The Regional District of Nanaimo is one of 15 local governments who have been accepted to participate in the one-year Circular Cities and Region Initiative pilot project.
The RDN, who co-applied with the City of Nanaimo, will be involved in a peer-to-peer network to explore circular economy best practices and develop a local circular economy roadmap, which could involve partnerships with local businesses and organizations.
Circular economies aim to eliminate waste and pollution and keep materials flowing back in through redesign, upcycling, re-manufacturing, and re-use all while regenerating natural systems.
“Using our recycling and composting systems are an important piece of this, but we are rethinking systems,” RDN solid waste staff told the Sounder. “What we want to learn from this pilot project is if there is a better way to support our residents and businesses to prevent the creation of waste in the first place and what can we do to change the narrative around waste to make it a resource.”
Staff said the goal of the initiative will be to determine where opportunities beyond what is already in practice in the district. The RDN’s solid waste management plan, which has a 90 per cent waste diversion goal over the next 10 years, includes efforts such as waste bans at RDN facilities, financial support for non-profit organizations working towards furthering a circular economy and creating a waste hauler licensing system.
While participating in the initiative, the RDN and city intend to focus on the construction and demolition, durable goods, single-use items and repair and reuse. Staff said some circular economy practices and ideas are in the early stages of development in these areas that they want to explore how to support. Some work already underway include individual homeowners who have chosen deconstruction of homes over demolition and the textile recovery project underway at GIRO on Gabriola Island.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder