Fellow BC recyclers come together to share ideas at the Zero Waste Conference in Whistler, BC. Left to right, Tera Grady, Oliver Berger, Isaac Yuen, Juleah Gabriel, and Jesse Hohert. Photo submitted by Oliver Berger
Fellow BC recyclers come together to share ideas at the Zero Waste Conference in Whistler, BC. Left to right, Tera Grady, Oliver Berger, Isaac Yuen, Juleah Gabriel, and Jesse Hohert. Photo submitted by Oliver Berger


Presenting a collaborative by your local recycling representatives:


        “Five local recycling representatives from our region recently attended the 42nd annual Recycling Council of British Columbia’s Annual Zero Waste Conference in Whistler. There were many presentations from other municipalities, suppliers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations to discuss all aspects of solid waste and the future needs of this ever expanding industry. There were many ideas exchanged over the three-day conference that can be used by all attendees in achieving their needs and goals in their respective organizations. This was a great venue to get people of like interests to share ideas and problems that they have overcome.”

Joe Engelberts, (City of Williams Lake, Manager, Utilities & Fleet)

“RCBC is an opportunity for solid waste staff to learn about the waste reduction initiatives and programs other BC regional districts and municipalities are using, and to see what recycling technologies and systems are being used in Europe and other provinces. The conference also allows staff to keep up to speed on the regulations and guideline documents MOE (Ministry of Environment) has in development, with opportunities to comment. The MOE is also responsible for approving new and updated Stewardship Plans for the existing 22 recycling programs in BC, and RCBC is used as a venue for local government staff to provide feedback to MOE and the stewards on the existing plans. Regional district staff from all over the province also meet at RCBC to compare the delivery of recycling programs and discuss common challenges. This year illegal dumping was one of the common issues discussed.”

Tera Grady, (CRD, Supervisor of Solid Waste Management)

One of the most inspiring presentations was from Williams Lake’s very own Mary Forbes and Oliver Berger highlighting the Potato House. An exciting aspect of their presentation was the composting portion. They have been creating some of the best compost at their site for few years now. With compostable material consisting of as much as 40 per cent of our solid waste stream there is a very strong need to divert that valuable product into a reusable avenue.”

“On the way home we stopped in at Sea to Sky Soils. They are a smaller scale processor of this type of waste stream working in the Sea to Sky Corridor. They collect compost from the local residents and tourist population while adding various products such as wood chips, sand, manure, and a product to assist with drainage. We could not look at any of their actual site-made dirt since they were sold out! The process involves pipes that blow air into the rows to accelerate the breakdown of the material. There are temperature sensors that upload data into a program and help the compost creating maestro work his magic. The optimal temperature appears to be around 65-70 degrees C. Getting the right mixture of carbon (leaves), nitrogen (green stuff like grass), and compost is a process that takes some time but the reward is a good growing medium that your plants and flowers will thrive in. Composting creates.”

Jesse Hohert, CRD, Solid Waste Management Technician

“As many industrial, produce, and service based conferences go, the presentations were informative but not entertaining. I was able to write and present two presentations for the event—one for the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society Waste Wise Program and one for the Potato House Project in partnership with Oliver Berger. Both presentations included fully interpretive theatre components and costumes. When asking organizers about the feedback from the presentations, they said I should have presented on all three days as it was such a pick-me-up and breath of fresh air! During the balance of the conference, municipal representatives from around BC asked if was available to travel to their communities to train their staff, and I was invited to the Recycling Council of Alberta’s waste conference in September as a keynote speaker and workshop host. Wow. Flattered. Overall a fantastic event, with so much networking and little sleep for the three days, I think we all needed to come home for a nap.”

Mary Forbes, Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society/Potato House Project)

“Actually meeting the dedicated waste management industry individuals we correspond with mostly through telephone and emails was a thrill. Introducing myself to representatives from the Ministry of Environment, executives from major recycling and waste processing facilities, meeting the team from RCBC (who answers the public’s calls when you ring in for recycling questions) and, to top it off, getting a picture with Ross Rebagliati, was all super exciting! These face-to-face connections are priceless and will be most beneficial for all my future endeavours, whatever they may be. Perhaps it will involve building a backyard composter out of an old freezer… thanks Abby from the Sunshine Coast.” #bcrecycles

Oliver Berger, Potato House Project



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