Changes coming to curbside recycling program

Cynthia Coates, waste reduction facilitator with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, shows what items can be recycled in the curbside recycling carts and what items need to be taken to a depot. - Wade Paterson/Capital News
Cynthia Coates, waste reduction facilitator with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, shows what items can be recycled in the curbside recycling carts and what items need to be taken to a depot.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

There are new rules that will affect what residents can and can't put in their blue curbside recycling bins.

Starting May 19, items such as milk cartons and aerosol cans will be accepted in the curbside bins.

For the first time, residents will be able to take styrofoam to depots for recycling.

However, things like plastic grocery bags will no longer be accepted in the blue carts. Those items can still be recycled, but residents will be required to take them to a depot to be recycled.

As the new program rolls out, depot users will also be required to sort their recyclables into several categories, including: Paper products, containers, plastic bags and overwrap, white styrofoam, coloured styrofoam and glass.

"When residents arrive at the depots, they're going to have to do a little more sorting than they're accustomed to," said Cynthia Coates, waste reduction facilitator with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

"Right now everything, paper and containers, (are) all being commingled. When they get to the depot starting May 19, (residents) are going to have to be separating their paper from their containers."

That separation isn't required for recyclable products that go in the blue curbside bins.

Peter Rotheisler, manager of environmental services with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, said this is the first major change to the curbside and depot recycling program since its implementation.

"The program will result in a lot of the demands from the public, in terms of adding new materials to the local recycling programs, being met," said Rotheisler.

He added the program also represents a major financial shift, which will result in increased costs for producers of recyclable materials.

"Historically our curbside and depot programs have cost approximately $3 million to operate on an annual basis.

"Through Multi Material BC taking over these programs, the Central Okanagan local governments (will see) either cost avoidances or revenue streams of approximately $3.5 million per year.

"That will likely result in deductions in taxes and utility bills for local residents."

In 2011, the provincial government updated the Recycling Regulation to require companies that introduce packaging and printed paper into the residential marketplace assume responsibility for managing the materials after residents discard them.

Allen Langdon, managing director of Multi Material BC, said MMBC's first-year budget is $85 million, which will be funded by the fees paid by the producers of those materials.

He added the goal in the coming years is to increase the recycling rate in B.C. from the current 50 per cent to 75 per cent.

The regional district plans to educate the public on the new recycling rules through print and television advertisements, displays at public events, a recycling guide and its website. It will also send letters to residents who are putting incorrect items in their recycling bins, which are discovered through the recycling trucks' cameras.


Accepted in blue curbside recycling carts:

- Paper cups and lids (no straws)

- Plastic coated cartons (no stand-up drink pouches)

- Aluminum (no chip or foil bags)

- Frozen food packaging

- Aerosol cans and caps (no spray paint cans or propane cylinders)

- Tin cans and lids (no coat hangers, pans or baking trays)

- Plastic containers and lids (no plastic bags, plastic wrap, tarps, toys or chemical containers)

- Spiral wound paper cans and lids

- Microwavable paper containers (no bowls with metal rims)

- Cardboard and boxboard (no waxed produce boxes)

- Newspapers, paper and magazines (No books)


Depot only items:

- Glass (No glasses, dishes, cookware, window glass or mirrors)

- Styrofoam (No foam peanuts, packing chips or foam board insulation)

- Plastic bags and overwrap (No cellophane wrap, stretch or cling wrap, zipper-lock bags or snack bags)

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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