Burnaby styrofoam recycling pilot to start Dec. 1

Just in time for the holidays, Burnaby council approved a pilot project for recycling Styrofoam on Monday.

Starting Dec. 1, Burnaby residents will be able to drop off up to three cubic yards (2.3 cubic metres) of Styrofoam per trip for free at the city's Still Creek Recycling Depot, according to a city staff report.

Burnaby businesses would be charged a nominal fee of $6 per cubic yard, up to a maximum of six cubic yards (4.6 cubic metres) per trip to recover the city's costs.

The material collected will be sent to a Coquitlam facility for processing before it is shipped to a recycler overseas who will use it to make products such as photo frames.

The pilot project is for one year after which city staff will report back on the findings. It will cost $30,000 of which $5,000 for the month of December will be covered by the city's 2012 operating budget and the rest will be funded from the 2013 operating contingency or surplus.

Environment Committee chair Dan Johnston noted all Styrofoam will be accepted, from product packaging to packing pellets.

"I think it's really good news. We're getting one of the large components of our garbage stream out of the garbage can," Johnston said. "I know this is one of the issues that the public say to me quite often, that we can compost and recycle pretty much everything other than Styrofoam."

Coun. Pietro Calendino called the pilot "great news" and noted the material is "probably the bulkiest element in the waste stream."

While a few stores such as London Drugs will accept Styrofoam packaging for recycling when the products have been purchased there, most other business don't accept it, Calendino noted.

He noted the program could go a long way to helping Burnaby do its part in achieving the regional goal of diverting 70 per cent of waste from landfills.

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