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CVRD begins pilot project to divert painted wood waste from landfill

Pilot project will run for six months
The CVRD has begun a six-month pilot project to divert painted wood waste from the landfill. (File photo)

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has embarked on a six-month pilot project to divert painted wood waste from the landfill.

Beginning on Dec. 1, the collection of painted wood waste will take place at the Bings Creek Recycling Centre in North Cowichan, where the CVRD will have a designated 40-yard bin to collect it waste from residential customers.

Under this pilot project, painted wood such as plywood and dimensional lumber that would otherwise end up in the landfill can be diverted.

“Working together with GFL Environmental Inc., we have identified an opportunity to turn painted wood waste into a processed engineered fuel that can replace coal at the LaFarge Canada cement plant in Richmond, B.C.,” said Doug Stevens, manager of operations for the CVRD’s Recycling & Waste Management Division.

“Through this project, we anticipate diverting 350 tonnes of painted wood waste from the landfill. In the long term, to support a circular economy and the highest and best use of this material, we hope to find a practical and sustainable reuse option for painted wood.”

To offset the cost of the pilot, painted wood waste will continue to be received at the current garbage tipping fee of $148 per tonne.

According to research by Light House Sustainability Society, a non-profit organization in Vancouver, reducing wood waste is critical for landfills as it represents the largest volume of any construction material wasted.

“Painted wood remains one of the most difficult demolition materials to deal with,” said Brenda Martens, a managing director at Light House.

“Ideally when construction materials are removed, they would be reused in a similar capacity as when originally installed, or up-cycled into a new product. When that’s not possible, displacing the use of new materials in another capacity is the best option.”