The new curbside recycling additions have many members of the community confused and irritated.
Earlier this year Multi Material BC (MMBC) and the city of Castlegar revised their list of acceptable recyclable materials and chose to also recover glass at the curbside level.
The list of what can and cannot be recycled was given to residents as well as posted on the official MMBC website, but with so many dos, don’ts and restrictions citizens are having a harder time actually recycling.
“Since the new program started, I have yet to remember when to recycle the glass, and I am saddened about not being able to recycle the bread bags and other plastic wrappings,” said concerned resident, Marilyn Sam.
“Safeway is the only grocery store to recycle grocery shopping bags, and I still haven’t a clue where I can recycle bread bags and other plastic bags/wrappings. I think they took a huge step backwards in the recycling. In fact, I think that this discourages more people, and is a deterrent to people to continue their recycling efforts.”
Jamie Keen had a similar stance on the matter.
“I am sick of my bags being left behind for infractions that aren’t listed as don’ts. It’s not just grocery bags you can’t recycle anymore, it’s also the plastic wrap on your toilet paper and paper towel, too.
“My glass has yet to be picked up. I’m considering buying a second very large garbage can and putting everything in the landfill again. It’s piling up on my deck and I’m tired of making an effort and always falling short of the ever changing guidelines.”
Director of Transportation and Civic Works, Chris Barlow said, “The majority of the restrictions are being placed on us by MMBC. There are a number of recyclables they don’t accept and that’s why we’ve seen this change.”
He goes on to say that the recycling facilities MMBC uses have very low contamination thresholds. He explained that this is why many people have seen their glass left at the curb when nothing appears to be wrong.
According to Barlow, if the city were to pick up many contaminated recyclables they could in turn be fined a considerable amount, and residents should only try to wash their glass more thoroughly.
Barlow did comment, “The city is looking to do an open house to gain public input this winter. We’re hoping to gather input on what is working and what isn’t working. As well, this spring we will be re-tendering our garbage collection and recycling contract.”
From this re-tendering, Barlow hopes to add in changes to the contract that will make the recycling process more streamlined.
Not everyone is upset with the new process though.
“It’s not as easy as before for us, but they do take more things now — like aerosol cans and milk cartons,” said local, Misty Soukochoff.
Castlegarian Charlotte Robertson was also more lenient towards the city and the new program.
“Having to sort it is not that bad, and stand in the driver’s point of view — we all need to do our part to do the good for our planet. The truck does 300 houses per day, if half the people don’t properly organize their bin it tacks on a lot of extra time in their day,” she said.