EDITORIAL: Recycling changes

Maybe the hand-over of recycling to Multi Material BC won’t be a disaster. But for the program to work, it has to be two things: user-friendly and cheaper than the current system.

Concerns that MMBC was gouging cities with hefty fees for hard-to-achieve low contamination rates seems to have abated.

The threshold appears to be attainable and, what’s more, there is a lengthy process that must be followed before cities are docked the fee; as well, cities will have plenty of opportunities to clean up their act before they are slapped with a fine.

After some painful beginnings, the industry-led non-profit organization charged with the responsibility of taking over recycling in B.C. seems to have softened its stance and come to acceptable agreements with cities on how paper packaging, plastics and containers will be dealt with in the future.

And for some cities, including Coquitlam and Port Moody, the deal could mean a slight break on utility charges — or at least a slower rise as garbage, water and sewer rates are likely to increase in future. This is important because we know prices for packaged products will rise to cover the cost of the program and people shouldn’t be dinged twice.

Still, there is one caveat to this whole project and that is the handling of glass, which won’t be allowed in recycling carts beginning in May. In the case of Port Moody, which has declined to operate a glass depot on behalf of MMBC, a request for proposals will go out to find an operator that can handle these breakables.

Thus, it’s important for MMBC to find the right contractor. One idea would be to co-locate glass depots in conveniently located stores. It’s a no-brainer that without convenience, glass will become a big problem — and a potentially messy and dangerous one, at that.

If MMBC truly wants to ensure its packaging is dealt with properly, it will do its best to ensure glass drop-off is easy and trouble-free. And if cities want to make sure their contamination rates stay low, they will need to educate residents about expectations and what it could cost them if they throw organic materials or other contaminants into the bin.


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