Recycling changes may force curbside containers on Osoyoos

The Town of Osoyoos may have to rethink a decision not to use containers — uniform or otherwise — for the curbside collection of recyclables.

Council learned this morning that Recycle BC, which is responsible for residential packaging and paper product recycling throughout the province, wants to eliminate the use of blue bags by 2020.

Currently, those blue bags are collected every second week by Waste Connections of Canada as part of its regular waste management service.

“All curbside collection will be required to be placed in containers, although recycling is allowed to be co-mingled in one container,” explained Jim Dinwoodie, the Town’s Director of Operational Services of the proposed change.

The containers, he added, could be uniform containers owned and distributed by the contractor, containers purchased and maintained by the Town or a diverse collection of containers provided by individual users.

“It’s probably more practical to hire Waste Connections to manage those containers than it is for Town staff to manage those containers,” he told Council. “They tend to break quite a bit and they get stolen or misplaced.

“Or you opt for a system where we say any container is good enough and any citizen-owned container will do for recycling.”

The problem facing the Town with Recycle BC’s announcement, he said, is a five-year curbside collection contract with Waste Connections inked after Council determined not to use Waste Connections uniform containers.

 

In July 2017, Council voted two-to-one — Councillors Mike Campol and Carol Youngberg were not in attendance — to continue a contract with Waste Collections for the “manual collection” of curbside garbage, recycling and large items.

The contractor had proposed uniform-sized garbage and recycling carts, which it would have provided.

“The Waste collection industry likes the egg containers because it’s less wear and tear on their employees and they’re able to do (collection) a little bit quicker,” Mr. Dinwoodie explained.

“It’s just that they didn’t really budget for those type of trucks for Osoyoos because we deliberately went away from that — and so did the RDOS — so now they may have to purchase a few more of those trucks if we go to those types of containers.”

Last July, Mayor Sue McKortoff expressed concern with the burden the cart system would place on the community’s older population.

“My concern with going with the cart system is there are many large carts, perhaps on small properties,” she said. “If we add an organic one, that would make for four carts.

Mr. Dinwoodie shared that concern this morning.

“Numerous citizens have expressed displeasure with the poor maneuverability of large recycling containers as well as issues with the storage of these containers,” he told Council.

The other option, Mr. Dinwoodie suggested to Council, was for the Town to opt out of the Recycle BC program and look after its own recycling obligations.

“You don’t have to be part of the Recycle BC program,” he said, adding the not-for-profit organization is struggling to meet market demands, largely because of contamination.

“China, which was the market for the recycled paper products, only wants a three-percent contamination rate and the best that the province can do is 13,” he explained. “So they’re losing that market and nobody knows where that new market is for this type of paper products.”

The Town of Osoyoos does receive money from the program in the form of annual subsidies, last year receiving $73,806.

Council accepted the report as information, hearing from Town CAO Barry Romanko that it would be added to the 2019 budget discussion.

Mr. Romanko also noted “Council has been putting monies away in a reserve account for the purchase of bins.”

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