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Penticton not great at recycling; city aims to educate

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March 29, 2016 - 7:00 PM

PENTICTON - The recycling program in Penticton is not panning out to be all council hoped it would as the city struggles with low volumes, high contamination rates and rising costs.

Mitch Moroziuk, the director of operations for the city, says Penticton is not meeting targets for residential curbside collection of recyclables, both in contamination rates and volume collected.

The contamination rate for single family residential pickup of non-paper and product packaging items, by weight, is about three per cent, which is right on target, but Moroziuk says a recent audit showed an average contamination rate of 8.1 per cent in the city. Currently at 11.8 per cent, multi-family contamination rates are also well above the target. 

The volume of curbside collection of recyclables is also missing the target. It currently sits at an average of 120.58 kilograms per household per year while the target rate is 135 kg per household for single family residential units. Collection rates are closer to the target of 75 kg per household for multi-family collection, with 73.85 kg per household annually.

Moroziuk says plastic film and magazines appear to be major components as recyclable contaminants, though generally once people figure out what is expected of them when it comes to sorting recyclables, they do it.

"So far we’re not there just yet,” he says.

Fines and bonuses are part of the Multi-Material B.C. program, but Moroziuk says the provincial recycling program has held off implementing those fines, which could be as high as $5,000 per occurrence.

He notes Multi-Material B.C. isn’t threatening to implement fines, but there is an expectation the city will do something to get the contamination and volume rates closer to their targets.

In an effort to move towards a better understanding of recycling in Penticton, council has approved an additional $176,000 be added to the solid waste cart program in the 2016 capital budget. The additional funds will cover the cost of hiring someone to educate residents about recycling and to help launch the new cart program.

At a meeting earlier this month, council also agreed to hire IPL Environmental to run the city’s new cart-based collection program, valued at roughly $1.48 million.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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