The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has announced a new partnership with RecycleBC.
A non-profit organization, RecycleBC’s mandate is to collect and recycle residential printed paper and packaging in British Columbia in accordance with a government-approved stewardship plan. Over 98 per cent of B.C. households receive RecycleBC recycling service.
Several communities in the RDCK already operate curbside recycling programs through RecycleBC. Adding depots to the service will improve compatibility and consistency for users. This will mean new recycling containers at depots and a wider variety of accepted materials including plastic bags and Styrofoam.
“Recycling services are important to RDCK residents,” said RDCK chair Aimee Watson. “The new depot program will bring a lot of changes to the depots we operate and ultimately a lot of benefits for users. Our recycling depots will receive improved staff supervision, accept a greater range of materials and be consistent with other programs in the district and around the province.
“In addition residents will have a greater assurance that materials deposited at depots are recycled into new products primarily by processors in B.C.”
Because of RecycleBC’s strict regulations, five depots in the RDCK’s east end will not join the new program. Depots at Gray Creek, Wynndel, West Creston, the Lower Kootenay Band office and Kitchener will close at the end of June.
The current RDCK depot recycling program using bins to collect mixed recycling allowed small sites such as these to be operated effectively; however, new collection equipment, security and staffing requirements will make maintaining these sites incompatible with the RecycleBC service. Nearby depots will continue to operate and allow residents to access the new recycling program.
“Closing these locations was a difficult decision,” said RDCK East Shore waste recovery committee chair Garry Jackman. “The new depot program will give users greater assurance that what they bring to our depot will be recycled and stay out of our landfills. Illegal dumping will hopefully be reduced as well. These benefits require a greater level of oversight from the RDCK to operate depots and this was hard to maintain at all of our current locations.”
The RDCK operates an extensive network of recycling depots and is working with its new service partners to smoothly transition to RecycleBC. Depots at the Ootischenia landfill, Crescent Valley, and Nelson as well as Creston and the East Shore have been identified as the first phase of sites to launch in mid-June.
The remaining depots will continue to operate under current conditions as they are brought on board the new program throughout the rest of the summer. The timing of this transition is being developed with the new depot service providers and will be promoted once it is confirmed.
In addition to receiving new recycling containers, recycling depots will also be staffed by recycling educators as part of the new service. Contamination standards are strict and staffing of sites is mandatory with the RBC program, but these standards also ensure materials are able to be recycled properly.
Educators will be on site at depots to help users learn the rules of the new system and monitor for illegal dumping. Around the clock access at depots will end as a result. Depots at RDCK landfills and transfer stations will have operating hours to match those facilities, while those located at separate locations will have new hours set to complement other nearby depots and facilities to provide comprehensive service for residents.
Like other product stewardship organizations in B.C., RecycleBC receives funds from the producers of the material they collect and manage. RecycleBC manages printed paper and packaging and their funding comes largely from retailers, grocers and other businesses. These funds pay for the transportation and processing of collected paper and packaging, a portion of which will return to the RDCK based on the amount of material collected, offsetting up to 30 per cent of the costs of depot operation.
You’re encouraged to check the recycling section of the RDCK website in the coming weeks for updates about the recycling program, including information about new materials to be accepted for recycling, new sorting requirements for recyclable materials and depot operating hours.