Force Flow Scales

Hazardous waste update allows practical, affordable waste transport for remote B.C. areas

lead-acid battery
Leaking batteries must be stored and shipped in a leak-proof means of containment, according to B.C.'s Hazardous Waste Regulation. Photo Credit: zigmunds,

*The following regulatory news article is intended to be an overview of the report or legislation and not a replacement for the actual guidance from the government. For the comprehensive data on the Hazardous Waste Regulation and all relevant information, please visit the linked source material within the article.

British Columbia has expanded access to moderate-risk waste recycling for hazardous items, and loosened transport requirements that created barriers for waste transfer in remote areas.

The regulatory amendments are designed to keep hazardous waste such as paint, pesticides and flammable liquids out of landfills. The changes also aim to prevent illegal dumping, and serve to reduce the risks of fire and chemical exposure for workers. 

B.C.’s Hazardous Waste Regulation (HWR) amendments enable return collection facilities to collect and store a wider range of moderate-risk waste not captured by existing extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs, provincial officials announced. 

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In an intentions paper focused on how to improve the B.C. regulation, it is noted how the “HWR can unintentionally create barriers for collection and diversion of moderate risk waste by imposing requirements that are not always achievable.” This applies to households, institutions, and commercial businesses.

The new amendments, for instance, will enable temporary collection events hosted by local governments or EPR programs that were not previously authorized under the HWR. 

“Regardless of where they live in B.C., people want the ability to safely dispose of moderate-risk household waste,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a statement. “These changes will help keep potentially harmful waste out of B.C.’s environment and landfills by making it easier to dispose, collect, store and transport these products. These and other measures will also make recycling easier and more accessible for small and rural communities, as well as First Nations,” Heyman added.

Moderate-risk waste covers recycling regulation items such as lead-acid batteries, waste oil, and oil-based paint. It does not cover e-waste or pharmaceutical waste, but applies to products such as pressurized, non-refillable helium cylinders; handheld fire extinguishers; animal deterrents containing capsaicin; aerosols; as well as household cleaners and disinfectant products.

Calvin Jameson, president of the Indigenous Zero Waste Technical Advisory Group, says that the new amendments reduce significant barriers faced by small First Nation communities when it comes to collecting, storing and transporting moderate-risk waste. While urban centres often have access to collection facilities, residents in remote and rural communities have less options. 

The amendments designed to help rural and remote communities make dealing with hazardous waste more practical and less expensive. They include the exemption of requirements to use licensed transporters or facilitate transport out of remote and northern communities, including Indigenous communities. Additionally, the amendments exempt requirements to use shipment manifests when transporting moderate-risk waste.

Transporters must, however, have third-party liability insurance and a current contingency plan. Shipping documents must also be kept for two years.

There are no changes to the amount of waste that can be stored at a return collection facility.

The majority of the changes to the regulation were effective on August 1.

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