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Emterra strike could ‘overwhelm’ small recycling business

June 24, 2015 - 1:06 PM

KAMLOOPS – Early on it was thought a strike by employees at the Emterra Environmental recycling plant would not affect curbside collection but since the strike began earlier this week not only was curbside collection stopped, but exactly what to do with your recyclables became a bit unclear.

The strike officially started Monday and the city quickly said curbside pickup was suspended. Yesterday, June 24, Mayor Peter Milobar said after review the city realized curbside collection was no longer an option. City recycling depots have also been closed indefinitely.

This comes to the shock of General Grants recycling depot North Shore owner and Sahali part-owner, Richard Robertson. He says they learned of the strike through the city press release Monday. He was shocked to see his business listed as an alternative depot to drop recycling on that release.

“I’ve thought about it for 24-hours now and I’m very upset,” Robertson says of the lack communication from the city. “It’s just been dropped in our laps.”

His business has always accepted recyclables, including glass, plastic film and more recently, styrofoam, but their main business is bottles. Without the proceeds from bottles the business is not sustainable. Robertson is concerned his small business will be overwhelmed by residents bringing their recycling meant for curbside pick to his locations. He’d have to bring on additional staff, which isn’t feasible.

“If (other recyclables rather than bottles) paid, we’d be happy to do it,” Robertson says.

For now, General Grants will accept all the recycling they normally do, but Robertson warns if the strike lasts for any length of time he will have to turn away residents with materials meant for curbside pick-up. The company has made arrangements to send its bottles to a recycling plant in Kelowna instead of the Kamloops plant.

While the city contract states that in case of strike Emterra Environmental has to provide an alternative location to sort recyclables, Milobar says in practice it’s not really a workable option given the fact that picket lines could form at the new facility and the city does not have an area or facility large enough to collect and store recyclables, especially if the strike lasts more than one week.

The mayor hopes this is a short disagreement between the company and the union and for now asks residents to store as much of their recyclables at home as possible.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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