Cassandra Enns is an environmental services technologist with the TNRD.

Cassandra Enns is an environmental services technologist with the TNRD.

Recycling trial coming to Clearwater-Vavenby

TNRD to try out six-stream recycling at local eco-depot and transfer station

The residents of Thompson-Nicola Regional District are going to have to sort our recyclables.

Those of us who live in the Clearwater and Vavenby areas will lead the way.

Following a public education program, the new system will be rolled out at the Clearwater Eco-depot and Vavenby Transfer Station on about June 1, explained Cassandra Enns, TNRD environmental services technician.

Once any problems have been identified and fixed here, it will be expanded to the rest of the regional district.

The new recycling system will have six streams, Enns said.

READ MORE: Contaminated recyclables a growing issue (Apr. 24, 2018)

The six new recycling streams will be:

1) Fibre: newspapers, magazines, cardboard, cardboard boxes, paper packaging, paper bags, boxboard, etc.;

2) Containers: Milk cartons, cups/coffee cups, plastic packaging (rigid plastic containers such as sour cream or margarine containers, or liquid laundry soap containers), metal packaging such as metal cans;

3) Plastic bags and overwrap (which TNRD residents have already been recycling separately at TNRD facilities);

4) White foam packaging: meat trays, as well as hard foam used to package electronics and small appliances – meaning styrofoam as well (stryrofoam can’t be recycled in the current TNRD system at all);

5) Coloured foam packaging: meat trays, foam egg cartons (these items also cannot be recycled in the current system at all); and

6) Glass bottles and jars: such as pickle jars or pasta sauce jars (the TNRD has always asked residents to separate these items out for recycling at its facilities).

Enns noted that of the six new streams that TNRD residents will need to sort their recycling into, two of them (plastic bags and glass jars) are already supposed to be recycled separately, while two streams (white foam packaging and coloured foam packaging) are totally new additions to the recycling program.

So the biggest changes actually just revolve around the first two sorting categories – fibre and containers.

During its April 19 meeting the TNRD board of directors approved implementation of a source-separated, multi-stream recycling system. Presently, the regional district uses a single-stream (mixed) recycling.

A report to the board noted that the global recycling market is reeling due to China’s newly imposed purity standards for acceptable contamination rates in recyclables.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, China has turned away recyclables that exceed 0.5 per cent contamination levels.

The TNRD’s processing fees have nearly tripled in the past eight months as a result of the changes.

More recently, the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) used by the regional district is warning that it may be forced to cease accepting single-stream (mixed) recycling altogether, which would result in recyclables being sent into landfills.

Multi-stream (source separated) recycling is inherently less contaminated and therefore more desirable and marketable in today’s volatile recycling market, the report noted.

The measures passed by the Board include:

• Implementation of a source-separated, multi-stream recycling system that conforms to Recycle BC requirements at all TNRD solid waste facilities;

• Development of a transition plan, in cooperation with each municipality, for either closure or conversion to Recycle BC standards for municipal recycling depots in Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Merritt, and Chase;

• Making member municipalities of Barriere, Chase, Merritt and Logan Lake (Recycle BC wait-listed member municipalities), as well as other commercial customers offloading at TNRD solid waste facilities, responsible for the processing fees for single-stream (mixed) recycling being paid by the TNRD, effective September 1, 2018; and

• Continuing to assist the wait-listed member municipalities (Barriere, Chase, Merritt and Logan Lake) to get signed on with the Recycle BC program.

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