Conceptual design of Belkorp Environmental Services' proposed 'NextUse' material recovery facility in Coquitlam.

Conceptual design of Belkorp Environmental Services' proposed 'NextUse' material recovery facility in Coquitlam.

Belkorp recycling plant depends on Metro Vancouver reversal

Firm behind Coquitlam proposal says garbage-sort technologies undercut regional incineration agenda

The firm that runs the Cache Creek landfill wants to build a $30-million highly mechanized plant in Coquitlam to pull recyclables from garbage before it’s dumped or incinerated.

But Belkorp Environmental Services is also squaring off against Metro Vancouver, saying it will only build the plant if the regional district backs down on imposing restrictions on how material recovery facilities operate.

Monday’s announcement is the latest shot by private industry across the bow of Metro’s strategy to burn more garbage in waste-to-energy plants instead of dumping it in landfills.

Belkorp vice-president Russ Black said the proposed plant could process 260,000 tonnes of garbage per year – more than a quarter of Metro’s waste stream.

He estimates residual garbage in the region – even after intensive efforts to recycle – still consists of 36 per cent recyclable material, much of it paper and plastics.

Belkorp and other proponents of material recovery facilities (MRFs) say advancing technology to sort garbage holds much promise to pull out more usable material.

Black says Metro’s bylaw 280, passed in October but awaiting provincial government approval, restricts MRFs too tightly and must be rejected by the province or revised by the regional board for Belkorp’s plant to go ahead.

He accuses Metro of deliberately hamstringing MRFs because their advanced sorting machinery will pull too much paper and plastic out of the garbage, leaving insufficient combustible fuel to justify building a costly new incinerator.

He called on Metro to suspend its waste-to-energy strategy for five years while mixed-waste MRFs like the one Belkorp proposes are built and tested.

“Step back on this $500 million unnecessary expense,” Black urged of a possible second Metro incinerator. “Postpone it for five years. Let these facilities get up and running. See if they can get what they claim they will get out of the waste stream. And then assess the need afterwards for incineration.”

Black said he sees room for three mixed-waste MRFs in Metro Vancouver – the proposed one in Coquitlam, one already mostly built by Northwest Waste Solutions in South Vancouver and potentially a third one in Surrey, in addition to another in the Fraser Valley.

He argues all garbage should go through a MRF before it’s landfilled or burned to retrieve materials.

“Our company philosophy now is we don’t want to take unprocessed waste to landfill.”

MRFs weren’t contemplated when Metro’s solid waste managmement plan was drawn up, but it calls for the region to maximize recycling and material recovery ahead of either landfilling or incineration.

Coquitlam has endorsed Belkorp’s proposal.

Coquitlam city manager Peter Steblin said the new plant would maximize recycling and reuse of material and help meet Metro’s waste diversion targets at no extra cost to residents.

The plant would be built on 16 acres of industrial land Belkorp owns on United Boulevard. It would create 80 new green jobs and use technology increasingly in use in California.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, chair of Metro’s zero waste committee, said he sees no reason to delay the waste-to-energy procurement process, which could see Metro burn an additional 370,000 tonnes of garbage per year starting in 2018.

The regional district will begin optioning potential sites in the next few weeks.

Belkorp is trying to derail the strategy so more garbage might keep getting trucked to Cache Creek, he said.

Brodie said Metro’s new bylaw leaves enough room for MRFs to operate, and proponents who disagree probably want to see their machines take over the job of separating recyclables from households.

“We’ve got a whole industry that has been generated because Metro Vancouver has insisted for 20 years on source separation,” Brodie said, adding a MRF-centred model could unravel years of recycling education efforts, result in more contamination of recyclables and undercut existing green industries.

“I have a hard time believing we can put the solution in private hands like that and it will get us to our goal.”

Example of sorting systems used in MRFs

Just Posted

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

poster
Drop-in Covid vaccine clinic in Mission June 17-18

Neighbourhood clinics complement appointment-based clinics currently operating in Mission

Logo
Canadian Blood Service is adding additional donor clinics in Mission

New Sunday clinics begin June 20, donors can register online

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read