Opinion

New recycling rules could prove costly for condo owners

A recently announced crackdown on recycling rapscallions could end up hitting condo owners where it hurts most—in their pocketbook.

Following an audit that concluded more than half of all commercial and multi family customers are violating recycling rules, the Waste Reduction Office will begin issuing fines to ensure compliance in the future.

The recycling police are already in place at Kelowna’s landfill ready to inspect each load of waste unloaded by commercial disposal trucks.

The haulers face a fine of $150 for each metric tonne of banned material dumped at the Glenmore site.

In turn, the companies will go after customers to recover the costs.

In the case of large condominiums that have a sketchy history of proper recycling, these surcharges could quickly add up to thousands of dollars, much better spent on repairs and maintenance.

The problem with many condo complexes is that residents often do not make the distinction between disposing of garbage and recyclables.

The crackdown is aimed at eliminating recyclable material from going into the garbage bin and ending up in the landfill. Sounds easy enough.

Actually, recycling has become a complex industry and most people are understandably confused. One person’s recycling is another person’s garbage.

To eliminate the confusion, the WRO has issued a specific list of materials that are not fit for garbage disposal.

While the majority of stratas have separate garbage and recycling bins, the latter are generally used for cardboard and paper products.

However, many banned items, such as batteries, computers and appliances, end up in the garbage bin. And private companies are expanding their core services to handle electronics and hazardous waste.

Cells phones, paint, fluorescent light tubes and computers can be recycled, sometimes for a fee.

Some of these products can also be returned to the point of purchase.

The main motivation behind the crackdown is to sustain the life span of Kelowna’s landfill.

The regional district’s WRO and commercial waste haulers are spear heading the effort to educate commercial and multi family waste producers. Part of the strategy for condominiums is to develop a waste management plan to educate residents to separate waste and eliminate co-mingling at the source.

Indications are that in future, commercial waste companies could start refusing to haul away improperly sorted waste and leave it on site, rather than face a fine. The message is clear.

If you don’t comply you might face continuous fines, or find a pile of garbage left on your property. For more information visit: www.regionaldistrict.com/recycle.

StrataScene is intended for general information purposes only. Gunnar Forsstrom is a licensed Strata Manager with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty.

250-860-1411

gforsstrom@coldwellbanker.ca

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