Changes are on the way for how residents in the East Kootenay region will recycle glass, as the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) prepares to do away with glass recycling through the yellow bin program.
Starting in January of 2021, residents will need to recycle their glass containers through the Recycle BC program. Yellow bins that were previously dedicated to glass recycling will no longer be available.
For the past three years, the glass recycling market has undergone significant changes and the RDEK has struggled to find markets for the glass it collects through the yellow bin system, the District said in a press release.
“While we have been using it at our landfill sites for secondary purposes such as the road base material hoping new markets will open up, it is clear that the way the glass is recycled in B.C. has changed,” said Kevin Paterson, RDEK Environmental Services Manager. “The only viable option is the provincially regulated Recycle BC program, which we cannot access through the yellow bin program.
“As a result, the decision has been made by the board to move all glass recycling to that system. Recycle BC has secured markets that we cannot access and it is no longer viable from a cost perspective for us to continue collecting glass with the yellow bins.”
The yellow bins currently designated for glass will be removed in the new year. This means that East Kootenay residents will need to take their glass recyclables to any Recycle BC depot in the region. That glass gets collected and sent to the west coast, where it is turned into new glass containers or crushed for sandblasting, explained the RDEK.
“The cost of the yellow bin glass collection is significant. So, not only do we no longer have access to markets to recycle glass, we are paying thousands of dollars to manage a material that can’t be recycled or practically repurposed,” Paterson said. “Further, the RDEK is paid per tonne for glass collected through the Recycle BC system, so the cost difference between what we are currently paying and what we will be saving is huge. And, equally important is providing residents who want to recycle their glass a sustainable and accessible way to do that, which this Recycle BC option provides.”
The RDEK says they currently pay $321.75 per tonne to manage glass in the yellow bins. In contrast, the RDEK is paid $90 per tonne for the glass it collects through the Recycle BC depots. This equates to a savings of $411.75 per tonne by moving to the Recycle BC system.
This year, the RDEK has collected just over 101 tonnes of glass in the yellow bins and 109 tonnes through the Recycle BC depots.
The RDEK adds that they will be rolling out a public awareness program during the month of December to help educate the public about the coming changes. The yellow bins are slated to be removed during the first week of the new year.
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