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Hazardous materials depot shows ‘no issues’ one year into operation: society

No issues have arisen in the one-year tenure handling hazardous household materials project by the Nelson Leafs Recycling Centre, according to a report. — File photo

No issues have arisen in the one-year tenure handling hazardous household materials project by the Nelson Leafs Recycling Centre, according to a report.

Delivered by Jeff Wright, vice president of the Nelson Leafs Hockey Society, the report on accountability was part of the deal the society had struck with City Hall in order to allow the hazardous waste collection to go ahead one year ago.

Council had questions initially and put the one-year caveat on the bylaw exemption to allow the centre to move forward, and those concerns were allayed at a recent city council meeting.

In the calendar year — minus nine weeks for a pandemic imposed shut down — the centre has collected and managed 21,000 cans of paint, 16,000 light bulbs, 40,000 linear feet of fluorescent tubes, 3.3 tonnes of batteries (not car batteries), 28 tonnes of small appliances, 80 tonnes of electronics and 6.8 million cans.

“It is all products that people have had in the garage, in the shed, under the sink and now aren’t sitting there … it has a place to go. It’s amazing how much there is,” said Wright.

“Now these people are not throwing these things out, they are being taken care of.”

He noted that several issues it was expected the depot would have to deal with were nonexistent within the last year, said Wright, even with all of the new material they were handling.

Those issues included spills (none), airborne contamination (none), injuries (none), complaints and farmer’s market conflict (none) and minimal issues with non-regulated materials and commercial materials being dropped off.

Vetting and approving the depot was one of the first pieces of business that the current council handled, noted Coun. Keith Page.

“We gave you guys a pretty rough time,” he stated. “I just wanted to say that you guys have done a great job and have handled it nicely and I really appreciate the work.”

The presentation was made in advance of the anticipated bylaw exemption renewal request to further extend the bylaw exemption for a period of three years.

Dropping in on the depot

The Nelson Leafs Hockey Society are a non-profit organization that operate a recycling centre at 120 Silica Street.

In addition to refundable bottles and electronics, the recycling depot the society operates also accepts materials stewarded under the ReGeneration program.

The material currently accepted at the recycling centre includes paint products, paint aerosols, flammable liquids, pesticides and gasoline.

A new electronic recycling program was recently announced by the Recycling Centre, now accepting a number of electronic items at the depot, including computer equipment and televisions.

Eight years ago the depot started accepting material under the ReGeneration program, and since that time they have also received household hazardous waste (HHW) material not accepted under the program.

Two years ago the society applied to manage the HHW program for Nelson and the surrounding area “to allow year-round collection, storage, and handling of household hazardous waste.”

That same year the society applied to install two specially modified shipping containers at the Bottle Depot to facilitate the collection and disposition of household hazardous waste.

The move required a bylaw exemption as the Zoning Bylaw prohibited recycling facilities in the location.

Last year the society presented a flood mitigation strategy to council and it was approved, meaning two containers were installed at the centre in order to collect hazardous material — then shipped out by Kelowna-based contractor Terrapure.

“This development is significant because previously the only way to recycle these types of materials was during the RDCK’s annual one-day roundup,” noted a city staff report to council.

— Source: City of Nelson city staff report

Household hazardous waste and used oil collection

The program began mid-October 2019:

  • 10,600 litres of used oil
  • 1025 litres of antifreeze
  • 115 –55 gallon drums of materials (23,000 litres) of liquids: herbicides, carpet cleaners, rust removers, toilet bowl cleaners, over cleaners, kerosene, turpentine, lighter fluid, shampoos, peroxide, fertilizers, bleach, ammonia, paint thinner
  • In excess of two tonnes of solids, herbicides, pesticides, grout, laundry soap, drywall mud, pool and spa chemicals, drain cleaners
  • 20 kilograms of mercury

— Source: Nelson Leafs Hockey Society