Glass may be excluded from blue box pickup if an industry-led stewardship group gets its way.

Recycling shakeup may end curbside pickup of glass

Industry stewards want jars and bottles to go to depots, not via blue box

Curbside pickup of glass jars and bottles may be axed from a pending reform of the blue box recycling system, forcing households to take glass to depots instead.

Members of Metro Vancouver’s zero waste committee were dismayed when told by staff Thursday of the proposal by Multi Material BC to eliminate glass collection at curbside after the industry-led stewardship agency takes charge of the residential recycling system in mid-2014.

“Whose idea was that?” demanded Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, the committee chair. “That’s going to be a big problem.”

He and other mayors predict residents will just throw glass in the garbage if it’s no longer picked up from homes at curbside.

“If people have to take their jars to a depot, they’re just going to throw them away.”

Multi Material BC chair Allen Langdon said curbside-collected glass breaks and contaminates other higher value recyclables, such as newsprint, paper and plastics, degrading their value.

“No decisions have been made, nothing has been finalized,” he said, adding Multi Material BC is taking comment on the proposed change to exclude glass until March 1.

Langdon said most glass – about 71,000 tonnes a year province-wide – already makes its way to processing via depots because of refundable deposits.

Only an estimated 2,500 tonnes of glass now gets picked up through blue boxes, he said.

And he said the curbside-collected glass arrives too contaminated to be recycled into more glass – there is no glass-recycling plant in B.C. anyway – and typically is used only for road aggregate or cover at landfills.

“If the glass is taken out, we actually think it will have a positive impact in helping us to recycle more material,” Langdon said.

The Nanaimo and Central Okanagan regional districts already have depot-only glass drop off and don’t want to be forced to add it to curbside pickup programs.

The change would be an advantage for Surrey, where residents are on single-stream recycling. Homes there don’t sort recyclables but jumble them all in the same blue box and they’re sorted at a highly automated plant.

Glass contamination of other materials is a bigger risk under such single-stream systems than in ones where residents separate streams, Langdon said, adding the switch would improve the amount and value of other material being recycled.

Langdon said Multi Material BC takes no position on whether single-stream recycling is better, adding cities that act as contractors would be free to continue with either system.

Critics say that because glass is one of the lowest value recyclables, a depot-only system that makes it harder for residents to return it will cut curbside collection costs and save the industry group money – but at a cost to the environment.

“They’re just high grading,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said. “They’re just trying to pick out what’s worth the most money out of the box.”

Corrigan said the intent of the new system should be to maximize recycling, not focus on saving industry members money by cutting corners on usability.

Multi Material BC, which includes retailers, grocers, restaurants and newspapers, is a non-profit agency charged by the province with formulating a stewardship plan to collect and recycle all types of packaging and printed materials – including everything that now goes in blue boxes plus package types not currently collected.

Its packaging stewardship program is the latest in the province’s efforts to make industry groups take back and deal with the waste they generate.

Multi Material BC intends to offer collection contracts first to cities or local recycling societies that already do it. If they don’t accept the price the agency offers, it would seek other contractors, or set up its own fleet of trucks to pick up material.

Cities have previously complained Multi Material BC’s system may supplant local blue box pickup programs without covering the historic costs of existing truck fleets and infrastructure.

 

Just Posted

Guatemala mission offers hope, health

Peninsula team to visit remote villages, build a home, in Piedra Blanca

Annual Aldergrove Fair announces 2019 theme: ‘Aldy on the Moon’

The fair is gathering space memorabilia as well as some of the people involved in the space program.

Cloverdale nurse, Langley truck driver awarded for saving a police officer’s life

Angela Feltrin and Earl Hanes thanked by B.C. RCMP’s top cop

Aldergrove’s Fraser Highway to unveil another Starbucks

A commercial building on Fraser Highway will open its doors to two businesses instead of one.

Former Surrey mayor Bill Vogel dead at age 87

Vogel was Surrey’s 31st mayor, in the big chair from 1978 to 1980, and was alderman from 1973 to 1977

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read