Improvements to recycling topped the list of interests in a survey on waste management for residents in the South Okanagan and Similkameen areas.
“The results tell us that recycling continues to be important to our residents. The survey also tells us that we could be doing more to reduce waste and protect our unique Okanagan environment,” said Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen chair Dan Ashton.
The survey is part of gathering public feedback for the region’s solid waste management plan for future waste, recycling and landfill programs. A total of 575 responses came from across the region.
Results provided by the RDOS show that 81 per cent of residents set out one bag or less of garbage each week, 99 per cent know where to take beverage and pop containers, while 77 per cent know where to take other household hazardous waste items like batteries, compact fluorescent lights or used motor oil and oil filters. The survey also found 37 per cent of residents are aware of the free household hazardous drop-off at the Campbell Mountain Landfill.
Respondents offered a number of common ideas for future projects, including increased information and education, collection of food waste for composting, wheeled bins for waste collection and bans on plastic bags and water bottles. The RDOS said while introducing some of these programs ranked high among the common suggestions for future programs, in response to the survey questions, residents were somewhat divided — showing either strong support or opposition for these ideas. There was strong support for investigating “waste to energy” systems where garbage is turned into energy through a combustion process.
“This type of feedback from residents and businesses across the region will help guide decisions on what programs would work best to reduce and manage waste, while making the best use of our tax dollars. This survey is only one of many activities planned to get feedback on future waste management programs,” said Ashton.
The results and committee work are just the first steps in updating the region’s solid waste management plan, as required by the Ministry of Environment. The survey results will be combined with the work being done by the Public and Technical Advisory Committees and it all will be presented to communities for feedback at open houses to be held across the region in spring 2011.