Changes are coming soon to the Chilliwack curbside recycling program.
Glass is out, for example, but ice cream containers, and aerosol cans are in.
The changes — for single family homes and duplexes — are from Chilliwack joining Multi-Material BC (MMBC), a provincial program funded by packaging and paper producers to provide financial incentives for curbside collection programs.
The changes won’t affect apartment dwellers or townhouse residents with private waste contractors.
The biggest notable difference is that glass will no longer be accepted.
And the list of newly accepted materials will include items like aerosol containers, dairy cartons, and frozen juice containers.
Chilliwack had been on a wait-list for MMBC, the industry-led stewardship program to recycle all packaging and printed paper, but will become members as of March 1.
The shift to MMBC rules means some materials will actually have be dropped off by residents at depots for recycling, and not at the curb, such as plastic bags, glass jars, and styrofoam.
The recyclers need these materials to be separated from curbside recyclables to increase “processing efficiency” according to MMBC reps because they can break easily or are more difficult to sort.
When glass is co-mingled with other materials, for example, it often breaks and can’t be recycled for new containers, which is why it is off the list of acceptable materials.
So local bottle depots in Chilliwack will take glass for MMBC: Sardis Bottle Depot on Lark, and Chilliwack Bottle Depot on Trethewey Avenue, as well as Emterra Recycling Depot on Old Yale Road, and the Bailey Landfill.
City and Emterra reps will be monitoring the residential recycling efforts for the first few weeks of the education phase, and tagging households with little reminders about which materials are acceptable.
Allen Langdon, managing director of MMBC, noted there are two beneficial aspects to the changes coming for Chilliwack.
“What it means is a wider range of materials are going into recycling bag,” Langdon said, mentioning the acceptance of milk cartons, spiral potato chip containers, and shaving cream can.
“The other thing is that producers of packaging and printed materials are now shouldering the financial burden of providing these services to residents. So not only are cities receiving a per-household payment, but also MMBC is taking over the cost of processing the recyclables.”
Only the glass that they pick up from depots is of “sufficient quality and clean enough” to be recycled for re-use, he said. Transportation of glass is always big challenge because of the weight and how easily it breaks.
But in general, MMBC reps are excited to have three large municipalities joining in 2017: Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission.
“There definitely will be some education required in the short term,” said Langdon.
The standard material list will be province-wide by the end of the year. Check recyclinginbc.ca for the detailed list.
The financial “incentives” to be provided by MMBC to Chilliwack work out to about $2 per household per month, said city staff.
“The City of Chilliwack lobbied extensively to join the MMBC program in order to receive the same financial incentives as other communities and would like to thank Minister Polak for addressing our concerns,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “We are happy to receive this confirmation of inclusion from MMBC and the financial incentives will help us keep curbside collection fees low.”