Today’s Poll

Delivery of recycling set to change in city

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
August 31st, 2018

The blue bag for recycling in Nelson will be on the endangered species list in the next two years as the city moves away from bags and toward plastic bins for its curbside recycling program.

The bags will become obsolete in the new Recycle BC service agreement — which came before council recently for comment on its renewal — by July 2020 as the province moves towards recycling bins.

“(That) major change going forward is how they process recycling, meaning blue bags,” which will add a little more labour as the city collects it, said city manager Kevin Comrack.

But it should not impact how residents deliver their recyclable products to the curb, he added, since people still need to provide clean material and of the correct sort, as they do now.

Due to global market conditions requiring reduced contamination levels, Recycle BC has indicated that they will be making changes to the penalties that may be applied to collectors that are not able to decrease the contamination in their service to three per cent or less, Mayor Deb Kozak said.

She said the city has not received a fine yet but it will emphasize reducing contamination through education and providing notices to residents as the why certain materials were left at the curb.

“This speaks to the change in recycling globally and to the shift of what will be accepted and what won’t be for recycling,” she said. “It costs money to get rid of these products and if we are not in compliant it costs us.”

The results of three audits taken from December 2015 to Nov 2016 indicated that the average contamination level in the city had been 8.7 per cent, prompting an education campaign in early 2017.

For its part the city will need to supply a reusable container to collect recyclables by July 2020, with the use of the single use bag in effect until that time.

However, a transition plan discussing the new intended container type must be submitted to Recycle BC for approval by Jan. 1, 2020, Cormack noted.

In addition, the city can make a request to Recycle BC for the permission to collect materials from industrial, commercial and institutional locations but it will not be able to receive reimbursement for these materials, should it receive the authority to collect them.

Results of a subsequent April 2017 audit indicated that contamination had been reduced to 5.9 per cent.

If the city accepts the new service agreement then it will be required to return a signed Statement of Work (SOW) to Recycle BC by Oct. 1.

By the numbers

The city receives money back from Recycle BC to deliver the recycling program in Nelson.

Around $136,000 per year was delivered under the current contract but it should see an approximate increase of $5,300 to that amount for the new contract.

But the city will incur new costs to the collection of recycling once the single source plastic bags (blue bags) are phased out by July 2020.

Cormack said Nelson has one of the most cost efficient waste and recycling collection services in the province, with collection being undertaken every two weeks with one truck.

The collection costs are approximately $10,000 per week or $260,000 annually, he noted, with a city resident paying $40 annually and $1.50 per garbage tag.

“There has been no increase in the annual fee for 11 years and the tags have not been increased in eight years,” he said.

The city paid out $865,000 to the RDCK for the disposal of solid waste and recycling this year, including $178,000 for recycling.

However, a request is still on the table from the city to the regional district to reduce the amount the city pays for recycling since the city provides its own collection of recycling materials.

History in the bag

Fifteen years ago Nelsonites began paying per bag to dispose of garbage but there was no cost for recycling, an Official Community

Plan directive to encourage recycling and discouraging waste.

“Nelson is a zero-waste community that avoids and reduces consumption first, then reuses, recycles, recovers waste and finally ensures responsible disposal of the small amount remaining,” the OCP read.

For recycling products that are not collected at the curbside in Nelson people need to drive to the RecycleBC depot in Castlegar.

Some of these materials are accepted at the Grohman Narrows transfer station (such as soft plastics, glass), but other products such as Styrofoam need to be brought to Castlegar. RecycleBC has indicated that they would like to establish a depot in Nelson.

The province’s recyclers

Recycle BC is a not-for profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper product (PPP) recycling throughout British Columbia.

The program operated by Recycle BC is regulated through the Environmental Management Act Recycling Regulation (B.C. Reg. 449/2004).

In Nelson, municipal government acts as a collection agent on behalf of Recycle BC and Recycle BC provides the city with a financial incentive to deliver these services.

The City of Nelson offers these services through a single stream curbside collection program. At the end of each contract term RecycleBC develops a new set of revised financial incentives that are proposed to collectors in conjunction with new service agreements.

— Source: City of Nelson

Categories: General

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