Recycling changes coming to transfer station

More sorting will be required on your next trip to the transfer station. Photo SPIN.

In line with changes across the province, Sun Peaks residents will soon be required to additionally separate their recyclables when disposing of them at the local transfer station.

The changes are a result of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) joining  RecycleBC, a program launched in 2014 that established new standards to reduce waste. By Oct. 1 all local governments and municipalities will have agreed to the program, making the new standards province-wide.

The mission of RecycleBC is to alleviate the high rates of contaminated recycled product that result from mixed recycling. Contaminated recyclables have a reduced capacity to be reused or sold to other markets for reuse.

Graham Casselman, an environmental technologist with TNRD, said more and more recycling was being sent to landfill.

“We have seen unprecedented amounts of recyclables being sent to landfill this year due to the fact there is no market for unclean, unsorted recyclables.”

In separating recyclables, the goal is to ultimately create a cleaner and more useful recycled product.

Some separation of recyclables is already required at Sun Peaks’ transfer station, which is operated by the TNRD. Currently there are four bins separating cardboard, glass and other recyclables from other garbage. Three additional bins will soon be installed, requiring residents to separate their recycling into six separate categories.

The new categories are: paper and cardboard, containers (plastic, metal and paper), plastic bags and wrap, white foam packaging, coloured foam packaging and glass bottles and jars.

Sun Peaks residents are being encouraged to separate their recycling now as the bins have been installed at the station.

Similar programs are being implemented across the continent to battle the problem of contaminated recycling product.

“All regions of North America have been struggling to find end markets for their material due to high contamination,” Casselman said. “Everyone is being forced to make significant changes to improve the quality of the recycling they collect.”

In the new collaboration with RecycleBC, the costs of the recycling process such as  hauling and processing, will shift onto the original manufacturers of the material.

The British Columbia Recycling Regulation now states that producers of packaging and paper products for commercial purposes in B.C. “must operate, or be a member of, an approved plan concerning the end-of-life management of their products.”

Through this shift, and related cost savings, TNRD has estimated a $500,000 savings each year.

Sun Peaks residents are being asked to be patient as the new changes take place.

Tim Stevenson, operator of Sun Peaks transfer station, will continue to provide instruction and assist residents in sorting their household waste and to monitor for any cross-contamination.