Putting recyclables in their place

Temperatures aren’t the only things that have been soaring this summer.

  • Jul. 14, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Super sorter: Sue Beckner

Temperatures aren’t the only things that have been soaring this summer.

Bill’s Bottle Depot is having issues keeping up with increased volumes of recycling materials brought about by the influx of tourists.

Ben Van Nostrand, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Environment Health team leader, says some of the problems are caused by out-of-towners who are not familiar with the changes brought about when Materials Management BC took over Jan. 1.

Those changes included the need to sort recyclables and the end of overnight drop-offs, restricting them to regular operating hours, which are Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are getting a fair bit of dumping after hours; we experienced those kinds of challenges in January – it was a bit of a learning curve,” says Van Nostrand. “It was going pretty well until the summer rush, so it seems we’re needing to re-educate people who are not aware of the changes.”

Van Nostrand says CSRD is working with MMBC to increase the number of hauls and is  trying to improve signage and provide the level of service people have come to rely on.

As an alternative, Van Nostrand suggests people can also take their recyclables to the Salmon Arm Landfill seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It takes everything that can go into the MMBC program, “ he says. “But they don’t take electronics, paints or the bottles that Bill’s Bottles does.”

Van Nostrand says money is being assigned to the budget for a permanent household hazardous waste program that he hopes will open in 2016.

The MMBC program has also meant changes to municipal curbside recycling so the regional district and the City of Salmon Arm are collaborating on a summer-long blue-bag audit to make sure people are setting out the right items.

Laura Noakes, an engineering assistant with the city, says, for the most part, residents are complying.

“We have recently seen an increase in the number of bag rejections overall due to plastic bags, Styrofoam and glass, with plastic bags making up over 70 per cent of rejections,” says Noakes, noting the items must be taken to Bill’s Bottle Depot or the landfill. “This suggests that residents now know these items can be recycled, but are confused about where the items go.”

Noakes say many people are also unaware they can put empty aerosol cans – hair spray, window cleaner and spray-on deodorant – as long as it is not paint or any other toxic material.

Trent and Lynelle Blumenthal are parents of four young boys in Salmon Arm with a strong commitment to reducing waste.

When they learned the City of Salmon Arm and the CSRD had created a Recycling Hero Program and were making home visits to help educate families on best recycling practices, they readily signed up.

“We do a pretty good job,” says Trent, who assisted with the audit with the help of his sons. “But we sometimes have questions about what goes into recycling and what doesn’t.”

Volunteer families that sign up receive a waste reduction kit, including a Recycling Hero lawn flag to display, letting your neighbours know you’ve become a Recycling Hero.

If your family would like to be featured as a Recycling Hero, contact the City of Salmon Arm at 250-803-4000 or the CSRD at 250-833-5936.


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