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Part of the TNRD recycling depot in Ashcroft Recycling and solar energy take the load off

Waste disposal is decreasing and recycling is increasing according to 2010 statistics compiled by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Waste disposal is decreasing and recycling is increasing according to 2010 statistics compiled by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Since 2008, waste disposal at the TNRD’s transfer stations have decreased from 2,549 roll-off bins (each 50-yard bin averages 4.5 tonnes of waste) to 1,239 in 2010, a decrease of approximately 50 per cent. Household recycling increased 22 per cent in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District in 2010. Last year approximately 2,000 tonnes were recycled, including 590 tonnes of source separated corrugated cardboard, 1,370 tonnes of co-mingled Blue Bag recycling, and 40 tonnes of container glass.

“The increase in recycling could be attributed to a number of factors,” said Jamie Vieira, TNRD Environmental Services technologist. “One factor is the Village of Chase, Blue River Improvement District and Savona and Cherry Creek curbside recycling services started up last year.”

Also last year the TNRD partnered with product steward Encorp Pacific to host three electronic waste drop-off events - in Cache Creek, Clearwater and Chase. The high level of participation from TNRD area residents contributed to the opening of a year-round electronic waste drop-off location in Merritt.

The TNRD also sold 119 backyard composters, and donated backyard composters to organizations such as the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, Master Gardeners of Kamloops and the Interior Indian Friendships. Another 40 worm composters and accompanying workshops were extended to schools around the regional district.

The TNRD has also installed solar panels at the Lytton, Clinton, Logan Lake and Spences Bridge Transfer Stations.

“These panels, which stand about 30-feet tall in total, help lift the environmental burden at each site,” said Don May, manager of Environmental Services. “The panels are extremely low maintenance, and will remain at the four Transfer Stations as they are upgraded to Eco-Depots.”

The Lytton and Spences Bridge solar panels are equipped with eight 175 watt Sharp solar modules creating 1.4 kilowatts of solar power. There is about 5.5 klbs of CO2 saved a year. Both sites are grid-tied systems which means they are fed back to BC Hydro through an inverter which converts DC electricity to AC.

At Logan Lake and Clinton each site is equipped with 14,175 watt Sharp solar modules creating 2.5 kW of solar power. There is about 9.7 Klbs of CO2 saved a year. Both sites are off grid systems and isolated from BC Hydro.

“The remote power stations (at Logan Lake and Clinton) have a battery bank producing energy to an inverter with the net result of 120 to 240 volts of AC and enough capacity to easily run the entire site,” said Bryce Baxter of United Power Ltd., who build the solar panel stations. “The solar array is the prime source to keep the battery bank to a fully operational level and the generator picks up as required. The system is entirely self contained and completely automated. It will provide many years of service with very little regular maintenance.”

The average 2.5 kW system would save nearly 90 tonnes of CO2 over a 30 year lifespan, equivalent to removing 17 cars from the road. It takes approximately 2,240 trees to absorb that much CO2 produced by fossil fuels. The TNRD plans on installing further solar panels in 2011 at various transfer stations.