With the start of 2015 came some significant changes to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s recycling program. Some of the changes have been positive, but others have some residents feeling frustrated.
The changes to the program, which are the result of the CSRD’s new partnership with Multi Materials BC (MMBC), have enabled residents to recycle more materials that weren’t previously accepted, such as aerosol containers, styrofoam, film plastic (plastic bags) and disposable drink cups.
The MMBC partnership has also allowed the CSRD to save $700,000 in costs compared to the previous program, according to Ben Van Nostrand, Team Leader of Enivironmental Health Services at the CSRD.
According to MMBC’s website the recycling levels in B.C. were between 50-53 per cent as of the program’s provincial launch in May of 2014. Their goal is to increase the rate to 75 per cent for MMBC members.
The reasons for frustration stem from the fact that materials must be sorted by the individual at the depot and items can only be recycled during depot operating hours.
Most residents of Golden have access to curbside recycling pickup, but that’s not the case for residents outside of town.
The primary depot for recycling returns in Golden is the Bottle Depot, which is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Van Nostrand admits there have been some growing pains but stood by the changes that were made to the program and defended the restricted hours of recycling depots around the district, which includes the Bottle Depot.
“(With MMBC) the site has to have hours of operation and be staffed…It’s like any other business,” he explained.
“At the end of March the CSRD and the directors are going to be reviewing the model. I don’t think it will change much, but we may look at extending some of the hours but that needs to be reviewed by MMBC and the CSRD. We have talked about that at the board table,” said Area A Director Karen Cathcart.
“At the end of the day I think the change has been good overall…change takes time and I think that’s an important piece here,” she added.
Under the previous program, users could bring their recycling to the Bottle Depot at any time, even in the early hours of the morning. Van Nostrand says this created a problem for area residents.
“We were always getting noise complaints from neighbours in the area,” Van Nostrand said, while mentioning that the sounds of smashing glass in the middle of the night were the most significant source of the complaints.