Recycling BC’s proposed option for taking over recycling service in the city is being kicked to the curb by Kelowna council.
Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) staff presented a report to council Monday (May 2) which outlines Recycle BC’s plan. The RDCO currently operates the service, through a contractor, on behalf of Recycle BC. One of the issues is the contamination of recyclables under the RDCO’s single blue bin system. Recycle BC proposes to offer multiple boxes and have residents sort recyclables at the curb, with a minimum of biweekly pick up.
Several councillors felt there wasn’t enough information about the plan and whether recycling services might be expanded, for example, to allow glass collection.
“There isn’t a lot there that gives me a lot of faith that the Recycle BC program will actually meet the needs of what our citizens would like, and I’m not convinced it will divert more waste from the landfill,” said Councillor Brad Sieben.
The RDCO presentation also indicated that the city could face heavy fines for recyclable contamination in blue bins, although the possibility of penalties is extremely low.
“You must make this convenient for people to do it,” added Sieben. “If it’s too onerous, or too cumbersome they just won’t. If they’re (Recycle BC) just going to say trust us and we have no control, then I have a real problem with that system.”
Mayor Colin Basran said regardless of what option the city ultimately chooses, he would like to see expanded service.
“Or at least know what it would cost to expand the service,” added Basran. “Beyond just glass, the plastics and the containers that pile up on our homes, that can only go to the depot.”
Councillor Luke Stack said essentially council is being given Option A or Option B, take it or leave it.
“But we don’t know very much about Option B,’ said Stack. “It’s like trust us, it’ll be great, we’ll sort it out but you have no input. That makes me extremely uncomfortable.”
Several councillors asked if the RDCO could provide a similar service to Recycle BC. RDCO staff said that could be a long-term option, however, the cost would likely fall to the taxpayer.
The RDCO board has been told by Recycle BC that if it intends to change their current agreement, it must inform them before July. If the RDCO does not make its intentions known, recycling services will remain the same throughout the Central Okanagan for at least the next seven years.
City staff will provide council with a detailed report on recycling options next month.