The disappointing Bulkley Valley recycling dance: Two steps forward then one step back

Writer laments dismantling of rural recycling and offers ways to keep it out of the landfill.

Editor,

I was really really disappointed and saddened when I witnessed how much our recycling program has been scaled back at the Encorp recycling station on Nineteenth Avenue in Smithers.

I’d heard that there were problems about continuing our upgraded recycling program that we’d finally established in the Bulkley Valley, but the impact of its dismantling really hit me when I tried to do my regular recycling last week.

Can we really not get the issues resolved? Please, nobody try to convince me that our recycling program is “not economically viable,” a money-losing venture, and that a reasonable profit — or even breaking-even — is not possible. I will not believe that recycling our waste is not a worthwhile venture, that we lose if we recycle as much of our waste as we can. That is ridiculous, outdated thinking and is no longer acceptable.

If our recycling program was not working well or “costing too much,” then we — the people, company, town, region and province — are not doing something correctly. So let’s be creative, collaborative, cooperative, and — god forbid — compromising if necessary, in order to do the right thing and recycle our waste well.

Let’s NOT accept taking steps backwards after taking steps forward! I was bragging to my big city-dwelling family and friends down south how we finally had an awesome recycling program up here in the Valley, and that hopefully, it wouldn’t be too long before we could formalize recycling our organic waste for apartments, businesses, government buildings and houses.

Again, I am so disappointed. However, I know that in the Bulkley Valley we have very intelligent people, some of whom are forward-thinking, progressive, and not afraid of change and taking reasonable risks. So this recycling back-slide/hiccup will be resolved.

In the meantime, we as a community will have to be creative to continue with our hard-learned/hard-earned good habits. And here’s a few ideas and things that I’m going to do:

1) I will continue sorting my waste as I have learned how; 2) When I drive east or west along Highway 16 heading to a bigger centre, I will take as much of my recycling with me to distribute in the other communities that have better recycling programs than we do now, and 3) I will keep an ear open for people I know who are traveling out of the Valley and ask them if they can take some recycling along so it can be recycled properly.

Terrace and Prince Rupert I’ve heard have pretty good recycling programs, while Prince George’s is not as good as Quesnel’s recycling program. Edmonton and the southern B.C cities definitely have better recycling than us — at least for now.

So, I’m going to Plan B, C and D, etc., in order to continue to do the right thing until the Bulkley Valley gets back on track with its recycling program. It may have derailed somewhat for now, but that will be fixed eventually. In the meantime, I want to encourage everyone to continue with their good recycling habits and be creative in how they continue to recycle properly and well. Let’s keep doing the right thing and our recycling program will eventually follow us and correct itself.

Thanks for listening.

D. Harris

Smithers