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Victoria drafting bylaw to cut construction waste

Victoria drafting bylaw to cut construction waste
PROVINCE OF B.C.—Crews work on a housing project in Victoria. The city announced it would be drafting a new bylaw to cut down on construction waste.

VICTORIA—New bylaws in Victoria aim to curb construction waste.

The city announced that officials intend to write a new bylaw to increase the salvage of reusable building materials starting next year.

Officials noted more than a third of material going to city landfills comes from the construction sector. Construction and demolition activities in Victoria generate between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes of landfilled waste each year. Wood products, including old growth lumber, make up two thirds of this waste.

“There are significant economic, social and environmental benefits to reusing salvaged building materials, all of which help Victoria to become a resilient community,” said Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement. “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.”

The city explained reducing construction waste along will bring it 15 per cent of the way to its goal of trimming 50 per cent of all waste by 2040.

“Unlike conventional demolition, deconstruction involves taking apart a house in the reverse order it was built, allowing nearly all the materials to be diverted from landfill and either reused or recycled,” explained city officials in the press release. “These salvageable materials include old growth lumber that was used to build homes up until the 1960s.”

City officials cited research out of Metro Vancouver that indicates deconstruction creates six to eight jobs for every one job in conventional demolition. Focusing efforts on reuse presents Victoria with an opportunity for economic recovery through the creation of new jobs and businesses.

“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. “It only makes sense that we try to reuse good building materials that would otherwise just be directed to our landfills.”

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