RDN approves $300,000 in grants to help keep materials out of landfills

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The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) approved $300,000 in grants for four local organizations through the Zero Waste Recycling Funding program for 2021. 

The RDN said recipients will use the funding to target recycling of materials that are not part of a stewardship program or an established commercial market and would otherwise end up in the landfill.  

“We were impressed with the quality and diversity of all proposals that were submitted for consideration,” said Chair Tyler Brown. “The four projects selected to receive funding will best contribute to the RDN’s goal of 90 per cent diversion of waste from the landfill by 2029.”

The largest portion of the grant will go to the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization ($103,044). Loaves and Fishes Community Food bank will get $95,000; Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will get $48,983 and Habitat for Humanity will get $52,973.

“All applicants presented innovative ideas and we appreciate the thought put into each project proposal,” said Ben Geselbracht, solid waste committee chair. “The four projects receiving funding will have the greatest impact on the development of a circular economy in our region.”

The Gabriola Island Recycling Organization plans to establish a textile recovery and clothing recycling program to divert up to 23,600 kg of textile waste from the landfill. 

Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank will carry out an infrastructure and facility expansion to divert 50,000 to 120,000 kg of food waste annually. 

Habitat for Humanity will initiate their ReVive program that will aim to repurpose and fix donated items, both of which will generate revenue and divert material from the landfill.

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will carry out waste audits in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector and educate participants about waste diversion alternatives.

The RDN said projects were evaluated using several criteria including maximizing waste diversion, encouraging innovation to develop markets and processes, improving convenience for recycling materials and potential as a catalyst for a future sustainable program that does not rely on ongoing funding. 

The proposals were ranked on a comparative basis and eligible funds were distributed amongst the highest ranked successful proposals in the order of their ranking until the funds were drawn down.

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