COVID-19 filled up more household garbage cans in the Central Okanagan - InfoNews

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COVID-19 filled up more household garbage cans in the Central Okanagan

September 10, 2020 - 8:30 PM

The amount of household garbage put out for collection jumped by 20 per cent in the Central Okanagan as more people worked from home because of COVID-19.

That resulted in a slowdown in garbage collection in a typical block from nine minutes to 15 minutes, meaning garbage was picked up later than usual.

“Cart manufacturer shutdowns and shifts in waste generation from work to home have resulted in the biggest impacts, manifesting in delayed cart deliveries, an increase in missed collections, increase in waste weight collected, and an increase in the amount of time required to complete daily collections,” were the main impacts of COVID-19, according to a recent report to the Regional District of Central Okanagan board of directors.

It also includes information about recycling in the region in 2019, such as the fact that the contamination rate of recyclable material has gone down in most areas of the region.

Lake Country residents were the best at sorting their recycling with a 5.1 per cent contamination rate in 2019, down 2.2 per cent from 2018.

Kelowna and West Kelowna both improved and were between 7.1 and 7.5 per cent while Peachland residents went the other way with a 13.4 per cent contamination rate, up 5.8 per cent from the year before.

A survey of residents showed that 72 per cent of people did not recycle certain items because they didn’t know if they were recyclable, which means more needs to be done to educate the public, the report states.

It also goes through a room by room explanation of the types of materials that are thrown out that could easily be recycled.

Topping that list is aerosol containers with 33 per cent of people surveyed throwing them out if they are items normally found in bathrooms while 30 per cent threw them out if they were used in laundry rooms.

Metal containers, whether they be juice cans or shoe polish containers, are thrown out by about 20 per cent of people.

The report also outlines the possibility of expanding curbside collection for things like non-refundable glass and flexible packaging such as foam plastic bags and overwrap, all of which now have to be dropped off at bottle depots or London Drugs to be recycled.

The full cost of the recycling program is paid for by manufacturers and distributors so no taxpayers’ dollars are spent on collecting or processing the material.

READ MORE: B.C. businesses spending almost $100 million a year to help you recycle better

If glass is to be included in the curbside collection system that would have to be done in a separate recycling container and paid for through taxes. One estimate is that it would cost $9 per household per year. The full cost would be offset by the revenue from selling the glass.

No cost estimate was given for collecting the flexible packaging at the curb.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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