This is the third in a series of columns describing changes coming to North Island residents with the implementation of the MMBC recycling system, which begins May 19.
For the third article about the upcoming changes in recycling, I would like to let everyone know about the new materials that North Islanders will be able to recycle.
One of the criticisms raised in the past about recycling within the RDMW was the inability to recycle glass jars and bottles. Among the rationales for this policy was the lack of demand for glass in the recycling industry. Starting May 19, that impediment will disappear with glass and other materials previously destined for the landfill now able to be recycled.
Because the new recycling program is part of a province wide effort involving over a million households, the higher volumes of recycled glass, plastic bags and polystyrene will support the development of markets for these materials.
There are still challenges though when dealing with these materials. Glass often breaks into shards, plastic bags can easily get entangled and polystyrene foam has a tendency to stick to surfaces due to static cling. These traits make them very difficult to process in automated facilities.
Why is this issue important, you might ask? It’s important because if you can’t process them in an automated facility, then they can’t be collected in the curbside collection program.
Fortunately there are recycling depots in almost every community on the North Island that will be able to accept these materials. How accessible will these depots be? Plans are in motion to set up depots in places like Quatsino and Winter Harbour to join the ranks of already established facilities in Port Alice, Malcolm Island, Alert Bay, etc.
With all these depots to serve us, it is critical that households receiving curbside recycling do not put glass, polystyrene (Type 6) foam and plastic bags in your collection bins. On recycling collection days, the truck operators will be checking the bins on the curb and feedback will be provided to households if they are making mistakes. Some may be rolling their eyes and thinking about Big Brother, but we need everyone to pull together to make things work.
As always, if you have questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Regional District recycling web page which is slowly growing in the information it provides. Next week I will try and inform everyone about the network of recycling depots on the North Island.
Patrick Donaghy is Operations Manager for the Regional District of Mount Waddington. email@example.com.