Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)

Victoria looks to curb waste by turning demolitions into deconstructions

Community drafting bylaw forcing developers to be better at salvage and recycling

The City of Victoria says a new bylaw will be penned in an effort to reduce the amount of construction waste sent to landfill by salvaging and reusing otherwise scrapped building materials.

The city is aiming to have the bylaw take effect next year.

Construction and demolition in the city creates between 10,000 to 20,000 tons of waste that ends up in a landfill every year.

“There are significant economic, social and environmental benefits to reusing salvaged building materials, all of which help Victoria to become a resilient community,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a press release. “With our landfill filling up, lumber shortages sweeping across the country, and the economic impacts of COVID-19, we are taking advantage of the value in our existing resources and starting the shift to a circular economy.”

Council adopted the Zero Waste Victoria plan in December, which included reducing waste from the built environment as one of its priority actions. The city says curbing this waste will help reduce 15 per cent of overall waste by 2040.

Victoria currently wants to cut its overall waste in half by 2040.

READ: CRD board approves plan aimed at cutting waste by a third by 2030

The Zero Waste Victoria plan says discarded construction materials make up almost 40 per cent of the city’s total waste that gets sent to landfill.

The city plans to move to a deconstruction model instead of the current demolition one. That means buildings will be taken apart in the reverse order that they were built to keep as many materials intact as possible.

Adam Corneil, the founder of Unbuilders, says deconstruction keeps materials in the supply chain and will help to create jobs.

The City of Victoria press release says creating jobs through deconstruction will be an opportunity to help spur economic recovery.

“Construction is constantly evolving and innovating necessary strategies to ensure our communities are built in an environmental and sustainable way,” said Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association, in the release. “It only makes sense that we try to reuse good building materials that would otherwise just be directed to our landfills.”

READ: City of Victoria on the road to zero waste

READ: Victoria’s pay-by-space parkade parking program shifts into high gear


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