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UPDATE: Council signs on for provincial recycling program

City council will again look at joining the Multi-Material B.C. recycling program.
November 28, 2013 - 5:14 PM

KAMLOOPS – Council has agreed to give the provincial recycling program, which will provide $1.1 million in funding and savings of $300,000 annually, a try after a second look Tuesday at what the program offers.

In September, city councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of opting out of the Multi-Material B.C. recycling program because they felt there were many questions around penalties, contamination rates and logistics. Kamloops was not the only community with questions and that led to program directors extending the sign up date by two and a half months and providing more information during that time so communities could make better informed decisions.

Staff is happy with the changes they have seen and are again asking council to look at opting into the program. MMBC has outlined a cap on penalties and clarified a remediation timeline before those penalties kick in, in addition to providing a termination of convenience clause and ensuring newsprint is an accepted product in the recycling mix.

The compensation for providing the same service the city is already doing is $1.1 million annually during the initial five-year contract term and the maximum amount of fines could result in $120,000 in penalties (24 fines at $5,000 per instance.) The city could save $300,000 per year based on the plan, though if the penalty maximum is reached those savings would be reduced to $180,000. The program also allows for a six-month period where either party can choose to opt out of the contract for almost any reason and without penalty.

Signing on with the program would result in minor changes, some that would likely occur at the beginning of 2016 when the contract with Emterra Environmental expires anyway. The current contract has the city collecting recyclables at the curb and delivering them to the recycling plant for processing. Preliminary discussions with the company have revealed concern over the collection of soft plastics and glass and staff expect changes could come during the next round of contract negotiations. Emterra officials have already agreed to an early termination of the contract in May 2014 when the MMBC program begins.

As of May 19, 2014 plastic film, glass and styrofoam will not be allowed in carts or bins, and would instead have to be taken to recycling depots. The landfills and depots would both see enhanced monitoring, which the city would receive financial compensation for.

The majority of municipalities and regional districts within the province have already accepted the MMBC proposal and several of the communities that have opted out, including Kamloops, are revisiting the decision this week.

Coun. Tina Lange voted against the motion, saying she wanted to see the city allow MMBC to hire out a different contractor and let the city focus on garbage pickup while Coun. Nelly Dever abstained from voting, saying she is in favour of the program, but with hesitation. Coun. Nancy Bepple was absent from the meeting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

This story was last updated at 4:26 p.m., Nov. 26, 2013 to include the council decision.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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