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Consumers want recycling expansion

Regional district considers outside collection space

Powell River Regional District will contemplate adding to the types of recyclables being collected.

Mike Wall, manager of community services, told regional board directors at the Thursday, November 13 planning committee meeting that based on public response at the depots, citizens are wanting to add products eligible for recycling. He said people are coming to an understanding about what products can be recycled under the provincial legislation that came into effect in May of this year.

“It would be a good opportunity to add some more,” he said. “We have Multi-Material BC [MMBC] online to do that so we won’t be doing something we’re not supposed to under our contract. They have agreed to let us add some more product lines.”

One possibility is TerraCycle. According to the company’s website, TerraCycle upcycles and recycles traditionally non-recyclable waste (including drink pouches, chip bags, tooth brushes and many more) into a large variety of consumer products.

Another recycling stream could include clothing. Wall said that inclusion Powell River could have a collection bin, maintain it and take care of pickup.

“It’s very positive, it’s not going to cost any more money,” Wall said.

Dave Murphy, Electoral Area D director, asked what current collection depots would be used for an expanded program.

Wall said any new collections would be completely separate from MMBC. He gave an example of inclusion Powell River engaging with Value Village, the clothing recycler.

“They will come with a Value Village bin,” Wall said. “All we do is facilitate it at the downtown depot. We would find a space for them in there. The current staff will simply point where to go and inclusion Powell River will come and pick it up at its cost.”

Wall said the same would go for TerraCycle and Electracycle, which are two other extended producer responsibility (EPR) collection programs the regional district is working with.

He added the current opportunity for expansion of the recycling drop-off would be at the city depot at Town Centre Mall given that the collectors probably do not want to go further afield.

“We can see what volumes come in and whether it is worthwhile to put something out in the rural areas,” he said.

Colin Palmer, Electoral Area C director and board chair, said alarms bells were going off for him. He said Powell River Health-Care Auxiliary collects clothes. He was wondering if they would be upset about the inclusion Powell River program.

Wall said he asked that very question to an inclusion Powell River representative and was told the organization had spoken with representatives from the hospital auxiliary, a thrift shop and two church organizations.

“She told me the answer was not at all,” Wall said. “They are inundated and can’t handle what they are receiving.”

Wall said beyond the opportunities he was outlining at the meeting, further expansion of the program was being examined. However, it is all under the expectation of the regional recycling program providing space and the outside organizations taking care of the maintenance, garbage and pickup.

The committee passed a motion recommending that the regional board authorize staff to engage in expanding the EPR collection programs to the in-town recycling depot.