New Recycling Depot Set to Open in Elk Valley

The RDEK will be officially opening its newest Recycle BC Depot at the Fernie Transfer Station next Monday, opening up dozens of new recycling opportunities for residents and visitors.

“The new Recycle BC Depot at the Fernie Transfer Station provides residents with the ability to recycle a wide range of items that are not accepted in the local yellow bin program or Fernie’s curbside recycling,” says RDEK Environmental Services Manager Kevin Paterson. Some of the items that will be accepted at the new Depot include Styrofoam, #7 plastics, milk substitutes, zippered bags like Ziplocs and pet food bags, aerosol cans and more.

And, while being able to recycle over 76 additional items at the Recycle BC Depot provides residents with a host of new options to reduce their overall waste, the benefit doesn’t end there. “Because we are operating a regulated Recycle BC Depot, we are classified as a collector,” explains Paterson. “That means every tonne of product the RDEK collects at this depot, we will be compensated by Recycle BC, which will save tax dollars for the public.”  By contrast, the RDEK has to pay for every tonne of recyclables collected in the yellow bins.

Recycle BC – and the RDEK’s new depot - are part of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for printed paper and packaging. Many people will be familiar with some of the older EPR programs for things like tires, oil and electronics, where you pay an eco or environmental fee at the store when you buy. That fee is intended to support a system for that product to be recycled and managed through the end of its life. This packaging EPR program is managed by Recycle BC and the eco-fees are charged directly to the producers rather than consumers.   

“The Recycle BC Program requires depots to be run with very specific guidelines, including gated and staffed locations and a bit more separation of materials,” explains Paterson. “Our existing yellow bin program does not meet their program specifications, so we have had to get creative as we are committed to increasing recycling opportunities for our residents without costing taxpayers extra.”

The yellow bin system remains in place; however, it only accepts paper, cardboard, tin/aluminum cans, grocery/shopping bags and plastics #1-#6. “It is very important to understand is that this is a new option and a totally separate program from the yellow bin system or City of Fernie curbside recycling. People will have to use the Recycle BC Depot at the Transfer Station if they want to access these new recycling opportunities as we do not have access to the same markets through our yellow bin system,” stresses Paterson.

The new depot will have separate bins for:

  • Paper/cardboard
  • Containers (metal, plastic, lids, hot/cold beverage, cartons)
  • Styrofoam – both white and printed/coloured
  • Flexible plastic packaging
  • Plastic bags and overwrap
  • Glass

“We have had the yellow bin system for over 20 years, so there will be an adjustment for users the first few times at the site; however, we’ve found after people visit the site once or twice, they start to develop a system that works for them and we’ve had really good feedback overall,” adds Paterson.

The RDEK will be launching a comprehensive education campaign over the next few weeks to provide information on all aspects of the new Depot system and other recycling opportunities in the region.  You can access tips, download copies of brochures, ask questions, and read through the Q&As on https://engage.rdek.bc.ca/recycle.

The Recycle BC Depot will open at the Fernie Transfer Station at 6001 Highway 3 on Monday, February 3. Depots will be opened at the Elkford Transfer Station on February 18 and Sparwood Transfer Station on March 2.