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Mission eyes partnership for zero waste project

Mission council has approved partnering with a private company to explore diverting garbage produced in institutional, commercial and industrial sectors (ICI).

Go 2 Zero Waste Inc. (G2ZW) and the municipality would conduct a $65,000 feasibility study, of which $30,000 would be ponied up by G2ZW.

The business model — the first of its kind in B.C. — is based on collecting ICI waste materials in a single truck with a three bin system. Garbage, recycling and compost is separated, weighed as they are dumped in the truck, and then transported.

Compost can be added to the existing residential compost, while recycling would be sent offsite, and garbage would be sorted and made into a plastic-based fuel product. This fuel would then be sold to authorized buyers, resulting in a net zero waste model.

The study will show the district what its ICI sector produces in terms of waste, and can help in applying for other government grants, said Mission's environmental services manager, Mike Younie.

"I was opposed to this in the past because the entire cost was going to be borne by the District of Mission," said Mayor Ted Adlem.

Coun. Nelson Tilbury expressed skepticism companies would want to pay the additional costs of waste diversion.

"We don't even know if the program's going to work. It's been suggested that business owners would have to tack a little bit extra onto their wares to support this," he said.

Younie said the response from the ICI sector will be dependent on the business model that comes from the study, but added in the past six years the district has received numerous requests from ICI businesses for waste diversion help.

Adlem said the project could work for restaurants which could compost up to 80 per cent of their waste.

The proposal may also provide a contrast to the Metro Vancouver incineration plan that has concerned several Fraser Valley municipalities about air quality. If successful, Mission could become a destination point for regional ICI waste diversion, offsetting an expected decline in landfill tipping revenue.

Of Mission's $35,000 contribution, the Fraser Valley Regional District has expressed interest in contributing $5,000 to the project, while the district will apply to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund and the province's Infrastructure Planning Grant program to cover $17,500 of the remaining cost.

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