The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange was preparing to demolish all structures to leave a levelled site at Kenworth Road. NEWS BULLETIN file

Opinion: Recycling in Nanaimo won’t go by the wayside

Closure of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange was a blow, but options still available

I thought the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange was a valuable resource and I made weekly trips to the Kenworth Road site.

With the exception of the minefield of potholes at the exit and the lack of parking, there was a lot to love.

It was essentially a one-stop shop for all, or most of, your recyclables. Non-refundable glass jars? Check. Batteries? Check. Styrofoam? Check. Plastic, and even re-sealable sandwich and freezer bags? Check. The list goes on.

I wish it had stayed open, at least to the end of March, as had been expected. The NRE board had made a request of $6.05 million to the City of Nanaimo and councillors had referred it back to staff.

The NRE shuttered its gates March 21 with Ben Geselbracht, recycling exchange vice-chairman, stating the date wasn’t publicized to avoid having a mad rush of people with numerous items to drop off, which made sense. The exchange spent that time moving items off site and demolition is taking place.

It was a beloved institution and understandably, a lot of people have expressed anger since it closed.

In recent Nanaimo News Bulletin letters to editor, numerous people have addressed the issue.

One person says that on top of recyclables, it also accepts furniture, suitcases and clocks. Some say there have been a lot of letters of support as well as many signatures collected for a petition that had been circulating. Some even suggest packing up Styrofoam and recyclable items and leaving it at Nanaimo city hall.

There have been numerous thumbs down in Beefs and Bouquets submissions as well.

Some blame the city and Regional District of Nanaimo for not supporting the recycling exchange. “All the words about reducing our use of the landfill are just rhetoric,” says a beefer.

Yet another beefer says the amount of items going to the landfill will double and there will be more illegal dumping in forested areas.

However, while the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange has closed its doors, at least for now, the sky isn’t falling. There are still places you can take your recyclable material and you need not illegally dump in the forest, or the lawn of city hall for that matter.

My blue box was filling up, but I didn’t have to go far from the old recycling exchange site to alleviate myself of the glass jars, Styrofoam and even a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector.

Just across the street from the old NRE location is Regional Recycling, where many people in Nanaimo take their beverage cans and bottles for refund – there is also a location at the south part of town.

If worst comes to worst, you can even head down the Regional District of Nanaimo landfill on Cedar Road, although there will be a cost and it is dependent on what you bring down.

There are still places to take your recyclables. Maybe these outlets won’t accept everything that the NRE did all in one stop, but if you look around, you should be able to find places to take your stuff.

Was the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange valuable? Yes. Is recycling dying because it shuttered? No.


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