The RDEK has reached an agreement with Recycle BC to operate a designated Recycle BC Depot, which will open up dozens of new recycling opportunities for Kimberley and area residents starting early next month.
“Over the years, the recycling regulations in the Province have evolved to require producers of recyclable products to be responsible for the recycling and end-of-life management of those products,” explains Environmental Services Manager Kevin Paterson. “The new Recycle BC Depot we are establishing in Kimberley will provide local residents with the ability to recycle a wide range of items that are not accepted in the local yellow bin program. Plus, for every tonne of product the RDEK collects at this depot, we will be compensated, which will save tax dollars for the public.” Some of the items that will be accepted at the Depot include Styrofoam, #7 plastics, milk substitutes, zippered bags like Ziplocs and pet food bags, aerosol cans and more.
Many people will be familiar with some of the older Extended Producer Responsibility (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. One of the newer EPR programs is aimed at packaging. It is managed by Recycle BC and the eco-fees are charged directly to the producers rather than consumers. Currently, there is one Recycle BC Depot serving the entire East Kootenay, which is located at the Cranbrook Bottle Depot.
“We have been working on reaching an agreement with Recycle BC for almost a year,” says Paterson. “Their structure requires the program be run with very specific guidelines, including gated and staffed locations. 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 Recycle BC Depot at the Kimberley Transfer Station will open March 4th and the RDEK will be rolling out a full education campaign to help explain what can be accepted at the new depot. It plans to open Recycle BC Depots at other staffed RDEK Transfer Stations later this year.
“One of important things we want the public to understand is that this is a separate program from the yellow bin system. People will have to use the Recycle BC Depot 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.
At the same time as it is preparing to open the new Recycle BC Depot, the RDEK continues to work with its contractor on the rebuild of the Kimberley Transfer Station building, which collects garbage at the site.
“Following the fire in July, we were hopeful that the structural integrity of the building could be saved, which would significantly reduce the time it would take to get the facility to a point where it could be re-opened for public use,” says Paterson. “Unfortunately, the adjusters and structural engineers have determined that it has to be totally rebuilt to meet current building code requirements.”
The new building has been ordered and is expected to arrive within the next few weeks. The contractor is already on site preparing the foundation as the priority is to get the building up and operational for the public as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the temporary waste bins for residential garbage will remain in place.
“We want to thank the public for its ongoing patience as we recognize the impact the loss of the full transfer station has had on residents, the municipality and other businesses,” says Paterson.
The RDEK hopes that the construction of the waste transfer building will be complete in mid 2019. The cost of the reconstruction is being covered by insurance.