount that covers all of Emterra’s collection contract costs, which the report estimates will be upwards of $5 million a year from 2025 to 2030.
The environmental committee’s endorsed recommendation, which added the consideration around low-carbon vehicles, looks to award a contract from 2024 to 2030.
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