September 06, 2013 - 3:04 PM
VERNON - Greater Vernon residents will notice a few changes with recycling pick-up now that the regional district has entered into an agreement with Multi-Material B.C.
The agreement puts to rest months of uncertainty about how recyclables will be managed under the province's new policy on packaging and printed paper, overseen by Multi-Material B.C. Responsibility for these end-of-life recylables now falls on the industries that produce them, rather than on governments and taxpayers.
The North Okanagan Regional District board of directors unanimously voted this week to enter into a contract with Multi-Material B.C. to continue performing curbside collection services. Multi-Material B.C. will pay them around $1.2 million a year to do so.
Nicole Kohnert, manager of regional engineering services, says having the job contracted out to them allows more control over how it's done and also keeps the work local. Financial incentives mean the service has room to improve, although the district isn't sure how far the money will go just yet.
Under Multi-Material B.C.'s directive, some things will change. Film materials — saran wrap, plastic bags, or other stretchy plastics — will no longer be accepted in curbside pick-up, they'll have to be taken directly to a recycling depot. But you'll now be able to put aerosols and clam shells in with your other roadside recyclables. Residents will no longer be charged a fee for blue bag collection.
Having the work contracted out to the RDNO means that if the burned down recycling facility on Birnie Road is rebuilt, Venture Training staff could get their jobs back, Kohnert says. A report will be brought to the RDNO board sometime in the next month, recommending what they should do with the site.
"We're going to be proposing that they either continue to transfer material to Kelowna or build a new sorting facility and look to the future," Kohnert says. "Personally, I'm on the board's side, wanting to keep local people employed."
When the facility burned to the ground in March, Venture Training workers lost jobs they loved.
RDNO chair Patrick Nicol is pleased with the agreement with MMBC, and the new policy in general.
"I think this (having industry pay for recycling) is what citizens wanted," he said.
Like Kohnert, he's glad the management was kept local.
"If we had not supported (the contract), we would have had no role in recycling," he says. "We can influence how that $1.2 million is used... The whole idea is to recycle more and more. This (decision) is a way to do that."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013