A six stream recycling system has now gone into effect at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) transfer station at the Cache Creek landfill, as a precursor to the TNRD plan to close the municipal recycling stations in Ashcroft and Cache Creek by September 1, 2018.
“We set up the new system at [the] Cache Creel [landfill] to give us time to work out the logistics,” says Jamie Vieira, Manager of Environmental Services for the TNRD.
“Unless there is a major operating issue at the Cache Creek transfer station within the next month, both municipal stations will be closing. We’re currently working out the operating logistics of the new system, and preparing for an increase in volume.”
He adds that the recycling depot at the landfill is in a temporary location, as the TNRD plans to build a new eco-depot on either Highway 97C or Highway 1 between Boston Flats and the current landfill entrance.
“We’re actively investigating a number of property options. The hope is to have the new site open late in 2019 or early in 2020.”
The properties where the municipal stations in Ashcroft and Cache Creek are situated are owned by the respective Villages, and the TNRD will be working with the municipalities to deactivate both sites.
“The municipalities will take the lead on deconstruction and remediation of the sites,” says Vieira. “They’ll decide what to do and how the sites will be left.”
He notes that the TNRD has been in a bit of a holding pattern with the current site, waiting for confirmation as to whether or not the Cache Creek landfill would once again provide residential service when the landfill extension opens (an event that has now been postponed until at least summer 2019).
“They [Belkorp] won’t be providing the service they used to provide. That wasn’t clear, but it is now. The TNRD is obligated to—and happy to—step in and provide the same services we provide elsewhere. “
The new eco-depot will, says Vieira, be a “Big, new, awesome full-service eco-depot, providing better customer service and more efficiency. And it will be safer.”
He adds that the closure of the unattended municipal stations in Ashcroft and Cache Creek is not unique. “Unattended depots are, by and large, vastly unsuccessful. The new reality of the recycling industry is that the level of contamination in what we used to call recycling isn’t accepted anymore.” The recycling station at the Cache Creek landfill is manned, and the new eco-depot will be as well, helping to ensure that only clean, accepted recyclable items are deposited.
Until recently, recyclable material from all around North America—including the TNRD—has been shipped to China. However, a crackdown by the Chinese government on contaminated recyclables has meant that much of the recycled material collected in the TNRD has been stored at a warehouse in Pritchard, which at any given time contained 60 tonnes of material.
“We’ve caught up on the backlog in Pritchard,” says Vieira, “and found a processor to take it who is willing to do the work of sorting it.”
The TNRD has also joined the province-wide Recycle BC program, which means that recyced items must conform tp Reccycle BC standards. “Everything taken to be recycled needs to be clean. Before, cans that weren’t rinsed out went into the garbage. Make sure they’re rinsed and empty.”
Vieira says that the TNRD will be putting more attendants at its transfer stations and eco-depots to talk to people about the changes. “Once the new system is up and running we’ll do workshops in local communities, and continue to do education into the fall and winter.
“Recycling is still the best thing to do, and I know people can and will change.”