Changes to Glass Recycling on the Horizon

Effective January 2021, East Kootenay residents will notice some changes in where container glass can be taken for recycling in the East Kootenay.

For the past three years, the glass recycling market has undergone significant changes and the RDEK has struggled to find markets for the glass it collects through the yellow bin system. “While we have been using it at our landfill sites for secondary purposes such as road base material hoping new markets will open up, it is clear that the way glass is recycled in BC has changed,” says RDEK Environmental Services Manager Kevin Paterson. “The only viable option is the Provincially regulated Recycle BC program, which we can’t access through the Yellow Bin Program. As a result, the decision has been made by the Board to move all glass recycling to that system. Recycle BC has secured markets that we cannot access and it is no longer viable from a cost perspective for us to continue collecting glass in the yellow bins.”

Glass can still be taken to any Recycle BC Depot in the East Kootenay and currently all glass collected through these depots is shipped to the west coast where it is turned into new glass containers or crushed and used in sandblasting.  The RDEK’s yellow glass collection bins will be removed in the new year, meaning all glass will now have to go to a designated Recycle BC Depot to be recycled.   

“The cost of the yellow bin glass collection is significant. So, not only do we no longer have access to markets to recycle glass, we are paying thousands of dollars to manage a material that can’t be recycled or practically repurposed,” explains Paterson.  “Further, the RDEK is paid per tonne for glass collected through the Recycle BC system, so the cost difference between what we are currently paying and what we will be saving is huge.  And, equally important is providing residents who want to recycle their glass a stable and accessible way to do that, which this Recycle BC option provides,” adds Paterson.

Currently, the RDEK pays $321.75 / tonne to manage glass in the yellow bins. In contrast, the RDEK is paid $90 / tonne for the glass it collects at the Recycle BC Depots, for a net savings of $411.75/tonne by moving to the Recycle BC system.  So far this year, the RDEK has collected just over 101 tonnes of glass in the yellow bins and 109 tonnes in its Recycle BC depots.  

The RDEK will be undertaking a public awareness campaign over the coming weeks to advise the public of the upcoming change. The yellow glass bins are slated for removal during the first week of January.

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