Why North Okanagan residents can soon add glass to curbside recycling but others can't | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why North Okanagan residents can soon add glass to curbside recycling but others can't

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Rochelle Jennine Garratt
November 06, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Households across the North Okanagan will soon be able to recycle glass bottles and jars by leaving them on the curb for recycling collection.

Starting Dec. 1, Recycle B.C. will add the service for North Okanagan households which, like many other parts of B.C., previously had to take glass directly to recycling centres themselves.

Over the next month, residents in the North Okanagan will receive a grey box for glass collection every two weeks.

While glass recycling collection has been taking place in other areas of the country for years, the North Okanagan is soon to be the only place in the Okanagan Valley where glass recycling is collected curbside. Residents in Kamloops, the south and central Okanagan will still have to take their empty glass bottles to a depot.

So why is that?

Recycle B.C. public affairs director David Lefebvre says it all comes down to individual local governments and a change in government regulation in 2014.

That's when Recycle B.C. was created, along with regulations that obligated producers to take responsibility for their materials, Lefebvre said.

Recycle B.C. operates as a not-for-profit and is funded entirely by the producers of packaging and paper, not the taxpayer.

When Recycle B.C. was created, local governments got to choose whether to keep collecting recycling themselves on behalf of Recycle B.C. or whether to allow Recycle B.C. to do it. The majority chose to continue themselves, while 16 local regions, including the North Okanagan, decided to let Recycle B.C. take over.

Ultimately, it leaves the decision on how to collect recycling in the hands of the local government and in Kamloops, the Central and South Okanagan, those authorities don't offer glass recycling at curbside.

Lefebvre said the main reason for not offering glass recycling is that they collect recycling in a "single stream" so households don't need to organize and separate their recycling.

Lefebvre said collecting glass in this method led to lots of contamination with the other recyclable materials, as the glass could break. This in turn affects the recyclability of those materials.

Collecting recycling in multiple streams, as is done in the North Okanagan with separate bins, means glass won't contaminate other recycling so will now be picked up curbside.

For more information about recycling glass in the North Okanagan go here.


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