Glass jars and bottles may be banned from blue boxes

New recycling bosses gird for scrap over glass pickup

Politicians doubt logic of ending blue box collection of jars, bottles

The new agency taking charge of blue box recycling will try again to convince its critics that it makes sense to end curbside pickup of glass bottles and jars, forcing households to take them to depots.

Multi-Material BC (MMBC), the industry stewardship group the province has charged with recycling all types of packaging and printed paper starting in mid-2014, will meet Metro Vancouver’s waste committee April 4 to discuss its revised plan.

“We haven’t made a decision,” MMBC spokesman Allen Langdon said. “What we’re looking for is to have a discussion on the environmental merits.”

Some civic leaders think moving to depot-only collection of glass would be a big reduction in service, resulting in more bottles and jars ending up in the landfill.

But Langdon said there’s a mistaken assumption that glass put in blue boxes is actually recycled.

“We think maybe 15 per cent of that glass is actually being recycled and the rest is going to the landfill anyway,” Langdon said.

The “recycled” portion is actually being used as road aggregate, he said, not turned into new glass.

Separating glass from the blue box stream – where it can break, contaminate and degrade the value of other recyclables – would help MMBC find better markets and get higher prices for recyclables, he said.

“We think it’s going to increase recycling of glass, plastic and fibre,” Langdon said.

“Some [Metro directors] seem to think it’s an issue of cost when really it’s about how we’re going to recycle the greatest amount of material.”

Port Coquitlam already uses a depot system for glass and finds it more effective and profitable than curbside pickup, Langdon said.

Most glass already comes to depots, because of refundable deposits on bottles, rather than via blue boxes.

MMBC hopes numerous partner depots, such as existing bottle depots, would take their recyclables. Langdon predicts residents won’t have to take excluded material like glass only to municipal transfer stations.

MMBC also intends to have depot-only pickup of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) and film plastic such as shopping bags and drycleaning bags.

Metro waste committee chair and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie expects strong opposition to MMBC’s “short-sighted” plan to end glass pickup.

“Our residents have gotten used to being able to recycle the glass – they’ve come to expect it,” Brodie said.

“Without being able to put it in your blue box, I think people by and large won’t take it to the depot – they’ll put it in the trash. It just seems to me to be a big step backward.”

New packaging types that would be accepted in blue boxes are to include coffee cups, gable-top containers, aseptic cartons used for soup and soy milk, empty aerosol containers, aluminum foil containers, microwavable paper containers, various takeout food containers and plant pots. For more info see multimaterialbc.ca.

Not all packaging types will be collected and recycled – MMBC says laminate plastics currently have no viable market and will instead be landfilled or incinerated.

But producers of those packages will still have to pay fees to support the system.

Time is getting tight to put the program together.

Langdon said MMBC hopes for speedy approval of the recently revised stewardship plan by the provincial government within weeks.

The agency has just over a year to strike deals with cities to continue blue box collection or else hire other contractors, line up processors and carry out much more preparatory work in advance of the new system’s rollout.

“We already feel as of this date today were working under a compressed schedule.”

The new system, expected to cost industry partners $60 to $100 million annually,  aims to raise recycling rates for packaging and printed paper from between 50 and 57 per cent across B.C. to at least 75 per cent.

The packaging stewardship program is the latest in the province’s efforts to make industry groups take back and deal with the waste they generate.

Just Posted

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

PHOTOS: Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa is gone

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Channel your inner pirate in epic Canada-wide treasure hunt

200 treasure chests hidden among trails and waterways, lots of prizes to be claimed

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Most Read